Postdoc Inter- and Transdisciplinary research and education for Food System Transformation

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Are you a researcher combining an interest in interdisciplinarity, education and food system transformation?

At the Athena Institute of the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam we invite applications for an appointment of 4 years as postdoctoral researcher in the EU Horizon project European Food Systems Science Network (FoSSNet) for advancing open and inclusive research and education for food systems transformation.

Today, inter- and transdisciplinarity in research and education is a hot topic in addressing contemporary sustainability challenges. But how do we ensure that a collaboration between different fields is actually successful in science and in the classroom? As a postdoc, you will look at how interdisciplinary research projects and education function in food system science and how they can contribute to food system transformation.

Job description

We are looking for a highly motivated and dedicated individual to join our research team as a Postdoctoral Researcher in the EU Horizon project, European Food Systems Science Network (FoSSNet). The FoSSNet project aims to advance open and inclusive research and education for food systems transformation across Europe, fostering interdisciplinary collaboration and inclusivity.

In particular, there is a need for developing new methods and tools for inter- and transdisciplinary research, and for assessing their impacts on complex and interconnected food systems. By facilitating and deepening engagement amongst researchers in various scientific disciplines, this research project will contribute to attaining FoSSNet’s objectives: fostering improved food system governance at all scales, and building capacity to strengthen the role of science and knowledge for sustainable food systems transition in Europe and beyond.

Your Tasks

As a postdoctoral researcher, you will actively contribute to performing the main tasks of the research team of the Athena Institute within the FoSSNet project, including:

  • System Barriers Exploration: Collaborate with scholars from various European countries to explore and conceptualise system barriers that impede the upscaling and outreach of inclusive, interdisciplinary, and transdisciplinary approaches in food system-oriented research.
  • Method and Tool Development: Design, implement, monitor, and evaluate innovative methods and tools that support, promote, and facilitate responsive and inclusive inter- and transdisciplinary research for food system transformation.
  • Capacity Building: Contribute to the promotion of capacity building within Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) to enhance their capabilities in conducting food systems-related research and education.
  • Career Development Strategy: Develop strategies within HEIs to foster inclusive and equitable career opportunities with an impact orientation, emphasising gender equality and inclusiveness, as well as the recruitment of young talents. 

As a postdoctoral researcher in this project, you will be expected to co-write and publish first-author papers and present your work at international conferences and workshops. Furthermore, you will actively contribute to project-related organisational and managerial tasks. You will collaborate closely with a PhD candidate who is simultaneously recruited for the same project.

Part of your workload (50%) will consist of education-related activities in the master programmes of the Athena Institute: Management, Policy Analysis and Entrepeneurship in Health and Life Sciences and the research master Global Health . Your educational tasks also include course coordination, teaching and thesis supervision.

The expected starting date is February 1st, 2024

  • A completed PhD in transition studies, sustainability science, sociology, political sciences, policy sciences, organisational sciences or another relevant cross-disciplinary fields, e.g. science and technology studies (STS), innovation studies, or environmental studies etc.;
  • Practical experience with qualitative research methods, such as ethnography, focus groups, interviewing and document analysis;
  • Practical experience with interdisciplinary research and education
  • Experience with transdisciplinary and transformative research approaches, such as designing and facilitating reflexive workshops or co-creation sessions, and with (comparative) case study design.
  • The ability to work independently and in a team.
  • Excellent organisational, communicative and connective skills; you will collaborate with a wide variety of national and international academic and societal actors.
  • Excellent academic track record, and good research skills, writing skills and presentation skills.
  • Excellent command of the English language is imperative.
  • Teaching skills and the ability to inspire students (demonstrated through positive student evaluations);
  • A teaching qualification (UTQ, in Dutch: BKO) is a plus.

What are we offering?

A challenging position in a socially involved organisation. On full-time basis the remuneration amounts to a minimum gross monthly salary of €3,226 (scale 10)

and a maximum €5,090 (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 appointment will initially be for a period of one year with a possible extension conditional upon assessment of adequate functioning. The maximum duration of the appointment is 4 years.

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),
  • possibility to save holiday hours, for sabbatical leave,
  • child daycare facilities available on campus.

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 31,000 students. We employ over 5,000 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
Working at the Faculty of Science means working together with students, PhD candidates and scientists who are focused on their discipline, yet also have a broad view of the world. We are proud of the collegial working environment within the faculty, which is characterised by an ambitious and pragmatic attitude with commitment to the bigger picture. At the Faculty of Science, scientists and students work on fundamental and complex social issues for a sustainable and healthy future. From forest fires to big data, from obesity to malnutrition, from genetics to pharmaceuticals and from molecules to the moon: our teaching and research cover the full breadth of the natural sciences. Scientific teaching and research is highly experimental, technical, computational and interdisciplinary in nature. This is why we collaborate extensively with leading research institutes and industry. The faculty has over 11,000 students studying across 40 educational programmes and employs over 1,600 staff spread over 10 scientific departments, making us the largest science faculty in the Netherlands.

Athena Institute, Faculty of Earth and Life Sciences
The position is offered within the Athena Institute, Faculty of Earth and Life Sciences. The institute’s mission is to study and design interfaces between science and society to contribute both to a deeper understanding of innovation processes as well as a responsible implementation of research and innovation in society. Athena’s research program amongst other focuses on analysing complex global health challenges, designing interventions and conducting participatory monitoring and evaluation research. The section presently has a position vacant for a Postdoc/Lecturer.
For more information about the Athena Institute visit our website .


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


Submitting a diploma is part of the application process.

Applications received by e-mail will not be processed.

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

Name: Dr. Eduardo Urias
Position: Assistant professor
E-mail: [email protected]

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