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Ph.D. Research projects ‘Linking African Smallholders to Dynamic Markets’

The Development Economics Group at Wageningen University (WUR, the Netherlands), the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Centre (CIMMYT, Mexico) and the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI, USA) are searching for

three PhD researchers

for three complementary PhD projects on innovations that help African smallholders to establish linkages to input and output markets. Funding is provided through the Policies, Institutions and Markets (PIM) program, headed by the IFPRI.

The overarching objective is to identify and test scalable interventions that enable smallholders (and in specific maize farmers) to overcome bottlenecks impeding them from intensifying production, engaging in input and output markets, and improving their livelihoods. Building on earlier research, the projects aim to compare the impact and cost-effectiveness of interventions addressing constraints in: (i) access to modern inputs (e.g., improved seeds), (ii) access to capital and storage, and (iii) access to stable output demand. For each PhD research project, we envisage using a randomized controlled trial (RCT) in selected eastern African countries.

Candidates are expected to complete a PhD dissertation including the associated RCT field work within four years.

We ask
– MSc degree or equivalent in (agricultural or development) economics
– Fluency in written and spoken English
– Strong econometric skills
– Strong scientific writing skills
– Proven affinity with rural development issues in Africa
– Motivated to work in a team
– Preferably: experience with economic field experiments

The projects will start in the summer of 2017, and will last for a period of 4 years. PhD researchers will spend part of their time in The Netherlands.

We offer a full-time PhD position, with an initial duration of 18 months, after which a go/no-go decision will be taken on a subsequent extension of 30 months (to complete the PhD). Allowance per month is 1200 Euro in the Netherlands and 600 Euro when abroad. Research and travel budgets will also be available.

Ph.D. researchers will be offered a course program, which can be tailored to the desires of the candidates and the research team.

Interested? Please respond before April 15. Send a motivation letter and your CV via e-mail to , and provide the names and contact details of two references.

For more information, please contact: prof. Erwin Bulte (

Africa, Maize, PhD, rural development, smallholder farmers, socioeconomics