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  3. PhD candidate in Evaluation of international and national policies influencing food environments (1.0 FTE)

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PhD candidate in Evaluation of international and national policies influencing food environments (1.0 FTE)

Utrecht University's Faculty of Geosciences is looking for a PhD candidate. Are you interested? Then please read the full profile and apply.

bijna 4 jaar geleden


Domplein, Utrecht, Utrecht
Tijdelijk contract / Tijdelijke opdracht
Uren per week:
36 - 40 uur
€ 2222 - € 2840 per maand


Worldwide, diet-related chronic diseases (such as obesity, diabetes type 2 and cardiovascular diseases) increased over the past decades. An important explanatory factor for this increase are the concurrent changes that occurred to our food environment. The food environment consist of all food-related exposures that we come across in our day-to-day lives, including the accessibility of different food outlets (e.g. supermarkets, school canteens, fast food outlets), availability of food products and food labeling, food marketing and food prices. It is critical that within the European Union (EU) as well as within European countries, governments implement preventive policies and actions towards creating healthier food environments. Although monitoring the level of implementation of policies and actions is recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO), systematic efforts to monitor the implementation of preventive policies and actions are scarce in Europe. Therefore, in this European JPI-funded PhD project, the implementation of European-level and national food policies (e.g. in the Netherlands) will be assessed. Further, the effectiveness and impact of these policies will be determined, with special attention to effects on socio-economic differences in food consumption.

Main purpose of the job

In this PhD project, we aim to test and implement the INFORMAS Food Environment Policy Index (Food-EPI) in an European and Dutch context and in doing so, benchmark (EU and national) policies, with direct/indirect influence on food environments, against international best practices. Also, the effectiveness of particular policy actions will be studied in-depth. In the final year, a Food-EPI to assess food policies in the city of Utrecht will be developed and tested. This PhD project is embedded in the larger, European, JPI-funded “Policy Evaluation Network (PEN)” project. Within PEN, 29 research groups from nine different countries across Europe collaborate on better understanding the implementation and effects of policies related to physical activity and diet across Europe.

Tasks of the PhD candidate consist of (but are not limited to):

  • conduct scientific research in the field of food policy and public health nutrition;
  • data collection, e.g. collecting and analyzing European policy documents (for which trips to Brussels are likely needed);
  • publish results in scientific journals and fact sheets;
  • organize multi-stakeholder meetings and collaborate with (inter)national researchers;
  • present study findings at international conferences and stakeholder meetings.

To develop your teaching skills, you are expected to contribute to the teaching programme of the Department of Human Geography and Spatial Planning.


We seek a highly motivated PhD candidate with:

  • a MSc degree in Organisational Sciences, Political Sciences, Health Sciences, Health Geography or an equivalent Master;
  • strong quantitative and qualitative research skills;
  • strong scientific writing skills;
  • proven affinity with scientific research, and with policy evaluation or public health nutrition;
  • perseverance, and an independent, pro-active working style;
  • motivated to work in an international team;
  • excellent communication skills (written and verbally) in both Dutch and English.

Your responsibilities

  • Start with the project on November or December 1st, 2018, and be present at the kick-off meeting of the PEN-project in Bremen on February 4-6, 2019.
  • Meet the goals/deadlines as set out in the PEN-project proposal.
  • Complete a PhD thesis within the 4-year contract period.


We offer a temporary position (1.0 FTE) for one year. Depending on a good performance, this may be extended to a total period of four years, with the specific intent that it results in a doctorate within this period. The gross salary ranges between €2,222 and €2,840 (scale P according to the Collective Labour Agreement Dutch Universities) gross 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. We offer a pension scheme, (partly paid) parental leave, collective insurance schemes and flexible employment conditions (multiple choice model). More information is available at: working at Utrecht University.

Additionele informatie

Additional information about the vacancy can be obtained from Dr. Maartje Poelman (m.p.poelman@uu.nl) or Dr. Carlijn Kamphuis (c.b.m.kamphuis@uu.nl).