Support to the Short Food Supply Chains in Ukraine: MSc Research Practice

This research practical is a project under the supervision of Dr Jessica Duncan, Rural Sociology Group, Wageningen University. It has been set up  students who want to prepare for a career in science but who have a passion for applied research.

Because the practical is research based, the student will need to write a research proposal, carry out a research project and finish with a research practice report.

  • Starting immediately
  • 4-6 months
  • 24-39 ECTS (to be determined with student and study advisor)
  • Flexible in terms of location
  • Only available to students who have permission from their study advisor. The research practical replaces the internship.

The candidate must have:

  • Strong research and communication skills required (english and additional languages are considered an asset)
  • Understanding of short food supply chains
  • Interest working with interdisciplinary teams
  • Ambition to publish research results as part of a team of co-authors


We are looking for a MSc student to research the possibility of short food supply chains in Ukraine in the current crisis and post-crisis contexts. The project will be supervised by Dr Jessica Duncan who is facilitating a collboration the the topic.

The intern will support the project by desiging and conducting research related to the following 4 steps. It is expected that the results will be published in a book on urban agriculture and occupied territories.

Step 1: Analyse the needs and opportunities for supporting the food supply chains

A rapid assessment of the current situation in Ukraine regarding food chains with support from experts and local networks.

Step 2: Identify and analyse the participating Municipalities

The situation in Ukraine varies and is changing on daily basis, thus rather than working on general level it would be best to identify Municipalities that have interest and capacity to work on short food supply chains. With experts, the intern will coordinate with at least 5 municipalities. The network of contacts in Ukraine will support identification of municipalities. 

Step 3: Map the stakeholders

An analysis of the needs in the selected Municipalities, as well as their potential would be performed. Issues such as population and demographic trends, land availability, labour availability, current food sources, provision and demand, as well as logistics, including storage, supply and distribution should be included in the analysis. Land availability, skills and labour are factors which influence the possibility of various approaches, ranging from large-scale production to small-scale involvement (e.g. garden plots).

Mapping of the stakeholders would be done with the support of local authorities, CSOs and local contacts. Mapping would include not only food producers, food processing companies, retailers, cooperatives and authorities responsible for food quality control, but also small-scale businesses, CSOs, organisations dealing with IDPs and informal groups (e.g. local women initiatives). An important aspect is the potential to organise therapeutic activities for the traumatised as part of short food supply chains.

Step 4: Prepare evidence-based guidelines for supporting short food supply chains

Based on the analysis, guidelines will be prepared for organising and supporting food supply chains. In order to be used by a variety of actors, from municipal authorities to CSOs, the guidelines would include a range of issues and activities, such as organisation of local food markets and food distribution, integration of relocated businesses and people, agricultural advisory service and advice on food processing, as well as provision of therapeutic support and recreation. Preparation of the guidelines would require close collaboration of the international experts and the network of contacts in Ukraine and would nee to be useful in a range of contexts (urban / rural, cash-for-work programmes / contribution in kind), and include a range of practices (e.g. seeds sharing and distribution, food sharing, community cooking).

Learning outcomes

After successful completion of your MSc research practice, you are expected to be able to:

  1. Evaluate career interests and ambitions in relation to the research project and reflect on professional ambitions and capabilities.
  2. Develop a research plan, including: a description of the research topic in relation to the wider scientific context; an identification of the knowledge gap; formulation of research questions and/or a hypothesis, aims and objectives; an explanation of how you intend to conduct the research (e.g. in terms of a design for the project, data-collection and -analysis methods, research tools).
  3. Collect, select and process data, using the design for the project, methods and tools described in the research plan.
  4. Analyse and synthesise the data in order to answer the research questions and/or test the hypothesis.
  5. Formulate answers to the research questions that are supported by the research outcomes; pay attention to potential limitations;  critically discuss the outcomes in relation to the wider scientific and societal context.
  6. Report on the research, both in writing and in oral presentation.
  7. Work in compliance with academic codes of conduct and with proper management of time and resources.
  8. Make use of input and feedback for executing the research project and provide feedback to others.
  9. Define personal learning goals, which could include domain-specific skills, and reflect on development therein.

