Han Wiskerke holds a MSc in Plant Production (1992) and a PhD in Rural Sociology (1997), both from Wageningen University. After obtaining his PhD degree he worked as project leader at the Centre for Agriculture and Environment from 1997 to 1999 and as postdoctoral researcher at the Centre for Studies of Science, Technology & Society of Twente University from 1999 to 2001. In 2001 he returned to Wageningen University to become assistant professor in Rural Sociology. In 2002 he became associate professor and since November 2004 he is Professor and Chair of the Rural Sociology Group.
From January 2013 to July 2016 Han was also Professor of Foodscape Studies & Design at the Academy of Architecture (Amsterdam University of the Arts). The results of his Foodscape professorship have been published in 2018 in a book entitled ‘Flourishing Foodscapes: Designing City-Region Food Systems’. He has served on several internal and external committees, such as the board of the Wageningen School of Social Sciences (WASS), as chair of the study program committee of the Master Organic Agriculture (MOA), and as member of the Horizon 2020 Advisory Group for Societal Challenge 2 (Food Security, Sustainable Agriculture and Forestry, Marine, Maritime and Inland Water Research and the Bio economy). Han has been associate editor of the journal Sustainability from 2014 to 2018 and was founding editor-in-chief (from 2014 – 2018) of the journal Urban Agriculture & Regional Food Systems.
In the past 15 years he has been involved, often as coordinator, in a large number of international collaborative research projects and PhD training programs, most of which have been funded by the European Commission. Initially these projects focused on multifunctional agriculture, rural development and alternative food networks. Food-related urban challenges and the emergence of urban social food movements and urban food policies have triggered his interest in urban agriculture and urban food provisioning, thereby broadening his focus from the rural domain to the urban domain as well. This resulted in several EC-funded projects about urban food provisioning and city-region food systems such as FOODLINKS and SUPERBFOOD. More recently he combined his interest in both urban and rural issues in the coordination of a large EC-funded project on urban-rural relations and synergies entitled ‘Rural-Urban Outlooks: Unlocking Synergies’, which started in June 2017 and ended in November 2021. Han has supervised over 30 PhD students and is currently supervisor of approximately 10-15 PhD projects in the fields of food sociology, food policy, rural development and urban-rural relations.
For many decades, food and agriculture have been seen as rural topics in research and policy. However cities, like Amsterdam, are the places where most food is eaten and the urban and rural are shaped by the food provisioning relations and networks, including agricultural production, that connect the two. Hence, food provisioning is as much of an urban topic of research as it is a rural one and should be explored in relation to one another.