PhD vacancy at ENP: Designing effective institutional frameworks for supplying sufficient and safe food to all consumers

Published on
September 15, 2017

We are looking for

From 2017 to 2021, Wageningen University (The Netherlands) and four Chinese partners will  carry out a Sino-Dutch research project on ‘Sustainable Natural Resource Management for Adequate and Safe Food Provision’. The aim of the project is to form a strategic scientific alliance that carries out interdisciplinary research on land, water and food nexus in China, to formulate coherent recommendations for adequate and safe food provision based on sustainable resource management, and to develop innovative methodologies that can be applied for examining similar problems in other parts of the world.

The project consists of six different sub-projects. For the execution of the sub-project on “Designing effective institutional frameworks for supplying sufficient and safe food to all consumers”, the Environmental Policy Group at Wageningen University and the School of Environment, Division of Environmental System Analysis, Tsinghua University in Beijing are searching for a PhD researcher. Funding is provided by the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW).

Securing access to sufficient and safe food for the growing, increasingly urban, population in China requires closer collaboration between food producers and food consumers. However, previous research showed the existence of a mismatch between the present institutional structure and the challenge of securing access to sustainable food. To address this effectively, the following research questions need to be answered: (1) what are the main dominant and alternative supply systems for milk, pork, vegetables and other food items in China; (2) what are the roles of key actors and the institutional arrangements within the main supply systems with regard to food safety and sustainability and how does this compare to international experience; (3) which institutional frameworks at the local, ecosystem and national levels can effectively contribute to safe and sustainable food supply for the growing, urban population in China? The PhD researcher will examine these questions to identify effective institutional frameworks and supply chain organizations that contribute to securing access to sufficient, sustainable and safe food for all Chinese.

Research methods include the analysis of the main existing food supply schemes through quantitative (processing statistics) and qualitative (expert and stakeholder interviews) methods. In the design phase a reactive innovative design method will be further developed and applied through focus group meetings and expert interviews. . Candidates are expected to complete a PhD dissertation within four years. During this period they are expected to work 1.5-2.5 years in China.

We ask

  • MSc degree or equivalent in sociology/ anthropology /political science/ environmental science
  • Mother tongue: Mandarin Chinese
  • Fluency in written and spoken English (TOEFL internet-based 90 with a minimum of 23 for speaking, or IELTS (academic version) 6.5, with a minimum of 6.0 for speaking).
  • Strong quantitative and qualitative research skills
  • Strong scientific writing skills
  • Proven affinity with food and sustainability issues in China
  • Preferably, experience with institutional and network analysis and with organizing focus groups
  • Motivated to work in a team

We offer

We offer a full-time position (38 hours), initially for 18 months after which a go/no go decision will be taken on extension with another 30 months. Gross salary € 2191,-- in the first year rising to € 2801,-- per month in the fourth year, for a full-time appointment. In addition, we offer an 8% holiday allowance and an 8,3% end-of-year bonus.   The PhD will be offered a course program, which can be tailored to the desires of the candidate and the research team.  

More information

Additional information can be obtained from: Prof. Peter Oosterveer, email: Additional information about the chairgroups and university can be obtained through: About the chairgroup ( Application: Please do not send your application to the email addresses mentioned above.To apply, please upload your letter of motivation and a CV online via before October 22nd, 2017.

We are

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 don’t do this alone. Every day, 6,500 people work on ‘the quality of life’, turning ideas into reality, on a global scale. Could you be one of these people? We give you the space you need. For further information about working at Wageningen UR, take a look at