Programme Lead for the WR theme 'Food Security and Valuing Water'

Wageningen University & Research

Wageningen, Netherlands 🇳🇱

We are looking for

The Executive Board is looking for an enthusiastic, experienced candidate with a vision for the theme “Food Security and Valuing Water”, who will further shape a WR-wide strategy for this theme in coordination with the other Programme Leads, building upon the current research programmes (the programme for 2023-2024 has already been drafted and approved). WR’s knowledge development strategy is reflected in the joint programmes.
The Programme Lead is expected to play a prominent role in both internal and external profiling of the “Food Security and Valuing Water” theme, while coordinating closely with senior research associates/managers in the institutes, chair groups, and graduate schools. From knowledge-base perspective, they act as WUR’s primary representative in their domain. 
Key Programme Lead tasks:

  • Managing the development and execution of a WR-wide investment strategy for the relevant knowledge-base theme, while bearing valorisation in mind (in support of business development at WUR);
  • Guiding, monitoring, and evaluating the projects in the programme as well as ensuring the appropriate/optimal investment of the resources granted;
  • Encouraging reform in the Wageningen Research knowledge base through multidisciplinary cooperation, which includes utilising the unique capabilities of Wageningen University and our external partners;
  • Creating and expanding a robust network within the organisation, which brings together the right expertise, business/market knowledge, and specific strengths of the different Sciences Groups (WR and WU) and the various instruments (statutory research tasks (WOT), policy support research (BO), the Top Sectors, and contract research). Further increasing WU’s involvement in the programme (e.g. by assigning MSc and PhD students to the projects) is of particular interest for the upcoming period. This network serves as the foundation for a strong programme with the best that Wageningen has to offer;
  • Extensive internal distribution of the results of the programme so that this information is available to the broadest possible target group of relevant research associates within the organisation (WR and WU);
  • Developing and maintaining an essential network with government, business, and stakeholder organisations. Some important examples: the Dutch Ministries, the Top Sectors, the EU, and the World Bank.

The KB Programme Leads operate as a whole for WR (and in turn, WUR): their authority extends throughout WUR, and as a result, they are not part of any specific Sciences Group. Their “home base” is the Corporate Strategy & Accounts (CSA) department. The required support is organised from this department.

Programme Leads have their own mandate, which entails frequent consultation and coordination with the Managing Directors, Business Unit Managers, and Graduate School Directors so that everyone is on the same page and works towards a shared objective. Programme Leads present their programmes to the WUR Management Board (WMB) for assessment. Given the broad strategic importance of the programmes for the organisation, the Vice President of the Executive Board hold performance appraisals and reviews with the Programme Leads.

We ask

  • In order to properly play both an internal and external supervisory role, the Programme Lead must be well-versed in the “Food Security and Valuing Water” theme and equipped to direct the development and implementation thereof.
  • Domain and market knowledge, programme management skills, and general management experience are essential in this.
  • Candidates must be capable of exerting their own influence and achieving results based on their authority on the theme, persuasive capacities, enthusiasm, decisiveness, and commitment.
  • Interpersonal and communication skills as well as organisational sensitivity, tact, unifying leadership, and perseverance are therefore crucial.
  • It is also important that candidates maintain an external orientation and monitor societal and political developments

We offer

Wageningen University & Research offers excellent terms of employment. A few highlights from our Collective Labour Agreement include:

  • working hours that can be discussed and arranged so that they allow for the best possible work-life balance;
  • the option to accrue additional compensation hours by working more, up to 40 hours per week;
  • sabbatical leave, study leave, and partially paid parental leave;
  • there is a strong focus on vitality and you can make use of the sports facilities available on campus for a small fee;
  • a fixed December bonus of 4%;
  • excellent pension scheme.

In addition to these first-rate employee benefits, you will of course receive a good salary. We offer, depending on your experience, a competitive gross salary of between € 5.250 and € 7.728 for a full-time working week of 36 hours, in accordance with the CLA Wageningen Research (scale 14). We recruit internally and externally at the same time. In case of equal suitability, the internal candidate takes the preference.

