PHD position: the role of social media hypes and controversies in sustainability governance

This looks like a pretty awesome opportunity at Wageningen

Function types PhD positions
Hours 38.0 hours per week
Salary € 2083 – € 2664

Job description

The strategic Communication Group and the Public Administration and Policy Group at Wageningen University are looking for a PhD student to carry out a research project on “Social media as a new playing field for the governance of sustainable agro-food systems: Twitter hypes, controversies and stakeholders’ strategies”. The PhD project is part of the larger Informational Governance research programme.
Governmental, business and civil society organizations engaged in the governance of sustainable agro-food systems face the challenge of dealing with an increasingly important but capricious public sphere formed by the social media. Public and private decision-making processes about sustainable agro-food systems are increasingly affected by both hypes and controversies in the social media, often through their interplay with mass media like newspapers, radio or television. Little is known, however, about what happens to information about sustainable agro-food systems when it travels through social media networks, or when and how hypes or controversies arise. To deal with this capricious public sphere, governmental, business or civil society organizations are developing and trying out strategies for monitoring or engaging with social media, but little is known about what these communication strategies entail and what their impact is. By monitoring and analysing Twitter activity related to sustainable agro-food systems, this project will study (1) when and how information leads to hypes or controversies on Twitter; (2) which social media strategies are used by governmental, business and civil society organizations to deal with this new public sphere; and (3) what the impact is on public and private decision-making processes about sustainable agro-food systems.
The project will be under supervision of professor Noelle Aarts (Strategic Communication Group), dr. Art Dewulf and professor Katrien Termeer (both Public Administration and Policy group). The PhD student will be based at the Strategic Communication Group.


We are looking for a candidate with a Master degree in Communication, Public Administration, Political Sciences or a related field, and with a keen interest in communication and sustainability governance. He/she should be familiar with social media and ICT tools, and preferably have a background in both quantitative and qualitative research methods. Fluency in English and Dutch and good communication skills are essential.

Conditions of employment

We offer a PhD position for 48 months (with interim evaluation after 18 months). Gross salary will increase from 2083 euro in the first year up to 2664 euro in the last year based on a full-time appointment (38 hours per week). In addition we offer a holiday bonus of 8% and an end-of-the-year bonus of 8.3% of your annual salary.

Contract type: Temporary, 18 + 30 months


Wageningen UR (University & Research centre)

Wageningen University & Research centre
Delivering a substantial contribution to the quality of life. That’s our focus – each and every day. Within our domain, healthy food and living environment, we search for answers to issues affecting society – such as sustainable food production, climate change and alternative energy. Of course, we don’t do this alone. Every day, 6,500 people work on ‘the quality of life’, turning ideas into reality, on a global scale.
Could you be one of these people? We give you the space you need.
For further information about working at Wageningen UR, take a look at
No Comments

Post A Comment