PhD Sustainable and healthy eating behavior

PhD Sustainable and healthy eating behavior

Published Deadline Location
24 Nov 15 Dec Wageningen

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Job description

A curious, ambitious and highly motivated PhD candidate for the NWO funded project 'Tipping the balance in dietary change: behavioural aftereffects of designing healthy and sustainable food environments'. This interdisciplinary project aims to co-create healthier and more sustainable food environments employing research-through-design approaches and unravel the complex network of aftereffects together with WUR, Waag, Reinwardt Academy Amsterdam University of Arts, BeBright, RIVM, municipality Utrecht, Municipality Amersfoort and Province Utrecht.

Shifting food consumption patterns towards plant-based diets can substantially promote personal, public and planetary health. Today's food environment where unhealthy foods are abundantly available contributed to unhealthy and non-sustainable dietary patterns. Consequently, changes in the food environment have been proposed to foster a transition in consumption. However, the interplay between changes in the food environment and behavioral responses to such system changes is currently not well understood.

The appointed candidate will dive specifically into behavioral aftereffects of individual food-decisions. Most research addressing food choice in specific settings addresses single responses to single exposures to food cues, yet do not take into account that these single choices may also affect individual behavior at other occasions and at other settings. For instance, a worksite cafeteria that nudges employees towards plant-based meals may sell more of these meals and the nudge will be deemed effective. Yet, it remains unknown what the aftereffects of that nudge are when individuals make food decisions at a later moment in time or at another place. This project aims to gain insight into the intra-individual variation in healthy and sustainable food decisions by studying the interrelatedness of food consumption choices within individuals across settings and time. Hereto behavioral conceptual experiments in online and lab settings may be conducted alongside (location-based and time-based) ecological momentary assessments in the real world.


Wageningen University & Research


  • Completed a recent master's degree (preferably a research master) in Psychology, Behavioural Economics, Consumer Studies, or a related behavioral science;
  • background in quantitative methods for behavioral research (e.g., behavioral experiments, Ecological Momentary Assessment) and solid statistical skills (e.g., R);
  • Ability to synthesize conceptual insights from different behavioral science disciplines
  • Proven affinity with scientific research in the domain of food and eating behaviour;
  • Motivation to develop as an independent scientific researcher
  • Has excellent organizational and social skills.
  • For this position your command of the English language is expected to be at C1 level. Sometimes it is necessary to submit an internationally recognised Certificate of Proficiency in the English Language. More information can be found here.

Conditions of employment

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 € 2.541,- 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 18th consecutive time.


Wageningen University & Research

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.. An integrated approach to problems and the cooperation between various disciplines are at the heart of Wageningen's unique approach. WUR has been named Best Employer in the Education category for 2019-2020.

These are the points our employees list as good reasons to come work at WUR: read the 5 reasons to come work at WUR

This position will be part of Consumption and Healthy Lifestyles chair group. This is a young and ambitious chair group keen to unravel the origins of healthy and sustainable consumption and lifestyle practices. These behavioural insights are used to design, evaluate and implement strategies to enable healthy and sustainable lifestyles. These strategies include upstream environmental and downstream behavioural interventions acknowledging that individual behaviour is socially embedded and arises in specific times and places. The work of the group is characterized by an inter- and transdisciplinary approach where different academic disciplines (e.g., sociology, psychology, public health, epidemiology and geography) and professional fields (policy, practice) collaborate.


  • PhD
  • Behaviour and society
  • max. 38 hours per week
  • University graduate
  • P1112211-1


Wageningen University & Research

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Droevendaalsesteeg, 6708 PB, Wageningen

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