PhD position: Transition Pathways Technology-for-Ecology-based Farming

University of Twente


November 2, 2021


Job description We are looking for

a (4 year) PhD candidate to study expectations and imaginaries and explore possible transition pathways related to the new concept of ‘Technology-4-Ecology-based Farming' (T4E). The PhD project is part of the Synergia project that aims to develop ecological forms of arable, dairy and horticulture farming and new types of technological and socio-technical systems that challenge current forms of agriculture https: // The successful candidate will investigate the implicit and explicit concepts and visions of these new forms of farming and identify challenges and tensions. These insights will feed into exploration of socio-technical scenarios and transition pathways, which will be conducted together with stakeholders and partners in the project. This will serve as a basis to deduce requirements and options for responsibly governing transformative change. The PhD will become a member of the Science, Technology & Policy Studies (STePS) group, and will be supervised by dr. Kornelia Konrad and prof.dr. Esther Turnhout.

The Synergia project is a crossover program funded by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO). Synergia goes beyond current precision agriculture and precision livestock farming and is developing the new concept of ‘Technology-4-Ecology-based farming'. Our multi-disciplinary team with biology, ecology, agronomy, technology and social science backgrounds, will explore how current and future farming technologies can enable and support truly ecology-based farming systems https: //

In this interdisciplinary program you will work together with other PhD candidates, both from social sciences and with candidates working on developing technologies and applications in line with the T4E approach. In this way we aim to ensure the findings in this work are providing insight into the societal value of actual technologies on the one hand and allowing societal perspectives to influence technology development on the other.

Your profile
  • You have a master degree in science, technology and innovation studies, policy studies or a closely related field;
  • experience with qualitative research methods such as interviewing and discourse analytical methods;
  • interest in innovations and their societal implications;
  • Knowledge in the agricultural sector and technologies is a pre;
  • You are an excellent team-player and are excited about working with scientists and practitioners from different backgrounds;
  • highly motivated to contribute to academic and societal challenges
  • proficient in English, preferably also in Dutch.
  • Our offer

    We offer a 4-year, full time research position with a qualifier in the first year on a highly relevant topic, in a dynamic and international environment. The University of Twente (UT) offers excellent working conditions, an exciting scientific environment, and a green and lively campus with lots of sports facilities and an international scientific community!

  • Salary ranging from € 2.325- gross at the start to € 2.972,- gross in the 4th year.
  • Excellent benefits including a holiday allowance of 8% of the gross annual salary, a bonus of 8.3%.
  • You will receive good secondary conditions, in accordance with the collective labour agreement CAO-NU for Dutch universities.
  • We will make a training program with a plan for additional suitable education and personal development training.
  • As a PhD candidate you will be enrolled in the Twente Graduate School and in the Dutch PhD programme on Science, Technology and Modern Culture (WTMC).
  • We provide an opportunity to work and interact with scientists from different academic backgrounds on a highly relevant project that is on the boundary between academic fields.
  • Information and application

    Please apply by clicking on the `Apply now' button below before November 2, 2021. The application should include :

  • A motivation letter emphasizing motivation and qualifications,
  • A detailed CV, summarizing your education, previous work experience and contact details of at least 2 referees,
  • A list of all courses attended and grades acquired during your MSc and BSc courses.
  • For more information about this function, please contact dr. K.E. Konrad, email, phone: +31 53 489 3906. General information about the Science, Technology & Policy Studies group can be found on https: // www.

    About the organization

    The Faculty of Behavioural, Management and Social sciences (BMS) aims to play a pivotal role in understanding, co-engineering and evaluating innovation in society. Innovation is driven by advances in technology. By means of 'social engineering', we are here to integrate these advances in society. As a people-first tech university, we align these advances with the needs and behaviour of humans. We ensure proper public and private management as well as robust, inclusive and fair organisational structures. The faculty of BMS does this by developing, transferring and applying high-quality knowledge of Psychology, Business Administration, Public Administration, Communication Science, Philosophy, Educational Science, and Health Sciences. Our research and education in these disciplines is challenge-based. The BMS research programmes are directly linked to our research institutes: Mesa+ Institute for Nanotechnology, the TechMed Centre and the Digital Society Institute.

    University of Twente (UT)

    University of Twente (UT) has entered the new decade with an ambitious, new vision, mission and strategy. As ‘the ultimate people-first university of technology' we are rapidly expanding on our High Tech Human Touch philosophy and the unique role it affords us in society. Everything we do is aimed at maximum impact on people, society and connections through the sustainable utilisation of science and technology. We want to contribute to the development of a fair, digital and sustainable society through our open, inclusive and entrepreneurial attitude. This attitude permeates everything we do and is present in every one of UT's departments and faculties. Building on our rich legacy in merging technical and social sciences, we focus on five distinguishing research domains: Improving healthcare by personalised technologies; Creating intelligent manufacturing systems; Shaping our world with smart materials; Engineering our digital society; and Engineering for a resilient world.

    As an employer, University of Twente offers jobs that matter. We equip you as a staff member to shape new opportunities both for yourself and for our society. With us, you will be part of a leading tech university that is changing our world for the better. We offer an open, inclusive and entrepreneurial climate, in which we encourage you to make healthy choices, for example, with our flexible, customisable conditions.

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