The Rural Sociology Group and Business Economics Group jointly offer thesis opportunities on developing business models that enhance soil quality.
Developing a theoretical framework for business models that enhance soil quality in crop and dairy production.
Soil quality is (rapidly) decreasing in The Netherlands, and thereby endangering future income perspectives of farmers. Moreover, reduced soil quality provokes all kind of negative externalities, such as reduced biodiversity, increased climate-change related risks, etc.. Hence, increasing and maintaining soil quality is a prerequisite for sustainable soil use.
This issue affects a multitude of stakeholders, each with different positions and preferences.
Business models, including various stakeholders and aimed at increasing and maintaining soil quality, are essential to enable farmers taking appropriate measures focused on these aims.
Currently, various initiatives have been taken to develop business models, mostly at a smaller scale. However, for mainstream agriculture to getting involved in improved soil management, a thorough theoretical framework, based on scientific analysis and rooted in (at least) economic and sociological theory, is essential. Only then, essentials of balanced business models can be developed which have the pursuit for larger-scale adoption in practice.
Being a pilot study, the aims of this MSc Thesis research are:
- Qualitative analysis of real costs of soil management (i.e. monetary and non-monetary costs, such as costs for society) through the application of basic economic (cost) concepts;
- Qualitative analysis of the stakeholder structure;
- Definition of business cases and performance of a qualitative SWOT-analysis;
- Evaluation of several existing business cases against the developed framework.
We are looking for a MSc-thesis student with an interest in the topic and a background in (business-)economics and/or rural/agrarian sociology.