PhD Position in Supply Chain Management

Updated: 20 days ago
Deadline: 15 Jan 2023


The aim of the ERIM Business Processes, Logistics, and Information Systems (LIS), Supply Chain Management (SCM) section doctoral program is to be at the forefront of developments in its domain. We are committed to making major contributions to management science by nurturing the next generation of supply chain scholars who can advance methodological and theoretical knowledge of supply chains.

Candidates will become active members of the large and diverse group of researchers at the SCM section. This group is one of the largest of its kind with more than 30 faculty members. It consistently ranks amongst the top-3 in Europe in terms of research output. Candidates are expected to contribute to the group's world-class research and teaching, and thereby to management science and management practice in logistics and supply chain management.


Supply Chain Management


Below you will find a list of topics the SCM section currently works on. This is not a complete list and topics are not mutually exclusive. In your application we ask you to identify three topics that appeal to you most. We use this selection to establish an initial understanding of your interests. Your selection will not dictate what you will be working on if you join our group. For each topic a member of faculty is identified. Feel free to reach out to this person before you submit your application. Note that these are only meant as illustrations—in total the SCM section will fill a maximum of two PhD positions this year that can be on any of these topics.

Access to health services and medicines: About half the world population lacks access to essential health services, and nearly two billion lack access to essential medicines. Resources to address these problems are scarce, making optimization of available resources essential. This gives birth to many innovative business and operating models, which bring about novel operations and supply chain optimization problems. This research topic entails the use of modelling and optimization to support key decisions regarding the design of medicine supply chains and health systems in low- and middle-income countries.Faculty to contact: Dr. Harwin de Vries .

Behavioral operations management: Human decision makers‘ decisions are depending on frames and incentives of decision contexts. Using insights from behavioral economics and psychology, this research tries to identify how to nudge managers to make more sustainable and long-term focused decisions. Based on behavioral theories and lab experiments we derive insights on how to improve overall outcomes. The context can be any operations setting, such as inventory management, transportation or contracting. Faculty to contact: Dr. Michael Becker-Peth .

Business models for circular supply chains in the consumer electronics industry: Many electronic products have a rapid innovation cycle which makes products and product components outdated long before the technical end-of-life. The discrepancy between a short innovation cycle and long technical life cycle prevents product longevity and re-use. We see clear examples where it appears to be possible to design products for upgradability or component re-use (e.g., Fairphone), but these solutions often require very different earning models or business models. Faculty to contact: Dr. Stef Lemmens .

Healthcare operations: Healthcare operations management aims to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of healthcare decision-making, delivery, and system design Topics can be divided into three layers: Improving care for the sick, preventing the high-risk from getting sick, and promoting healthy lifestyles for all. Examples of topics include developing medical decision-making tools for surgeons, optimal resource allocation for preventive medicine, and incentive insurance system design to incentivize a healthy lifestyle. Methodology: Optimization, game theory, data analytics. Faculty to contact: Dr. Cynthia Kong .

Human-computer interaction: Decision support tools like AI or algorithms support managers in every day live. To optimally design Computer tools it is important to account for behavioral biases of the users of such so that the final outcome is optimized. Methods used: lab and field experiments, field data analysis, and behavioral modeling. Faculty to contact: Dr. Michael Becker-Peth .

Humanitarian logistics: The number of people in need of humanitarian assistance is rising while the amount of funding stabilizes. The humanitarian sector therefore needs to change, and is embarking on several transformation journeys. This forces humanitarian organizations to rethink and reoptimize their operations and supply chains. Meanwhile, emerging technologies and improved access to data open up new opportunities for doing so. In this research topic, you will work on emerging humanitarian supply chain optimization problems. This topic predominantly entails modelling and optimization, but there is also space for qualitative research.Faculty to contact: Dr. Harwin de Vries .

Machine learning and optimization algorithms: This topic investigates how methods from machine learning (e.g., neural networks) can be combined with optimization methods to tackle problems in Operations Management, such as inventory management, revenue management, and transportation & logistics. Methodology: Deep reinforcement learning, dynamic programming & optimal control. Faculty to contact: Dr. Ioannis Fragkos .

Managing counterfeiting risks in global supply chains: Globalization exposed supply chains to illicit activities including counterfeiting which accounts for 3-5% of global trade. In this research, analyzing large-scale datasets and building analytical models, we aim at developing an understanding of how counterfeiting strategies evolve in response to the actions/decisions of firms and governments. Additionally, we investigate how effective supply chain strategies and governmental enforcement, and legislative mechanisms are in managing and mitigating these risks. Faculty to contact: Dr. Morteza Pourakbar .

Supply chain transparency: This topic addresses the use of IoT-enabled monitoring systems to create transparency between buyers and suppliers, and between supply chains and their customers. Example topics are the impact of technology-based monitoring of supplierson buyer-supplier trust, and the impact of increased supply chain transparency on consumer behavior. Methodology: includes but not limited to modelling and qualitative research. Faculty to contact: Dr. Merieke Stevens .

Supply chain sustainability: This topic addresses the impact of supply chains on the ecosystems in which they are embedded. Key focus areas are environmental impact, and the impact of supply chains on job design. Methodology: includes but not limited to on-site qualitative research and large-scale dataset analysis. Faculty to contact: Dr. Merieke Stevens .

Workforce and team management analytics: This topic involves fundamental research on how team formation dynamics influence operational outcomes. Methodology: dynamic programming & optimal control, computational optimization. Faculty to contact: Dr. Ioannis Fragkos .


