Postdoctoral Researcher, Food Democracy

WorkplaceZurich, Zurich region, Switzerland


In der aktuellen Covid-19 Situation laufen die Rekrutierungen weiter. Es kann dabei allerdings zu Verzögerungen kommen. Vielen Dank für Ihr Verständnis.

Postdoctoral Researcher, Food Democracy

80%-100%, Zurich, fixed-term

The Department of Environmental Systems Science (D-USYS) at ETH Zurich conducts research and offers studies into the condition and functions of environmental systems. It develops solutions and methods for managing them on a sustainable basis. The Agroecological Transitions group applies concepts of sustainability and justice to the design and management of sustainable food systems.

Project background

The SNSF-funded project Does food democracy matter? Linking the deliberative quality of soy and coffee value chains to ecological “foodprints” (DELIBERATE) focuses on the question to what extent varying degrees of deliberation in the governance of agri-food value chains result in reduced ecological impacts. DELIBERATE investigates two globally relevant commodities with high social-ecological impacts: soy – linked to animal-based (e.g. meat, dairy) and non-animal-based food products (e.g. edible oil) – and coffee. The general aim is to understand whether and how the deliberative quality in agri-food value chains affects their ecological foodprints and power asymmetries among their key actors.

Job description

The postdoctoral position is the backbone of the “food democracy” part of the project. The research will focus on actors and their positions and interactions in the value chains, as well as their possibilities to participate in decision-making. A conceptual-methodological focus will be on investigating power asymmetries and deliberation in coffee and soybean value chains in the DRC and Brazil. Possible methods are actor mapping, value chain and institutional analysis, deliberative quality analysis, discourse analysis, and then linking the results to the environmental performance of these value chains as documented by reports or other research. It is foreseen that the postdoctoral researcher participates in the kick-off workshops, joint and independent research, with special focus on publishing own and combined project results. Fieldwork takes place in Brazil and the Democratic Republic of Congo, and links the value chains internationally. Research collaborations, field research, as well as workshops in Brazil and Congo are an essential component of the project and the postdoctoral research. The research will be part of the group “Agroecological Transitions” and located at the Institute of Agricultural Sciences.

Your profile

You should have a background in agrarian studies or rural sociology if you are an agronomist, or a background in geography or political sciences with a focus on agriculture and/or food system research. Related backgrounds that benefit the project’s aims are also welcome. A research focus on Brazil and Congo makes several short or few longer research periods in the study areas indispensable. You should have some experience in working with farmers and/or social movements, and have a strong interest in development research linked to sustainability and justice. Excellent oral and written English language skills are necessary. Speaking Portuguese and French is a plus, as well as experience in international research and/or sustainable development projects. Previous research experience in Africa and/or South America, and the application of mixed methods in participatory research are advantageous.

ETH Zurich

ETH Zurich is one of the world’s leading universities specialising in science and technology. We are renowned for our excellent education, cutting-edge fundamental research and direct transfer of new knowledge into society. Over 30,000 people from more than 120 countries find our university to be a place that promotes independent thinking and an environment that inspires excellence. Located in the heart of Europe, yet forging connections all over the world, we work together to develop solutions for the global challenges of today and tomorrow.
Working, teaching and research at ETH Zurich

In your application, please refer to and reference JobID 2129549.