Postdoc Researcher: Reorienting Education for healthy soils and sustainable development across Europe

Postdoc Researcher: Reorienting Education for healthy soils and sustainable development across Europe

Published Deadline Location
27 Feb 20 Mar Wageningen

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Job description

The Education and Learning Sciences group at Wageningen University & Research is looking for an enthusiastic Post Doc researcher focusing on transdisciplinary education, whole person learning and transformation in the context of soil health and sustainable development goals across Europe.

Education for sustainable development focuses on reorienting all levels of education and learning to address complex socio-ecological challenges, to support the achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and to transform society into a more sustainable one. While there is not one specific SDG dedicated to soil, the achievement of many of SDGs (e.g. life on land, responsible consumption, climate actions, etc.) depends on healthy soils. Soil hosts more than 25% of all biodiversity on the planet, it is the foundation of our food chains, and it feeds and filters drinking water reserves. Healthy soils are the largest terrestrial carbon pool on the planet and an indispensable ally for climate change mitigation and adaptation.

To care for soils and for life on earth, people need more than having scientific knowledge about them. Instead, this project which is embedded into a large EU Horizon project involving a network of over 20 core European partners, considers it is crucial to engage people with responsible forms of education and learning that: (1) connect science and society in a transdisciplinary fashion; (2) foster system thinking by envisioning soil as an interconnected part of the larger sustainable development goals; (3) help cultivating deep and creative whole persons forms of learning including not only learning to know across disciplines and perspectives, but also learning to care for the human and more then human world, and learning to do; (4) help systemic and whole institutional transformation of the educational system and in society. This large EU project is part of the EU mission 'A soil deal for Europe'. It embraces a Community Engaged Research and Learning approach as practiced for example through Living Labs and Science Shops.

As a Post Doc researcher you will:
  • develop methodological guidelines for desk study, focus groups, interviews and other creative methodologies to be implemented by all project partners, with a focus on exploring the educational landscape (e.g., the transdisciplinary and whole person character of educational design, teaching and learning) on soil health and SDGs across Europe and associated countries.
  • map the current educational landscape on soil health and SDGs, based on the (especially qualitative and partly quantitative) analysis of the findings and related narratives resulting from the methodological applications (see point above), and co-develop a report and related academic publication(s).
  • develop and facilitate Communities of Practice (CoPs) and reflective workshops fostering collaboration and learning among multiple actors from academia and society.
  • co-define creative strategies for reorienting the current educational landscape related to soil health and the SDGs (also within the context of WUR), and connecting people across places through dialogue, action and virtual and augmented reality


Wageningen University & Research


  • completed a PhD degree in one of the following fields: educational and learning sciences, soil science, environmental and sustainability science and related fields.
  • a deep concern for the well-being of people and planet
  • solid methodological skills and capacity to conduct empirical studies
  • skills in system thinking, ability to identify synergies, to bridge disciplines and to cross boundaries
  • proven expertise in application of qualitative methods, and familiarity with quantitative ones
  • excellent academic record (as shown by PhD related outputs)
  • expertise in teaching/facilitation and/or educational design is a plus
  • proven proficiency in English (oral and written)
  • familiarity with working in international environments
  • flexibility, creativity, collaboration and communication skills

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 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 of course receive a good salary. Depending on your experience, we offer a competitive gross salary of between €2960 and €4670 for a full-time working week of 38 hours, in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreements for Dutch Universities (CAO-NU) (scale 10).This postdoc researcher position entails a two years contract, for four and a half day work week.
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 18th 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.
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. For instance under the "30% rule", certain categories of international staff can receive tax exemption on approximately 30% of their gross salary.


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
We will recruit for the vacancy ourselves, so no employment agencies please. However, sharing in your network is appreciated.


  • Postdoc
  • Behaviour and society
  • max. 36 hours per week
  • Doctorate
  • P1172028-1


Wageningen University & Research

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Droevendaalsesteeg, 6708 PB, Wageningen

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