PhD position Inclusive food transitions: a transdisciplinary collaboration with inhabitants of Amsterdam Southeast

PhD position Inclusive food transitions: a transdisciplinary collaboration with inhabitants of Amsterdam Southeast

Published Deadline Location
28 Jun 22 Aug Amsterdam
Would you like to contribute to an inclusive food transition? And would you like to do research on possibilities to reduce health disparities through local food production, together with inhabitants and entrepreneurs in Amsterdam Southeast? Then apply ...

Job description

In the Netherlands, the life expectancy of people with less formal education is 6 years shorter, and 15 years shorter in good health, than of people with more formal education. Food plays a major role in this difference in life expectancy. To render healthy, sustainable food accessible, affordable and attractive to people who need such food the most, the food system will need to change drastically - and particularly in disadvantaged neighbourhoods where health and sustainable food is scarce and too expensive for most of the inhabitants.
You will study possibilities for food system transformation to reduce health inequalities in the Netherlands. Existing research focusses predominantly on system players (such as governments and large corporations), and less on the daily life experiences of people who contribute to food system transformation at the local level. In addition, little attention has been paid to the way in which food system transformation may have an impact on people living in poverty. This PhD therefore focusses on food system transformation from the perspective of this group of people, a group that is underrepresented in both research and policy-making.
You will collaborate in (research on) existing initiatives in Amsterdam Southeast to render healthy and sustainable food affordable and accessible to people who are dependent on foodbanks (that often provide unhealthy food). These initiatives shorten food chains, thereby bringing food production and consumption more closely together. This includes, amongst others, setting up community gardens supplying fresh produce to foodbanks and public canteens, culturally-sensitive courses in healthy, sustainable and affordable cooking, or collaborations with nearby farms and food producers.
In addition, you will collaborate with researchers and practitioners in a larger project funded by the European Commission, named FOODCLIC. FOOCLIC focusses on the realization of strong interfaces for better collaboration between science, governance and practice in eight European city-regions: Barcelona, Berlin, Brasov, Budapest, Aarhus, Lissabon, Amsterdam and Lucca. Your PhD position provides a unique, practice-based perspective from the lifeworlds of Amsterdam Southeast's inhabitants and practitioners onto such large European projects that, too, aim for more inclusive sustainable food system transformations.
Next to your research, resulting in a PhD thesis, you will be teaching in courses given by the Athena Institute (~20% of your time). Research and teaching will be entwined with innovative Community Service Learning initiatives, which are central to the VU in general and the Athena Institute in particular. Your work will be supported with committed supervision and additional training in methods you are not familiar with.


Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU)


We are looking for an enthousiastic, curious and creative candidate with:
  • A masters' degree in Science and Technology Studies (STS), geografie, anthropologie, innovatiewetenschappen, sociologie, of een gerelateerd veld dat relevant is voor het onderwerp.
  • Practical experience with qualitative research methods, such as ethnography, focus groups, interviewing and document analysis.
  • Practical experience with transdisciplinary research approaches and methods: focus groups, participatory research, stakeholder interaction and other forms of knowledge co-creation.
  • The ability to work independently and in a team.
  • Very good organizational, communicative and connective skills; you will collaborate with a wide variety of academic and societal groups.
  • A strong track record and good research skills, writing skills and presentation skills.
  • An excellent command of the Dutch language.

Conditions of employment

Fixed-term contract: 1 year.

A challenging position in a socially involved organization. The salary will be in accordance with university regulations for academic personnel and amounts €2.443 (PhD) per month during the first year and increases to €3,122 (PhD) per month during the fourth year, based on a full-time employment. The job profile: is based on the university job ranking system and is vacant for at least 1 FTE.

The appointment will initially be for 1 year. After a satisfactory evaluation of the initial appointment, the contract will be extended for a duration of 4 years.
Additionally, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam offers excellent fringe benefits and various schemes and regulations to promote a good work/life balance, such as:
  • a maximum of 41 days of annual leave based on full-time employment
  • 8% holiday allowance and 8.3% end-of-year bonus
  • solid pension scheme (ABP)
  • possibility to save holiday hours, for sabbatical leave
  • child daycare facilities available on campus


Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

The ambition of Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is clear: to contribute to a better world through outstanding education and ground-breaking research. We strive to be a university where personal development and commitment to society play a leading role. A university where people from different disciplines and backgrounds collaborate to achieve innovations and to generate new knowledge. Our teaching and research encompass the entire spectrum of academic endeavor - from the humanities, the social sciences and the natural sciences through to the life sciences and the medical sciences.

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is home to more than 30,000 students. We employ over 5,500 individuals. The VU campus is easily accessible and located in the heart of Amsterdam's Zuidas district, a truly inspiring environment for teaching and research.

We are an inclusive university community. Diversity is one of our most important values. We believe that engaging in international activities and welcoming students and staff from a wide variety of backgrounds enhances the quality of our education and research. We are always looking for people who can enrich our world with their own unique perspectives and experiences.

The Faculty of Science
The Faculty of Science inspires researchers and students to find sustainable solutions for complex societal issues. From forest fires to big data, from obesity to medicines and from molecules to the moon: our teaching and research programmes cover the full spectrum of the natural sciences. We share knowledge and experience with leading research institutes and industries, both here in the Netherlands and abroad.

Working at the Faculty of Science means working with students, PhD candidates and researchers, all with a clear focus on their field and a broad view of the world. We employ more than 1,250 staff members, and we are home to more than 11,000 students.

Athena Institute, Faculty of Earth and Life Sciences
The position is offered within the Athena Institute, Faculty of Earth and Life Sciences. The institute's mission is to study and design interfaces between science and society to contribute both to a deeper understanding of innovation processes as well as a responsible implementation of research and innovation in society. Athena's research program amongst other focuses on analysing complex global health challenges, designing interventions and conducting participatory monitoring and evaluation research. The section presently has a position vacant for a Postdoc/Lecturer.
For more information about the Athena Institute visit our website.

Additional information

Are you interested in this position? Please apply via the application button and upload your curriculum vitae and cover letter until 22/08/2022. The vacancy closes on the 30th of June or thereafter, once a suitable candidate has been identified.

Applications received by e-mail will not be processed.

Vacancy questions
If you have any questions regarding this vacancy, you may contact:

Name: dr. Evelien de Hoop
Position: Universitair Docent

No agencies


  • PhD
  • Behaviour and society
  • max. 36 hours per week
  • €2443—€3122 per month
  • University graduate
  • 11978


Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU)

Learn more about this employer


De Boelelaan 1105, 1081HV, Amsterdam

View on Google Maps

Interesting for you


Apply for this job

Apply for this job

This application process is managed by the employer (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU)). Please contact the employer for questions regarding your application.

Thank you for applying

Please contact the employer for questions regarding your application.

Tip: save this job as favorite in your AcademicTransfer account. This gives you an immediate overview and makes it easy to find the job later on. No account yet? Create it now and take advantage of other useful functionalities too!

Application procedure

Application procedure

Make sure to apply no later than 22 Aug 2022 23:58 (Europe/Amsterdam).