PhD Learning in living labs and the development of transition pathways for ecology-based, mixed cropping systems

PhD Learning in living labs and the development of transition pathways for ecology-based, mixed cropping systems

Published Deadline Location
25 Oct 29 Nov Wageningen

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Job description

Do you like to do action-oriented research to stimulate learning in living labs?
Do you want to investigate how we can develop and test new market rules, policy options and/or organisational arrangements as part of socio-technical innovation packages. Do you like to do action-oriented research that helps us to reconfigure 'the rules of the game' as part of sustainability transitions?

The research programme CropMix is a Dutch Research Agenda initiative of a large interdisciplinary research team joining forces with the agricultural sector to achieve a breakthrough in the transition to sustainable arable farming. We study how crop diversity in the field can benefit from and enhance ecological processes, among others to reduce the use of pesticides and fertilisation. CropMix also investigates which societal and institutional changes in the food system are needed to enable and accelerate the transition to sustainable mixed crop production. This is done by setting up three living labs for a diversity of potential transition paths, such as short local chains, organic farming or adaptation of existing national and international value chains. In these living labs the diverse stakeholders will explore common ground in order to re-evaluate the research agenda and undertake joint actions.

We are looking for 2 PhD candidates
The goal of the first PhD project is to create insight in the process of learning among the stakeholders in the living labs about perspectives, experiences and barriers, and opportunities for the transition, while using this insight to support the process of learning and change. The three more specific aims are:
  1. To monitor the collective learning processes among participants in the Living Labs with a discursive approach, and support the facilitator of the living labs to stimulate learning and co-creation.
  2. To identify the societal anchoring of the social, technical and institutional innovations developed in the programme.
  3. To identify the emerging socio-technical transition pathways.
The goal of the second PhD project is to create insight in social and institutional leverages that may help to overcome constraints to the use of crop-mixtures, and to explore methods through which the contribution of novel policy options, market arrangements or organisational solutions can be tested in the context of living labs. The two more specific aims are:
  1. To understand how farmer-level application of crop-mixtures is dependent on changes in the broader (farm, value-chain and policy) environment, and where leverages can be found to induce system-level change.
  2. To understand and support experimentation with institutional options in living labs and assess their potential to support a shift towards using crop-mixtures.
Please indicate clearly in your application for which PhD position you would like to be considered. If you find both interesting, we would also like to see this reflected in your motivation.


Wageningen University & Research


We are looking for a talented, curious and engaged researcher, with:
  • A MSc degree in a relevant social-scientific field and a broad and interdisciplinary interest
  • Strong interest in and relevant knowledge on agricultural innovations and sustainability transitions
  • Strong interest in and relevant knowledge on a qualitative, quantitative and participatory research methods and data analysis approaches
  • Interest in transdisciplinary collaboration and action-oriented research and proven skills of facilitating interaction
  • Excellent analytical skills and conceptual understanding
  • Strong communicative, collaboration, networking and writing skills, with a proven track record
  • Good knowledge of English language, in listening, speaking and writing (OOPT score C1 or C2)
  • Preferably Dutch speaking
Preferably 0,8 fte: 1 January 2023 - 1 January 2028. (1,0 fte is negotiable)

Conditions of employment

Wageningen University & Research offers excellent terms of employment. A few highlights from our Collective Labour Agreement include:
  • study leave and partially 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 compensation / 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 € 2.541,- per month rising to € 3.247,- 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 17th 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.

Equal opportunities
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.


Wageningen University & Research

The mission of Wageningen University & Research is "To explore the potential of nature to improve the quality of life". Under the banner Wageningen University & Research, Wageningen University and the specialised research institutes of the Wageningen Research Foundation have joined forces in contributing to finding solutions to important questions in the domain of healthy food and living environment. With its roughly 30 branches, 7,200 employees (6,400 fte) and 13,200 students and over 150.000 participants to WUR's Life Long Learning, Wageningen University & Research is one of the leading organisations in its domain. The unique Wageningen approach lies in its integrated approach to issues and the collaboration between different disciplines.
Read the 5 reasons why your future colleagues enjoy working at WUR and watch this video to get an idea of our green campus!


  • PhD
  • Agriculture
  • max. 32 hours per week
  • University graduate
  • P1088359-1


Wageningen University & Research

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Droevendaalsesteeg, 6708 PB, Wageningen

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