For more information please contact Jessica Duncan:

Thesis vacancy: A new global movement

Thesis research (BSc/MSc)

A new global movement is in the making. It’s a movement known by many different names, such as democratic confederalism, communalism and municipalism. Defined as “a nascent global social movement” aiming to democratically transform the political and the economy (Thompson, 2021), it is build street by street, village by village, city by city. Protagonists refer to communalism or municipalism as a way to “take back the city” after decades of neoliberal privatization, make livable villages, experiment with new forms of co-production and co-op ecosystem and “put local institutions at the service of the common good” (Barcelona En Cumó 2019). The development of more sustainable food systems are seen as part of this emerging global movement (Sonkin & Treakle 2017), which has strong footholds in cities and villages in Catalonia (including Barcelona), Spain (i.e. Madrid), Argentina (i.e. Rosario), the United States (i.e. Jackson and Los Angeles), Mexico (Chiapas), Brazil (i.e. Bello Horizonte), Lebanon (Beirut Madinatti), and South-West-Kurdistan (Rojava) and many other regions across the world.

I am looking for students, who are interesting to do research into this new global movement and study one particular experience or “case” and the alternative forms of governance and production developed from within these experiences or “cases”.

Interested? Contact 

Master Thesis Binnen Erfdelen Project Wetenschapswinkel

In samenwerking met het Erfdelen initiatief ( start Wetenschapswinkel Wageningen een project dat zich tot doel stelt om de perspectieven van hergebruik van vrijkomende agrarische gebouwen voor woonfuncties nader in kaart te brengen. Daarmee beoogt het project uiteenlopende maatschappelijke ontwikkelingen te verbinden. Enerzijds een groot en groeiend aanbod van vrijkomende agrarische gebouwen als gevolg van verslechterende agrarische ontwikkelingsperspectieven en anderzijds de groeiende en hardnekkige maatschappelijke vraag naar betaalbare en aantrekkelijke woonruimte, ook in plattelandsgebieden.

Het Erfdelen project richt zich op een 4-tal aandachtsvelden. Ten eerste, het inventariseren van uiteenlopende expressies van erfdelen en daarmee verbonden specifieke maatschappelijke baten. Ten tweede, de beleidsmatige ondersteuning van Erfdelen initiatieven met bijzondere aandacht voor de rol van gemeentes. Een derde aandachtsveld concentreert zich op de organisatorische kant van erfdeelprojecten, inclusief bijbehorende formele, juridische en financiele aspecten. Tenslotte, ook de mogelijke gezondheids- en duurzaamheidseffecten van Erfdelen zullen in ogenschouw worden genomen.

Deze vier aandachtsvelden laten zich op allerlei manieren doorvertalen naar een thesisonderwerp aansluitend bij je eigen, specifieke belangstelling. Ben je geinteresseerd, en opzoek naar een thesisopdracht binnen MID, MOA of wellicht een andere Masteropleiding, neem contact op met  en/of

Thesis opportunity: Urban guerrillas in the countryside? The case of the M-19 in Colombia.

The M-19 was an insurgent group active in Colombia from 1974-1990. It has recently enjoyed a brief moment of fame for careful viewers of the popular Netflix series Narcos, where it was rather simplisticallydepicted as being in cahoots with narco-traffickers. The movement is popularly understood as an urban movement and the M-19 did in fact emerge from middle class university environments in big cities like Calí and Bogota. It also carried out audacious symbolic attacks and innovative forms of communication with the Colombian population (for e.g. broadcasting its announcements on TV at half time during televised matches of the Colombian football team) in cities. What is less well known about the movement is that it also had an extensive and dynamic rural armed campaign in the south of the country. Although, smaller in number than better known groups like FARC, it achieved notable military successes by seizing regional cities and operating forms of rebel governance by providing schools, operating courts to punish criminals and re-distributing locally needed goods like wellingtons and tools.

The literature in conflict studies has emphasised how difficult it is for idealistic urban middle classes to win the support of often poorly educated and politically passive peasants. Indeed, the physical unsuitability of ‘soft’ city kids in adjusting to the hardship of rural life is often cited as a further obstacle to revolutionary movements’ success. For students interested in conflict studies, social movements and rebel governance, this is the chance to look at one of Latin America’s lesser known and often misunderstood movements. More broadly it will give students a chance to conduct research on mobilisation across the urban-rural divide.

Extensive data on the M-19’s mobilisation in Caquetá in southern Colombia is available in the National Center for Historical Memory digital archives. Students will learn about archival research, the analysis of primary sources and the coding of qualitative data. Using this data and secondary literature, students would analyse the way in which the M-19 overcame the disadvantages of its urban back ground to launch a rural guerrilla campaign. All the documents are in Spanish, so unfortunately the project is only suitable for Spanish speakers.

