Postdoc in the Political Geography of Meat and Dairy

Updated: 17 days ago
Deadline: ;

The Department of Geography, Planning and International Development Studies of the University of Amsterdam is looking for  postdoctoral researcher, to work on the political geographies of meat and dairy consumption/production in the ERC-project PROTEINSCAPES led by Dr. Willem Boterman.

Meat and dairy production is one of the largest contributors to climate change and biodiversity loss. The UN, EU and other political actors therefore increasingly see the transition away from consumption of animal based proteins, meat and dairy, as crucial for reaching several sustainability development goals (SDG’s). Changing diets towards more plant-based would not only spare millions of animal lives, it also reduces green house gas emissions, reduces the outbreak of zoonosis and is better for human health. This ‘protein transition’ appears however to become stalled by paralysing political polarization. Meat seems to become part of culture wars and identity politics, pitching liberal urban elites against rural conservative groups. The aim of this project is to investigate political and spatial polarization of meat and dairy in four European countries: Czech republic, Denmark, Portugal and the Netherlands. Through quantitative comparative research on  consumption, production, electoral dynamics and political discourse on meat and dairy it wants to understand how meat and dairy become politically contested and intertwined with broader processes on political polarization. For that purpose, PROTEINSCAPES will consist of a team of four PhD-candidates and one postdoc, embedded in the interdisciplinary research institute AISSR within the programme group urban geographies.

What are you going to do

  • You take stock of existing quantitative databases across European contexts (including but not limited to: Czech republic, Denmark, Portugal and the Netherlands) with regards to meat consumption and production and data on elections, voting and political ideology;
  • you initiate and collaborate on the collection of new quantitative data helping to address research questions on the relationship between meat consumption and political polarization;
  • you explicitly engage with and help extending innovative theory to the relationship between geography and political polarization;
  • you will participate in a project that consists of, a post-doc (you), four PhD-researchers, and a PI, embedded in a department of scholars working on several related issues;
  • you will initiate and contribute to scientific articles, to be submitted to leading academic journals. These articles will be in collaboration with other team members (including the PI and some of the PhD’s;
  • you will actively contribute to the (national and international) activities and outreach of PROTEINSCAPES, such as scientific conferences and networks as well as expert meetings with policy makers and stakeholders;
  • you will collaborate on other collective academic publications, as appropriate;
  • you will assist with administrative responsibilities related to the project, such as organization of workshops or other project events;
  • you will be affiliated with the AISSR and will participate in its organized PhD-training.
  • you will contribute to the teaching program of the department.
  • you will take active part in seminars of the program group and the department;
  • Your primary residence will be within commuting distance of the University of Amsterdam for the duration of the project.

What do you have to offer

We are looking for candidates with passion for doing comparative quantitative empirical research and who are primarily driven by curiosity. Successful applicants are capable of working independently but also underscore the collaborative nature of good scientific research. Engagement with the politics of meat and dairy and place-based identity is at the heart of the research you will do, but experience with research on food and politics and more specifically meat and dairy, and affinity with comparative research are not necessary. Because the project as a whole will employ mixed methods and encompass analysis of primary and secondary survey data experience with qualitative and mixed research methods are a bonus.

You have:

  • a completed (submitted) PhD in human geography, political science, sociology or one of the related social sciences;
  • interest in food and identity, political polarization, urban-rural dynamics;  
  • training in quantitative research methods and data management, and (a willingness to learn how to work with) Geographical Information Systems (GIS) ;
  • excellent research skills, as demonstrated by your MA thesis or other publications/assignments;
  • a commitment to academic integrity and transparency; independent thinking and critical analytical skills; excellent command of English in word and writing;
  • ambition to conduct academic research with societal impact;
  • the ability to work independently as well as part of a team;
  • good communication, social and organizational skills.

In addition, you are an enthusiastic colleague who likes to share knowledge, embraces open (team) science, is curious, critical and eager to learn, i.e. one with an academic attitude.

What can we offer you

The position concerns (temporary) employment of 30.4 (0.8FTE) hours a week for a term of three years. The initial employment is for one year with a two-month trial period. Following a positive assessment and barring altered circumstances your appointment will be extended for two more years.

The anticipated start date is 1st September 2024.  For this position the University Job Classification profile Researcher 3 applies.

The salary is € 4.786 per month based on a 38-hour working week, in keeping with salary scale 11.3, as per the  Collective Labour Agreement of Dutch Universities . We additionally offer an extensive package of secondary benefits, including 8% holiday allowance and a year-end bonus of 8.3%.

We additionally offer an extensive package of secondary benefits, including 8% holiday allowance and a year-end bonus of 8.3%.

The UvA offers excellent possibilities for further professional development and education.

We offer an open academic environment with varied tasks and plenty of room for personal initiative and development in an inspiring organization. You will be embedded in the collaborative research group ‘Urban Geographies’ of the Department of Geography, Planning and International Development Studies. The Faculty of Social and Behavioral Sciences plays a leading role in addressing the major societal challenges facing the world, the Netherlands and Amsterdam, now and in the future.


Do you have any questions or do you require additional information? Please contact: 

About us

The University of Amsterdam is the largest university in the Netherlands, with the broadest spectrum of degree programmes. It is an intellectual hub with 39,000 students, 6,000 employees and 3,000 doctoral students who are all committed to a culture of inquiring minds.

About the faculty

A challenging work environment with a variety of duties and ample scope for individual initiative and development within an inspiring organization. The social and behavioral sciences play a leading role in addressing the major societal challenges faced by the world, the Netherlands and Amsterdam, now and in the future.

Want to know more about our organisation? Read more about working at the University of Amsterdam.

Job application

Do you recognize yourself in the job profile? Then we look forward to receiving your application by 30th of June 2024. You may apply online by using the link below.

Applications in .pdf should include:

  • a curriculum vitae;
  • a letter of motivation.

The UvA is an equal-opportunity employer. We prioritise diversity and are committed to creating an inclusive environment for everyone. We value a spirit of enquiry and perseverance, provide the space to keep asking questions, and promote a culture of curiosity and creativity.

No agencies please.

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