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  3. Postdoctoral researcher Blockchain technology and the digitalisation of sustainable food governance

Postdoctoral researcher Blockchain technology and the digitalisation of sustainable food governance

Do you want to examine the challenges and opportunities of sustainability governance of food via blockchain initiatives and the impact that this technology …

11 dagen geleden


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


Do you want to examine the challenges and opportunities of sustainability governance of food via blockchain initiatives and the impact that this technology may have in current enforcement regimes?

Blockchain is an emerging digital technology that is often claimed to have the potential to solve numerous challenges in food supply chains. It can be used to trace food products and sustainability information to ensure Food Authenticity, in particular regarding sustainability claims. This postdoc project investigates how blockchain is used in initiatives that seek to improve or go beyond existing forms of sustainability monitoring and certification and their interplay with existing legal regimes such as European Food Law. You will focus on identifying and analysing legal and social issues around the automation and privatisation of governance engendered by blockchain initiatives, and the implications of these emerging modes of governance for sustainable food governance and environmental governance more generally. The research activities in the project consists of qualitative case studies of blockchain applications and semi-structured interviews with stakeholders in these initiatives as well as in the broader food governance field.

Building on this empirical data and using a Law-in-action perspective, legal research will assess the regulatory capacity of these blockchain applications. Are they used to enforce existing legal requirements regarding food authenticity and sustainability or are they effectively creating a substitute normative regime? Does blockchain require the construction of new conceptual framework for the enforcement of Food Law requirements?

This research will be conducted at the Wageningen School of Sustainability Governance at Wageningen University and Research (WUR). It is a collaboration between the chair groups Environmental Policy and LAW. This project is part of our earlier recruitment for 15 postdocs at the Social Science Group.


As the successful candidate you will have:

  • a PhD degree in law, STS, or environmental social sciences (political science, sociology, geography);
  • proven expertise in the field of food law, food governance and/or environmental governance and you will be open to work at the interface between social sciences and law;
  • experience with, or at least a demonstrable interest in, blockchain technologies;
  • experience in conducting empirical research (e.g. conducting interviews, participant observation);
  • excellent communication and social skills;
  • an emerging publishing record in peer reviewed international academic literature;
  • demonstrated interest or ability to work in an interdisciplinary research environment and you will have the ability to effectively produce academic papers.


A challenging position with, depending on your experience, a competitive salary from a minimum of €2.709,- to a maximum of €4.274,- for a full working week of 38 hours in accordance with the Collective Labor Agreement Wageningen University (scale 10). In addition, an appointment of 0.8 FTE is negotiable. This position is for the period of 3 years. Initially you will receive a contract for the period of 1 year, which can be extended for the duration of the project.
In addition, we offer:
  • 8% holiday allowance;
  • a structural end-of year bonus of 8.3%;
  • excellent training opportunities and secondary employment conditions;
  • flexible working hours that we determine together in good consultation;
  • excellent pension plan through ABP;
  • 232 vacation hours, the option to purchase extra and good supplementary leave schemes, e.g. the possibility to work a maximum of 2 hours per week extra for extra leave;
  • a flexible model to put together part of your employment conditions yourself, such as a bicycle plan;
  • a lively workplace on the Wageningen Campus;
  • make use of the sports facilities on campus for a small fee.
Wageningen University & Research stimulates internal career opportunities and mobility with our internal recruitment policy. There are ample opportunities for personal initiative in a learning environment. With us you get a versatile job in an international environment with a pleasant and open working atmosphere.

Additional information

For more information about this function you can contact Dr. Sanneke Kloppenburg (ENP) via sanneke.kloppenburg@wur.nl or Prof. Dr. Josephine van Zeben (LAW) via josephine.vanzeben@wur.nl.

For more information about the procedure you can contact Sandra Willemsen, Recruiter, or Bianca Aversteeg, Recruitment support via recruitment.ssg@wur.nl.

Do you want to apply?
This can be done directly via the application button at the vacancy on our website so that we can process your personal data with your permission.

This vacancy is open up to and including Sunday the 14th of June, 2020. We want to plan the job interviews on Monday the 6th of July, 2020.

Equal opportunities employer
We are an employer that offers equal opportunities. We are happy to receive applications from all suitably qualified people regardless of race, gender, functional impairment, religion / belief, sexual orientation or age.

We believe that a diverse and inclusive working environment makes us a more relevant, competitive and resilient organization. Click here for more information about working at WUR with a functional impairment.


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