PhD: Agri-food chain life cycle analysis

Source: HR Team

PhD: Agri-food chain life cycle analysis

PhD: Agri-food chain life cycle analysis

Facilitated with funding from the European Development Fund (EDF), the University of Aruba is a young and dynamic university that was founded in 1988. Since its existence, the university has not stopped and currently consists of four faculties, namely the Faculty of Law, the Financial-Economic Faculty, the Faculty of Hotel and Tourism Management Studies and the Faculty of Arts and Science. Our primary activity, providing education, is supported and facilitated by our Offices Centers and other support staff.

The University of Aruba, in collaboration with KU Leuven (Belgium), is seeking to expand its research and teaching capacity in bio-environmental engineering, technology, engineering, informatics, and data sciences. In 2019 the curriculum of the new academic bachelor in sciences, technology and engineering and mathematics (STEM) will open its doors and will graduate its first bachelors in 2022. This three-year program will consist of a 180 European credits program with a focus on sustainable development in small island states. A 90 credit master program will start in 2021. For this new STEM sciences program, the University of Aruba will start with the education and research training of the new academic staff needed to provide this program and is looking for a:



Sustainability in the agri-food chain group: life cycle analysis for more sustainable agri-food chain on Aruba.

(1,0 fte.)

The main responsibilities are:
The junior researcher will teach modules in the program and conduct PhD research within a PhD research program at the University of Aruba and KU Leuven. The PhD is expected to be completed in 2022/23.

Project: Sustainability in the agri-food chain group: life cycle analysis for more sustainable agri-food chain on Aruba.
The PhD trajectory starts with an important data inventory step regarding typical food consumption patterns of local people and tourists. For that purpose, we will seek collaboration with local shops and hotels, including some affiliated with cruise ship companies. We will trace and build a first, qualitative description concerning volumes, distances, and time frames of food chains underlying these food consumption patterns. In a second phase, a comparison with other potential dietary patterns (for example as proposed in Nature, 2014, Vol. 515, 518+) will be made and a case-study will be selected. Criteria for selection will be the relevance of the food product to the aruban community and culture and/or to aruban tourists, the volume being used and the nutritional value. In a third phase, a detailed environmental life cycle analysis will be conducted, including a data collection inventory step, and different scenario’s will be compared. Where relevant for the selected case-study, we will include issues of food waste of buffets and food over consumption, as these are main drivers for the environmental footprint of our food habits (Agricultural Systems, 2017, Vol. 153, 190-200). Finally, hot spots for improvement will be identified.

During all the research phases, we will continue the collaboration with local shops and hotels to ensure that identified hotspots would also include potential realistic options for life cycle management, in view of making life and tourism at Aruba a more sustainable option. In the longer term, the results of this PhD trajectory could contribute to a shift from a “grow-and-satisfy” tourism to “engage-and-value” tourism for Aruba (International Journal of Hospitality and Tourist Administration, 2017, Vol. 18, 41-60). 

Responsible professor for this project at KU Leuven:
Prof. Annemie Geeraerd
Division of Mechatronics, Biostatistics and Sensors (MeBios)

The ideal candidate:
·     Holds a master’s degree in a relevant discipline from an accredited university.
·     Has an affinity for research, academic education and sustainable development through sciences and engineering.
·     Has an ambition to contribute to sustainable development.
·     Is a team-player that can also work independently.
·     Is open for coaching and training and can provide and receive constructive feedback to/from peers and students.
·     Has excellent verbal and written communication skills in English.

The University of Aruba offers:
Candidates will be registered as research students of KU Leuven and receive excellent educational training and coaching as well as research training and supervision by both KU Leuven and the University of Aruba. An exciting new opportunity for a four-year term contract, on the condition that the research proposal is approved in the first year. This four-year contract provides an attractive benefit package including APFA pension, additional health insurance, and a competitive wage.After successful completion of the PhD program, junior researchers are eligible for senior academic positions in the program.

Interested? Visit our website and submit your application letter and resume before Saturday, August 31, 2019, through our career portal: for the specific PhD project you are interested in. If you need further information regarding the position, please contact us at One (or more) job interviews, a medical exam, an assessment test and a certificate of good conduct are in accordance with our rules of application and a standard part of our recruitment and selection procedure.

Candidates with a demonstrated strong affinity for Aruba and the Caribbean and for challenges in small island states are strongly encouraged to apply.