Vacancy PhD position: Traveling of Framed Facts and Uncertainties

Published on
May 11, 2017

Job Title:          PhD position:  Traveling of Framed Facts and Uncertainties

Contact:          Dr Tamara Metze

Apply before 28 May 2017 via Academic Transfer

Project description
Engaged citizens, experts, politicians, industry and others defend, develop or despise (new) technologies in passionate ways. They frame facts and uncertainties in accordance with their values and beliefs. Especially in the age of social media and other internet technologies these framings travel across the world, and some become pervasive images. Images can hinder or contribute to responsible development, societal acceptability, and democratic governance of innovative technologies.

This research aims to better understand the conditions to democratize the mechanisms underlying so termed TOFUs (traveling of framed facts and uncertainties). In order to improve responsible research and innovation, the PhD student develops, in collaboration with a software developer and a post doc researcher, two digital tools for studying, reflecting on, and experimenting with TOFUs, and their governance. We will co-create these reflective tools with stakeholders of controversial applications (e.g. hydraulic fracturing, and nanotechnology). The PhD project focusses on an interpretive analysis of traveling socio-technological images on controversial energy and food technologies. This interpretive analysis will be translated into decision trees, coding schemes, and algorithms for software development.

This project is a consortium of the Public Administration and Policy Group (PAP), the Food Process Engineering Group of Wageningen University and Research, Philosophical Tradition in Context group of the University of Amsterdam (UvA), National Institute for Health and the Environment (RIVM), software developer Triquanta and WING consultancy. The project is embedded in the NWO Responsible Innovation Program (NWO-MVI). The project "Traveling of Framed Facts and Uncertainties (TOFU)" is led by Wageningen University & Research and has a strong transdisciplinary approach. The research is carried out in Wageningen (including short research stays at RIVM and UvA), and should lead to a PhD dissertation.

Our candidate is expected to have a high level of competence and motivation to undertake the following tasks:

  • Complete and defend a PhD thesis within the official appointment duration (four years);
  • Gather data relevant and available to the overall project;
  • Contribute (both as sole author and as co-author) to the writing of academic research papers based on project findings;
  • Regularly present results at international conferences and workshops for academics and practitioners;
  • Contribute to the organisation of events related to the project, such as valorisation meetings, conferences, and workshops.

The ideal candidate

  • has obtained a (research) master degree in a field relevant to the theme of the research, e.g. political science or innovation studies/STS;
  • can demonstrate a strong interest in the topic of this PhD project;
  • will have excellent communication skills, creativity and perseverance, the ability to work independently as well as in teams, and will take initiatives to promote the project within the consortium and beyond ;
  • has experience with qualitative and mixed-methods research, especially with interviewing, interpretive analysis, visual analysis;
  • possess good English academic writing, presentation and organisational skills; knowledge of other languages is appreciated;
  • has affinity with working on the boundary of innovative academic work and societal practice.

Conditions of employment

We offer a PhD position for a period of 18 months, extended by another 30 months after positive evaluation. Gross yearly salary will increase from € 30,645 in the first year up to € 39,090 in the last year based on a full-time appointment (38 hours per week). You will be working in a pleasant and inspiring environment in the context of an innovative research consortium. More information about the Public Administration and Policy group can be found via this link.

Wageningen University and Research Centre

Delivering a substantial contribution to the quality of life. That's our focus - each and every day. Within our domain, healthy food and living environment, we search for answers to issues affecting society - such as sustainable food production, climate change and alternative energy. Of course, we do not do this alone. Every day, 6,500 people work on 'the quality of life', turning ideas into reality, on a global scale.

For further information about working at Wageningen UR, take a look at

Additional information

Application and information

Please upload your curriculum vitae and motivation letter online by midnight 28 May 2017.
Go to Academic Transfer to apply: The interviews will be held on 6 June in the afternoon and 14 June in the morning.

Additional information (research proposal) can be obtained from
Please do not use this e-mail address to apply.