Skip to main content

PhD position at Wageningen University

We offer a PhD position at Wageningen University, the Netherlands (including scholarship) in the interdisciplinary project ‘Helping Poor Farmers Grow Money: Sustainable Cocoa Productivity and Socio-Economic Impacts of International Investments in Sierra Leone’. The position is part of an interdisciplinary NWO-WOTRO funded programme, which aims for science-based, sustainable expansion and intensification of cocoa production by smallholder farmers in West Africa. The programme focusses on investment programmes by international organisations (businesses and NGOs) in the cash crop farming sector. Programme partners are Wageningen University, Njala University, Theobroma BV and AMS Ltd, two companies operating in the cocoa sector in Sierra Leone.

We are looking for a highly qualified and motivated social sciences PhD candidate, preferably with a strong interest in interdisciplinary research. We offer a full time PhD position, with an initial duration of 18 months, after which a go/no-go decision will be taken on a subsequent extension of 30 months (to complete the PhD). Allowance per month is about 1200 Euro in the Netherlands and 600 Euro when in Sierra Leone. Research and travel budgets will also be available. Ph.D. researchers will be offered a course program, which can be tailored to the desires of the candidates and the research team.

The PhD position will start as soon as possible after the formal admission process is completed (ideally by 1 September 2017). In the first phase (basic PhD training and proposal development) and last phase (finalizing writing of the thesis) of the PhD trajectory, candidates will stay in the Netherlands for two periods of approximately nine months each. For the remainder of the four-year period, candidates will be stationed in Sierra Leone, collecting data, and liaising with partners.

We seek candidates with the following qualifications:
• A master’s degree in any area of development studies, i.e. economics, technology and innovation studies, agricultural extension, sociology, anthropology, or other related field;
• Strong knowledge and skills of research design, qualitative and quantitative methods for data collection, and qualitative and quantitative (statistical) approaches to data analysis and presentation;
• Interdisciplinary attitude in social sciences and an interest in institutional analysis.
• Knowledge of the cocoa sector in Sierra Leone and West Africa is a plus.
• Candidates from Sierra Leones, Mandingo and Mende speakers are especially encouraged to apply
• Proven ability to work in scientific teams and collaborate with a range of societal stakeholders.
             A collaborative and team-oriented attitude, with an open mind for other scientific approaches;
            Engagement with private sector initiatives, the public sector, and public-private partnerships;

            Capacity to carry out fieldwork independently with a communicative attitude to
            practitioners in the cocoa sector;
           Transdisciplinary attitude and proven experiences with innovative and crafty ways in
           dealing with different stakeholders.

• Strong oral and written communication skills in English, especially regarding academic writing
and presentation.
          Candidates with a scientific publication record are especially encouraged to apply.

How to apply?
Applications should be submitted via email to Your application should
include the following information:
1. An application letter explaining your motivation and aptitude for the position.
2. A detailed CV.
3. Names and contact details (email address) of two references.
Applications must be received by 11.59 PM on 20 August 2017.

Further process and timeline
Selected candidates will be invited for an interview.
Candidates should be aware that in case of selection after the interviews, the Wageningen PhD
programme admission officers will confirm whether candidates meet al formal criteria to enter the
Wageningen PhD programme. If these conditions are not met the candidate will not be admitted to
the position.

For enquiries please contact Dr. M. Voors,