Head of the Department of Animal Health & Animal Welfare

Head of the Department of Animal Health & Animal Welfare

Published Deadline Location
13 Jun 1 Jul Wageningen

You cannot apply for this job anymore (deadline was 1 Jul 2024).

Browse the current job offers or choose an item in the top navigation above.

Job description

As the Head of the Department of Animal Health & Animal Welfare, you will contribute to innovations and solutions for issues in the fields of animal welfare, humane livestock farming, preventive animal health, and precision livestock farming.

In the role of department head, you will lead a research team of over 40 employees. With your substantive vision and people-oriented leadership style, you will optimally facilitate the team to achieve the best results together. You will use your network in the agri-food sector and with knowledge institutions to create support and cooperation in the field.

Your tasks and responsibilities include:
  • leading the department; demonstrating leadership based on trust, encouraging personal responsibility, team development, and focusing on social safety at work. The structure of the department can be arranged flexibly;
  • developing and communicating a clear and inspiring departmental vision with your team, and translating this vision into strategy and actions; thereby enhancing our scientific and societal impact;
  • contributing to the strategic, scientific, and market development of Wageningen Livestock Research, and the Animal Sciences Group of Wageningen University & Research;
  • being part of the management team of Wageningen Livestock Research and shaping the future development of the institute; and implementing strategic and annual plans;
  • developing and maintaining strategic partnerships, collaborations within and outside WUR, and relationships with research institutes, academia, the agri-food sector, policymakers, and other stakeholders;
  • promoting working in interdisciplinary teams and encouraging integral sustainable solutions;
  • managing financial, personnel, and other operational matters at the departmental level.

The Research
Our food system is a complex system with many sustainability challenges. Much of our research is related to this. We face climate change, the effects of our food system on our living environment, and declining biodiversity. At the same time, a growing world population, increasing demand for (animal) proteins, and animal welfare are key aspects in visions and dialogues about how to feed the world. Wageningen Livestock Research examines the role of animals in the food system and strives to improve the quality of life for humans, animals, and nature. We create scientifically based solutions for ecologically, economically, and socially sustainable livestock farming, insect farming, and aquaculture. Together with our customers and partners, we integrate scientific knowledge and practical experience to develop livestock farming concepts and solutions for future generations. Our strategic research themes are humane livestock farming, preventive animal health, climate-smart livestock farming, circular agrifood systems, and biodiversity.

An animal that feels well is more robust and less susceptible to diseases. Our animal welfare and animal health experts develop innovative and practical solutions that ensure animals have a good and healthy life. A life that meets their natural needs as much as possible. Our clients and stakeholders are diverse; from government to NGOs and the private sector. Most of our research challenges require a multidisciplinary approach.


Wageningen University & Research


In this role, you can express and further develop your core competencies: people manager, proactive, entrepreneurial, collaborative, flexible, customer- and results-oriented.

Additionally, you are/have:
  • an enthusiastic and inspiring department leader with a scientific background (preferably PhD level) and a clear affinity for issues in animal welfare and animal health;
  • an experienced manager, preferably in a contract research environment;
  • a passion for scientifically based applied research;
  • expertise or ideas about innovative methodologies and technologies that can be applied in research;
  • a proven track record in multi-stakeholder processes;
  • a network in the agri-food sector and with knowledge institutions and the ability to work across disciplines; a connector within and outside the department;
  • the ability to empower people in their (intrinsic) strengths and value their intrinsic qualities;
  • a proactive attitude and good communication skills; fluent in both English and Dutch. You are not afraid to be visible and can maintain yourself from an independent and scientific basis in sometimes polarized societal debates about livestock farming and animal welfare.

Conditions of employment

Wageningen University & Research offers excellent terms of employment. A few highlights from our Collective Labour Agreement include:
  • 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 hours by working more;
  • sabbatical leave, study leave, and partially paid parental leave;
  • 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. We offer, depending on your experience, a competitive gross salary of between €5.497,- and €8.091,- for a full-time working week of 36 hours, in accordance with the CLA Wageningen Research (scale 14). You will initially receive a one-year contract, which will be extended to an open-ended contract upon in mutual enthusiasm.

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 multi-faceted 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 with your work you have a clear and positive impact on society. At WUR we work on the most pressing challenges of our time, like climate change and feeding the world in a sustainable way.


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, 7,600 employees (6,700 fte) and 13,100 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 the video below to get an idea of our green campus!

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


  • Management
  • Natural sciences
  • max. 36 hours per week
  • €5497—€8091 per month
  • University graduate
  • P1543936-1


Wageningen University & Research

Learn more about this employer


Droevendaalsesteeg, 6708 PB, Wageningen

View on Google Maps

Interesting for you