PhD position: Ethics and integrating science and society in genomic innovations in farm animals (1.0 FTE)

Updated: 22 days ago

PhD position: Ethics and integrating science and society in genomic innovations in farm animals (1.0 FTE)

Job description Do you think new technologies in breeding farm animals raises interesting ethical and societal questions and that these require careful reflection and discussion? If so, we invite you to apply for the PhD position “Ethics and integrating science and society in genomic innovations in farm animals.
We are seeking a candidate for a PhD project within an international, interdisciplinary consortium that aims to rethink breeding of farm animals by taking advantage of improved knowledge on genome-to-phenome relationships that accounts for both genetic and non-genetic mechanisms controlling traits. The project is funded by the European Horizon2020 framework.
As part of this project one of the workpackages is dedicated to the societal and ethical dimensions of breeding innovations in chicken and pig. Rather than making the societal and ethical analysis a stand-alone activity, the aim of this project is to integrate this. As a result a proof of principle in Genomics/ Epigenome Editing will be part of this workpackage and will function as a case study for the ethical analysis. Furthermore, as a PhD you will explore and analyse the importance of cultural and national/ regional differences. The hypothesis is that further insight in/ grip on the national concerns and discussions are essential to deal with societal dimensions and for answering whether – if at all – genomic innovations can be responsibly introduced in pig and poultry breeding. We analyse current and past discussions in four countries (France, Germany, Netherlands, Slovenia) on (animal) breeding and technology and future of agriculture.
Next to being part of an international and interdisciplinary consortium, you will be embedded in a multidisciplinary research group that works on the ethical and societal dimensions of human-animal interactions. The ethics of breeding animal and the role of technology in our interactions with animals already play an important role in our research group.

Qualifications You have:
  • finished a Master's degree in;
    • ethics or a related discipline with a demonstrable interest in questions of (animal) breeding and/ or technology and animals, or;
    • animal sciences/ veterinary medicine with demonstrable knowledge and skills in ethics or social sciences.
  • an eagerness to learn to work in an interdisciplinary research team and to conduct interdisciplinary research;
  • good social and collaborative skills;
  • good communication skills (written and oral);
  • excellent command of English;
  • ambition to collaborate with (inter)national partners and pay visits to these partners.


We offer a temporary position (1.0 FTE) for one year in an international working environment. The gross salary - depending on previous qualifications and experience - ranges between €2,395and €3,061 (scale P according to the Collective Labour Agreement Dutch Universities) per month for a full-time employment. Salaries are supplemented with a holiday bonus of 8% and a year-end bonus of 8.3% per year. In addition, Utrecht University offers excellent secondary conditions, including an attractive retirement scheme, (partly paid) parental leave and flexible employment conditions  (multiple choice model). Here you'll find more information about working at Utrecht University .
Starting preferably 1 October 2021, we offer an exciting opportunity to contribute to an interdisciplinary and international project and being part of an enthusiastic and committed research team that aims to combine research projects with advisory projects, teaching and public engagement. You will receive appropriate training, personal supervision and guidance for your research development, which will provide an excellent start to an academic career.

About the organization

A better future for everyone. This ambition motivates our scientists in executing their leading research and inspiring teaching. At Utrecht University the various disciplines collaborate intensively towards major societal themes. Our focus is on Dynamics of Youth, Institutions, Life Sciences and Sustainability.
The Faculty of Veterinary Medicine has a unique position in the Netherlands. Not only is this the only institution where veterinarians are trained, researchers are also working together on innovative scientific research. In addition, the faculty provides specialist clinical care in the largest academic veterinary hospital in Europe. Thanks to this position, the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine is a point of contact for all veterinary matters, both nationally and increasingly internationally. The faculty employs approximately 900 veterinarians, scientists and support staff and counts 1.500 students.
The division of Animals in Science and Society focuses on issues pertaining to the position of animals in our society, in the broadest sense. As part of this division, the research group on Sustainable Animal Stewardship focuses on the ethical and societal dimensions of human-animal interactions. Current research is clustered around the themes of novel technologies in animal breeding, decisions at the end of animal life, the role of digitalization in animal interactions and the role of animal welfare and One Health in pest control. We aim to combine research with advisory projects, teaching and public engagement and collaborate with Wageningen University in the Centre for Sustainable Animal Stewardship ( ).

Additional information

For more information, please contact Dr. Franck Meijboom (Associate professor),
or 030-2535083.
Please do not send your application letter to this e-mail address.

Apply Everyone deserves to feel at home at our university. We welcome employees with a wide variety of backgrounds and perspectives. 
To apply, please send your curriculum vitae, including a letter of motivation via the button below.
Due to the coronavirus, interviews will be conducted by video calling.

The application deadline is 30/08/2021
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