Doctoral and early career

14th Wageningen International Chain and Network Management (WICANEM)
International Food and Agribusiness Management Association (IFAMA) 2020

Wageningen Business Management & Organization (BMO) group
Doctoral & Early-Career Consortium

Engaged Scholarship in Agribusiness:  Making Science Relevant IN Society with a Vision to 2050  

Rotterdam, June 15th- 18th, 2020

Organizing team
Domenico Dentoni and Rob Lubberink

Global and local agri-food systems are rapidly and unpredictably changing because and in response to many intertwined complex challenges: climate change, poverty, geo-political instability, crime and corruption, food insecurity, malnutrition and obesity among the others. Actors involved in or around agri-food systems – from farmers to consumers, and anyone in between – face these systemic changes and are called to rapidly adapt their technologies, new ways of organizing and ways of creating value.  

Us, as academics, are not outside this system. We face these systemic changes too. Imagine that is 2050, just 30 years from now: which impact we wish to have made, as a network of academics, in the society we live in? To remain, be or become relevant and useful to society, and competitive on the job market, we are called to adapt our approaches to science through valuable collaboration with other societal stakeholders. In the past, we were asked to make science relevant FOR society; nowadays we are asked to make science relevant IN society. This means engaging in equally rigorous, yet more organized and visionary rounds of feedback between data collection, analysis and dissemination.  

Facing these global challenges, disruptive change and increasing stakeholder demands, we face a number of dilemmas:  

  • How can we make science relevant IN society while maintaining scientific integrity? 
  • Does scientific engagement with stakeholders detrimental for scientific integrity, and thus should we refrain from it?  
  • Or, if we engage in scientific production with other stakeholders in society, can we still publish, preferably in high-impact factor journals? If so, which journals and how to publish in them?  
  • How can we build the necessary networks, social capital and reputation that may support us in our next career moves? 

One approach of making science relevant IN society involves engaged scholarship (van de Ven 2007), that is, shaping the research process – from research idea to publication – in close interaction with stakeholders. Empirical evidence shows that the younger generation of academics – PhD students and early career scholars that will directly experience the aforementioned global and local challenges in 2050 during their academic careerfeel the urge to navigate these dilemmas (George et al. 2016; Buckley et al. 2017). Failing to address these dilemmas, conversely, does create perceptions of alienation, uselessness and serious mental issues that affect not only our research, but also our lives (Levecque et al. 2017). 

To explore and brainstorm on the potential of engaged scholarship. this BMO group Doctoral & Early-Career Consortium will provide a space to: 

  • Advance PhD and early-career researchers’ understanding of scientific approaches that support making science relevant IN society. 
  • Pitch on-going research, discuss it interactively, and receive feedback from peers and mentors with a focus on the role of the on-going research IN society 
  • Engage with experienced journal editors, engaged scholars and mentors on how to build a meaningful, forward-looking career towards 2050 and beyond; 
  • Network and establish new collaborations with a vibrant selected group of peers in a friendly atmosphere. 

Organized by the BMO groupwho specializes in the study and practice of stakeholder collaboration in agri-food systemsthis Doctoral & Early-Career Consortium will bring together a group of 30 selected participants among current PhD students and Early-Career Scholars (i.e., scholars that earned their PhD not earlier than January 1st, 2014) to discuss these questions around the broad theme of Engaged Scholarship in Agribusiness: Making Science Relevant IN Society with a Vision to 2050. 

How to Participate: Call for Research Proposals
Are you interested to join the Doctoral & Early-Career Consortium? Please send the following documents to Dr. Domenico Dentoni (email: Domenico.dentoni@wur.nlvia email by 15 March 2020: 

  • Research proposal between 700 and 1,000 words (excluding references) which need to include:
    1. intended contribution to theory AND society (e.g., policy, management, or other societal actors);
    2. methods;
    3. expected or early findings. 
  • Short Curriculum Vitae (maximum two pages). 
  • Cover letter discussing your personal motivation and intended contribution in joining Consortium: why do you want to join and how your knowledge and competencies will contribute to the other participants? (in maximum 300 words). 

Selection of research proposals will be competitive on the basis of the proposal fit with the Doctoral & Early-Career Consortium theme. We will select research proposals that best discuss: how you are building upon and intending to contribute to existing theories and/or methods relevant to agri-food systems? How will your research approach inform managers, entrepreneurs or other societal actors seeking to develop address the grand challenges that we face in the next three decades?  

Finally, we welcome research proposals at any stage of development and discipline, from the initial stages of your doctoral thesis proposals to papers that are almost ready for journal submission. Furthermore, participants may come from programs or departments in (agri)business management, agricultural economics, public policy, sociology, and beyond – also involve researchers with a background in natural sciences. In case of outstanding proposals, we would also welcome also Master students that intend to start an academic career in this domain. 

Schedule and Logistics
Selected participants, as well as invited mentors, are required to:

  • be registered to the IFAMA conference and
  • commit to attend the entire Doctoral & Early-Career Consortium in Rotterdam. 

The tentative schedule of the Doctoral & Early-Career Consortium will include, within one day: 

  • Introduction and vision 
  • Engaged scholarship in agribusiness management: what does it mean and what does it take? 
  • Advancing methodological contributions in participants’ proposals (interactive discussion in groups) 
  • Lunch 
  • Action research in agribusiness management: what does it mean and what does it take? 
  • Advancing theoretical contributions in participants’ proposals (interactive discussion in groups); 
  • How can our journal Special Issues support your career and scholarship up to 2050? (Presentation and interactive discussion in groups; 
  • Conclusions and keeping in touch. 

The Doctoral & Early-Career Consortium will take place in the same facilities of the IFAMA 2020 conference. Participants should financially support the international and local travel expenses.


  • Dr. Domenico Dentoni, Associate Professor, Business Management & Organization Group, Wageningen University and Research. Email:  
  • Dr. Rob Lubberink, Postdoctoral Researcher, Business Management & Organization Group, Wageningen University and Research. Email:  


  • Buckley, P. J., Doh, J. P., & Benischke, M. H. (2017). Towards a renaissance in international business research? Big questions, grand challenges, and the future of IB scholarship. Journal of International Business Studies, 48(9), 1045-1064. 
  • George, G., Howard-Grenville, J., Joshi, A., & Tihanyi, L. (2016). Understanding and tackling societal grand challenges through management research. Academy of Management Journal, 59(6), 1880-1895. 
  • Levecque, K., Anseel, F., De Beuckelaer, A., Van der Heyden, J., & Gisle, L. (2017). Work organization and mental health problems in PhD students. Research Policy, 46(4), 868-879.
  • Van de Ven, A. H. (2007). Engaged scholarship: A guide for organizational and social research. Oxford University Press on Demand. 

For all contributions related questions please contact

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