With­in the project Smart Indone­sian Agri­cul­ture (SMART-IN-AG) A PhD grant is avail­able for the top­ic of: “Devel­op­ing sce­nar­ios for sus­tain­able land use in fish and dairy pro­duc­tion sys­tems in Indone­sia”


The demand for ani­mal pro­tein, both fish and dairy, is increas­ing in Indone­sia. Both sec­tors are there­fore
look­ing for ways to increase their pro­duc­tion, how­ev­er, there are con­straints. The avail­abil­i­ty of land and
fresh water is lim­it­ed. There­fore, in order to increase pro­duc­tion with­out fur­ther pres­sure on land and
water, cur­rent pro­duc­tion sys­tems need to become more sus­tain­able and envi­ron­men­tal­ly friend­ly in
terms of pro­duc­tion, envi­ron­men­tal impact and resource use effi­cien­cy. At present it is dif­fi­cult to
eval­u­ate cur­rent farm­ing sys­tems since data isn’t always col­lect­ed in a lon­gi­tu­di­nal and struc­tured
Smart farm­ing in dairy and fish sys­tems allows to col­lect data in a lon­gi­tu­di­nal man­ner and to eval­u­ate
the cur­rent pro­duc­tion sys­tems, par­tic­u­lar­ly on the required inputs and employed management/practical
tech­niques, and to improve the lev­el of ani­mal pro­duc­tion in Indone­sia. Using this data, risk fac­tors and
man­age­ment issues that block sus­tain­able pro­duc­tion will be iden­ti­fied. The col­lect­ed infor­ma­tion will be
pro­vid­ed back to farm­ers through tech­nolo­gies such as apps to aid them to improve on-farm pro­duc­tion

PhD top­ic
Farms can be looked at as social-eco­log­i­cal sys­tems, which are, by def­i­n­i­tion, com­plex and hard to con­trol. Imple­men­ta­tion of SMART farm­ing inter­ven­tions is not straight­for­ward and often leads to unex­pect­ed and unde­sired (side-)effects. It is expect­ed that land use, which is a con­straint for both dairy and fish farm­ing, might have to change in order to make sys­tems more sus­tain­able. In this PhD research, the cur­rent land use and the con­straints it holds for expand­ing pro­duc­tion (e.g. lim­it­ed fod­der pro­duc­tion) is first explored using lit­er­a­ture stud­ies and inter­views with farm­ers. Sec­ond, using agent-based mod­els (ABM) poten­tial
sce­nar­ios for land-use change are eval­u­at­ed (Val­bue­na et al., 2010). A com­bi­na­tion of ABM with Role Play Games (RPG) will be applied on farms. Com­bin­ing RPG and ABM is used to facil­i­tate a social learn­ing
process (Pahl-Wostl and Hare, 2004). The ABM will be param­e­trized based upon the knowl­edge from RPG and the knowl­edge derived from field­work. Fourth, sce­nar­ios for the tran­si­tion towards more sus­tain­able land use with regards to the con­trol­ling fac­tors in com­bi­na­tion with ani­mal pro­duc­tion will be designed in a par­tic­i­pa­to­ry set­ting joint­ly with stake­hold­ers.


Required back­ground

  • An MSc degree in envi­ron­men­tal sci­ences, (social) geog­ra­phy or any oth­er relat­ed dis­ci­pline.
  • Proven expe­ri­ence with sys­tem think­ing and with qual­i­ta­tive and quan­ti­ta­tive research meth­ods
  • Expe­ri­ence with mod­el­ling (espe­cial­ly ABM), GIS and/or pro­gram­ming (Python or R) is an advan­tage
  • Expe­ri­ence in pro­gram­ming lan­guages such as Python, R, and Java
  • Excel­lent oral and writ­ing com­mu­ni­ca­tion skills in Eng­lish
  • Pas­sion for doing research in a mul­ti­dis­ci­pli­nary team togeth­er with farm­ers and oth­er stake­hold­ers
  • Enthu­si­asm for both the work field and work­ing in the field in two coun­tries (Indone­sia and the Nether­lands)

Fur­ther infor­ma­tion
The PhD will be obtained from Wagenin­gen Uni­ver­si­ty, the Nether­lands. The research will be divid­ed between Indone­sia (30 months) and Wagenin­gen Uni­ver­si­ty, the Nether­lands (18 months). Research costs includ­ing visa, trav­el costs for trav­el­ling with­in the project, and costs asso­ci­at­ed with data col­lec­tion are cov­ered by the project. For the peri­od in Wagenin­gen, a grant is avail­able to cov­er salary costs. Salary costs in Indone­sia are not cov­ered in the project, so we have a strong pref­er­ence for can­di­dates that can sup­port them­selves or are sup­port­ed by their employ­er. How­ev­er, in the cir­cum­stance where a can­di­date is unable to find this sup­port but has out­stand­ing cre­den­tials, the project team will con­sid­er sup­port­ing him or her dur­ing their research time in Indone­sia.

In order to be admit­ted to the Wagenin­gen Uni­ver­si­ty PhD pro­gramme, select­ed can­di­dates will have to go through the admis­sion pro­ce­dure. A proven suf­fi­cient lev­el of Eng­lish pro­fi­cien­cy as indi­cat­ed by an IELTS score of 6.5 (with a min­i­mum of 6.0 for speak­ing) is required.

Next to this posi­tion, four oth­er PhD posi­tions (with dif­fer­ent top­ics) are open in the project. Of these five posi­tions, three will be sup­port­ed by an LPDP schol­ar­ship. The LPDP schol­ar­ship is a per­son­al grant that will cov­er all salary costs, both in Indone­sia and in the Nether­lands. Select­ed can­di­dates are encour­aged to enrol in the LPDP schol­ar­ship appli­ca­tion. They will have to go through an addi­tion­al pro­ce­dure to com­pete for the LPDP grant.

For more infor­ma­tion please con­tact dr. Arend Ligten­berg (arend.ligtenberg@wur.nl) or dr. Per­di­nan

To show your inter­est, please sub­mit your CV and a let­ter of moti­va­tion before August 23, 2020, to Dr Mar­jolein Derks (marjolein.derks@wur.nl)