Thesis - Volunteer opportunity: Food security at VU


Lia van Wesenbeek


Food security in a population means that all people, at all times, have sufficient access to food to meet their dietary needs for a productive and healthy life. The three components of food security—availability (having sufficient quantities of appropriate food available), access (having adequate income or other resources to access food), and utilization/consumption (having adequate dietary intake and the ability to absorb and use nutrients in the body).

The Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam has adopted the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as a part of its strategy plan to 2025, assessing, promoting and implementing the SDGs. For this, there are two possible avenues: 1) developing SDGs focused programs or initiatives that generate the tools to implement the SDGs; 2) integrating the SDGs and different areas of study, by adapting curricula.

In this context, the present topic would help to the first avenue; this is, increasing understanding of a sustainable issue, while promoting interdisciplinarity and collaboration among different actors at the university setting. Thus, addressing the food insecurity issue goes beyond food and nutrition alone; it also reaches wellbeing, overall health, academic performance and collective action through research.


Through the Green Action Lab, you will collaborate with VU’s researchers and staff and help them by:

- To identify the level of food insecurity within the Vrije Universiteit community.

- To describe factors influencing food insecurity within the Vrije Universiteit community.

- To analyze the facilitators/obstacles that influence food insecurity within the Vrije Universiteit community.

- To provide recommendations on opportunity actions to reduce the impact of food insecurity on the members of the Vrije Universiteit community.

Throughout your assignment, you can tap on the knowledge of VU’s researchers. Furthermore, through the Green Action Lab, you will have access to a network of sustainability practitioners in Amsterdam and elsewhere, who you can contact for e.g. expert interviews. The intended outcome for the case is a set of recommendations/further social-innovation on campus that benefits all the people on campus.

Depending on your academic background and personal interests, you can choose to focus on physical, behavioural or other aspects.


- You are interested in the people aspect of Sustainability and

- You are a bachelor/master student at VU Amsterdam for the duration of the appointment

- You can come to VU on a regular basis

- You have good oral and written command of the English language

- You are open towards interdisciplinary collaboration and show a welcoming and tolerant work attitude.

- Desired background: Psychology, Social sciences, Life sciences, Humanities, Ecology and Evolution, Food studies, Global health or other sustainability related fields.

What are we offering?:

By joining the project team, you will gain experience in:

*Sustainability consulting experience

*Professional & personal skills workshops with certificate for your CV

*Flexible desk and a study spot at the Green Office-VU

*Peer reviewed publication in “Science for sustainability” open access academic journal (when thesis is graded above 7.5)

*Certificate on climate action (SDGs agent)

Duration: From 1 February until 30 June 2023 (flexible)

Working hours: 8 hours per week of practical work, research possible for the rest of the week

Place: VU Amsterdam and remote

Supervision: Lia van Wesenbeek

Application process:

Are you interested in this position? Apply until 1st February 2023 (THESIS) OR anytime before the end of the academic year 2022-2023 (VOLUNTEER) by filling your information below and the Green Action Lab coordinator will contact you in 2-3 business days.

We are looking forward to receiving our application!

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