The program leader is appointed for a period until 1st of January 2025 (remaining duration of the program) by the Executive Board. In the last year of the appointment period, the next career steps will be discussed in consultation. We offer an employment contract of 0,8 FTE.

Wageningen University & Research encourages internal advancement opportunities and mobility with an internal recruitment policy. There are plenty of options for personal initiative in a learning environment, and we provide excellent training opportunities. We are offering a multi-faceted position in an international environment with a pleasant and open working atmosphere.

Coming from abroad
Wageningen University & Research is the university and research centre for life sciences. The themes we deal with are relevant to everyone around the world and Wageningen, therefore, has a large international community and a lot to offer to international employees.

Our team of advisors on Dutch immigration procedures will help you with the visa application procedures for yourself and, if applicable, for your family.

Feeling welcome also has everything to do with being well informed. Wageningen University & Research’s International Community page contains practical information about what we can do to support international employees and students coming to Wageningen. Furthermore, we can assist you with any additional advice and information about helping your partner to find a job, housing, schooling. For instance under the “30% rule”, certain categories of international staff can receive tax exemption on approximately 30% of their gross salary.

More information

The selection procedure is handled by the Corporate Director of Strategy and Accounts, Mr Ron Mazier, with substantial input from the Executive Board and the Managing Directors. For more information about the position and the procedure, please contact Ron Mazier: 0317 – 489906,

Do you want to apply?
You can apply directly using the apply button on this vacancy page which will allow us to process your personal information with your approval.

This vacancy will be listed up to and including Monday 13th of February 2023. The interviews are scheduled for Tuesday, February 28 in the afternoon.

Equal opportunities
Wageningen University & Research (WUR) employs a large number of people with very different backgrounds and qualities, who inspire and motivate each other. We want every talent to feel at home in our organisation and be offered the same career opportunities. We therefore especially welcome applications from people who are underrepresented at WUR.

For more information please go to our inclusivity page. A good example of how WUR deals with inclusiveness can be read on the page working at WUR with a functional impairment.

We are

The mission of Wageningen University & Research is “To explore the potential of nature to improve the quality of life”. Under the banner Wageningen University & Research, Wageningen University and the specialised research institutes of the Wageningen Research Foundation have joined forces in contributing to finding solutions to important questions in the domain of healthy food and living environment.

With its roughly 30 branches, 7,200 employees (6,400 fte) and 13,200 students, Wageningen University & Research is one of the leading organisations in its domain. The unique Wageningen approach lies in its integrated approach to issues and the collaboration between different disciplines.

Read the 5 reasons why your future colleagues enjoy working at WUR and watch this video to get an idea of our green campus!

We will recruit for the vacancy ourselves, so no employment agencies please. However, sharing in your network is appreciated.

Research programming at Wageningen Research 
Wageningen University & Research’s Strategic Plan, “Finding answers together”, covers the period from 2019 through 2024. During this period, the development of new knowledge at the Wageningen Research Foundation is being organised into five programmes, financed by the strategic knowledge base (KB) funds from the Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality (LNV). These programmes represent the content-related ambitions of Wageningen Research and are aligned with the agendas of the Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality (LNV) as well as other ministries, the Top Sectors, the Sustainable Development Goals, and the European agenda.

The programmes relate to the following themes:
A. Circular and Climate-Neutral Society (CCNS)
B. Food Security and Valuing Water (FSVW)
C. Nature Inclusive Transitions (NIT)
D. Safe and Healthy Food Systems (SHFS)
E. Data-Driven and High-Tech (DDHT)  

Every year, a research programme is decided for each theme throughout the Sciences Groups. A programme therefore consists of projects being worked on at the various Wageningen Research institutes.  
The five programmes combined amount to roughly 33 million euros. Each programme is led by a Programme Lead who is responsible for the vision and strategy development, content development, external and internal positioning and profiling, and guiding the execution of the programmes. There is currently a vacancy for the Programme Lead of “Food Security and Valuing Water’.




IHE Delft MSc in Water and Sustainable Development