Postdoctoral Researcher in Engaging science and society for food system transformation

Updated: 6 months ago
Deadline: 17 Apr 2023

Postdoctoral Researcher in Engaging science and society for food system transformation
Postdoctoral Researcher in Engaging science and society for food system transformation
Published Deadline Location
yesterday 17 Apr Amsterdam

FTE: 0.8 - 1

Job description
Europe is facing significant interlinked challenges to ensure the availability and consumption of healthy, affordable and sustainably produced food for an increasing number of citizens and diversified communities. In terms of key social and economic challenges, rising levels of food poverty highlight the difficulties for some groups to access basic (let alone sustainable and healthy) food. At the same time, the number of overweight or obese European citizens is rising at an alarming rate. Research also demonstrates that current dietary patterns and the wider organization of food systems are associated with significant environmental challenges: they produce negative effects on ecosystems (soil, water, pollinator populations and biodiversity) and significantly contribute to climate change. Therefore, there is an urgent need to transform European food systems.
This post-doctoral researcher will conduct action-research on food system transformation within the framework of the EU-funded CLEVERFOOD project. This project aims to facilitate a society-wide mobilisation of European citizens, including children and youth, farmers, entrepreneurs, investors, researchers, educators, knowledge brokers and policy makers to transform the European food system to become more regenerative, resilient and plant-based. To this end, social and technological innovations to support sustainable food system transformation will be accelerated in Policy and Living Labs across Europe by co-creating strategies for removing lock-ins, developing integrated food policies and building sustainable food value chains.
The Athena Institute, as one of the consortium partners, will play a key role in the project with respect to developing and implementing a Pan-European Multi-Actor and Public Engagement Mechanism to identify and address the demand for multi-actor, public engagement, education and communication activities. There are numerous barriers (knowledge, physical, economic, political and socio-cultural) to sustainable food system transformation, that will be addressed through Athena's tasks within CLEVERFOOD, by (i) further increasing public engagement in food system science, (ii) developing a platform for Higher Education Institutions to collaborate on sustainable food systems transformation, (iii) supporting Policy Labs and Living Labs in facilitating multi-actor collaboration and public engagement, and (iv) empowering European citizens, including children, youth, vulnerable and disadvantaged groups, to engage with sustainable healthy food and contribute actively to transform European food systems. Conducting monitoring and evaluation studies on the progress in relation to these activities is another important performed by the Athena Institute.
In this post-doctoral research project, you will be involved in the aforementioned activities by investigating public engagement in Policy Labs and Living Labs across Europe, identifying training needs of actors in the Living Labs, and designing and implementing training workshops for competence development. You will also monitor and evaluate CLEVERFOOD's activities to engage the public and empower citizens and other food system actors by collecting and reflexively monitoring the implementation of engagement methods and tools.
Your duties
  • developing a research programme in transdisciplinary knowledge production and co-learning in the area of (co-creative and community-engaged) food system transformation
  • daily supervision of a PhD candidate
  • teaching master students, including course coordination and thesis supervision, in courses that are part of the Institute's transdisciplinary teaching portfolio
  • linking up education/research efforts at VU with the real-world issues addressed in co-creative multi-stakeholder initiatives. You also assess and evaluate the added value of VU involvement
  • publishing articles in high quality journals. You also communicate research findings and insights via other, more widely accessible forms of writing and presenting
  • contributing to administrative tasks and responsibilities of the Athena Institute
  • engaging with stakeholders outside of academia in co-learning processes
  • contributing to a pleasant, diverse, and safe work environment at the Athena Institute

  • 30.4—38 hours per week
  • €2960—€4670 per month
  • Amsterdam View on Google Maps

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU)

  • You have a PhD, preferably in the field of food systems, sustainability sciences, science & technology studies, system innovation, transition studies, health sciences, sociology, policy sciences or another inter-discipline related to societal engagement for sustainable transformation
  • You have experience and affinity with the co-creation of knowledge and innovation (transdisciplinary research, citizen science, societal engagement) in the context of transformation processes. This could include experience in designing and facilitating focus group discussions, reflection sessions, Living Labs, transition experiments, or communities of practice.. You are familiar with participatory research methodologies, such as reflexive monitoring in action, learning histories, most significant change techniques
  • You hold a network of relevant (inter)national contacts and you are a team player
  • You have relevant publications in good quality journals that showcase your prowess in scientific research, writing and publication
  • You have teaching skills and are an engaged and inspiring lecturer, as demonstrated by student evaluations
  • You have an excellent command of English

Conditions of employment

Fixed-term contract: 1 year.

A challenging position in a socially involved organization. On full-time basis the remuneration amounts to a minimum gross monthly salary of €2,960 (scale 10)
and a maximum €4,670 (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

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 30,000 students. We employ over 5,500 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 more than 11,000 students.
Athena Instituut
De functie wordt aangeboden binnen het Athena Instituut. Het is de missie van Athena om een bijdrage te leveren aan een beter begrip van innovatieprocessen én aan een maatschappelijk verantwoorde implementatie van onderzoek en innovatie in de samenleving. Het onderzoek richt zich specifiek op de ontwikkeling van innovatieve platforms en instrumenten om de interactie op het snijvlak van wetenschap en maatschappij te faciliteren op het gebied van gezondheid en duurzaamheid.
Voor meer informatie over het Athena Instituut, bezoek de website .
Additional information
Are you interested in this position? Please apply via the application button and upload your curriculum vitae and cover letter until 17 April 2023.
Applications received by e-mail will not be processed.
Vacancy questions
If you have any questions regarding this vacancy, you may contact:
Name: Prof.dr. Jacqueline Broerse
No agencies
Working at VU Amsterdam

Working at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam means contributing to a better world. Working beyond the confidence of your own field, working with an open mind and working for the benefit of society.

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