Are you interested in complex systems analysis? Do you like to develop modelling approaches to help analyze sustainability solutions? Please apply at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam.

Link for application and full description:

FTE: 1
This PhD position aims at developing a novel modelling approach to better represent complex system dynamics related to food and land use systems to contribute to the analysis of sustainability solutions and the identification of leverage points for transformative change. The PhD is expected to develop an approach that can represent consumer-producer value chains and distant interactions in a spatially explicit approach that accounts for the variations in local conditions in the human-environment system and land use change. The modelling approach will be tested and applied in a number of different externally funded projects, related to: a) urban food systems in African cities; b) the transition to plant-based diets; c) the implementation and adoption of sustainable land use practices in European agriculture. The PhD student is expected to contribute to these projects while designing tools building on bayesian networks and spatial land use models.

Your duties
conduct high quality research and publish results in academic journals and a PhD thesis
make literature review, design modelling approaches, conduct data analysis and perform simulation studies
collaborate within and outside the institute with experts in the field
make a contribution to teaching

Msc degree in environmental sciences, ecology or geography with proven knowledge of interdisciplinary approaches
knowledge of and experience with quantitative (spatial) methods and modelling techniques
good writing skills

A challenging position in a socially involved organization. The salary will be in accordance with university regulations for academic personnel and amounts €2,395 (PhD) per month during the first year and increases to €3,061 (PhD) per month during the fourth year, based on a full-time employment. The job profile is based on the university job ranking system and is vacant for 1 FTE.

The appointment will initially be for 1 year. After a satisfactory evaluation of the initial appointment, the contract will be extended for a duration of 4 years.
Additionally, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam offers excellent fringe benefits and various schemes and regulations to promote a good work/life balance, such as:
a maximum of 41 days of annual leave based on full-time employment
8% holiday allowance and 8.3% end-of-year bonus
and a contribution to commuting expenses

The ambition of Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is clear: to contribute to a better world through outstanding education and ground-breaking research. We strive to be a university where personal development and commitment to society play a leading role. A university where people from different disciplines and backgrounds collaborate to achieve innovations and to generate new knowledge. Our teaching and research encompass the entire spectrum of academic endeavor – from the humanities, the social sciences and the natural sciences through to the life sciences and the medical sciences.

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is home to more than 26,000 students. We employ over 4,600 individuals. The VU campus is easily accessible and located in the heart of Amsterdam’s Zuidas district, a truly inspiring environment for teaching and research.

We are an inclusive university community. Diversity is one of our most important values. We believe that engaging in international activities and welcoming students and staff from a wide variety of backgrounds enhances the quality of our education and research. We are always looking for people who can enrich our world with their own unique perspectives and experiences.

The Faculty of Science
The Faculty of Science inspires researchers and students to find sustainable solutions for complex societal issues. From forest fires to big data, from obesity to medicines and from molecules to the moon: our teaching and research programmes cover the full spectrum of the natural sciences. We share knowledge and experience with leading research institutes and industries, both here in the Netherlands and abroad.

Working at the Faculty of Science means working with students, PhD candidates and researchers, all with a clear focus on their field and a broad view of the world. We employ more than 1,250 staff members, and we are home to around 6,000 students.
About the institute
IVM is a leading environmental research institute that is internationally recognized for its high quality research output in a range of environmental disciplines, as well as for its interdisciplinary work. The mission of the institute is to contribute to sustainable development and care for the environment through scientific research and teaching. IVM aims to do excellent problem-oriented research that is useful to a wide range of stakeholders in the Netherlands and internationally. A unique strength of our research is to understand sustainability problems in their social and economic context. IVM’s research community works within four departments: Environmental Economics; Environmental Policy Analysis; Environmental Geography; and Water and Climate Risk. Since 2001 IVM is part of the Faculty of Science at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam ( This position is based within the Environmental Geography department.

Are you interested in this position? Please apply via the application button (see page and upload your curriculum vitae and cover letter until August 10, 2021. Your motivation letter should not only provide your motivation for the position (why a PhD? why this PhD position?) but also provide a short section (half a page max) on your ideas about the role of modelling tools in addressing complex human-environment systems. Preferably we also receive the contact details of two possible references. There is no need to include recommendation letters. It is appreciated if you can provide a link to your Msc thesis or an alternative relevant document written by you. We anticipate that the successful candidate can start the position between September and November 2021.

Applications received by e-mail will not be processed.

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