PhD position Circular Economy and Strategy (1.0 FTE)


Campus Fryslan


Rijksuniversiteit Groningen

Founded in 1614, the University of Groningen enjoys an international reputation as a dynamic and innovative institution of higher education offering high-quality teaching and research. Flexible study programmes and academic career opportunities in a wide variety of disciplines encourage the approximately 32,000 students and researchers alike to develop their own individual talents. As one of the best research universities in Europe, the University of Groningen has joined forces with other top universities and networks worldwide to become a truly global centre of knowledge.

Campus Fryslân is the ambitious eleventh and newest faculty of the University of Groningen, located in Leeuwarden. Campus Fryslân is an interdisciplinary faculty that works closely together with regional, national and international partners on worldwide (sustainability) challenges and local solutions. The sustainable development goals of the United Nations thus serve as an important guideline.

We offer challenging bachelor’s, master’s and PhD degree programmes. The research institute covers four research domains: Governance, Sustainable Economy, Culture, Language & Technology and Health & Food. In the summer of 2019, Campus Fryslân has moved to the new faculty building De Beurs: the first all-electric, monumental educational building in The Netherlands.

Job description

The PhD position falls under the Sustainable Entrepreneurship in a Circular Economy chair group. At the moment, seven Assistant Professors and eight PhD students are taking part in the Faculty’s teaching and research activities. Key topics that we focus on in our group comprise transition to circular economy, circular/sustainable business models, sustainable start-ups, organizational change, sustainable decision-making in organizations, and promoting sustainable human behaviour. Research within our group is both interdisciplinary (combining psychology and business for example) and transdisciplinary (working closely with regional firms and organizations on circularity challenges). As such, we value carrying out fundamental research with high societal relevance.

We are looking for a PhD candidate with a passion for interdisciplinary research on circular business models. Notably, together with your supervisors Dr Niels Faber and Prof. Gjalt de Jong, you will combine theories from the disciplines of psychology and sustainable entrepreneurship to investigate the process of how entrepreneurs, as leaders of an organization, could foster circular business models in an organization, and how they could design/implement successful strategies for these circular business models. In your research, you will initiate and maintain partnerships with practitioners and entrepreneurs who pioneer circular business in the region, and collaborate with them closely. You will publish the results of your studies in international scientific journals, which will be part of your PhD thesis. Moreover, you will present your studies at international conferences.

In addition, you will support teaching in various course units for the master’s degree programme in Sustainable Entrepreneurship, and supervise student projects. Teaching activities are under supervision of senior Faculty staff and embedded in the University “Start to Teach” courses as part of the PhD training programme.


- a completed (research) master’s degree in Business or Economics or a related field
- a strong affinity with or interest for the circular economy and/or circular business models and/or business strategy and/or sustainability in general
- a key interest in conducting inter- and transdisciplinary research
- relational skills for making connections with regional entrepreneurs/stakeholders
- self-organizational skills to plan, develop and present research
- good command of spoken and written English.

Conditions of employment

Contract length: 48 months.

We offer you in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities:

- a salary of € 2,325 gross per month in the first year to a maximum of € 2,972 gross per month in the final year (salary scale PhD students), based on a full-time position (1.0 FTE)
- an 8% holiday allowance and an 8.3% year-end bonus
- a position for four years; a successful candidate will first be offered a temporary position of one year with the option of renewal for another three years. Prolongation of the contract is contingent on sufficient progress in the first year to indicate that a successful completion of the PhD thesis within the contract period is to be expected.

A PhD training programme is part of the agreement and the successful candidate will be enrolled in the Graduate School of the Faculty. As part of the programme, the PhD researcher will take part in the Career Perspectives Series, which provides a thorough preparation on the career after the PhD, inside or outside academia. During the course of the doctorate, the PhD researcher will develop research and teaching competencies as well as leadership skills. For this, the PhD researcher will receive a tailor-made programme from the GSCF.

Job Application

Do you meet our qualification criteria? If yes, your application should include the following PDF formats:

- a motivation letter of a maximum of two A4 pages
- a recent curriculum vitae
- a copy of your diplomas with a list of course grades
- reference letters from two academic referees
- a research proposal of up to 2000 words, covering state of the art, main research question, key objectives, and relevance, the proposed (methodological) approach, a brief description of the relevant literature and a provisional timetable and a writing sample of no more than 5000 words, e.g. an essay or part of a master’s thesis.

You can submit your application in English until 30 January 11:59pm / before 31 January 20120 Dutch local time (CET) by means of the application form (click on "Apply" below on the advertisement on the university website).

Interviews will be scheduled in March 2020. Candidates may be asked to give a presentation.

We are an equal opportunity employer and value diversity at our University. We are committed to building a diverse faculty so you are encouraged to apply. Our selection procedure follows the guidelines of the Recruitment code (NVP), and European Commission's European Code of Conduct for recruitment of researchers,

Unsolicited marketing is not appreciated.

Additional information

For additional information, please contact:

Dr Niels Faber, Daily Supervisor of the project

Dr Joop Houtman, Coordinator of the Graduate School Campus Fryslân

In your application, please always include the job opening ID 219621

Digital application form