Scientific researcher:Acceptance of new technologies and development of new business models in agriculture: the case of biopesticides

ILVO is looking for a candidate with a master's degree for
Function EV: Scientific researcher viroplant
Vacancy number: EV/2019/038/T&V115
Entity: Eigen Vermogen (EV) - Flanders Research Institute for agriculture, fisheries and food
Department: T&V 115
Place of employment: Burg. Van Gansberghelaan 115 bus 2 - 9820 Merelbeke


Heavy demands are put on the current agricultural system: on the one hand, there is an ever increasing demand for safe food, while on the other hand, the agricultural system is increasingly confronted with social, ecological and economic limits. As a result, the attention and need for altered agricultural practices and better business models is rising. Important questions related to these alterations are whether these will be accepted by the consumer and other value chain actors, and whether the novel business models can be successfully implemented.

Your job focuses on the socio-economic questions related to the use of biopesticides. To fight crop diseases and pests that cause considerable production and associated economic losses, farmers still heavily depend on antibiotics and chemicals. These control agents can have significant adverse effects on the environment and human health. One important step towards more sustainable crop protection strategies is the use of biopesticides.

As a scientific researcher, you will work within the European research project VIROPLANT (, where research is being done on the development of virus-based biocontrol of plant diseases. Specifically, research will be conducted in order to identify the prerequisites and conditions for a successful market introduction of biocontrol strategies. You will, supported by techno-scientific and socio-economic experts, be able to develop an in-depth knowledge on different scientific methods to measure the acceptance of biopesticides by farmers and other value chain actors. Additionally, using mainly qualitative research techniques, you will conduct research on which new business models and multi-actor value chain configurations are required to commercialize the newly developed biopesticides, bundling the generated knowledge and information of the project partners and external actors.

You will be part of the Social Science unit of ILVO and will work in close collaboration with the VIROPLANT project partners and relevant stakeholders.

Your work consists mainly of the following tasks:

  • Developing an affinity with different crop protection methods, with a specific focus on biocontrol measures, mainly through literature review.
  • Develop in-depth knowledge on methods to measure (market) acceptance with different value chain actors (e.g. choice experiments) as well as methods related to business model and value chain innovation.
  • Follow up on national and international literature related (bio)pesticides in agriculture, market acceptance and new business and value chain models.
  • Communicate research results within the scientific community (e.g. writing scientific papers, participating in congresses, …), in particular to the project partners and communicating to policy and the general public.
  • Contribute to the development of the ILVO Social Science unit by actively providing avenues for new research topics and project opportunities.
  • Contributing the general day-to-day ILVO Social Science unit organization.

Target date for recruitment: 1 November 2019

How to apply?

Send your motivation letter together with your CV and a copy of your diploma (indicating the vacancy number) to Prof. Dr. ir. Ludwig Lauwers –, at the latest by 10 October 2019.

Suitable candidates (based on CV screening and motivation letter) are invited for an interview during the week of the 14th of October. Please provide a telephone number where you can be reached during the day and indicate your e-mail address on your cv. Interviews via Skype are also possible.

More info?

Job content: Prof. Dr. ir. Ludwig Lauwers, Scientific Director - +32 9 272 23 56 -
Terms of Employment: Caroline Buyst, HR Specialist, +32 9 272 25 12 -

More info and requirements