Because of changes in climate, markets, technology and policies, there is a need to redesign food production systems in a more eco-efficient way. This can be reached, for example, by diminishing current inefficiencies in the system and the adoption of new technologies. To support the design of eco-efficient food production systems, in this PhD project we aim to develop next generation decision support models that are based on (regional) bio-economic models with improved behavioural representations of the actors involved. These models will then be used to evaluate the economic and environmental performance of alternative production patterns under different environmental, socio-economic and institutional conditions.
Bio-economic models focus on optimizing farmers’ resource management decisions. They take into account input/output relationships of current and alternative production options and land use activities. They offer flexibility in modelling the way farmers make decisions. In applications of these models, it is often assumed that farmers are simply profit-maximisers. This assumptions results in uniform management strategies that have not been observed in historical decisions. It ignores the diversity in priorities and objectives of farmers. Furthermore, interactions between farmers and the exchange of available resources are often ignored. Improving the behavioural representations in bio-economic models can help analysing farm structural change in a more comprehensive way.
This PhD project will combine theories and methods of operations research and behavioural economics to explore transition paths for alternative food production systems. The focus will be on improving the way farmer’s decision making is taken into account in current bio-economic models.
Your role as PhD student will be to:
- integrate important behavioural factors into bio-economic optimisation models;
- evaluate the capacity of the models to reproduce the farmers behaviour and simulate decision making at regional level;
- explore transition paths for alternative eco-efficient food production systems in the Netherlands.
This PhD project will be carried out within a larger programme on ‘Business Science for Sustainability’, which is a joint programme of the Section Business Science of the Social Sciences Group of Wageningen University & Research. This PhD project is a collaboration between the Operations Research and Logistics Group and the Business Economics Group.
- a university degree (MSc) in a discipline relevant to the PhD project (e.g. operations research, agricultural economics, agricultural systems);
- experience in the application of quantitative methods like Mathematical Programming and multi-objective optimisation;
- knowledge of the (agricultural) economic system in Northwest Europe;
- openness and willingness to collaborate with people from other scientific disciplines;
- clear scientific ambition in the conduct and publication of research work;
- good control of English (a minimum of CEFR C2 level). For more information about this proficiency level, please visit our special language page;
- a social, critical and positive learning attitude towards achieving excellence;
- available at short term notice.
Wageningen University & Research offers excellent terms of employment. A few highlights from our Collective Labour Agreement include:
- sabbatical leave, study leave, and paid parental leave;
- working hours that can be discussed and arranged so that they allow for the best possible work-life balance;
- the option to accrue additional holiday hours by working more, up to 40 hours per week;
- there is a strong focus on vitality and you can make use of the sports facilities available on campus for a small fee;
- a fixed December bonus of 8.3%;
- excellent pension scheme.
In addition to these first-rate employee benefits, you will receive a fully funded PhD position and you will be offered a course program tailored to your needs and the research team.
The gross salary for the first year is € 2.395,- per month rising to € 3.061,- in the fourth year in according to the Collective Labour Agreements for Dutch Universities (CAO-NU) (scale P). This is based on a full-time working week of 38 hours. We offer a temporary contract for 18 months which will be extended for the duration of the project if you perform well.
There are plenty of options for personal initiative in a learning environment, and we provide excellent training opportunities. We are offering a unique position in an international environment with a pleasant and open working atmosphere.
You are going to work at the greenest and most innovative campus in Holland, and at a university that has been chosen as the “Best University” in the Netherlands for the 16th consecutive time.
Coming from abroad
Wageningen University & Research is the university and research centre for life sciences. The themes we deal with are relevant to everyone around the world and Wageningen, therefore, has a large international community and a lot to offer to international employees. Applicants from abroad moving to the Netherlands may qualify for a special tax relief, known as the 30% ruling. Our team of advisors on Dutch immigration procedures will help you with the visa application procedures for yourself and, if applicable, for your family.
Feeling welcome also has everything to do with being well informed. Wageningen University & Research’s International Community page contains practical information about what we can do to support international employees and students coming to Wageningen. Furthermore, we can assist you with any additional advice and information about helping your partner to find a job, housing, schooling, and other issues.
For more information about this position, please contact Prof. Dr. Ir. Sander de Leeuw, Chair in Operations Research and Logistics, telephone +31(0)317 484 504 or by e-mail email@example.com.
For more information about the procedure, please contact Sandra Willemsen, Corporate Recruiter or Bianca Aversteeg, Recruitment support via firstname.lastname@example.org.
Do you want to apply?
You can apply directly using the apply button on the vacancy page on our website which will allow us to process your personal information with your approval.
This vacancy will be listed up to and including the 28th of June, 2021. We hope to schedule the first job interviews as soon as possible after closing date.
Wageningen University & Research (WUR) employs a large number of people with very different backgrounds and qualities, who inspire and motivate each other. We want every talent to feel at home in our organisation and be offered the same career opportunities. We therefore especially welcome applications from people who are underrepresented at WUR. For more information please go to our inclusivity page. A good example of how WUR deals with inclusiveness can be read on the page working at WUR with a functional impairment.