PhD: Sustainable business model development for agroecological farming in Africa

PhD: Sustainable business model development for agroecological farming in Africa

Published Deadline Location
8 Apr 14 May Eindhoven

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Job description

Are you eager to contribute toward the realisation of  sustainable agroecological food systems in Africa? And you have an interest to support this transition with new sustainable business models? Then we are looking for you to support our  H2020 project 'One Health approach to support agroecological transformation of peri-urban farming' (URBANE) in West Africa, funded by the European Commission.

Job description
Today more than half of the planet's inhabitants live in cities and urbanization is projected to increase further. The world-wide migration of rural people to cities is particularly prominent in West-Africa. This leads to increased practicing of peri-urban agriculture, generating opportunities like new jobs and increased income from food production, but also bringing problems arising from pressures towards intensification of farming with attendant  environmental and human health risks.

URBANE is addressing this challenge of sustainable agriculture for food nutrition security, applying a One Health approach for tackling issues related to the application and intensification of peri-urban agriculture, as well as providing the necessary framework for its sustainable and safe application in different contexts. To achieve this, the project will be built around the principles of agroecology.

URBANE will build on the extensive experience in agroecology of its 28 partners in Africa and Europe. Its One Health approach and concept will be demonstrated through 6 case studies in Africa (Nigeria, Ghana, Senegal, Morocco, Benin, Burkina-Faso), while the scope for its transferability to other regions will also be studied and facilitated through specific tools.

TU/e is leader of a work package that aims to support the development of new business models that support the necessary transition of peri-urban farming towards agroecological farming concepts. New sustainable and inclusive business models will be worked out that support the URBANE approach, do justice to the local contexts, and include assessment of future upscaling potential to ensure long-term sustainable impact. The core of this work package will be formed by  two complementary PhD projects comprising both joint and individual work, building on insights from amongst others studies on sustainability transitions, sustainable business models, development studies and innovation management literature.

Your contribution
As a successful applicant, you will perform the research project outlined above as part of a small team at TU/e, including your supervisors and together collaborate with international partners in the URBANE work package. The research will be concluded with a PhD thesis. A modest teaching load will be part of the job.

The PhD candidates will team up with researchers in the Innovation, Technology Entrepreneurship & Marketing (ITEM) group.(
The  project will be carried out in strong cooperation with the Technology, Innovation & Society (TIS) group of the same department IE&IS, where (co)supervision is organized. (


Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e)


  • You have a Master's degree in Innovation Management, Innovation Sciences, Agroecology,  Agribusiness Development, International Development Studies, Sustainability Science or a related discipline.
  • You have a strong affinity with interdisciplinary research.
  • You are interested in collaborating with key stakeholders in the field and international research partners in the agrofood sector in  a developing country context.
  • You have affinity with business model and system redesign and/or design science and/or participatory stakeholder based approaches.
  • You like to take initiative and you are able to work on a challenging topic that has both basic and applied research aspects.
  • Your proficiency in English is excellent (C1 level) and a working knowledge of French is preferred.
  • Anticipated starting date is September 2022.

Conditions of employment

  • A meaningful job in a dynamic and ambitious university with the possibility to present your work at international conferences.
  • A full-time employment for four years, with an intermediate evaluation (go/no-go) after nine months.
  • To develop your teaching skills, you will spend 10% of your employment on teaching tasks.
  • To support you during your PhD and to prepare you for the rest of your career, you will make a Training and Supervision plan and you will have free access to a personal development program for PhD students (PROOF program).
  • A gross monthly salary and benefits (such as a pension scheme, pregnancy and maternity leave, partially paid parental leave) in accordance with the Collective Labor Agreement for Dutch Universities.
  • Additionally, an annual holiday allowance of 8% of the yearly salary, plus a year-end allowance of 8.3% of the annual salary.
  • Should you come from abroad and comply with certain conditions, you can make use of the so-called '30% facility', which permits you not to pay tax on 30% of your salary.
  • A broad package of fringe benefits, including an excellent technical infrastructure, moving expenses, and savings schemes.
  • Family-friendly initiatives are in place, such as an international spouse program, and excellent on-campus children day care and sports facilities.


  • PhD
  • Engineering
  • max. 38 hours per week
  • University graduate
  • V39.5601


Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e)

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De Rondom 70, 5612 AP, Eindhoven

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