POSTDOC African Urban Food Systems: Mapping, Modelling, Transformation

Updated: about 1 month ago
Deadline: ;

Do you want to inform transformation of African Urban Food Systems? Do you want your mapping and modelling to contribute to climate resilient and sustainable, healthy food systems in 3 African cities? Please apply at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam.





Job description

You will help coordinate and do research in a new project that focuses on the triple challenge of achieving food and nutrition security in African (secondary) cities by addressing the interaction between rapid urbanization, climate change and the increased production for international value chains. The project aims to contribute to transformative adaptation strategies that enhance the resilience of urban food systems in connection with climate impacts on agricultural production in the urban hinterlands. The project uses a food systems mapping and modelling approach to identify critical linkages, actor networks and leverage points in urban food systems. Network models allow to understand the cascading impacts of climate change on the urban food system. Using such food system understanding, the project aims to co-design with stakeholders in government, the private sector and civil society, possible interventions and governance processes that contribute to improved urban nutrition and a higher resilience of urban food systems to climate change. Specific attention will be given to the role of international value chains operating in the sourcing regions of urban fresh produce in terms of competition for land and water resources, or as leverage points for new value chains feeding into the urban food system. The consortium will work in 3 African secondary cities that differ in anticipated climate change impacts and types of international value chain interaction.

Your duties

  • help coordinate the consortium of European and African partners

  • build simulation models using Bayesian networks to represent the urban food system

  • be part of transdisciplinary co-design workshops that use these models to inform the design of food system interventions

  • publish scientific papers related to the project findings, disseminate results to stakeholders

  • PhD degree in food systems, socio-ecological modelling, environmental sciences or similar

  • experience with interdisciplinary research

  • proven expertise on quantitative mapping and modelling

  • willingness to conduct project coordination tasks

  • good writing skills

What are we offering?

A challenging position in a socially involved organization. On full-time basis the remuneration amounts to a minimum gross monthly salary of €3.353 (scale 10.4) and a maximum €4,402 (scale 10), depending on your education and experience. The job profile is based on the university job ranking system and is vacant for at least 0.8 FTE.

The employment contract will affect a period of 1 years, with extension to 3 years upon good performance. We expect that the successful candidate can start this position between June and September this year.

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, solid pension scheme (ABP)

About Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

The ambition of Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is clear: to contribute to a better world through outstanding education and ground-breaking research. We strive to be a university where personal development and commitment to society play a leading role. A university where people from different disciplines and backgrounds collaborate to achieve innovations and to generate new knowledge. Our teaching and research encompass the entire spectrum of academic endeavor – from the humanities, the social sciences and the natural sciences through to the life sciences and the medical sciences.

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is home to more than 26,000 students. We employ over 4,600 individuals. The VU campus is easily accessible and located in the heart of Amsterdam’s Zuidas district, a truly inspiring environment for teaching and research.

We are an inclusive university community. Diversity is one of our most important values. We believe that engaging in international activities and welcoming students and staff from a wide variety of backgrounds enhances the quality of our education and research. We are always looking for people who can enrich our world with their own unique perspectives and experiences.

The Faculty of Science
The Faculty of Science inspires researchers and students to find sustainable solutions for complex societal issues. From forest fires to big data, from obesity to medicines and from molecules to the moon: our teaching and research programmes cover the full spectrum of the natural sciences. We share knowledge and experience with leading research institutes and industries, both here in the Netherlands and abroad.

Working at the Faculty of Science means working with students, PhD candidates and researchers, all with a clear focus on their field and a broad view of the world. We employ more than 1,250 staff members, and we are home to around 6,000 students.

About the department and institute
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. 

The Department of Environmental Geography investigates the role of spatial variation in human-environmental systems. The focus of the group is on Land System Change with research on Ecosystem Services, Food Systems, Urban Sustainable Development and Spatial modelling. The department bridges disciplines by using a wide range of mostly quantitative methods across local to global scales. Advanced methods for stakeholder participation and ex-ante evaluation are developed and tested to support environmental management and land use planning.


Are you interested in this position? Please apply via the application button and upload your curriculum vitae and cover letter until

April, 18 2021

. Please indicate clearly in your cover letter when you could start this position and include a publication list (and provide access to potential papers not yet published when relevant).

Applications received by e-mail will not be processed.

Vacancy questions
If you have any questions regarding this vacancy, you may contact:

Name: Peter Verburg

No agencies

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