Postdoc STEP-UP project in Uganda and Kenya

Gepubliceerd op
20 juli 2018
Locatie Wageningen
Expertisegebied Agriculture
Reageren Klik hier om te reageren

We are looking for

Rural food value chains (FVC) in sub-Saharan Africa experience various challenges to implement food securing innovations. Through sustainable intensification (SI) and market linkage (ML) strategies the STEP-UP project will enable small farm enterprises to step up towards food and nutrition security, sustainable development and income generation at farm and community levels. Through a participatory multi-stakeholder approach new technologies, innovations and management practices will be implemented and assessed in mango and banana FVC in Kenya and Uganda. Understanding the dynamics between SI and ML in different food systems will result in standards and procedures to reduce farmers´ and entrepreneurs´ risks.
The STEP-UP project is financed through the LEAP-Agri partnership between European and African countries, operating under the EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation Horizon 2020. STEP-UP is a collaboration between the Plant Production Systems Group from Wageningen UR, the Leibniz-Center for Agricultural Landscape Research (ZALF, Germany), Jomo Kenyatta University of Technology (JKUAT, Kenya), National Environment Trust Fund ( NETFUND, Kenya), Environmental Alert (Uganda), Solidaridadnetwork (Uganda and The Netherlands), National Agricultural Research Organisation (NARO, Uganda), and the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA, Uganda).

We seek a post-doctoral researcher who will work closely with the in-country partners in Uganda primarily, and Kenya to a lesser extent, to coordinate activities in the field. The post-doc will oversee the collection of household level data on resource endowment, farm management, income and agricultural productivity. You will use these data as input in multi-criteria analysis for the assessment of effects and trade-offs in the economic, social and environmental domains of sustainable intensification. Systems analysis tools and models will be used for that. You will play a key role in the participatory, multi-stakeholder processes for the development of agricultural transformation pathways with the aim to identify necessary enabling conditions for desired change. Participation and active engagement in the organization of co-learning events, including field visits, farmer-to-farmer exchange, on-farm trials and trainings, will also form part of the responsibilities.

You will collaborate closely with researchers and students working on projects in the region including The Banana Agronomy project funded by the Gates Foundation ( and the Root, Tubers and Banana research program of the CGIAR ( You will be responsible for reports and scientific articles about the findings of the project. You will have to travel frequently to Uganda and Kenya and stay in the region for substantial parts of the year.

We ask

For this interdisciplinary project we are looking for an enthusiastic person with a completed PhD in plant science, agronomy, ecology or another topic that suits you to work on farming systems analysis. We seek someone who is experienced in the collection and analysis of farm and field data in (smallholder) agricultural systems. Strong analytical and quantitative skills are required, whereas knowledge and expertise in crop/animal/farm modelling will be an advantage. We seek someone with affinity for environmental and/or socio-economic agricultural questions and a strong commitment to the application of science for societal goals.
The candidate must be able to work in a team with people from a wide range of backgrounds and must have a flexible, positive, and problem-solving attitude. This position also requires excellent communication, integration and organisational skills. You have a proven publication record in international journals. Knowledge of agricultural systems in (Eastern) Africa is desired.

The following competences are important: analytical capacity, communicating, collaboration and individual motivation.

We offer

The position can start immediately and is full-time (38 hours/week), initially for 1 year. After this year there is a possible extension for another two years. The gross salary will start at € 3.111, based on Scale 10.4, CAO Wageningen University, based on a full-time employment and dependent on expertise and experience.

More information

A detailed research proposal and additional information about the vacancy can be obtained from:
Dr. Katrien Descheemaeker
Tel: +31 (0)6 46750659

Dr. Gerrie van de Ven
Tel: +31 (0)317482696

Information about the hosting chair group Plant Production Systems can be found at the website of PPS (

You can apply up to and including 30 August 2018 through the website

Acquisition regarding this vacancy is not appreciated.
Please do not submit your application directly to Dr. Descheemaeker or Dr. van de Ven. Applications submitted like this will not be considered.

We are

The mission of Wageningen University & Research is “To explore the potential of nature to improve the quality of life”. Within Wageningen University & Research, nine specialised research institutes from the Wageningen Research Foundation and Wageningen University have joined forces to help answer the most important questions in the domain of healthy food and living environment.

With approximately 30 locations, 5,000 employees, and 10,000 students, Wageningen University & Research is one of the leading organisations in its domain worldwide. An integrated approach to problems and the cooperation between various disciplines are at the heart of the unique approach of Wageningen.

For further information about working at Wageningen University & Research, take a look at the special career site.

Plant Production Systems is one of the 17 chair groups of the Department of Plant Sciences of Wageningen University. Plant Production Systems integrates biological knowledge to analyse and design sustainable production systems for crops (including integration with livestock), focused on resource use efficiency and equitable management of natural resources. Using concepts of systems analysis, we develop methods that allow integrated analysis and design of alternative futures at local (farm), regional, national, international and global scales. Through doing so we contribute to a mission that strives to provide grounded quantitative analysis that can underpin responses to urgent societal issues such as global food security, agricultural and environmental policies, competition for natural resources, food-feed-fuel interactions and global environmental change.
The Plant Production Systems group is responsible for a wide range of courses, from introductory courses to advanced postgraduate specialist subjects. All courses have a modular set-up and use a variety of teaching methods: lectures, practicals, computer-based tools, discussion groups, etc. For this position the systems analysis courses are particularly relevant.
The group has a strong international profile and collaborates with many partners across the world. Our website provides a good overview of activities: The Plant Production Systems group is part of the Wageningen Centre for Agro-ecology and Systems Analysis, together with the group Animal Production Systems (