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PhD scholarship within International Environment and Development Studies - Food systems transformation and equitable development

Deadline: 29.03.2020

We seek applicants with research interest in the transformation of food systems and equitable development

About the position

Norwegian University of Life Sciences

NMBU has a special responsibility for research and education that ensures the basis of life for future generations.

Sustainability is rooted in everything we do and we provide knowledge for life.

NMBU has 1700 employees and 5200 students and is organized in seven faculties. NMBU has a campus in Ås and in Oslo. In the autumn of 2020 we are co-located on Ås. Further information on NMBU is available at www.nmbu.no.


The Faculty has 1300 students, 60 PhD candidates and 180 staff. It consists of five sub-units, carrying out research and education in the fields of urban and regional planning, property management and law, landscape architecture, international environment and development studies, and public health.

The faculty runs two PhD programmes:

• Society, Development and Planning
• International Environment and Development Studies

The Department of International Environment and Development Studies is a leading educational and research institution in Norway, conducting world class and highly internationalized critical interdisciplinary research across the fields of International Relations, Environment and Global Development Studies, focusing on global challenges at the intersection between social and natural processes. It is organized into four research clusters: rights and power in development, climate change and agricultural development, conflict and human security, and environmental governance.

The Department comprises 31 academic staff, 27 PhD candidates and 400 fulltime students, and is responsible for one Bachelor program, three

Master programs, and a PhD program. For further information regarding thematic areas and ongoing research, please visit:


The Department of International Environment and Development Studies, Faculty of Landscape and Society at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU) has a vacant 3-year PhD–position on Food systems transformation and equitable development.

According to UN statistics, there is an increasing number of people going hungry in the world, an increase in malnutrition, overweight and obesity, a growing need for food relief in humanitarian crisis, and increasing vulnerability caused by poverty and protracted conflicts, as well as climate change and environmental degradation. These interrelated challenges are increasingly formulated in terms of ‘food systems’ and many actors are now calling for a transformation of the world’s food systems. The Committee on World Food Security’s Panel of Experts (2017) have defined food systems as systems that gather all the elements (environment, people, inputs, processes, infrastructures, institutions, etc.) and activities that relate to the production, processing, distribution, preparation and consumption of food, and the outputs of these activities, including socio-economic and environmental outcomes.

To what degree and how global, national and local food systems will be able to transform in more social, economic and environmentally sustainable directions is a demanding question with contested and diverse answers. In this PhD project, we suggest focussing on the social equality dimensions of food systems transformation. Inequality within and between human

groups is one of the worrying issues in today’s world. TheUnited Nations have drawn attention to the related nature of inequality in different areas such as food, and have made reducing inequality, including gender inequality, one of the major aims of the Sustainable Development Goals.

Priority will be given to creative and innovative proposals addressing global, national and/or local food systems transformation and equitable development within or across the following thematic foci:

  • Transformational factors towards more equitable food systems relating to e.g., governance factors, political economy factors, social and cultural factors, resource factors, technological factors, and knowledge factors
  • Food politics and power relations, the role of the state towards trans-national agri-food corporations (TNCs) and food workers’ rights
  • The meaning of equitable food systems in situations of protracted crisis, new famines and humanitarian actions
  • Food justice, food movements, consumer behavior and diets as focus areas for investigating equitable food systems both in the Global South and/or North

Main tasks

It is expected that the appointed candidate is admitted to the PhD programme in International Environment and Development Studies. The PhD programme consists of mandatory and elective courses with oral and written examinations and a major research component.

The successful candidate is expected to enter a plan for the progress of the work towards a PhD degree during the first months of the appointment, with a view to completing a doctorate within the PhD scholarship period.

Academic qualifications:

The successful applicant must meet the conditions defined for admission to a PhD Programme at NMBU. For more detailed information please see PhD programme description. The applicant must document expertise and interest in the research subject.

Required Academic qualifications:

  • An academically relevant education corresponding to a five-year Norwegian degree programme, where 120 credits are at master's degree level.
  • GPA of minimum B and minimum B on the Master thesis.
  • Documented proficiency in both written and oral English (IELTS 7.0 or equivalent)

Educational background:

  • Preference will be given to candidates with a Master in global development studies or one of the social sciences. But candidates with other relevant educational background might also apply.

Required personal skills:

  • Well organised and efficient
  • Independent and responsive
  • Motivated to manage a research project
  • Enjoy interdisciplinary and collaborative work

Remuneration and information

The position is placed in government pay scale position code 1017 PhD Fellow. PhD Fellows are normally placed in pay grade 54 (NOK 479.600,-) on the Norwegian Government salary scale upon employment and follow ordinary meriting regulations.

Employment is conducted according to national guidelines for University and Technical College PhD scholars.

For further information, please contact:

Information for PhD applicants and general Information to applicants


To apply online for this vacancy, please click on the 'Apply for this job' button above. This will route you to the University's Web Recruitment System, where you will need to register an account (if you have not already) and log in before completing the online application form.

Application deadline: 29.03.2020

Applicants will be evaluated on the basis of their academic qualifications, the quality of the draft research proposal and previous research as well as other relevant experience.

A shortlist of applicants will be called for an interview as a part of the evaluation. Applicants invited for an interview are expected to present original diplomas and certificates.

Applications should include:

  • Letter of intent
  • Research proposal: The proposal should specify the research problem, relevant theory, methods, and a list of references. A work plan or progress plan should not be included. The maximum word count is 1500 (excluding references)
  • The applicant’s complete CV
  • List of publications (if any)
  • Electronic copy of Master’s thesis if available
  • Certified copies of relevant transcripts and diploma’s
  • Documentation of English proficiency
  • Names and contact details for two references

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