PhD Researcher - Sustainability impact assessment in the bio-based economy

  • WO
  • Tijdelijk
Wageningen University & Research


Are you passionate about shaping the future of circular agriculture? Are you excited about exploring and quantifying the sustainability of bio-based business models? Then join us to embark on an exciting PhD journey filled with research, collaboration, and meaningful impact.

The Business Economics Group at Wageningen University is looking for a PhD student to contribute to their research on the sustainability impact assessment for replicable and scalable fair business models in the bio-based economy. The position is part of the EU financed C4B project which aims to conceptualise and promote diverse forms of cooperation among primary producers and suitable business models to create high-value bio-based products in vertically integrated value chains.

Your activities will include:
  • Assessing the economic feasibility and the social and environmental sustainability of investments in different biorefinery concepts;
  • Developing a multi-criteria decision analysis framework for assessing the integrated environmental-social-economic sustainability of different biorefinery concepts.

Collaboration lies at the heart of these activities, as you will have the opportunity to work with researchers and stakeholders from different European regions and sectors. By fostering interdisciplinary connections, you will contribute to a better understanding of sustainable and fair bio-based value chains.
We understand that every candidate brings a unique set of skills and experiences. If you have any knowledge or skill gaps, worry not! We will provide relevant courses to bridge those gaps and ensure you have the necessary tools to excel in your research.

As a successful candidate, you will have the chance to make a tangible difference in the world of agri-food systems. Your work will inform decision-making, drive sustainability, and create opportunities for local food value chain actors to engage in transformative practices.

You will work here
This position is embedded within the chair group Business Economics (BEC). You will be supervised by Dr. Julia Höhler, and Prof. Alfons Oude Lansink.


  • The ideal candidate is expected to have (or will obtain within due course):
  • A MSc degree in Economics (e.g., agricultural economics, environmental economics, quantitative economics), Operations Research, Sustainability Assessment, or related fields with a proven interest in economics;
  • Knowledge on, or experience with impact assessment or economic sustainability indicators;
  • Knowledge on the bio-based economy in the European context is a strong asset;
  • Good analytical and communication skills, both verbal and written;
  • Fluency in English.
  • In our international working environment there is an increasing amount of communication in English. For this position it is about language level C1.
    You can see that there are plenty of challenges ahead of you. These challenges can also be seen as development opportunities. So if you do not yet have the track-record required in the vacancy, but do have solid work experience, we would also like to invite you to apply.


Wageningen University & Research
The mission of Wageningen University & Research is “To explore the potential of nature to improve the quality of life”. Under the banner Wageningen University & Research, Wageningen University and the specialised research institutes of the Wageningen Research Foundation have joined forces in contributing to finding solutions to important questions in the domain of healthy food and living environment.

With its roughly 30 branches, 7,200 employees (6,400 fte) and 13,200 students and over 150.000 participants to WUR’s Life Long Learning, Wageningen University & Research is one of the leading organisations in its domain. The unique Wageningen approach lies in its integrated approach to issues and the collaboration between different disciplines.. An integrated approach to problems and the cooperation between various disciplines are at the heart of Wageningen’s unique approach. WUR has been named Best Employer in the Education category for 2019-2020.

These are the points our employees list as good reasons to come work at WUR: read the 5 reasons to come work at WUR

We will recruit for the vacancy ourselves, so no employment agencies please. However, sharing in your network is appreciated.


Wageningen University & Research offers excellent terms of employment. A few highlights from our Collective Labour Agreement include:
  • partially paid parental leave;
  • working hours that can be discussed and arranged so that they allow for the best possible work-life balance;
  • the option to accrue additional compensation / holiday hours by working more;
  • there is a strong focus on vitality and you can make use of the sports facilities available on campus for a small fee;
  • a fixed December bonus of 8.3%;
  • excellent pension scheme.

In addition to these first-rate employee benefits, you will receive a fully funded PhD position and you will be offered a course program tailored to your needs and the project.

The gross salary for the first year is € 2,770 per month rising to € 3,539 in the fourth year in according to the Collective Labour Agreements for Dutch Universities (CAO-NU) (scale P). This is based on a full-time working week of 38 hours. We offer a temporary contract for 18 months which will be extended for the duration of the project if you perform well.

There are plenty of options for personal initiative in a learning environment, and we provide excellent training opportunities. We are offering a unique position in an international environment with a pleasant and open working atmosphere.

You are going to work at the greenest and most innovative campus in Holland, and at a university that has been chosen as the “Best University” in the Netherlands for the 18th consecutive time.

Coming from abroad
Wageningen University & Research is the university and research centre for life sciences. The themes we deal with are relevant to everyone around the world and Wageningen, therefore, has a large international community and a lot to offer to international employees.

Our team of advisors on Dutch immigration procedures will help you with the visa application procedures for yourself and, if applicable, for your family.

Feeling welcome also has everything to do with being well informed. Wageningen University & Research's International Community page contains practical information about what we can do to support international employees and students coming to Wageningen. Furthermore, we can assist you with any additional advice and information about helping your partner to find a job, housing, schooling. For instance under the "30% rule", certain categories of international staff can receive tax exemption on approximately 30% of their gross salary.

Meer informatie

For more information about this position, please contact Dr. Julia Höhler, by email:julia.hoehler@wur.nl or Prof. Alfons Oude Lansink, by email: alfons.oudelansink@wur.nl

For more information about the procedure, please contact: Noorien Abbas, Corporate Recruiter, by email: recruitment.ssg@wur.nl

Do you want to apply?
You can apply directly using the apply button on the vacancy page on our website which will allow us to process your personal information with your approval. To apply please upload a motivation letter (max 2 pages) and your CV (max 4 pages) including names and contact details of two potential references.

This vacancy will be listed up to and including March 25, 2024. We hope to schedule the first interviews soon after closing; if you are not available in that period, please indicate this in your application letter.

Equal opportunities
Wageningen University & Research (WUR) employs a large number of people with very different backgrounds and qualities, who inspire and motivate each other. We want every talent to feel at home in our organisation and be offered the same career opportunities. We therefore especially welcome applications from people who are underrepresented at WUR. A good example of how WUR deals with inclusiveness can be read on the page working at WUR with a functional impairment.