Laurens is Professor of Agrifood Innovation and Transition at the Knowledge, Technology and Innovation Group of Wageningen University, The Netherlands, of which he has been part since 2002. He obtained his PhD from the same university and is an internationally recognized expert in the field of agricultural innovation studies, doing social science research on various topics such as:
- Institutional change in research and advisory organizations;
- Roles and positions of organizations that broker multi-stakeholder networks for innovation;
- Implementation of transdisciplinary science and co-innovation approaches;
- Dynamics an politics of research and innovation agenda setting;
- Advisory service innovation and professional development;
- Division of public, private and industry roles in innovation;
- Internationalization of research and innovation;
- Digital agriculture innovation;
- Transformative innovation in agri-food;
- Innovation system development;
- Innovation policy.
Throughout his career, Laurens has (co-)authored and published more than 90 articles in international peer reviewed journals. His work informs policy makers, through contributions to policy oriented publications and direct engagement through invited presentations with organizations like the World Bank, the European Commission, the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), and the United Nations Commission for Trade and Development (UNCTAD). Furthermore, he frequently interacts with practitioners through presentations and workshops on systemic perspectives on innovation and the implications for research, extension and development professionals.
Laurens is a member of several academic boards such as the editorial board of the international journals Agricultural Systems and Journal of Agricultural Education and Extension and the steering committee of the International Farming Systems Association, and has held advisory positions in research programmes and projects in Europe, New Zealand and Australia.