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PhD Transition Pathways


Job description

We are looking for

a (4 year) PhD candidate to study expectations and imaginaries and explore possible transition pathways related to the new concept of ‘Technology-4-Ecology-based farming’ (T4E). The PhD project is part of the Synergia project, which aims to develop ecological forms of arable, dairy and horticulture farming and new types of technological and socio-technical systems that challenge current forms of agriculture. The successful candidate will investigate the implicit and explicit concepts and visions of these new forms of farming and identify challenges and tensions. These insights will feed into exploration of socio-technical scenarios and transition pathways, which will be conducted together with stakeholders and partners in the project. This will serve as a basis to deduce requirements and options for responsibly governing transformative change. This PhD is part of the Science, Technology & Policy Studies (STePS) group, and supervised by prof.dr. S. Kuhlmann and dr. Kornelia Konrad.

The Synergia project is a crossover program funded by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO). Synergia goes beyond current precision agriculture and precision livestock farming and is developing the new concept of ‘Technology-4-Ecology-based farming’. Our multi-disciplinary team with biology, ecology, agronomy, technology and social science backgrounds, will explore how current and future farming technologies can enable and support truly ecology-based farming systems 

In this interdisciplinary program you will work closely with other PhD candidates, both from social sciences and with candidates working on developing the application of the T4E approach. In this way we aim to ensure the findings in this work are providing insight into the societal value of actual technologies on the one hand and allowing societal perspectives to influence technology development on the other.

Your profile

  • You have a master degree in science, technology and innovation studies, policy studies or a closely related field;
  • You have experience with qualitative research methods such as interviewing and discourse analytical methods;
  • You have an interest in innovations and their societal implications;
  • Knowledge in the agricultural sector and technologies is a pre;
  • You are an excellent team-player and are excited about working with scientists from different backgrounds;
  • You are proficient in English, preferable also in Dutch.


Please apply by clicking on the `Apply now’ button below before September 20, 2020. The application should include :

  • A motivation letter emphasizing motivation and qualifications,
  • A detailed CV, summarizing your education, previous work experience and contact details of at least 2 referees,
  • A list of all courses attended and grades acquired during your MSc and BSc courses.

For more information about this function, please contact dr. K.E. Konrad, email, phone: +31 53 489 3906. General information about the Science, Technology & Policy Studies group can be found on 

Our offer

We offer a 4-year, full time research position with a qualifier in the first year on a highly relevant topic, in a dynamic and international environment. The University of Twente (UT) offers excellent working conditions, an exciting scientific environment, and a green and lively campus with lots of sports facilities and an international scientific community!

  • Salary ranging from € 2.395- gross at the start to € 3.061,- gross in the 4th year.
  • Excellent benefits including a holiday allowance of 8% of the gross annual salary, a bonus of 8.3%.
  • You will receive good secondary conditions, in accordance with the collective labour agreement CAO-NU for Dutch universities.
  • We will make a training program with a plan for additional suitable education and personal development training.
  • As a PhD candidate you will be enrolled in the Twente Graduate School.
  • We provide an opportunity to work and interact with scientists from different academic backgrounds on a highly relevant project that is on the boundary between academic fields.

The organization

The University of Twente. We stand for life sciences and technology. High tech and human touch. Education and research that matter. New technology which leads change, innovation and progress in society. The University of Twente is the only campus university of the Netherlands; divided over five faculties we provide more than fifty educational programmes. We have a strong focus on personal development and talented researchers are given scope for carrying out groundbreaking research.

We are an equal opportunity employer and value diversity at our company. We do not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, color, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, age, marital status or disability status. Because of our diversity values we do particularly support women to apply.

Faculty of Behavioural, Management and Social sciences

The Faculty of Behavioural, Management and Social sciences (BMS) strives to play a pivotal role in understanding, co-engineering and evaluating innovation in society. Innovation is driven by advances in technology. Through 'social engineering' these technological advances are embedded in society befitting human needs and behaviour, within proper public and private management and business structures. For this the faculty of BMS upholds high quality disciplinary knowledge in psychology, business administration, public administration, communication science, philosophy, educational science and health sciences. All with a focus on the challenges in society. Research is strongly connected to our institutes: Mesa+ Institute, TechMed Centra and Digital Society Institute.

The Department of Science, Technology, and Policy Studies (STePS), University of Twente, The Netherlands, takes the assessment and governance of innovations and emerging technologies as its central theme of teaching and research. STePS considers in particular strategic issues that are multidisciplinary: they involve developments in science, technology, politics and society, as well as interaction between them. Studies conducted within STePS link analytical and normative perspectives, and consider not only technological innovations but also innovations in governance (
PhD Transition Pathways
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