Postdoc - Holistic analysis of mixed farming systems in Asia and Africa

  • WO
  • Tijdelijk
Wageningen University & Research


In this postdoc position you will contribute to supporting the sustainable development of smallholder farmers in mixed farming systems by mobilizing scientific and experiential knowledge.

You will interact with farmers, value chain actors and scientists to identify actionable opportunities to improve livelihoods of farming families. And you will explore pathways towards more socially just and ecologically benign farming landscapes.

Your position
As a postdoc you will work with MSc students and scientists of the CGIAR and national research institutes to perform a holistic analysis of mixed farming systems in case study areas located in the six countries (Nepal, Bangladesh, Laos, Ghana, Ethiopia, Malawi). You will analyze the diversity of these farming systems in these areas with statistical and participatory farm typologies and use farm-household models to quantify farm productive, economic, and environmental indicators. These can be used both for diagnosis of farm current performance and for redesign/exploration of alternative management. In the exploration process, alternative configurations of farming systems are generated with multi-objective optimization algorithms by adjusting farm components and inputs and evaluating the consequences for selected indicators. The results are discussed with farmers and other stakeholders. You have a large, coordinating role in student supervision and provide training workshops for scientists and other interested stakeholders.

This is what you are going to do:
  • Collect primary (farm-household) and secondary data for modelling
  • Operate farm-household models for farm diagnosis and redesign
  • Contribute to trainings and participate in project workshops
  • Supervise MSc thesis students
  • Write scientific papers
The research
The initiative of "Sustainable Intensification of Mixed Farming Systems" is a research program of the institutes of the Consultative Group for International Agricultural Research (CGIAR). The aim of the initiative is to provide equitable, transformative pathways for improved livelihoods of actors in mixed farming systems through sustainable intensification within diverse landscapes and socioeconomic settings. It does so by analyzing status, trends and future dynamics of mixed farming systems in six countries in Asia and Africa. Opportunities for improvement are explored by a co-designing approach that is informed by evidence-based, validated socio-technical innovation packages generated through participatory engagements. This leads to improved efficiency, equity and resilience, considering local realities and multiple objectives at different scales. One of the work packages focuses on building methods and tools for sustainable intensification of mixed farming systems.

General information about Farming Systems Ecology can be found here.


  • A PhD degree in agricultural science, geography, natural resource management, landscape ecology, or similar, with an emphasis on quantitative data analysis.
  • Knowledge of / clear interest in mixed farming systems in Asia and Africa.
  • Proven experience with a range of algorithms from operations research and multi-criteria analysis.
  • Solid experience in R statistical package or a programming language (like C# or Java).
  • Familiarity with geographical information systems and approaches to analyze spatial data.
  • Proven performance in scientific writing and a strong ambition to publish future work.
  • An ambition to work in inter- and transdisciplinary settings.
  • An interest to supervise MSc thesis students working on the same topic.
For this position your command of the English language is expected to be at C1 level. Sometimes it is necessary to submit an internationally recognised Certificate of Proficiency in the English Language. More information can be found here.


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 specialized 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.

Read the 5 reasons why your future collaegues enjoy working at WUR and watch this video to get an idea of our green campus!

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:
  • sabbatical leave, study leave, and 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, up to 40 hours per week;
  • 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, we offer a competitive salary depending on education and experience of minimum € 2.960,= to maximum € 4.670,= gross for a full-time working week of 38 hours, in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreements for Dutch Universities (CAO-NU) (scale 10). Additionally, a contract for 0.8 FTE can be discussed. We offer a contract for the duration of the project (12 months). After that, extension may be possible.

Wageningen University & Research encourages internal advancement opportunities and mobility with an internal recruitment policy. 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. Applicants from abroad moving to the Netherlands may qualify for a special tax relief, known as the 30% ruling. 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, and other issues.

Meer informatie

For more information about this function, please contact Dr Jeroen Groot, Associate Professor (ius promovendi), e-mail: jeroen.groot@wur.nl

For more information about the procedure, please contact vacaturemeldingen.psg@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.

This vacancy will be listed up to and including 19 December 2022.
The first job interviews will take place in the first half of January 2023.

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. For more information please go to our inclusivity page. A good example of how WUR deals with inclusiveness can be read on the page working at WUR with a functional impairment.