Job opening – Assistant/Associate Professor in Food Sociology

Job description

As assistant/associate professor you will teach and coordinate Bachelor and Master courses for the Bachelor and Master programme International Development Studies (specialization Sociology of Development) and for the Master programme Food Technology (specialization Gastronomy), and supervise Bachelor and Master thesis research for these programmes. You will undertake independent research and coordinate international research projects, specifically focusing on food production and provision in metropolitan regions and its importance for sustainable regional development as well as its significance for issues of public health, rural and regional employment, environmental quality and urban-rural relationships. If you qualify for an associate professorship you are expected to coordinate the Rural Sociology Group’s research theme “Dynamics and sustainability of regional food networks”. Other aspects of the job include project acquisition, training and supervision of PhD students and participation in various research and/or education committees.

 About the organization

The Rural Sociology Group of Wageningen University is among the leading research groups in Europe in agro-food and rural studies. Its research programme focuses on the complex whole of transformation processes in rural and metropolitan regions and in the food supply chain. In this, specific attention is paid to the different levels (from local to supra-national) at which these transformation processes are shaped and to the different (rural and urban) actors and institutions involved. The Rural Sociology Group studies and analyses these transformation processes from an interpretative/constructivist and predominantly micro-sociological perspective, using different qualitative and quantitative research methods. A common denominator in empirical research, analysis and theoretical development is the focus on differential dynamics and processes of institutionalization. Research projects of the Rural Sociology Group are often of a multi- or inter-disciplinary nature, embody an international and comparative dimension and are, in many cases, carried out in close collaboration with (organizations of) stakeholders. The Rural Sociology Group has defined three research themes as spearheads for its overall research programme:

  1. Agricultural and rural dynamics in the metropolitan landscape. This theme focuses on the changing role of agricultural and rural activities, products and services in metropolitan and peri-urban regions and examines if and how agriculture and the rural can fulfil newly emerging urban needs and the growing demand for public goods and the ways in which multifunctional agriculture contributes to sustainable regional development.
  2. Dynamics and sustainability of regional food networks. This theme analyses the emergence of a regional food geography. The dynamics underlying this food geography, its impact on sustainable regional development and the significance of food for issues such as public health, environmental quality, urban and rural employment, urban-rural relationships and quality of life are studied in this theme.
  3. Rural images and identities. This theme focuses on rurality as a social construction and examines if and how differences between city and countryside play a role in identity, lifestyle and migration. The relation between place and sense of belonging, the extent to which people’s social contacts depend on a particular place and the importance of a regional or rural identity for a sense of community are some of the issues studied in this theme.


  • A PhD degree in (rural) sociology or social/human geography;
  • Interest in and preferably good empirical and theoretical knowledge of regional food networks in metropolitan areas, public food procurement and/or urban food strategies;
  • Considerable experience with agro-food research, proven by publications in key international journals, and preferably in the field of alternative food networks, urban food strategies and/or public food procurement;
  • A relevant international network;
  • Good didactic qualities and the capacity to motivate students (candidates will be required to follow the Learning and Teaching in Higher Education Programme (LTHEP, in Dutch referred to as BKO), a system adopted by all Dutch universities);
  • Excellent writing skills;
  • Fluent in English;
  • Preferably a proven record in acquisition of research projects;
  • To be considered for an Associate Professorship, substantial teaching experience,  proven didactic qualities, publications in leading journals and a proven record in acquisition of research projects are prerequisites.

 Conditions of employment

This position is a career trajectory for top level academics. If you start in the position of Assistant Professor you can reach the position of Professor holding a Personal Chair within 12 years. If you start in the position of Associate Professor a Personal Chair can be achieved within 6 years. Training and coaching are provided to ensure you can optimally develop your talents.

  • Appointment at the Assistant Professor level will initially be for three years  and, conditional on adequate functioning, prolonged for another three years. At the end of the six years, there is the possibility of tenure, again conditional on adequate performance. The salary will be on salary scales 11/12, currently a minimum of € 3,195 and a maximum of € 4,970 gross per month.
  • Appointment at the Associate Professor level will initially be for three years and, conditional on adequate functioning, prolonged for another three years. Conditional on adequate performance, there is the possibility of tenure (Personal Chair) at the end of six years.  The salary will be on salary scales 13/14, currently a minimum of € 4,428 and a maximum of € 5,920 gross per month.

 The appointment will be subject to the collective agreement regulating employment conditions at Dutch universities. This implies, for instance, a ‘holiday allowance’ in May of 8% of your gross annual salary and a ‘end-of-year allowance’ in December of 8% of your gross annual salary. The date on which the appointment is to start will be determined by mutual agreement. Favourable tax agreements may apply to non-Dutch applicants.

Additional information

Additional information about the vacancy can be obtained from:

Prof. dr. ir J.S.C. Wiskerke, Chair of Rural Sociology
Telephone number: +31 317 482679/4507
E-mail address:

Information about the organization can be obtained through one of the following links.


You can apply for this job before 29 June 2009 by sending your application to:

Wageningen University – Department of Social Sciences
Fineke Toxopeus
Hollandseweg 1
6707 KN Wageningen
E-mail address:

Reactions, either by post or by e-mail, should include a CV and a publication list. Please mention the vacancy number on both letter and envelope.

When applying for this job always mention the vacancy number AT MW 2009-18.