Proactive PhD candidate interested in the coupled challenges of biodiversity loss, climate change and food security? Are you interested in exploring how to scale up biodiversity-friendly behaviours in general, and specifically consumption and production behaviours in the food system? Are you comfortable with both quantitative and qualitative research method? Are you interested in interdisciplinary research (particularly linking economics and system thinking)? Then, you could be the ideal candidate to join our project on “Transformative pathways for synergising just biodiversity and climate actions (TRANSPATH)”

TRANSPATH will engage with diverse stakeholders whose actions differentially affect and are affected by trade policies and associated ‘greening’ mechanisms. These include policy makers and practitioners, individuals, Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and multinational corporations. Participatory methodologies will be used to understand the complex systems dynamics of interacting societal visions and pathways. The overall objective of TRANSPATH is: To use inclusive deliberative processes that identify leverage points and associated interventions for triggering and enabling transformative changes at the level of consumers, producers and organisations, thus accelerating diverse transformative pathways towards biodiversity-positive and climate-proofed societies, with sensitivity to social-cultural contexts and rights.

TRANSPATH case studies investigate key driver interactions within a range of diverse social-cultural contexts: Eastern Europe (case 1), Western Europe (case 2), West Africa (case 5), and Latin America (case 5). Case 5 specifically targets EU-teleconnected global commodity chains in West Africa and Latin America, and are thus both place-based and intervention-based. Case studies investigate the potential for social innovations together with structural economic changes in global trade regulations, EU’s financial sector, and drivers and interventions in global commodity chains.

Case 4: EU financial sector: The financial sector includes public finance, banks, shareholders, investment firms, impact investors, philanthropic investors and insurers. The sector plays a catalytic role in biodiversity-positive production systems. By financing clients with economic activities dependent on biodiversity, lending institutions expose themselves to direct and indirect risks. They are therefore both culprit and victim of biodiversity loss. This case study will identify regulatory changes to transform the financial sector into a biodiversity-positive agent of change. We investigate the role of followers and leaders in the financial sector, e.g. do changes come from regulators, or are they implemented by the financial sector itself in order to make its business more resilient? TRANSPATH will evaluate investors’ expectations for climate and biodiversity-related risks as a leverage point to steer the financial system towards a sustainable path. The risk of stranded assets resulting from climate and biodiversity policies will be investigated from an institutional and financial economic perspective. This will include the supporting role of public procurement, and the need for a coupled biodiversity-climate risk assessment. A series of mixed interventions, for example mandatory disclosure of biodiversity related risk by firms, will be tested using lab work, quasi-experimental econometric methods and macro-financial models of climate and bio-diversity related risks with a long-term perspective. Explicit attention will be given to impacts on vulnerable groups such as women and youth.

We ask

  • you have completed a master degree in economics, environmental economics, agricultural economics or a similar field;
  • you are interested in understanding how to shift the food system towards biodiversity positive production and consumption;
  • you want to explore the interventions that can trigger a transformation of the food system and the mechanisms through which those operate;
  • you have experience with both quantitative and qualitative research methods;
  • you are a team player who can communicate clearly and comfortably with scientists, consultants and policy makers;
  • you are interested in biodiversity and the financial sector;
  • you communicate well in English, written and orally;
  • you have interest and demonstrable skill in publishing in renowned scientific journals.

You will join an international and transdisciplinary team lead by Prof. Francisco Alpizar (ENR group), Dr. Jeanne Nel (ESG group) and will be located in the Environmental Economics and Natural Resources group (ENR).

We offer

Wageningen University & Research offers excellent terms of employment. A few highlights from our Collective Labour Agreement include:

  • 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, you will, depending on your experience, receive a gross salary of between € 2.541,- per month rising to € 3.247,- for a full-time working week of 38 hours, in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreements for Dutch Universities (CAO-NU) (scale P). We offer a temporary contract for 1 year which will be extended for the remaining period of the project if you perform well. The total duration of this project is 4 years.

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 17th 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.

More information

For more information about this position, please contact Prof. Francisco Alpizar (

For more information about the procedure, please contact Jeanine van ‘t Veer, Recruiter, via

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 November 1, 2022. We hope to schedule the first job interviews in the 2nd and 3rd week of November 2022.

The intended starting date is December 1, 2022.

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.

We are

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.

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

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