Postdoc on biodiversity-positive food systems: the role of the dairy sector in the Netherlands

Updated: 6 months ago
Deadline: The position may have been removed or expired!

Your job

Are you interested in restoring biodiversity in agricultural lands? Are you a systems thinker and have experience/interest in combining ecological, social and economic aspects? Do you want to accelerate transitions towards a biodiversty-positive dairy sector in the Netherlands? Looking for a challenging and meaningful postdoc position? Then this position is of interest to you.

Biodiversity in the Netherlands is declining, especially in agricultural areas. The decline continues despite great efforts to halt biodiversity loss from conservation organizations, farmers and farmer organizations, and the mobilization of resources (e.g. subsidies or regulations). The Dutch Research Agenda has launched the programme “Living labs for the restoration of rural biodiversity” with the aim to gain insight into the practical possibilities to restore biodiversity.

You will work on the project Living Lab ‘Alblasserwaard’ , which aims at restoring nature and biodiversity in dairy farming in a peat soil area of the Netherlands.

You will join the team of Animal Production Systems Group and contribute to:

  • developing an analytical framework to link good management practices, biodiversity and ecosystems services, and business models;
  • exploring how enhancement of biodiversity and ecosystem services can become part of business models, inspired by existing models (e.g. organic, agroecological or regenerative agriculture, among others) and potential mechanisms (e.g. payments for ecosystem services, carbon credits or mobilization of alternative financial streams);
  • understanding the potential of different stakeholders and mechanisms to accelerate biodiversty-positive transitions in food systems.
  • If you are interested, you can also be involved in the educational activities, such as supervising students, lecturing and/or assisting in practicals.

    The project also aims at co-developing KPIs and targets with farmers and other stakeholders that are specific to the social and ecological context, which set transition paths in a time frame of 7-10 years and against which progress can be monitored

    The dairy sector in the Netherlands is the main land user and a key agricultural sector. Hence, with large potential to contribute to restoring biodiversty in agricultural lands. The project will link to the activities within the investment programme Biodiversity-positive food systems of Wageningen University & Research.

    Your qualities

    The researcher we seek has the following key qualifications:

    • You have completed a PhD in animal sciences, environmental sciences, rural development, agricultural economics or farming business operations. 
    • You have experience or affinity with working with systems approach and interdisciplinary teams.
    • You have a good record in publishing in international peer-reviewed scientific journals in the field.
    • You communicate well, written and orally, in English and ideally also in Dutch (particularlyfor field work).
    • You are proactive, eager to learn and like to work as part of a team.
    • In order to visit farms, a driving license is required.

    In our international working environment there is an increasing amount of communication in English. For this position it is about language

    level C1

    . If you do not yet have this level, we will of course help you and you can go to our language center

    Wageningen in'to Language


    You can see that there are plenty of challenges ahead of you. These challenges can also be seen as development opportunities. So if you do not yet have the track-record required in the vacancy, but do have solid work experience, we would also like to invite you to apply.

    We offer you

    Wageningen University & Research offers excellent terms of employment . A few highlights from our Collective Labour 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%;
    • excellent pension scheme.

    In addition to these first-rate employee benefits, you will of course receive a good salary. Depending on your experience, we offer a competitive gross salary of between € 2.960,-- and € 4.670,- for a full-time working week of 38 hours, in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreements for Dutch Universities (CAO-NU) (scale 10). Additionally, a contract for 0,8 FTE can be discussed. Initially, we offer you a one-year contract, which will then be extended with an additional year.

    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 centre 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.

    Do you want more information?

    For more information about this position, please contact Raimon Ripoll-Bosch, Assistant Professor, by e-mail:
    For more information about the procedure, please contact Ine van’t Land, corporate recruiter, by e-mail:

    Do you want to apply?
    You can apply directly using the apply button on the vacancy page on our website which will allow us to process your personal information with your approval.

    This vacancy will be listed up to and including 3th April 2023. We hope to schedule the first job interviews on soon after this closing date.

    Equal opportunities
    Wageningen University & Research (WUR) employs a large number of people with very different backgrounds and qualities, who inspire and motivate each other. We want every talent to feel at home in our organisation and be offered the same career opportunities. We therefore especially welcome applications from people who are underrepresented at WUR. For more information please go to our inclusivity page . A good example of how WUR deals with inclusiveness can be read on the page working at WUR with a functional impairment .

    We are

    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.

    Read the 5 reasons why your future colleagues enjoy working at WUR and watch this video to get an idea of our green campus!

    We will recruit for the vacancy ourselves, so no employment agencies please. However, sharing in your network is appreciated.

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