If you are interested in working on armed movements and can speak Spanish, please contact

Stage Algemene Rekenkamer

Bij de Algemene Rekenkamer (AR) zijn we opzoek naar een enthousiaste en leergierige stagiair. Vind jij het leuk om een kijkje te nemen binnen de overheid en wil je graag meer leren over onafhankelijk onderzoek en de AR? Dan zijn wij op zoek naar jou!

Elke derde woensdag van mei is het verantwoordingsdag (ook wel gehaktdag genoemd) en publiceren wij ons verantwoordingsonderzoek (VO). In het VO onderzoeken wij of de ministers ons belastinggeld zinnig, zuinig en zorgvuldig hebben uitgegeven. Het team waar jij stage gaat lopen doet dit voor het Ministerie van Buitenlande Zaken en Buitenlandse Handel en Ontwikkelingssamenwerking.

Wat ga je doen?

Nu denk je vast, dit gaat alleen maar over geld? Zeker niet! Wij kijken naast het geld ook naar het beleid dat deze ministers uitvoeren. Denk daarbij aan onderwerpen zoals: opvang van vluchtelingen in de regio, gedetineerde beleid in het buitenland en de reisadviezen van Buitenlandse Zaken. Waar jij aan gaat meewerken is het VO van 2022. De onderwerpen hiervan staan nog niet vast. Wat wel zeker is, is dat jij volop mee gaat onderzoeken, op gesprek gaat bij ministeries en leert hoe je een rapport moet schrijven. Onze rapporten gaan naar de Tweede Kamer, maar zijn ook openbaar zodat ook iedereen die geïnteresseerd is kan lezen hoe hun belastinggeld wordt uitgegeven. Daar doen wij ons werk voor.

Wie zoeken wij?

We zoeken iemand met affiniteit met ontwikkelingssamenwerking. Bij voorkeur van de Master opleiding International Development (MID) of Development and Rural Innovation (MDR). De kandidaat beheerst het Nederlands goed.

Meer informatie

De stage is voor de periode van september 2022 tot februari 2023, maar we zijn flexibel. Lijkt je dit wat of wil je nog meer weten, neem dan een kijkje op de site Of neem contact op met Maxime Veenhoven:

Afstuderen of stagelopen bij Boerenverstand

Boerenverstand is een adviesbureau dat op een praktische en innovatieve manier werkt aan een duurzamere landbouw: goed voor de aarde, het dier de boer en de consument! In verschillende projecten door heel Nederland werken samen met boeren aan een praktische invulling van de landbouw van de toekomst. Kringlooplandbouw loopt hier als een rode draad door heen.

Stage- en afstudeermogelijkheden
Met een stage of afstudeeropdracht bij Boerenverstand ga je aan de slag in een groot netwerk binnen de Nederlandse landbouw. Van beleid en voorlopende boeren tot zuivelverwerkers en toeleveranciers. Momenteel kunnen we opdrachten bieden binnen de volgende onderwerpen:

