Three PhD Positions in Global Epistemologies and Ontologies

Gepubliceerd op
3 maart 2020
Locatie Wageningen
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We are looking for

Do you want to contribute to the research and learning in the field of philosophy, socio-environmental challenges and livelihoods in global perspective? We have an interesting job opportunity in an inspiring academic environment!
The PhD positions are available in the research cluster "Global Epistemologies and Ontologies" (GEOS), which is embedded in the "Knowledge, Technology, and Innovation" (KTI) Group of Wageningen University. Two PhDs will be part of the project "Ethnoontologies. Relating Metaphysics and Practice of Knowledge Diversity" funded by a VIDI grant of the Dutch NWO.
One PhD will be part of the project "Local Ecologies of Knowledge: towards a Philosophy of Ethnobiology" funded by an ERC Starting Grant. 

GEOS links philosophy with socio-environmental challenges and livelihoods in global perspective. GEOS develops an empirical, action-oriented, and participatory approach to philosophy.
Empirical philosophy: we address epistemological and ontological questions in collaboration with natural and social scientists and reflect on the empirical complexity of socio-environmental challenges such as biodiversity loss, food sovereignty, and public health. 
Philosophy as action research: we address epistemological and ontological questions not as abstract philosophical puzzles but contribute to real-life interventions that respond to the concerns of local communities in areas such as biocultural heritage, intercultural education, research governance, and social activism.
Participatory philosophy: we do research with (rather than merely about) local communities and we aim to learn from epistemologies and ontologies of the Global South. 

All three PhD students will develop research projects in this GEOS approach by engaging with communities from Brazil and Mexico.
The ERC project focuses on epistemological questions of knowledge diversity and local expertise about biodiversity. For more information on this project, see the following project excerpt:   .
The VIDI project focuses on ontological questions about different ways of thinking about the structure of the biological world and their relations to local livelihoods. For more information on this project, see the following project excerpt: .

We ask

You will fit one of the positions when:

  • you have an excellent MA in a relevant field such as development studies, environmental anthropology, epistemology, ethnobiology, indigenous studies, ontology, philosophy of biology, political ecology, research governance, or science & technology studies;
  • for candidates with a philosophy MA: you have experience or demonstrable interest in biological and/or social sciences; for candidates with a science MA: you have experience or demonstrable interest in philosophical and/or methodological questions;
  • you have the willingness to conduct fieldwork in Brazil and/or Mexico. Work experience in Latin America is desirable;
  • you are proficient in English, this is required. Proficiency in Portuguese and/or Spanish is desirable;
  • you work collaboratively in an interdisciplinary team by addressing both philosophical and empirical research questions;
  • you conduct fieldwork and contribute to collaborations with local communities in Brazil and/or Mexico;
  • you address underlying epistemological and/or ontological issues of knowledge diversity through peer-reviewed research articles;
  • you address applied and political dimensions of knowledge diversity through peer-reviewed research articles as well as practical interventions that are co-produced with local communities;
  • you contribute to the development of the GEOS cluster through co-organization of academic events, science communication, public outreach and community organization.

We offer

You will receive a fully funded PhD (AIO) position and you will be offered a course program tailored to your desires and the research team. The gross salary for the first year is € 2.325,- per month rising to € 2.972,- in the fourth year in according to the Collective Labour Agreement (scale P). This is based on a full working week of 38 hours. We offer a temporary contract for 18 months which will be extended for the duration of the project (in total 48 months) if you perform well.
In addition, we offer:

  • 8% holiday allowance;
  • a structural year-end bonus of 8.3%;
  • excellent training opportunities and secondary employment conditions;
  • flexible working hours and holidays can possibly be determined in consultation so that an optimal balance between work and private life is possible;
  • excellent pension plan through ABP;
  • 232 vacation hours, the option to purchase extra and good supplementary leave schemes;
  • a flexible working time: the possibility to work a maximum of 2 hours per week extra and thereby to build up extra leave;
  • a choice model to put together part of your employment conditions yourself, such as a bicycle plan;
  • a lively workplace where you can easily make contacts and where many activities take place on the Wageningen Campus. A place where education, research and business are represented;
  • use the sports facilities on campus.
Wageningen University & Research stimulates internal career opportunities and mobility with an internal recruitment policy. There are ample opportunities for own initiative in a learning environment.
We offer a versatile job in an international environment with varied activities in a pleasant and open working atmosphere.

More information

For more information about this function, please contact David Ludwig;
For more information about the procedure, please contact Sandra Willemsen, Recruiter or Bianca Aversteeg, Recruitment support via
Additional information on the research context:
This vacancy is open up to and including the 31st of March, 2020. The first job interviews will take place on the 8th of April, 2020. A possible 2nd interview will take place on the 16th of April, 2020.
Please apply via
We need the following application documents, you can upload the documents via your online application:
a cover letter including indication whether the application is for the ERC and/or the VIDI position;

  • a curriculum vitae;
  • a writing sample such as a chapter of the MA thesis (English preferred; Dutch, French, German, Portuguese, Spanish acceptable);
  • an outline of research interests and how they relate to GEOS, ERC, and/or VIDI projects (1-2 pages);
  • letter of reference (optional).

We are

The mission of our University 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, 6.000 employees, and 12.000 students, it 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.
The Chair Group Knowledge Technology and Innovation studies processes of socio-technical innovation and transformation. We focus on communicative and socio-political dynamics involved in the production, exchange, integration and use of scientific and other knowledge. This involves studying technology's impact on society and the social shaping of technology as two sides of a co-production process, and the analysis of interactions, interventions, design approaches and institutional set-ups relevant to supporting innovation. Insights generated serve eventually to address global challenges such as food security, poverty, health hazards, inequality, environmental degradation, climate change, conflicts and scarcity of resources.
Equal opportunities employer
We are an equal opportunities employer and welcome applications from all suitably qualified persons regardless of their race, sex, disability, religion/belief, sexual orientation or age.

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