PhD Position Pathways Towards Sustainable Circular Business Models at Utrecht University and VITO (1.0 FTE)

Updated: 29 days ago

PhD Position Pathways Towards Sustainable Circular Business Models at Utrecht University and VITO (1.0 FTE)

Functie The transition to a circular economy is widely regarded as a solution to address the environmental and economic externalities of resource use and waste management in the current economic system. There is a large body of academic research that conceptualizes circular business models and aims to classify them into different typologies according to certain characteristics, such as the type of circular strategy they apply, the phase of the product life cycle they innovate, or the systemic boundaries they take into account.
While this body of work is very useful for academics to try to grasp what the circular economy is about, at the level of individual firms or clusters of firms it presents little insights into the dynamic transition and innovation process these firms are going through. Also, while the theoretical body of knowledge on Circular Business Model Innovation (CBMI) is growing, there is a need for more empirical insights, and a translation of these insights into recommendations and guidelines for strategic and operational business decisions. What firms need to know to make a successful transition is not “what is circularity about?”, but rather “how do we get there?”.
As a PhD researcher, you will contribute to create a better understanding of transition pathways towards effective, scalable and resilient circular business models, by analysing the past and current trajectories of firms that have been attempting to implement circularity in their business. Investigating the origin and evolution of circular entrepreneurial endeavours allows to identify the main driving and shaping factors as well as (solutions to) barriers from the perspective of the firm or entrepreneur in relation to external actors and trends. Analysing a sufficient number of cases in different sectors and contexts in a structured way will enable to identify change trajectories, fruitful combinations of circularity strategies, pitfall mitigation tactics, and success factors to aspire and protect. This will allow us to investigate circular business models in the broader context of internal and external influencing factors for entrepreneurial and intrapreneurial decision making.
Profiel You:
  • hold a Master's degree relevant to the position (e.g. (applied) economics, commercial engineering, (bio)-engineering with postgraduate studies in (applied) economics);
  • are fluent in English, both oral and written;
  • are available to defend the PhD topic on 20/10/2021, and officially start between November 2021 and January 2022;
  • are willing to work in Belgium and the Netherlands.
Relevant professional experience is considered as a plus.
Aanbod You will be offered a temporary position (1.0 FTE), initially for one year with an extension to four years in total upon a successful assessment in the first year, and with the specific intent that it results in a doctorate within this period. The gross salary ranges between €2,395 in the first year and €3,061 in the fourth year of employment (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.
Over de organisatie

A better future for everyone. This ambition motivates our scientists in executing their leading research and inspiring teaching. At Utrecht University , the various disciplines collaborate intensively towards major societal themes. Our focus is on Dynamics of Youth, Institutions for Open Societies, Life Sciences and Sustainability.
Utrecht University's Faculty of Geosciences studies the Earth: from the Earth's core to its surface, including man's spatial and material utilisation of the Earth - always with a focus on sustainability and innovation. With 3,400 students (BSc and MSc) and 720 staff, the faculty is a strong and challenging organisation. The Faculty of Geosciences is organised in four Departments: Earth Sciences, Human Geography & Spatial Planning, Physical Geography, and Sustainable Development.
The Flemish institute for technological research (Dutch : Vlaamse Instelling voor Technologisch Onderzoek or VITO), is an independent Flemish research organisation that provides scientific advice and technological innovations that facilitate the transition to a sustainable society, and this in the areas of energy, chemistry, materials, health and land use. VITO is active in 40 countries and has around 850 employees with 43 different nationalities.


Aanvullende informatie This PhD fellowship is granted within the collaboration between Utrecht University (NL) and VITO. For more information, please contact wim.vanopstal@vito.be or Dr Julian Kirchher via j.kirchherr@uu.nl .
You can apply for this PhD vacancy no later than August 23, 2021.
Solliciteren Everyone deserves to feel at home at our university. We welcome employees with a wide variety of backgrounds and perspectives.  
You can apply via PHD Position Pathways Towards Sustainable Circular Business Models. - VITO.

Reageren uiterlijk 23/08/2021
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