PhD "Consumer Response to Technology for Ecology (T4E) agriculture"

Updated: about 2 months ago
Job Type: Temporary
Deadline: 05 Jun 2020

Do you want to join our multidisciplinary team of 18 PhD candidates, 2 postdocs and 6 PDEng from 5 Dutch universities who are working towards the next-generation agricultural production systems that are sustainable, circular and regenerative? We are looking for a PhD candidate to examine consumer response to the new concept of 'Technology-4-Ecology-based farming' (T4E): biological/ecological principles in farming within the Synergia program.

The Synergia program is a crossover program funded by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO). Synergia contributes to the UN Sustainability Development Goals for the environment (depletion of scarce resources, global warming, acidification, eutrophication, nutrient losses, and biodiversity loss), labour (availability of skilled workers), and society (consumer/societal acceptance of novel technology and production methods).
Synergia goes beyond current precision agriculture (PA) and precision livestock farming (PLF) and is developing the new concept of 'Technology-4-Ecology-based farming' (T4E) where biological/ecological principles in farming lead the development of new farming systems, and the required technological knowledge, principles and tools. Our multi-disciplinary team with biology, ecology, agronomy, technology and social science backgrounds, will explore how current and future farming technologies can enable and support truly ecology-based farming systems.

In the program Wageningen University & Research, University of Twente, Eindhoven University of Technology, Technical University Delft, Radboud University, Top Institute Food and Nutrition (TiFN) and a broad range of private sector partners collaborate. Next to the 25 full time researchers (18 PhD students, 6 PDEng students and 2 Postdocs), over 30 experienced researchers will contribute to the program. The program will run from 2020 to 2027.

Within the work package "Societal aspects and transition" we seek a PhD candidate to investigate Consumer Response to Technology for Ecology (T4E) agriculture. The successful candidate will investigate consumer associations and attitudes in relation to replacing traditional agriculture T4E approaches, by (for example) looking at potential ambivalence about the hi-tech nature versus naturalness and authenticity of T4E products; and to what extent different consumer groups differ in those.

In the interdisciplinary Synergia program you will work closely with other PhD candidates, both within the societal aspects and transition work package and with the candidates working on developing the application of the T4E approach. In this way we aim to ensure the findings in this work are providing insight into the societal value of actual technologies on the one hand and allowing societal issue to influence technology development on the other. The PhD position is for 4 years (based on full time appointment), funded by NWO and in collaboration with various public and private partners. This offers major advantages for the PhD candidate in terms of opportunities to collect high-quality data and close interactions and discussions with other team members to improve the quality and relevance of the project. Within the Marketing and Consumer Behaviour group of Wageningen University, this position is part of the sub-programme on consumer response to new technologies in food and food production which currently has several PhD and postdoc positions and is led by Arnout Fischer.

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