Gepubliceerd op 11-10-2022

PhD on SOY STORIES: Brazilian histories and futures of soy & (un)sustainability

Job description

Would you like to do historical research while contributing to more inclusive, sustainable futures? And are you interested in doing so for the case of deforestation in Brazil and the Dutch nitrogen crisis, connected by the travels of soybeans? Then apply for this PhD position at the TU/e History Lab, co-hosted by the Athena Institute (VU Amsterdam) and the Soy Observatory (UFFS, Brazil).

Different regions across the globe face grave sustainability challenges that may be at once highly diverse and highly interconnected. Since the 1970s, accelerating soy production in Brazil has been associated with large-scale deforestation, land-grabbing, child labor and more. Meanwhile soy-based intensive animal farming in the Netherlands came with a 4-decades-long national nitrogen crisis (currently a key public controversy), public health hazards, greenhouse gas emissions and animal welfare problems. Yet regional sustainability histories and futures are predominantly studied in geographical isolation. The research project SOY STORIES investigates how we can study these region’s sustainability histories as connected, and draws implications for thinking about (likewise connected) inclusive sustainability futures.

You will investigate Brazilian soy-related sustainability histories and their relations to Dutch sustainability histories; how these inform current thinking about solutions that are for relevant sustainability challenges in Brazil; and how historical knowledge can become actionable for the development of more inclusive sustainable future imaginaries (i.e. addressing both regions).

You will do so in collaboration with a PhD candidate based at VU Amsterdam, who will do a complementary study—of Dutch soy-related sustainability histories and their relations to Brazilian sustainability histories. You will also collaborate with the Soy Observatory and the Universidade Federal da Fronteira Sul (UFFS) in Brazil. Furthermore, you will collaborate with a wide range of societal partners to enrich historiography and to imagine more inclusive sustainable futures. The project entails travels to, and fieldwork in, Brazil.

Next to your research, resulting in a PhD thesis, you will be teaching in courses taught by the Technology, Innovation and Society group (~15% of your time). Your work will be supported with committed supervision and additional research training.

Job requirements

We are looking for an enthusiastic, curious and creative candidate with:

  • A masters’ degree in history or another relevant field, e.g. science and technology studies (STS), geography, anthropology, area studies, etc..
  • Practical experience with qualitative (historical) research methods, such as (historical) ethnography, (historical) document analysis, (life history) interviewing.
  • Preferably: experience with transdisciplinary research approaches.
  • The ability to work independently and in a team.
  • Very good organizational, communicative and connective skills; you will collaborate with a wide variety of academic and societal groups.
  • A strong track record and good research skills, writing skills and presentation skills.
  • An strong command of the Portuguese and English language (C1 level); knowledge of Dutch (or willingness to learn) is an advantage.
  • Willingness to spend one day per week (Tuesday) at VU Amsterdam

Conditions of employment

A meaningful job in a dynamic and ambitious university, in an interdisciplinary setting and within an international network. You will work on a beautiful, green campus within walking distance of the central train station. In addition, we offer you:

  • Full-time employment for four years, with an intermediate evaluation (go/no-go) after nine months. You will spend max. 15% of your employment on teaching tasks.
  • Salary and benefits (such as a pension scheme, paid pregnancy and maternity leave, partially paid parental leave) in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities.
  • A year-end bonus of 8.3% and annual vacation pay of 8%.
  • High-quality training programs and other support to grow into a self-aware, autonomous scientific researcher. At TU/e we challenge you to take charge of your own learning process.
  • An excellent technical infrastructure, on-campus children’s day care and sports facilities.
  • An allowance for commuting, working from home and internet costs.
  • A Staff Immigration Team and a tax compensation scheme (the 30% facility) for international candidates.

Information and application

About us

Eindhoven University of Technology TU/e is an internationally top-ranking university in the Netherlands that combines scientific curiosity with a hands-on attitude. Our spirit of collaboration translates into an open culture and a top-five position in collaborating with advanced industries. Fundamental knowledge enables us to design solutions for the highly complex problems of today and tomorrow.

The Technology, Innovation & Society group at the TU/e School of Innovation Sciences, which hosts the History Lab, researches and teaches about the role of innovation and technology in sustainability challenges and transitions from economic, STS, transition studies, and historical perspectives.

The TU/e History lab studies the role of technology in societal challenges and transitions in a long-term perspective, and investigates how historical knowledge can be made transformative.

Websites: TU/e History LabTU/e Technology, Innovation & Society group;

More information

Do you recognize yourself in this profile and would you like to know more about the project? Please contact prof.dr. Erik van der Vleuten at e.b.a.v.d.vleuten[at]tue.nl .

If you are interested in the Dutch perspective counterpart to this position hosted by the Athena institute (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam), please check VU Athena institute.

Visit our website for more information about the application process or the conditions of employment. You can also contact Susan Opgenoorth, HR Advisor, HRServices.IEIS[at]tue.nl
or +31 40 2474465.

Are you inspired and would like to know more about working at TU/e? Please visit our career page.


We invite you to submit a complete application by using the apply button.

The application should include a:

  • Cover letter in which you describe your motivation and qualifications for the position.
  • Curriculum vitae, including a list of your publications and the contact information of three references.

We look forward to receiving your application and will screen it as soon as possible. The vacancy will remain open until the position is filled.

Please keep in mind you can upload only 5 documents up to 2 MB each. If necessary, please combine files.




Het KNHG is de grootste organisatie van professionele historici in Nederland. Het biedt een platform aan de ruim 1100 leden en aan de historische gemeenschap als geheel. Word lid van het KNHG.
Het Huygens Instituut beoogt de Nederlandse geschiedenis en cultuur inclusiever maken. Het ontsluit historische bronnen en literaire teksten en ontwikkelt innovatieve methoden, tools en duurzame digitale infrastructuur.