PhD Position 'Predicting past and future Dutch dairy farmer mitigation strategies'

PhD Position 'Predicting past and future Dutch dairy farmer mitigation strategies'

Published Deadline Location
21 Dec 26 Jan Wageningen

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Job description

Are you a talented aspiring researcher who is interested in machine learning, agriculture, economics and human behaviour? Do you want to learn how to predict past and future Dutch dairy farmer adoption and investment decisions in a fast-changing economic, environmental, and institutional context?

We invite applications for the PhD position entitled: 'Predicting past and future Dutch dairy farmer mitigation strategies'. This research will be carried out in an ongoing research program between the Business economics group (BEC) of Wageningen university and the Wageningen Economic Research (WEcR) institute on the integration of the farm accountancy data network (FADN) with sustainability indicators and farm behaviour data.

In one decade, the main instrument for restricting milk production in the Netherlands has changed from a quota system to environmental regulations. Dairy farmers nowadays need alternative business strategies to cope with the environmental challenges, but do dairy farmers also change their behaviour? Are dairy farmers willing to invest in mitigation measures and are they willing to change from a strategy based on cost efficiency to a strategy based on a wider set of economic, environmental and social sustainability criteria? FADN data can explain past adoption and investment decisions but can they also do this in a fast-changing economic, environmental, and institutional context? In this PhD project, you will be contributing to finding answers to the aforementioned questions. You will also cooperate in this project with partners from the Horizon Europe project BrightSpace about the usage of FADN data to identify drivers and impacts of the adoption of mitigation measures. This may also include the incorporation of mitigation options in the bio-economic farm model FarmDyn.

Specific objectives include, but are not limited to:
  1. assess the ability of different machine learning models to predict mitigation strategies in the past based on farm data;
  2. evaluate and compare the prediction results of machine learning models with those from a discrete choice experiment.


Wageningen University & Research


For this PhD position, we are searching an enthusiastic result-driven candidate with:
  • an MSc degree in quantitative economics with a proven interest in social sciences and machine learning techniques;
  • the ability to distill information from large datasets using programming languages such as R or Python;
  • the ability to work in multidisciplinary international teams of social scientists and having oral and written proficiency in English;
  • experience in economic analyses of farm-level data and interest in modelling farmer behaviour.
The PhD project will take place within the Business Economics (BEC) group. You will be supervised by prof. Alfons Oude Lansink, dr. Jaap Sok, and dr. John Bonestroo from BEC and by dr. Marc Muller from WEcR.

BEC is a strong research group including many young and talented people. Our group holds a key position in interdisciplinary research areas, such as food supply chain economics, bio-economic modelling, and economics of animal health, food safety and plant health. Also, BEC is internationally leading in measuring and modelling performance and risks and in the behavioural economic analysis of food supply chain actors, most notably farmers.

Wageningen Economic Research (WEcR) has a nationally and internationally proven track record and extensive experience in setting up and carrying out policy analyses, including social cost/benefit analyses, impact evaluations, and future studies, as well as market and chain research, consumer research and the development of monitoring system for industry.

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 of course receive a good salary. Depending on your experience, we offer a competitive gross salary of between €2.317 and €3.209 for a full-time working week of 38 hours, in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreements for Dutch Universities (CAO-NU) (scale P).

Wageningen University & Research encourages internal advancement opportunities and mobility with an internal recruitment policy. 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.


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
  • Economics
  • max. 38 hours per week
  • University graduate
  • P1127233-1


Wageningen University & Research

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Droevendaalsesteeg, 6708 PB, Wageningen

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