Postdoctoral Researcher on Policy Coherence, Agricultural Development and Sustainable Peace in Sub-Saharan Africa 2022

Are you a motivated researcher and would you like to investigate how policy coherence evolves and affects the realisation of Sustainable Development Goals? And does conducting research on sub-Saharan Africa, an area that represents a diversity of SDG-challenges, sound exciting to you? Then you have a part to play as a postdoc for the research project ‘Synergizing Sustainability’.

To study this, the project focuses on the complex interactions and contestations between diverse stakeholders at different levels in the policy-making process, including the politics of discourses on notions like ‘sustainability’ and ‘peace’, and how they result in synergies, as well as frictions, contradictions, and trade-offs. Through innovative peer-to-peer exchange, the project facilitates learning and co-creation of knowledge among stakeholders, aiming to identify how policy-makers can more effectively contribute to sustainable transformations.

So far, ‘Synergizing Sustainability’ includes a postdoctoral research project and a PhD project. The postdoctoral research project explores donor discourses and practices of policy-making in the EU and its member states, and among multilateral organizations, exploring how the interaction of a multiplicity of stakeholders (including policy-makers from different departments, embassies, the European agri-food sector and NGOs) affects policy coherence and incoherence in agricultural development policies of EU member states vis-à-vis Sub-Saharan Africa. Through experimenting with innovative peer-to-peer exchange and co-creation with stakeholders, the project aims to identify how policy-makers can more effectively prevent trade-offs between SDGs, and also gathers insights on the strengths and conditionality of assumed positive effects of co-creation between academic researchers and policy-makers. The affiliated PhD project studies discourses and practices of policy-making around agricultural development by donors, government, civil society and agri-business in Burkina Faso and Ethiopia (with Uganda as an alternative).

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As a postdoctoral researcher, you will conduct extensive research on policy-making practices of EU member states and regularly interact with policy-makers. You will conduct this research  partly on your own, and partly in close collaboration with the project team, which includes Prof. Mathijs van Leeuwen, and Dr Haley Swedlund, Dr Gerry van der Kamp-Alons, Dr Maria Kaufman and the PhD candidate. You will write and co-author academic papers together with the other project team members.

You will take the lead in knowledge sharing and co-creation efforts in the project, take care of stakeholder management in the countries concerned, and help train the PhD candidate in interactive research and co-creation. You will also help create and facilitate opportunities for Master’s research within the project.

The position is for 3 years and also involves 20% teaching (including thesis supervision). You will be part of the team of the Department of Political Science.


  • You have a PhD degree in political science, human geography, development studies, anthropology or a related field.
  • You have relevant experience in conducting research on agricultural development and (inclusive) policy-making in sub-Saharan Africa.
  • You can demonstrate your capacity of conducting high-quality research and have experience with working in teams.
  • You have experience with interactive research methodologies involving close collaboration with policy-makers and development practitioners, and you can demonstrate an interest in translating research findings to non-academic stakeholders, including local people; and are willing to train others in such methodologies.
  • You have expertise in facilitating multiple stakeholder platforms.
  • You have excellent knowledge of both English and French.
  • You have experience in teaching and supervision of Master’s theses. Preferably, you already have a University Teaching Qualification (BKO).

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We offer

  • Employment for 1.0 FTE.
  • The gross monthly salary amounts to a minimum of €3,821 and a maximum of €5,230 based on a 38-hour working week, depending on previous education and number of years of relevant work experience (salary scale 11).
  • Applicants from abroad moving to the Netherlands may qualify for a special tax relief, by which 30% of their salary is tax free.
  • You will receive 8% holiday allowance and 8.3% end-of-year bonus.
  • It concerns a temporary employment for 3 years.
  • You will be able to use our Dual Career and Family Care Services. Our Dual Career and Family Care Officer can assist you with family-related support, help your partner or spouse prepare for the local labour market, provide customized support in their search for employment  and help your family settle in Nijmegen.
  • Working for us means getting extra days off. In case of full-time employment, you can choose between 29 or 41 days of annual leave instead of the legally allotted 20.

How To Apply?

You can apply until 22 May 2022, exclusively using the button below. Kindly address your application to Mathijs van Leeuwen. Please fill in the application form and attach the following documents:

  • A motivation letter explaining your motivation, your interest in the project, and your competence in the research field.
  • Your CV, including academic qualifications, grades, international experience, a list of publications, and two academic references.
  • A proposal of two A4 pages maximum (Times New Roman 12, 1.5 spaced) setting out your ideas and the kind of empirical approach you would want to undertake.

The first round of interviews will take place in week 22. The second round of interviews will take place in week 23. You would preferably begin employment on 1 September 2022.

We can imagine you’re curious about our application procedure. It offers a rough outline of what you can expect during the application process, how we handle your personal data and how we deal with internal and external candidates.

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For more information, visit the official website