  • Kritische prestatie-indicatoren – Wat is duurzame landbouw? Hoe maak je dat meetbaar? En wat verwachten we dan precies van de boerenbedrijven? Voor de landbouw is het belangrijk dat de overheid duidelijke lange termijndoelen stelt en dat er ook nog een goed verdienmodel mogelijk blijft. Boerenverstand is al een tijd bezig (op landelijk niveau met LNV, maar ook praktisch in gebieden met boeren zelf) om deze landbouwprestaties meetbaar te maken d.m.v. kritische prestatie-indicatoren. Hier ligt nog veel ontwikkelwerk, zowel in het opstellen van een landelijk, door LNV gedragen systeem als het praktisch uitvoeren en testen van de KPI’s in verschillende gebieden en sectoren. Lees meer.
  • Gebiedsgerichte aanpak – Het nieuwe kabinet geeft de gebiedsgerichte aanpak een belangrijke rol in haar beleid. Maar wat betekend dat precies? Hoe vertaal je dat naar de praktijk? Hoe moet zo’n proces eruitzien en wat kunnen we hierbij leren vanuit het verleden? Dit is namelijk niet nieuw! In de jaren 90 heeft minister van Aartsen hier al over nagedacht en zogenaamde milieucoöperaties in het leven geroepen. Waar is de kennis en ervaring van toen gebleven en wat kunnen we daar nu van leren?
  • Rantsoenen – Melkveehouders zijn dagelijks bezig met het voeren van de koeien. De samenstelling van het rantsoen bepaald voor een groot gedeelte de prestaties van de veestapel, de economische resultaten van de boer en het resultaat in de Kringloopwijzer. Voor melkveehouders is het zaak om het rantsoen zo optimaal mogelijk af te stemmen op de behoefte van de koe, met de beschikbare middelen. Boerenverstand probeert melkveehouders op een praktische manier ondersteuning te geven, zodat zij zelf de touwtjes in handen hebben. Boerenverstand bied je de mogelijkheid om mee te werken en denken aan de ontwikkeling van een online rantsoentool, achtergrondkennis en de relatie met een optimaal bouwplan. Voor meer informatie zie:
  • Duurzame akkerbouw – Als we het in Nederland over de verduurzaming van de landbouw hebben gaat het vaak over stikstof en de melkveehouderij. Maar wat zijn de belangrijkste duurzaamheidsopgaven voor de akkerbouw? Welke ontwikkelingen kunnen we de komende jaren verwachten vanuit zowel landelijk beleid als vanuit de EU? En wat betekent dit voor het boerenerf? Lees meer.
  • Samenwerking akkerbouw-veehouderij – In een systeem van Kringlooplandbouw werken veehouders en akkerbouwers nauw met elkaar samen. De veehouder beschikt over waardevolle mest en de akkerbouwer teelt verschillende voedergewassen die geschikt zijn om aan koeien te voeren. Door een goede samenwerking kunnen beide partijen hun voordeel hiermee behalen. Wat zijn de grootste uitdagingen voor een dergelijke samenwerking? Waar valt het makkelijkste winst te behalen?
  • Ammoniak verminderen met vakmanschap – Stikstof is een belangrijk thema binnen de landbouw en zeker binnen de melkveehouderij. De ammoniakuitstoot en depositie van koeien is op meerdere manieren te verminderen. Naast technische oplossingen, zoals aangepaste stalvloeren en luchtwassers, valt er door het management te verbeteren ook veel winst te behalen. Denk aan het eiwit in het rantsoen verlagen en het toepassen van meer weidegang. Maar hoe bewijs je dat deze maatregelen hetzelfde of zelfs een beter effect kunnen behalen dan technische oplossingen? Lees meer.

Mocht je hiernaast zelf een idee voor een afstudeer- of stageopdracht hebben die je uit wil voeren binnen een dynamische en vooruitstrevende organisatie, dan horen wij dat graag!

Geïnteresseerd? Neem contact op met Bart Housmans, via

Vacancy internship Boerengroep and Agroecology Network

March/April – mid August 2022

The intern will help organize and coordinate the Farm Experience Internship (FEI) with Boerengroep. The FEI is four-week summer course on agroecology that offers a transformational learning experience where practice and theory are combined, and where we approach agroecology from different angles and educational methods. 

Next to this, the intern will help develop the project “Places of Hope and Resistance” with the national Agroecology Network. These are places – on farms – where different movements can find each other, where meetings and events can be hosted and where working days are regularly organized. This with the goal to strengthen the agroecological movement and connect farmers with activists, citizens and researchers. 

This internship allows you to submerge yourself in the agroecology movement, broaden your network with farmers, scientists and activists, and gain practical skills in organizing and coordinating a project. The exact time frame and time division of the internship can be discussed. Does this spark an interest? Don’t hesitate and send an email to with a little introduction of yourself.

For more information, visit Vacancy Intern FEI + Agroecology Network – Boerengroep

Thesis / Research Internship Opportunity: Understanding the role of geographical indications for rural development in Ireland

Duration: 6 months

Languages: English

Start Date: As soon as possible

Are you looking for a fascinating thesis or research internship topic that cuts across multiple challenges at the heart of food system transformation, with the possibility to do funded fieldwork in Ireland?!?

The Rural Sociology (RSO), Environmental Policy (ENP) and Strategic Communications (COM) chair groups have vacancies for one to two students to join a project investigating the social, environmental and political dynamics of geographical indication (GI) food products in Ireland. GIs certify the connection between a unique food product and its place of origin. This phenomenon cuts across multiple food system issues, including sustainability, governance, rural development, consumption and food cultures.

