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PhD student: Bayesian network modelling for food and land use systems

Are you interested in complex systems analysis? Do you like to develop modelling approaches to help analyze sustainability solutions? Please apply at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam.

2 maanden geleden


De Boelelaan, Amsterdam, Noord-Holland
Tijdelijk contract / Tijdelijke opdracht
Uren per week:
40 - 40 uur
€ 2395 - € 3061 per maand


This PhD position aims at developing a novel modelling approach to better represent complex system dynamics related to food and land use systems to contribute to the analysis of sustainability solutions and the identification of leverage points for transformative change. The PhD is expected to develop an approach that can represent consumer-producer value chains and distant interactions in a spatially explicit approach that accounts for the variations in local conditions in the human-environment system and land use change. The modelling approach will be tested and applied in a number of different externally funded projects, related to: a) urban food systems in African cities; b) the transition to plant-based diets; c) the implementation and adoption of sustainable land use practices in European agriculture. The PhD student is expected to contribute to these projects while designing tools building on bayesian networks and spatial land use models.

Your duties

  • conduct high quality research and publish results in academic journals and a PhD thesis
  • make literature review, design modelling approaches, conduct data analysis and perform simulation studies
  • collaborate within and outside the institute with experts in the field
  • make a contribution to teaching


  • Msc degree in environmental sciences, ecology or geography with proven knowledge of interdisciplinary approaches
  • knowledge of and experience with quantitative (spatial) methods and modelling techniques
  • good writing skills


A challenging position in a socially involved organization. The salary will be in accordance with university regulations for academic personnel and amounts €2,395 (PhD) per month during the first year and increases to €3,061 (PhD) per month during the fourth year, based on a full-time employment. The job profile is based on the university job ranking system and is vacant for 1 FTE.

The appointment will initially be for 1 year. After a satisfactory evaluation of the initial appointment, the contract will be extended for a duration of 4 years.
Additionally, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam offers excellent fringe benefits and various schemes and regulations to promote a good work/life balance, such as:
  • a maximum of 41 days of annual leave based on full-time employment
  • 8% holiday allowance and 8.3% end-of-year bonus
  • and a contribution to commuting expenses

Additional information

Are you interested in this position? Please apply via the application button and upload your curriculum vitae and cover letter until August 10, 2021. Your motivation letter should not only provide your motivation for the position (why a PhD? why this PhD position?) but also provide a short section (half a page max) on your ideas about the role of modelling tools in addressing complex human-environment systems. Preferably we also receive the contact details of two possible references. There is no need to include recommendation letters. It is appreciated if you can provide a link to your Msc thesis or an alternative relevant document written by you. We anticipate that the successful candidate can start the position between September and November 2021.

Applications received by e-mail will not be processed.

Vacancy questions
If you have any questions regarding this vacancy, you may contact:

Name: Peter Verburg
E-mail: peter.verburg@vu.nl

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