PUREFOOD Research Vacancy ‘Comparative analysis of urban food strategies’

The vacancy for a position as Early Stage Researcher (ESR) for the project  ‘Comparative analysis of urban food strategies in European cities’ within the PUREFOOD research and training network has been re-opened. More information about PUREFOOD can be found below and on the PUREFOOD website (which is still under construction).

Job description

For this PUREFOOD project ‘Comparative analysis of urban food strategies in European cities’ we are looking for an Early Stage Researcher who is interested in the topics of urban food provisioning and the relations between food and policy domains as public health, education, environment, et cetera from a sociological, political science and/or planning perspective. The research will focus on how food policies are articulated and motivated in different European cities and what  the consequences are for their implementation. This focus is inspired by the fact that more and more city governments are taking up food as a key policy area to enhance human and environmental urban health. The challenges of policy articulation and implementation are big. The articulation of food policy has so far been reliant on individual politicians and on a political level vulnerable to electoral shifts. Institutionalization of food policy in city governments has just started and different patterns of institutionalization are emerging with particular pitfalls and successes. This study will explore the preconditions, political processes, strategy articulation and implementations of urban food strategies in different European cities in comparative perspective to enhance the understanding of the conditions for successful urban food policy implementation.


We are looking for a highly motivated, committed, creative and independent researcher, who has:

  • A completed Masters degree in Sociology, Political Science, Planning or Human Geography.
  • Knowledge of relevant concepts and theories in food sociology, food policy, food governance and/or food planning.
  • Experience with qualitative social science research methods.
  • Excellent analytical and writing skills.

As ESR you must, at the time of recruitment (i) be in possession of a university degree, and (ii) have a maximum of four years of full-time research experience, including any period of research training. This is measured from the date when you obtained the degree which formally entitles you to embark on a doctorate, either in the country in which the degree was obtained or in the country in which the research training is provided. Please note that ESRs should not be PhD holders. You are eligible to the position if, at the time of the selection by Wageningen university, you have not resided or carried out your main activity (work, studies, etc) in the Netherlands for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately prior to your recruitment. The enhancement of transnational mobility to improve career perspectives is the main goal of the Marie Curie Initial Training scheme. Therefore, you are required to undertake transnational mobility when taking up a position in the PUREFOOD project.

Appointment criteria

We offer you a fulltime (38 hours per week) position as Early Stage Researcher (ESR) at the Rural Sociology Group at Wageningen University for a period of 36 months. The salary is maximum € 2.612 gross per month based on fulltime employment (in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement of the Dutch Universities) and depends on qualifications and experience.  Candidates will be selected taking into account their:

  • Academic credentials (examination and MSc thesis marks, additional training, internships, published papers, participation in scientific conferences, participation in national and international research projects related to the theme etc.).
  • Ability to do scientific work in a non-academic environment.
  • Ability to cross borders between disciplines and between science, practice and policy.
  • Willingness to travel.
  • Excellent command of the English language: IELTS (6.5, with a minimum of 6.0 for each (academic) module) or TOEFL (580 points for the written TOEFL, 237 points for the computer based TOEFL and 92-93 points for the Internet-based TOEFL. All are to be supplemented by results of the Test of Written English (academic TWE). The minimum score required for this test is 5.0). Submitted test results must be dated within 24 months prior to the start of the project. Candidates from Anglophone countries and candidates that have completed a Master programme with English as language of instruction do not have to submit test results.

About the PUREFOOD research and training network

PUREFOOD is a Marie Curie Initial Training Network funded by the European Union. The objective of PUREFOOD is to train a pool of early-stage researchers in the socio-economic and socio-spatial dynamics of the (peri-)urban and regional foodscape. Specifically, the projects will focus on three key aspects of the new food geography: sustainable food supply chains, public sector food procurement practices and (peri) urban food strategies.

PUREFOOD provides a unique opportunity for early stage researchers to acquire a PhD degree in an exciting and emerging field of agrifood studies. The Network brings together 7 university partners in 4 European countries (the Netherlands, the UK, Latvia, Italy), Brasil and Uganda. Together they offer an interdisciplinary training program consisting of compulsory training in social science disciplines (economy, sociology, geography and planning) and interdisciplinary courses that will provide the broadest possible education for a future career in academia or in practice. PUREFOOD also includes 8 associate partners from the private sector, government and NGO, who will offer professional courses, secondment and exchange opportunities. The PUREFOOD network, therefore, offers a cutting edge research and training program based on an innovative methodology, an interdisciplinary network, a significant and diversified involvement of the public and private sector as well as NGOs and a holistic emphasis on best practice examples in the alternative food geography.


For general information about PUREFOOD, please contact Els Hegger MSc (els.hegger@wur.nl) (please do not use this e-mail address to apply) or have a look at PUREFOOD Information Pack. Please also have a look at our PUREFOOD FAQs. For information about this project, please contact Prof. Han Wiskerke (han.wiskerke@wur.nl) or Dr. Petra Derkzen (petra.derkzen@wur.nl).


You can apply for this position via www.jobsat.wur.nl before May 30th 2011 (Vacancy number: SSG-RSO-0004). When applying please submit a letter of motivation, your CV and preferably also copies of relevant diplomas, language proficiency test (if applicable) and reference letters.