Research School for Socio-Economic and
Natural Sciences of the Environment
Research School for Socio-Economic and
Natural Sciences of the Environment

Postdoc Sustainable farming for sustainable food systems: opportunities for plant protein production in Europe, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

Application deadline: 18 June 2019

Are you interested in sustainable food and farming systems, and would you like to join an interdisciplinary project on improving plant protein production in Europe? Please apply at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam.

Increasing domestic production of grain legumes is considered an important strategy for improving Europe’s food security and can be a pathway towards more sustainable food systems. Legume production in Europe might have significant co-benefits, such as increasing resilience of European farming systems and reducing fertilizer use, pesticide use and greenhouse gas emissions (climate-smart agriculture). What is the potential for expanding plant grain legume production in Europe? How large are the co-benefits and who are the beneficiaries? What are impacts and trade-offs on the environment, land use and value chain? How can increased grain legume production contribute to increasing sustainability of European farming systems?

The postdoc will contribute to the interdisciplinary project LegumeGAP, that explores scenarios of increasing production and sustainability of plant protein production in Europe. LegumeGAP is an interdisciplinary project that unites among others agronomists, economists, plant breeders and spatial ecologists from eight European countries. The position will not only research a societally relevant topic, involve a mix of both quantitative and qualitative methods, offer opportunities for participation in an international research consortium, but it will also require close collaboration with stakeholders to ensure research relevance and impact.
The postdoc position will be part of the Environmental Geography group at the Institute for Environmental Studies (IVM) at VU, which provides a stimulating, highly interdisciplinary research environment studying complex sustainability challenges.

Your duties:

  • Building scenarios that explore windows of opportunity for legume production in Europe
  • Impact assessment and analysis of trade-offs of legume production at EU and global level
  • Contribute to various cross-partner tasks, including an European-level farmers survey, EU scale modelling of potential crop yields and yield gaps, analysis and mapping of different yield gap components and drivers for it


  • PhD degree in geography, agronomy, environmental sciences or similar background
  • solid experience with large-scale spatial analysis, and proven interest in interdisciplinary research
  • experience with quantitative research, modelling, and qualitative research
  • command of Dutch is an advantage

More information:

Tuesday 4 June 2019