GIs are now a key pillar of the European Commission’s (EC) rural development strategy, Farm to Fork. Evidence from European countries where GI products are numerous suggests they can enhance territorial development outcomes (e.g. through tourism). Yet, uptake of GI registrations has been particularly slow in Ireland, with only 13 registered food products (compared to, for example, over 300 in Italy). Given this difference, this project aims to understand the perceptions of GIs from the perspective of different food system actors in Ireland, including the role GI foods can play in farmer livelihood strategies, the potential linkages between GI foods and sustainable consumption, and the role of new technologies in fostering and communicating the links between food products and their place of origin.

The student(s) will have the opportunity to shape their research project around their particular food system interests and those of the supervisors. There will also be the possibility to undertake (partially) funded fieldwork in Ireland.


  • Interest in the sociology of food system transformation (for example, rural development, food systems governance, sustainability, science & technology studies and/or sustainable consumption)
  • Interest in geographical indications and delicious food!
  • Basic knowledge of sociological concepts, and basic knowledge of and interest in qualitative methodologies
  • You meet the program requirements for a thesis / internship in either RSO, COM or ENP

Supervision team:
Dr Mark Vicol (RSO), Dr Katharine Legun (COM), Dr Mary Greene (ENP)
More information? Contact Mark Vicol (

Start Teaching them Young: Connecting Children to the Local Food Chain (thesis/internship)

This thesis/internship assignment will investigate the opportunities of educational programs for school pupils on the topic of local food and farming. It will draw from a literature review and work on a local case of the Tiny Restaurant, located in the municipality of Laarbeek in the Dutch province of North Brabant.  

The Tiny Restaurant is a grassroots, non-profit initiative aiming to bring producers and consumers together. It takes a form of a pop-up (mobile) restaurant that provides a meeting place for (in)formal exchange of knowledge. One of the projects of the Tiny Restaurant is educating children about the food chain through an experiential culinary program. The Tiny Restaurant wants to ensure its educational approach fits the schools’ learning goals and contributes to the ultimate purpose of creating a long-term connection between farmers and consumers. The goal of this assignment is to evaluate the current approach and advise on how the educational program can be improved. The following questions form a starting point:  

  • How can educational programs enhance awareness about local food production? 
  • How does the theme of local food chains fit schools’ curricula and learning goals? 
  • What is the optimal balance of head (conveying information), heart (shaping attitudes) and hands (learning by doing) in these educational programs?       

Depending on the student’s preference, the assignment can be more academic (e.g. using a literature review to learn about education for sustainability) or more applied (e.g. working on the Tiny Restaurant educational program, together with local farmers and teachers). The vacancy is part of a broader Science Shop project which, together with local stakeholders, explores possibilities of connecting producers to local inhabitants in Laarbeek. Starting dates are flexible, with results delivered by the end of May the latest. For more information contact Lucie Sovová

Internship opportunity: How to bring local food closer to consumers? Formulating the vision of the Tiny Restaurant

The Tiny Restaurant in Laarbeek

This internship opportunity is part of a Science Shop project in which Wageningen University works together with MIEP foundation, an NGO based in the Dutch province of Nord Brabant. The goal of MIEP foundation is to bring together rural inhabitants and local farmers. In 2019, MIEP launched the project of Tiny Restaurant: a pop-up restaurant deployed at various places (such as schools, sports clubs, village squares) which prepares food using sustainable, artisanal, seasonal, regional and Fairtrade products and which can be used as a space for meetings, educational or other events.

MIEP foundation approached the WU with a request to evaluate the functioning of the Tiny Restaurant, and its successfulness in creating lasting relations between producers and consumers. A first assessment, carried out within a framework of an ACT project in autumn 2021, indicated that the potential of the Tiny Restaurant is not yet fully used. One of the weaknesses was the lack of clarity in the restaurants’ vision and core message. MIEP foundation is currently working with farmer ambassadors to formulate a vision and concrete goals through which the Tiny Restaurant can support local producers.

We are looking for an intern with high communication and facilitation skills that will assist the MIEP foundation in this process of formulating their vision and goals as well as setting criteria to assess their progress. We welcome and encourage creative methods and outputs, e.g. a popularization flyer, a public event to promote the Tiny Restaurant, etc.

Starting dates are flexible, with results delivered by the end of May the latest. For more information contact Lucie Sovová