Published Deadline Location
21 Dec 17 Jan Amsterdam

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Job description

The postdoc will work in the collaborative, interdisciplinary project “SIPATH” (Operationalizing Sustainable Agricultural Intensification Pathways in Europe) in a team of researchers that will study historic, recent and future pathways of agricultural intensity in Europe. The project is a collaboration of Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam in the Netherlands and the research institutes WSL and AGROSCOPE in Switzerland. This postdoc will develop a set of both exploratory and normative scenarios that capture main trends of land use and agriculture in Europe, accounting for changes in environment, demography and consumer behavior. Special attention will be given to ongoing changes in the governance of agricultural production and land tenure: scale enlargement, contract farming and value chains. Through scenario analysis and land use modelling potential pathways of sustainable intensification will be explored: will the future be dominated by ‘high-tech’ agricultural systems and global value chains or will local value chains of organic products emerge at large scales?
Your duties

  • Systematically review literature and data sets for anticipated trends affecting agricultural production systems in Europe
  • Develop and quantify scenarios that depict how large-scale environmental and societal trends impact on agriculture in Europe
  • Evaluate alternative scenarios based on indicators that capture the different dimensions of sustainable intensification of agriculture
  • Communicate and disseminate results through stakeholder engagement or public consultation


Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU)


  • PhD degree in Geography, Environmental Sciences or Agricultural Economics
  • Knowledge of and experience with scenario approaches and simulation models
  • Proven experience in studying European landscapes
  • Experience in working in interdisciplinary teams
  • Able to start the position between April and July 2019

Conditions of employment

A challenging position in a socially involved organization. On full-time basis the remuneration amounts to a minimum gross monthly salary of €2,640.- and a maximum € 4,166.- in accordance with salary scale 10, depending on your education and experience. The job profile (Onderzoeker 4) is based on the university job ranking system and is vacant for 0.8 to 1.0 FTE.
The initial employment contract will affect a period of 2 years, with the possibility of extension.

Additionally, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam offers excellent fringe benefits and various schemes and regulations to promote a good work/life balance, such as:

  • a maximum of 41 days of annual leave based on full-time employment
  • 8% holiday allowance and 8.3% end-of-year bonus
  • considerable employer’s contribution to the ABP pension scheme
  • contribution to commuting expenses
  • optional model for designing a personalized benefits package


The ambition of Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is clear: to contribute to a better world through outstanding education and ground-breaking research. And to be a university where personal education and societal involvement play a leading role. Where people from different disciplines and backgrounds work together on innovations and on generating new knowledge. Our teaching and research embrace the whole spectrum of science – from the humanities, the social sciences and the pure sciences through to the life sciences and the medical sciences.
Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is home to more than 23,000 students. We employ more than 4,500 individuals. The VU campus is easily accessible, located in the heart of Amsterdam’s Zuidas district, a truly inspiring environment for teaching and research.

Diversity is one of our university’s core values. We are an inclusive community, and we believe that diversity and international activities enhance the quality of education and research. We are always looking for people who can enhance diversity on our campus thanks to their background and experience.


Faculty of Science - IVM - Department of Environmental Geography

Established in 1971, IVM is a leading environmental research institute that is internationally recognized for its high quality research output in a range of environmental disciplines, as well as for its interdisciplinary work. The mission of the institute is to contribute to sustainable development and care for the environment through scientific research and teaching. IVM aims to do excellent problem-oriented research that is useful to a wide range of stakeholders in the Netherlands and internationally. A unique strength of our research is to understand sustainability problems in their social and economic context. IVM’s research community works within four departments: Environmental Economics; Environmental Policy Analysis; Environmental Geography; and Water and Climate Risk. Since 2001 IVM is part of the Faculty of Science at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (

The Department of Environmental Geography investigates the role of spatial variation in environmental systems to increase our understanding of environmental change and support environmental management. The focus of the group is on land use change and its impacts on ecosystem services and society. Temporal dynamics and future scenarios are explored with spatial modelling of changes in land use and ecosystem services, including natural, rural and urban systems. Advanced methods for stakeholder participation and ex-ante evaluation are developed and tested to support environmental management and land use planning.


  • PhD positions
  • Economics; Behaviour and Society
  • max. 40 hours per week, temporary
  • Doctorate
  • 334


Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU)

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De Boelelaan 1105, 1081 HV, Amsterdam

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