PhD Position in Promoting Healthy and Sustainable Workplace Food Environments
Wageningen University

PhD Position on Promoting Healthy and Sustainable Workplace Food Environments

Location Wageningen

We are looking for

This PhD position is part of the Regio Deal Foodvalley. This is a transdisciplinary collaboration between Wageningen University & Research, Utrecht University, national and local governments, and entrepreneurs, aiming to boost transitions towards a healthy and sustainable food system. One track of this programme focuses on nutrition and health across the life span, starting from early age to elderly. The track consists of six workpackages, including the workpackage “healthy food choices in healthy environments”. In this workpackage, Wageningen University, Utrecht University, Ziekenhuis Gelderse Vallei, Gemeente Utrecht, Gemeente Ede, BeBright and other partners participate. The aim is to create a leading region where food environments are (co)created that invite healthy and sustainable food choices. The region will function as a living lab for pilots and experimentation to advance generic knowledge of food environments for healthy and sustainable diets of adults. We will use insights and knowledge from different disciplinary fields, including social psychology and public health sciences, for the design and implementation of strategies aimed at promoting healthy and sustainable food behaviors in all layers of society. This provides a unique opportunity for a learning-by-doing approach to food environments.

Within this programme, we are looking for a PhD student that has a knack for generating practice-based evidence and implementation research where combining theory and robust study design closely align with field work entailing setting up studies, collecting data, collaborating with different parties, and managing a project network. Also you will collaborate closely with other PhD students and stakeholders.

PhD Promoting Healthy and Sustainable workplace food environments

There is a growing interest in offering healthy and sustainable food options at the workplace.  Healthy food consumption is important to encourage vitality, health and sustainable employability. As a considerable amount of time is spent at work, this is an important setting of food consumption. However, workplace food environments are not always supportive to enable healthy and sustainable food choices. Moreover, small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs, up to 250 employees) not always have the opportunity to work with large caterers that can support in creating a healthy and sustainable food environment at the workplace (e.g., in the worksite restaurant). Therefore, other intervention strategies are needed to support SMBs in creating healthy and sustainable food environments.

This PhD project aims to use a co-creation approach involving relevant stakeholders and SMB employers and employees to develop and evaluate SMB workplace food environment interventions to enable  healthy and sustainable food choices at the workplace. Both quantitative and qualitative studies will be conducted to gain insight in employers and employees support, requirements and needs with respect to a healthy and sustainable food environment at work. Moreover, interventions  towards a healthy and sustainable food environment at SMBs will be developed and tested in a real-life experiment. In this project the PhD student will investigate implementation processes, psychological processes (e.g., acceptance, preferences) and behavioral processes such as food choices with respect to healthy and sustainable food environments in SMBs.  

This position will be placed in the chair group Consumption and Healthy Lifestyles, we are a young and ambitious chair group keen to unravel the origins of healthy and sustainable consumption and lifestyle practices.

We ask

You will fit our profile when you have:

  • completed a master’s degree (preferably a research master) in Public Health, Nutrition, Social or Health Psychology or a related discipline; Marketing or Consumer studies; Food Policy, Facility Management, or a related discipline;
  • knowledge and experience in the area of food-related behavior change, food systems, behavioral intervention planning, evaluation or implementation, or food-related facility management is an advantage;
  • excellent organizational, communication and social skills illustrating a hands-on mind set;
  • proven affinity with scientific research in the domain of eating behavior, public health nutrition or food systems;
  • strong affinity with trans- and interdisciplinary and field research;
  • excellent Dutch as well as English written and spoken communication skills (given the intensive interaction with Dutch clients, excellent command of Dutch is obligatory).
You also have to meet all the entry requirements of the WUR PhD programme.

We offer

You will receive a fully funded PhD position and you will be offered a course program tailored to your needs and the research team.

The gross salary for the first year is € 2.395,- per month rising to € 3.061,- in the fourth year in according to the Collective Labour Agreement (scale P). This is based on a full working week of 38 hours. We offer a temporary contract for 18 months which will be extended for the duration of the project if you perform well.
In addition, we offer:

  • 8% holiday allowance;
  • a structural end-of year bonus of 8.3%;
  • excellent training opportunities and secondary employment conditions;
  • flexible working hours that we determine together in good consultation;
  • excellent pension plan through ABP;
  • 232 vacation hours, the option to purchase extra and good supplementary leave schemes, e.g. the possibility to work a maximum of 2 hours per week extra for extra leave;
  • a flexible model to put together part of your employment conditions yourself, such as a bicycle plan;
  • a lively workplace on the Wageningen Campus;
  • make use of the sports facilities on campus for a small fee.
Wageningen University & Research stimulates internal career opportunities and mobility with our internal recruitment policy. There are ample opportunities for personal initiative in a learning environment. With us you get a versatile job in an international environment with a pleasant and open working atmosphere, with students and staff from over 100 countries around the world.

You are going to work at the greenest and most innovative campus in Holland, and at a university that has been chosen as the “Best University” in the Netherlands for the 15th consecutive time.

More information

For more information about this function you can contact Dr. Maartje Poelman via

For more information about the procedure you can contact Sandra Willemsen, Corporate Recruiter or Bianca Averasteeg, Recruitment support via

Do you want to apply?

This can be done directly via the application button at the vacancy on our website so that we can process your personal data with your permission. Only applications received via our website are taken into consideration.

This vacancy is open up to and including the 19th of August, 2020. We want to plan the first job interviews in the week of the 24th or the 31st of August, 2020.
In order to apply, please upload:

  • a motivation letter;
  • your cv, with names of 2 references.
In addition, you are asked to submit (via ‘other’) a short plan of 250 words (which we call an abstract) of a study you would like to conduct which could include research questions or hypotheses and research methods (participants, design, measures, analyses).

The final starting date for this project is the 1st of October, 2020.  

Equal opportunities employer

We are an employer that offers equal opportunities. We are happy to receive applications from all suitably qualified people regardless of race, gender, functional impairment, religion / belief, sexual orientation or age.

We believe that a diverse and inclusive working environment makes us a more relevant, competitive and resilient organization. Click herefor more information about working at WUR with a functional impairment.

We are

The mission of our University is to explore the potential of nature to improve the quality of life. Within Wageningen University & Research, nine specialised research institutes from the Wageningen Research Foundation and Wageningen University have joined forces to help answer the most important questions in the domain of healthy food and living environment.

With approximately 30 locations, 6.500 employees, and 12.000 students, it is one of the leading organisations in its domain worldwide. An integrated approach to problems and the cooperation between various disciplines are at the heart of the unique approach of Wageningen. We have been named Best Employer in Education category 2019-2020.

Click here for more information about working at Wageningen University & Research. More information about Wageningen Campus you can find here.

We do the recruiting for this vacancy ourselves. Please do not contact us for sales purposes.

Apply now

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