Assistant Professor (Tenure Track) Governance of Sustainability Transformations in Food Systems

Assistant Professor (Tenure Track) Governance of Sustainability Transformations in Food Systems

Published Deadline Location
17 Apr 1 Jun Wageningen

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Job description

Are you ready for the start of your academic career? Do you want to become part of an enthusiastic group of colleagues, who seek to push the boundaries of knowledge on sustainability governance and teach in the highest graded educational programs in the Netherlands? Do you have the right skills to do cutting-edge research in an interdisciplinary setting and convey your findings in an inspiring way to our students? Then we may be looking for you!

The Public Administration and Policy Group at Wageningen University is seeking a talented academic with a good track record in studying public governance of sustainability challenges.

Background: sustainability transformation in food systems
The functioning of our current food system is associated with some of the most pressing societal challenges of our times: climate change, biodiversity loss, food insecurity and the spread of diet-related disease. An increasing number of scientists and politicians have therefore called for a transformation of the food system towards more sustainable and just outcomes. Governing such a transformation ought to take place across levels of government, from local to global, and policy domains, from farm to fork. But agreement of who should act, when and how, is elusive, and the types of interventions required remain hotly contested. Problem perceptions are highly divergent, politically charged and increasingly hard to reconcile. In this context, a deeper understanding of whether, when and how governance systems can steer the necessary sustainability transformations is paramount. Furthering such understandings requires transformative social science methods, such a serious gaming, experiments, living labs or dialogues.

As our new Assistant Professor, your duties and responsibilities include:
  • doing research in the field of the Governance of Sustainability Transformations in Food Systems and building your own research line within this field
  • successfully publishing the results in academic outlets
  • instruction in various existing courses (BSc. and MSc. levels), the development of new courses, co-supervision of PhD.-students and postdoctoral researchers.
  • the acquisition of new research funding from prestigious sources, with the aim of expanding the number of PhD.-students and postdoctoral researchers in the group.
  • contributing to the various management tasks that need to be performed to advance the group’s agenda.
  • active contributions to societal debates about the governance of sustainability transformations in food systems.

You will roughly spend 40% of your time doing research, contributing to the group’s research program Changing governance, Governing change. You will also spend about 40% of your time teaching, for instance by contributing to the new MSc. Program Governance of Sustainability Transformations which is drawing rapidly increasing numbers of students. And finally, you will spend 20% of your time on management and acquisition.
The new position is created thanks to an extra investment of the Dutch government in higher education and research (“Sectorplan Techniek II”) and the successful candidate will collaborate with multiple other colleagues in the country and at Wageningen University hired under this plan.


Wageningen University & Research


We seek a talented academic with a very good track record in the study of the public governance of sustainability transformations. We are looking for someone with affinity with food system challenges, who is able to apply conceptual frameworks from the fields of Public Administration and the Policy Sciences to the analysis of the effort to govern ongoing sustainability transformations in food systems. We are particularly interested in candidates who have the skills to facilitate societal dialogues on the just and resilience food system of the future, for instance by involving relevant actors in serious gaming, experiments, living labs or dialogues, who can subsequently analyze these discussions by studying social learning effects, changes in mental models or discourses. We hope to find an enthusiastic team player with a relevant background and academic and societal networks, who enjoys teaching to students using the latest teaching instruction methods.
Subsequently we seek a candidate who has:
  • a PhD-degree in the field of the relevant social sciences (for instance public administration, policy studies, organization studies, political science, science and technology studies, transitions management, etc.).
  • an excellent understanding of relevant conceptual frameworks and theories around the governance of sustainability transformations (ideally in food systems).
  • an ability to initiate and analyze societal dialogue about transformations, for instance through serious gaming, and analyze the effects of such dialogues.
  • a strong publication record in international refereed scientific journals.
  • strong didactic and presentation skills and enthusiasm for teaching and working with (international) students in a broad range of educational programs.
  • a demonstrated ability to acquire externally financed projects.
  • good organization and management skills and a team player.
  • excellent skills in writing and lecturing in English (ability to speak Dutch is appreciated but not required).

Conditions of employment

We offer you a seven year contract for 0,8 - 1,0 FTE with a one-year trial period under the Tenure Track System at Wageningen University. The selection process will involve both conversations with a representative selection committee, and a review of your portfolio by the Social Science Tenure Track review committee. Gross salary will be between € 3.974 and € 5.439 per month according to the Collective Labour Agreements for Dutch Universities (CAO-NU) (scale 11) based on full time employment (38 hours a week) and dependent on expertise and experience.
Wageningen University & Research offers a great working environment. We encourage 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 The Netherlands, and at a university that has been chosen by students as the "Best University" in the Netherlands for the 18th time in a row now.
Wageningen University & Research offers excellent terms of employment. A few highlights from our Collective Labor 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%;
  • an excellent pension scheme.

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 center 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.

Public Adminstration and Policy Group
The PAP group is an enthusiastic, ambitious and rapidly growing group within the Department of Social Sciences. The PAP group's mission is to study the public governance of sustainability transformations in the interrelated domains of water, climate, food, biodiversity and agriculture under the header "Changing governance, Governing change".
In our work, we build on a diverse set of social science concepts and theories and apply a diverse range of methods that we use whenever suitable for the research questions at hand, without being completely wedded to one such perspective or method. We take an active interest in the role of the state in sustainability governance and actively seek to think through innovative governance arrangements. The group is impact oriented and aims to contribute to scientific progress, to societal debates, and to policy practices. More information on the group can be found on
The PAP group actively collaborates with neighboring groups in the Wageningen Centre for Sustainability Governance, which employs more than 100 researchers and is at the forefront of global discussions on sustainability transformations. The WCSG was recently assessed and was found to do "excellent, impact-driven and ample research", and to be "in an eminent position to meet the demand for innovation in governance related to sustainability issues".

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.


  • Lecturer; Assistant professor; Associate professor; Professor
  • Behaviour and society
  • max. 38 hours per week
  • Doctorate
  • P1206567-1


Wageningen University & Research

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Droevendaalsesteeg, 6708 PB, Wageningen

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