The research at ERIM-LIS is interdisciplinary and multi-methodological. Some examples of methods we apply in our research are mathematical modelling, statistical data analysis, surveys, case studies, and experiments.

Required profile

In line with our multi-disciplinary approach to research, we invite candidates from a variety of backgrounds.

We welcome applicants with a quantitative orientation towards problem-solving, such as mathematical modelling (deterministic or stochastic), advanced statistical data analysis, or machine learning. Examples of educational backgrounds include Operations Research, Econometrics, Applied Mathematics, or Computer Science.

We also welcome applicants with a background in empirical research methods, such as surveys, case studies, or experiments. Examples of educational backgrounds include Management Studies, Economics, Sociology, Anthropology, or Psychology.

Required by ERIM

All application documents required by ERIM can be found here:

Below are the test scores required by ERIM:

- GMAT/GRE scores above the 85th percentile, not older than 5 years

- IELTS/TOEFL test scores, not older than 2 years:

  IELTS: minimum overall band score 7.5; no band score lower than 6.5

  Internet-based TOEFL: minimum total score 100, no sub-score lower than 23

  Paper-based TOEFL: minimum score 600

Expected output

Together with their supervisory team, we expect students to conduct research that is publishable in journals classified by ERIM as Primary Star (P*), or Primary (P) (see ).


We value being based in Rotterdam—a major logistics hub that is an important gateway to Europe. We intensely cooperate with organizations in our ecosystem. Examples of partner organizations are Albert Heijn, CoolBlue, DHL, DSM, Philips, Port of Rotterdam, Doctors without Borders, and Netherlands Railways. Our networks provide ample opportunities for cooperation.

PhD candidates are actively encouraged to undertake a research visit to one of the universities in our group’s network, such as MIT, INSEAD, University of Bologna, NYU Stern, University of Michigan, Northwestern University, and HEC Montreal.

Societal relevance

In line with RSM’s mission, we conduct research that contributes to positive change in our field of supply chain management.

Scientific relevance

As a group we have a solid track record of publishing our research in highly ranked management journals. In addition to undertaking research visits, we actively encourage participation in all major international conferences, and support PhD candidates in their travel to disseminate their research findings.

We commit to equipping candidates for the pursuit of a career at a renowned academic institute, and strongly encourage students who have the ambition to pursue an academic career to apply.

Literature references & data sources

Some representative publications include:

Arani, H. V., Pourakbar, M., Laan, E. V. D., & de Koster, R. (2022). How to charge in servicizing: Per period or per use? European Journal of Operational Research.

Avgerinos, E., Gokpinar, B., & Fragkos, I. (2020). The Effect of Failure on Performance over Time: The Case of Cardiac Surgery Operations. Journal of Operations Management, 66(4), 441-463.

Böttcher, Lucas, Thomas Asikis, and Ioannis Fragkos. "Solving Inventory Management Problems with Inventory-dynamics-informed Neural Networks." arXiv preprint arXiv:2201.06126 (2022).

Calmon, A. P., Graves, S. C., & Lemmens, S. (2020). Warranty Matching in a Consumer Electronics Closed-loop Supply Chain. Manufacturing and Service Operations Management, 23(5), 1314-1331.

Kong, C., Li, S., Liu, N., Teo, C., & Yan, Z. (2020). Appointment Scheduling Under Time-Dependent Patient No-Show Behavior. Management Science, 66(8), 3480-3500.

Sachs, A. L., Becker-Peth, M., Minner, S., & Thonemann, UW. (2022). Empirical Newsvendor Biases: Are Target Service Levels Achieved Effectively and Efficiently? Production and Operations Management, 31(4), 1839-1855.

Sting, F., Stevens, M., & Tarakci, M. (2019). Temporary deembedding buyer-supplier relationships: A Complexity Perspective. Journal of Operations Management, 65(2), 114-135.

Vries, de H., van de Klundert, J., & Wagelmans, A. (2021). Toward Elimination of Infectious Diseases with Mobile Screening Teams: HAT in the DRC. Production and Operations Management, 30(10), 3408-3428.

Employment conditions

ERIM offers fully-funded and salaried PhD positions, which means that accepted PhD candidates become employees (promovendi) of Erasmus University Rotterdam. Salary and benefits are in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities (CAO) .

Contact Information

For questions regarding the PhD application and selection procedure, please check the Admissions or send us an e-mail via .

Erasmus Research Institute of Management

ERIM is the research institute of management at Erasmus University Rotterdam, founded by Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM) and Erasmus School of Economics (ESE), both of which excel in their research and teaching programmes. The level and international character of their research and teaching programmes has put both schools at the forefront of academic excellence. They offer a diversified portfolio of accredited teaching and research programmes, ranging from pre-experience MSc to postgraduate Masters and executive development, and from fundamental research to applied research and business support, which are renowned throughout the world. RSM is one of the few schools worldwide that holds a triple accreditation from the AMBAs, EQUIS and the AASCB, and is positioned among the top European business schools. The scientific staff of both schools plays a major role in the schools’ interaction with the international business community.

ERIM distinguishes itself by the high-level and international character of its research and has repeatedly been ranked among top 3 research institutes in Europe. ERIM’s key aims are top-quality academic research with impact both on academia and managerial practice, and the advancement of international academic careers and high-level support for both research and doctoral education. For more information about ERIM please visit [link:].

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