PhD position: Food system modelling and impact assessment (100%, 4 years)

Firma / Institution
Forschungsinstitut für biologischen Landbau FiBL

5070 Frick


The Research Institute of Organic Agriculture FiBL Switzerland is one of the world’s leading research and information centres for organic agriculture. In the Department of Socioeconomics we offer by January 2022 or by agreement a PhD position: Food system modelling and impact assessment (100%, 4 years).

Are you interested in modelling scenarios of a sustainable food system for Switzerland? We are offering a PhD on the project “Deliberative diets: Connecting producers and consumers to value the sustainability of Swiss food system scenarios”, which is funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation’s (SNSF) Si-nergia programme for interdisciplinary research. The outputs will support a participative process, invol-ving citizen deliberations and interactions with experts, to formulate scientifically robust, ethically groun-ded and valueled policy recommendations.

As PhD student, you will

  • Further develop a national food systems model for Switzerland to improve the level of detail and coverage of sustainability dimensions and agroecosystem characteristics
  • Apply this model to current data on Swiss agri-food trade and consumption to develop a status quo sustainability impact assessment at the national scale
  • Support the assessment of alternative scenarios of high-impact supply chain case studies feeding Switzerland (cacao from Ecuador and almonds from Spain)
  • Use the model to support future scenario development and exploration in a science-policy-society process to develop policy recommendations

Ideally you have the following profile

  • MSc degree in the direction of agro-ecology, environmental sciences, food security or economics. Students with other backgrounds may also apply
  • Experience with handling/manipulating complex data and developing model code, ideally in GAMS and/or R
  • Commitment to finalise a PhD, develop excellent research skills through further training and supervise students at the Bachelor and Master level
  • The ability to work effectively as a member of a multi-disciplinary research team, and carry out inde-pendent individual research, to achieve team goals
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills in English

We are offering

A full-time position for a duration of 48 months (4 years) at an interdisciplinary research group focused on sustainable agriculture, organic agriculture and agroecology. You will be part of a dynamic team with shared values about making the food system more sustainable and using solution-orientated research to achieve that goal. The PhD builds on existing research from the Sustainability Assessment group at FiBL (e.g. the SOL-m model). It is part of a larger project with collaborators at the University of Bern, Centre for Development and Environment (CDE) and the Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Land-scape Research WSL (Birmensdorf; Research Unit Economics and Social Sciences). The PhD will mainly be based in FiBL in Frick, Switzerland, but involve research visits to collaborating institutions in Switzerland (CDE, WSL) and possibly abroad. The working environment is flexible, involving a hybrid of on-site and remote work. The salary is set according to the standard levels of the Swiss National Science Founda-tion SNSF.


Anita Frehner is looking forward to answering any questions you may have about the position (Depart-ment of Socioeconomics, FiBL;;

Please apply by sending your CV, letter of motivation, MSc Thesis and transcripts of grades to by the 24th October 2021. Interviews will be held on the 2nd and 3rd November.

Bewerbung / Kontakt

Anita Frehner

Department of Socioeconomics

+41 62 865 04 66