Wageningen University & Research Announces Food Systems PhD Position


by A4NH | January 16, 2018

Wageningen University & Research (WUR) is hiring a sandwich-PhD researcher in the Environmental Policy Group to study effective policy strategies and instruments for transforming food systems towards healthier diets and work with A4NH's Food Systems for Healthier Diets flagship. The position will be based in Bangladesh.

About the program

The Environmental Policy chair group at WUR is partner in the Food Systems flagship, with research focusing on understanding dietary gaps and their linkages with existing food systems, how changes in food systems can lead to healthier diets and to identify and test entry points for interventions to make those changes. The group's portfolio includes diagnosis and foresight analysis of diets and food systems (including development of dietary indicators and indices), evaluation of food systems innovations for impact on diet, and sustainability. The group is searching for a Bangladeshi PhD researcher, who will mainly focus on food system policies in Bangladesh.

The Food Systems for Healthier Diets flagship works in four A4NH focus countries: Ethiopia, Vietnam, Bangladesh, and Nigeria. It is coordinated by Inge Brouwer, and led by WUR. The Wageningen team comprises senior researchers in economics, environmental policies and nutrition both at the Wageningen University as the Wageningen Research Institutes. The team collaborates with several CGIAR research centers, including Bioversity International, the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT), and the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA). The Food Systems flagship works closely with the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition and closely collaborates with the A4NH country teams in the four focus countries.

About the position

Food and nutrition security requires cross-sectoral strategies designed and implemented at different levels, from global to local. Food systems policy is therefore essential for the creation of systemic arrangements capable of fulfilling dietary health, food security, and sustainability requirements. As an emerging activity subsuming coordination between multiple sectors and actors, effective organization of accountability measures, and adequate responses to the challenges of malnutrition, better understanding of promising configurations of food systems policy is needed. Due to the complexity of food systems and policies pertaining to them, policy instruments and their use require serious scrutiny. It is crucial to determine their effectiveness and efficiency from a system perspective, focusing on nutrition outcomes while also taking into consideration particularities of context, side-effects, synergies and trade-offs.

This position is a sandwich PhD grant with an average working time of 38 hours per week initially for 18 months, extended by another 30 months after positive evaluation. Sandwich PhD candidates are international PhD candidates who spend part of their time at Wageningen, but are not employed by the university. The position will have a grant and the candidate will generally spend the initial nine and final six to nine months of the four-year PhD program in Wageningen, while research in the intermediate period will be conducted in the candidate's country of origin. This PhD is directly supervised by the Environmental Policy Group at Wageningen University, and the project will be carried out in collaboration with partners including IFPRI, IITA, CIAT and others. The PhD project addresses the following research questions:

  1. What policy strategies and associated instruments are available for the transformation of food systems for healthier diets at local and national levels?
  2. With what mechanism can the effectiveness, efficiency and applicability of available food systems policy instruments be assessed?
  3. What does the assessment of the effectiveness, efficiency and applicability of available food systems policy instruments deliver in terms of synergies and trade-offs?
  4. Which effective, efficient and applicable policy instruments are available for food systems transformations towards healthier diets?

Candidates for this position should have:

  • An MSc degree equivalent in sociology/ anthropology/ political science/ environmental science, especially in LMIC;
  • Bangladeshi nationality or from another country in East Asia;
  • Employment or relationship with an academic or research institute in Bangladesh;
  • Fluency in written and spoken English (TOEFL internet-based 90 with a minimum of 23 for speaking, or IELTS (academic version) 6.5, with a minimum of 6.0 for speaking);
  • Strong quantitative and qualitative research skills;
  • Strong scientific writing skills;
  • Proven affinity with food policy research; and
  • Motivation to work in an international team, with excellent communication skills.

More information and to apply

For more information, please contact Prof Dr Peter Oosterveer, Professor at the Environmental Policy Group: e-mail: peter.oosterveer@wur.nl.

To apply, send application letter, CV, letter of support from your home institute (if applicable), copies of BSc and MSc degrees and TOEFL/IELTS test scores (if applicable) to Office.ENP@wur.nl (please title this e-mail ‘Application PhD FSHD1’).

Closing date for applications is 31 January 2018.