PhD Position in Sustainable Finance and Innovation

Updated: 4 months ago
Deadline: 15 Aug 2021

(ref. BAP-2021-456)

Laatst aangepast : 4/06/2021

Utrecht University School of Economics (U.S.E.) Utrecht University School of Economics (U.S.E). is part of the Law, Economics, and Governance Faculty of Utrecht University. U.S.E. aims to contribute to an economy where people flourish, by taking a broad view on welfare and its causes. We aspire to be an internationally renowned school of economics, with scientifically rigorous and societally relevant research and education. We enrich economics with other disciplines to better solve problems and identify opportunities, from a business and government point of view. Well-being, cooperation, innovation and curiosity are our core values. U.S.E. maintains an excellent international network of academic relationships and is continuously working on extending this network. It teaches its curricula fully in English. KU Leuven The Faculty of Economics and Business (FEB), campus Brussels is located in the center of Brussels in a lively international neighbourhood. The Faculty of Economics and Business is one of Belgium’s leading institution offering business and management programmes in Dutch and in English. Our programmes and our research successfully integrate business applications and academic theory. The research group Finance excels in research in the areas of banking, empirical corporate finance and capital markets.


Utrecht University School of Economics (U.S.E.) and the Faculty of Economics and Business at KU Leuven offer a fully funded joint PhD position on the topic of sustainable finance and innovation. Although technical feasibility of the sustainability transition has been demonstrated, investments into corresponding solutions remain niches. This PhD thesis will break new ground by developing a theory of ‘financial diffusion’ from niche to mainstream actors, based on the investigation of clean energy and biodiversity investments, two major mitigation and adaption solutions. The candidate is expected to conduct high-quality research (consisting of a series of papers aimed at high-end academic journals), both qualitative and quantitative, resulting in a doctoral dissertation. The research will contribute to Utrecht University’s research themes ‘Institutions for Open Societies’ and ‘Pathways to Sustainability’. The candidate will also be expected to teach in the Bachelor’s and/or Master’s programmes of the School (e.g. teaching assistance or supervision of a limited number of master theses). Teaching is in English.


The ideal candidate has a driven and collaborative spirit and is expected to have:

  • a (Research) Master’s degree in a discipline relevant to the PhD project (preferably (business)economics, financial management/economics or applied economics);
  • excellent study results and analytical skills (qualitative and quantitative);
  • a strong interest in and motivation for scientific research;
  • excellent command of spoken and written English;
  • the candidate is selected on the basis of curriculum vitae, academic qualifications, motivation, and interview(s) with the supervisors.


We offer a temporary position (1.0 FTE) for a period of four years, with a preferred starting date of October 1st, 2021 (or January 1st 2022 the latest). Employment will be at Utrecht University but the candidate will spend a significant amount of research time at KU Leuven as well. The candidate's performance is evaluated after 18 months and after a sufficiently satisfactory assessment, the contract is extended for the remainder of the project. During this time, 90% of the position is reserved for research and 10% is dedicated to teaching activities. The gross salary ranges between €2,395 in the first year and €3,061 in the fourth year (scale P according to the Collective Labour Agreement Dutch Universities) per month for a full-time employment. Salaries are supplemented with a holiday bonus of 8% and a year-end bonus of 8.3% per year. In addition, Utrecht University offers excellent secondary conditions, including an attractive retirement scheme, (partly paid) parental leave and flexible employment conditions (multiple choice model).

More information about working at Utrecht University can be found here:


Everyone deserves to feel at home at our universities. We welcome employees with a wide variety of backgrounds and perspectives. 

To apply please include:

a complete and up-to-date curriculum vitae;

a list of courses taken and grades (insofar as already available) for (Research) Master's programme;

a motivation letter;

a piece of written research (e.g. Master’s thesis);

2 reference letters.

Please do not contact U.S.E. or KUL with services or other commercial interest.

Note: Due to the current situation regarding the Corona virus (COVID-19) the process of selection and interviews is subject to change.

The application deadline is 15/08/2021

For more information please contact Prof. dr. Friedemann Polzin ( or Prof. dr. Rosanne Vanpée (

KU Leuven seeks to foster an environment where all talents can flourish, regardless of gender, age, cultural background, nationality or impairments. If you have any questions relating to accessibility or support, please contact us at

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