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Interdisciplinary Postdoctoral position - 'Promoting low-input crop diversification in Europe through actor-oriented research'

Interdisciplinary Postdoctoral position on "Promoting low-input crop diversification in Europe through actor-oriented research"Farmers and value chain partners have experimented with diversified cropping systems and scientists have produced knowledge that revealed beneficial effects at farm ...

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Droevendaalsesteeg, Wageningen, Gelderland
Tijdelijk contract / Tijdelijke opdracht
Uren per week:
38 - 38 uur


Interdisciplinary Postdoctoral position on "Promoting low-input crop diversification in Europe through actor-oriented research"
Farmers and value chain partners have experimented with diversified cropping systems and scientists have produced knowledge that revealed beneficial effects at farm and value chain levels. The challenge of fostering crop diversification consists in the dynamic articulation of these knowledges. It is acknowledged that classical 'transfer of technology' approaches are inadequate in fostering the sociotechnical changes that are needed to bring about new models of agriculture. Various proposals on how to organise the production of scientific knowledge relevant for systems transitions have been made. Guidelines emerging from these proposals include three principles: adopt a multi-actor approach; adopt a learning approach; and allow for emergent design. The abstract nature of these guidelines derived from system-level analyses, however, provides little support for innovation managers on how to govern and guide niche experiments that provide the 'fuel' for systemic changes. New frameworks for governance of niche experiments are needed.
The Postdoc will develop and implement an approach for governance of innovation experiments on low-input crop diversification and supporting value chains. Main research question will be "How can stakeholders stimulate transformation towards diversified cropping systems in the EU?" The approach will build on existing approaches such as Co-innovation, adaptive capacity of niche experiments and Reflexive Monitoring in Action. Starting from a baseline assessment of case studies (joint work with process monitors in the case studies), the Postdoc will support project staff in implementing the approach in the case studies to jointly build and monitor a change trajectory of their cropping systems. Monitoring data are used for scientific cross-case study analyses. Methods may include workshops and interviews to build case study innovation histories; social network mapping; and scenario development. The Postdoc will be involved in running the project together with the work package coordinator.


For this position we are looking for an enthusiastic candidate with the following qualifications:

  1. An excellent academic record in a relevant social sciences discipline such as innovation studies, science dynamics or management science (PhD completed), preferably with knowledge of relevant natural science disciplines such as agro-ecology or agronomy.
  2. Strong knowledge and skills regarding qualitative and quantitative approaches (e.g. observation, surveys, in-depth interviewing, statistical analyses)
  3. Knowledge of relevant theories of (agricultural) innovation and participatory research, such as the agricultural innovation systems approach, sustainability transition theories and action research.
  4. Strong organization and facilitation skills.
  5. Strong oral and written communication skills in English, especially regarding academic writing and presentation.
  6. Proven ability to work in scientific teams and collaborate with a range of societal stakeholders.
Possession of a valid driving license.


We offer a full-time position (38 hours), initially for 12 months after which an evaluation will be made on extension with another 24 months. Part time (0.8 fte) is possible.

Gross salary per month € 3.068 - € 4.028 (scale 10 CAO Dutch Universities) depending on experience, for a fulltime appointment.

Additional information

Any enquiries on the position can be directed to Dr. Walter Rossing (Walter.Rossing@wur.nl); tel. +31 317 481201 (www.wageningenur.eu/fse).

Your application should include the following information:
  1. An application letter explaining your motivation and aptitude for the position.
  2. A detailed CV including personal details, academic training, work experience and a list of publications. Please also include computing and (academic) software skills.
  3. Scanned copies of academic certificates (masters and doctorate) and associated lists of marks/qualifications for courses followed.
  4. Samples of recent scientific publications
  5. Names and contact details (email address) of three references.
Candidates that are invited for an interview will be asked to develop a research proposal outline for of 1,000 words maximum in which you give an idea of how you would approach the research. The outline will include the working title of your project, a brief sketch of the theoretical perspective, the research problem and research question; a short outline of the methodological approach; and a description of the expected scientific significance and development impact of the research you propose.

You can apply up and until May 29, 2017.
For this position you can only apply on line:


The Horizon 2020 research programme DiverIMPACTS
The Postdoc will participate in the DiverIMPACTS research project, which aims to realize the potential of low-input crop diversification by investigating technical, environmental and economic performance of crop diversification strategies at farm, value chain and territorial levels and by supporting rural actors with innovations that remove existing barriers. The project is built around 25 case studies on crop diversification in Europe where actors are involved in overcoming current lock-ins on a few commodity crops in both conventional and organic production systems and value chains.
The core of the project comprises workpackages focused on
  • Development, implementation and evaluation of a multi-actor approach to innovation in the case studies;
  • Evaluation of promising schemes of crop diversification in field experiments;
  • Development and application of multi-criteria assessment tools at farm, value chain and territorial levels;
  • Analysis of barriers to crop diversification from the multi-level perspective theory.
    Knowledge development and innovation will be connected through the multi-actor approach, in support of ongoing innovation-oriented activities in the case studies. The project will run for 4.5 years. Candidates may request a copy of the Research Proposal.
    We are seeking a qualified postdoc for 36 months to characterize the case studies, develop a science-based monitoring and evaluation approach, and apply the approach for project reflexive governance and scientific analysis of project performance.
    The DiverIMPACTS project is funded by the European Union (Horizon 2020) and comprises 34 partner organizations from research, extension and agricultural enterprises. The postdoc will be appointed in the Farming Systems Ecology group.