PhD position: Demand-Led Scaling in the CGIAR

Wageningen University
April 01, 2023
Offerd Salary:Negotiation
Working address:N/A
Contract Type:Other
Working Time:Negotigation
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Job description

The scaling of innovations (novel technologies, products, services, management practices, organisational models and/or institutional arrangements) is a key requirement for achieving development impact at scale. Impact never arises from an isolated innovation or change, but involves the uptake of multiple interdependent changes across different actors, levels and spheres, including the private sector. Thus, research for development programmes need to engage with multiple scaling processes and partners simultaneously, and consider both the 'up-scaling' of novel technologies, practices and arrangements, as well as the 'down-scaling' of the currently dominant ones.

The CGIAR initiative 'Excellence in Agronomy' uses a unique and novel approach to foster a coherent set of scaling processes. Instead of pushing a particular innovation that is deemed useful by researchers, it starts from a stated demand for agronomic solutions stated by an active scaling partner. Identified demands are further articulated, refined, developed and operationalized as a 'Use Case' that more precisely defines a particular scope for an intervention, including agronomy products, a zone of influence, a relevant network, user- profiles and process agreements. An assumed key advantage of this approach is that it builds on real rather than assumed demands, and starts from initiatives and networks that are already working towards scaling and innovation rather than bringing partners together from scratch.

We are looking for a PhD candidate who is interested to study this new demand- led scaling approach. Relevant lines of investigation may include:

  • how demands are articulated by scaling partners and whose demands are eventually being served and whose not?
  • whether and how the approach changes and disrupts ingrained modes of working in AR4D and whether it fosters conducive and effective collaboration and partnerships towards scaling and impact?
  • how the operationalization and effectiveness of the demand-led approach application differs across contexts and regions?
  • Tasks

  • Develop a PhD-research proposal to be accepted by the Wageningen School of Social Sciences
  • Develop and conduct a Training and Supervision Plan
  • Conduct research on the topic described in collaboration with the monitoring and evaluation unit of Excellence in Agronomy
  • Write scientific articles about the findings and submit them to relevant international scientific journals
  • Participate in feedback and learning sessions organised by Excellence in Agronomy
  • Present findings at seminars and conferences
  • Organisation of the PhD-research project The position is made possible by the CGIAR Excellence in Agronomy initiative, and is hosted by Wageningen University. The PhD-candidate will be a member of the Wageningen School of Social Sciences (WASS) of Wageningen University. The PhD-candidate will be located in the Netherlands for the first and the final 10 months at the Knowledge, Technology and Innovation group in Wageningen, and be based at IITA in Nairobi for the remaining period. The research will include case-studies in several parts of the world, and hence there is a need for considerable travel and periods abroad.


  • A university degree (MSc) in a relevant scientific field that includes considerable social science substance;
  • Strong interest in agricultural research for development, innovation and development impact;
  • Strong knowledge and skills regarding a diversity of qualitative and quantitative research methods and data analysis approaches
  • Interest in action-oriented research and relevant proven skills of facilitating interaction as part of research implementation
  • Excellent analytical skills and conceptual understanding
  • Strong communicative, collaboration, networking and scientific writing skills
  • Good knowledge of English language, in listening, speaking and writing (OOPT score C1 or C2)
  • Compliance with all the entry requirements of the WUR PhD programme.
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    Conditions of employment

    We offer a so-called PhD-sandwich scholarship position of 4 years at WUR. The scholarship will provide for 20 months of stay in Wageningen and 28 months elsewhere. The student will be provided with:

  • A living allowance during their stay at Wageningen University
  • A living allowance for their stay in the project country
  • A budget for the field research
  • Travel costs
  • Support to obtain a residence permit for their stay in the Netherlands.
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    Employer Wageningen University & Research

    Wageningen University & Research The mission of Wageningen University & Research is "To explore the potential of nature to improve the quality of life". Under the banner Wageningen University & Research, Wageningen University and the specialised research institutes of the Wageningen Research Foundation have joined forces in contributing to finding solutions to important questions in the domain of healthy food and living environment. With its roughly 30 branches, 7,200 employees (6,400 fte) and 13,200 students and over 150.000 participants to WUR's Life Long Learning, Wageningen University & Research is one of the leading organisations in its domain. The unique Wageningen approach lies in its integrated approach to issues and the collaboration between different disciplines.

    Read the 5 reasons why your future colleagues enjoy working at WUR and watch this video to get an idea of our green campus!

    We will recruit for the vacancy ourselves, so no employment agencies please. However, sharing in your network is appreciated.


    Additional information

    General information about the Wageningen University PhD programme is available on Wageningen Graduate Schools Sandwich PhD programme - WUR.

    For more information about this position you can contact: Prof. Dr. Ir. Cees Leeuwis Wageningen University & Research, The Netherlands. Email: [email protected] OR Theresa Ampadu-Boakye, IITA Nairobi, T.Ampadu- [email protected]

    For more information about the procedure, please contact Noorien Abbas, email: [email protected]

    Do you want to apply? You can apply directly using the apply button on the vacancy page on our website which will allow us to process your personal information with your approval.

    This vacancy will be listed up to and including 29-03 2023.

    Equal opportunities Wageningen University & Research (WUR) employs a large number of people with very different backgrounds and qualities, who inspire and motivate each other. We want every talent to feel at home in our organisation and be offered the same career opportunities. We therefore especially welcome applications from people who are underrepresented at WUR. For more information please go to our inclusivity page. A good example of how WUR deals with inclusiveness can be read on the page working at WUR with a functional impairment.

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