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PhD Opportunity on ‘Farming systems analytics to inform advisory systems towards sustainable intensification of smallholder farms’


International Potato Center
Ref.: 2022/01/NRS/RW/SSA
Call for a Sponsorship PhD

The International Potato Center (CIP) in partnership with the Plant Production Systems group at Wageningen University are seeking to recruit an enthusiastic student who wants to pursue a grant for a PhD project.The selected student will be enrolled at Wageningen University under the modality of a sponsored PhD.
He/she will be enrolled by the Plant Production Systems group of Wageningen University and will be supervised by a professor of this group and co-supervised by a Systems Agronomist Senior Scientist from CIP.

The Plant Production Systems (PPS) group uses systems analysis to understand the soil-crop-animal-environmental interactions with the aim to achieve sustainable food production. Using concepts of systems analysis, the PPS group develops methods that allow integrated analysis and design of alternative futures
at farm, regional, national, international and global scales. The PPS group thus contributes to a mission that strives to provide grounded quantitative analysis to underpin responses to urgent societal issues such as global food security, agricultural and environmental policies, competition for natural resources, food-feed-
fuel interactions and global environmental change.

For field work, the student will be hosted by a CGIAR center’s office in the country of the study. 

PhD topic description
Farming systems analytics to inform advisory systems towards sustainable intensification of smallholder farms. The Excellence in Agronomy (EiA) Initiative aims to deliver agronomic gain for millions of smallholder farming households in prioritized farming systems, with emphasis on women and young farmers for measurable
impact on food and nutrition security, income, water use, soil health and climate resilience. This objective will be achieved through co-creation and deployment of gender- and youth-responsive solutions to smallholder farmers with scaling partners, enabling the creation of value from big data and advanced analytics, addressing key knowledge gaps and facilitating innovation in agronomy research, and nurturing internal efficiencies for an agile and demand-driven agronomy research and development community. The work in EiA is organized around use cases that take place in contrasting context in the Global South.

Key responsibilities:
• Carrying out relevant research on the topic of the PhD study. This will include data collection through field work, data analysis and interpretation, and writing of publications and a PhD thesis.
• The PhD research topic needs to be agreed between the student, Wageningen University and CIP.

Selection criteria:
• MSc degree in agronomy or agricultural economics with strong analytical and quantitative skills and interest in participatory research with farmers and other stakeholders.

• Experience with experimental work and/or modelling is an advantage.
• The candidate should be able to combine broad system aspects with more detailed aspects of agricultural production systems.
• Candidates from the Global South are eligible for this position, and female candidates are particularly encouraged to apply.
• Good communication skills and proficiency in English are a prerequisite.

PhD candidates from non-Anglophone countries are required to submit an internationally recognized Certificate of Proficiency in the English Language (e.g., TOEFL, IELTS) with their CV. Note that this is an absolute requirement as candidates cannot be admitted to the PhD program otherwise. This certificate is
not a requirement for PhD candidates who have completed their higher education with English as the language of instruction. Requirements are one of the following:

- TOEFL internet-based 90, with minimum sub-score 20 for speaking,
- IELTS 6.5, with minimum sub-score 6.0 for speaking,
- Cambridge Certificate of Advanced English (CAE) minimum grade B,
- Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE) any grade.

What are we offering?
The sponsorship PhD will be for an overall period of four years subject to confirmation of available funding and PhD progress on an annual basis. The sponsorship PhD study will include an allowance (1300 €/month) for 18 months in Wageningen and a stipend (750 €/month) for 30 months in the country of field work. Health
insurance will be covered for the whole four-year period. Bench and University fees will also be covered. As part of this training, you have to broaden your knowledge as specified in a Training and Supervision Plan (see for further information), including refresher courses, advanced PhD courses, presentation of posters and talks at conferences.

How to apply?
Visit the following link: and submit the following document:

1. A one-page motivation letter.
2. Your curriculum vitae highlighting your academic training, work experience and list of publications
3. Scanned copies of academic diplomas (bachelor and master) and associated lists of marks/qualifications
for courses followed.
4. Your English proficiency certificate if needed (see above).
5. A completed assignment in relation to the research you would like to undertake (see Appendix 2).
Screening of applications will begin on August 21st, 2022 and will continue until the post is filled. All applications will be acknowledged; however only short-listed candidates will be contacted.

This position will not have contact with children or vulnerable adults.

Learn more about CIP by accessing our web site at
And Wageningen University at

CIP is an equal opportunity employer. Qualified women are particularly encouraged to apply.