PhD position on Shared logistics at multimodal hubs -SMiLES- (1.0 FTE)


Faculty of Spatial Sciences


University of Groningen

Since its foundation in 1614, the University of Groningen has enjoyed an international reputation as a dynamic and innovative centre of higher education offering high-quality teaching and research. Balanced study and career paths in a wide variety of disciplines encourage the approximately 32.000 students and researchers to develop their own individual talents. Belonging to the best research universities in Europe and joining forces with prestigious partner universities and networks, the University of Groningen is truly an international place of knowledge.

The Faculty of Spatial Sciences consists of approximately 100 members of staff, 100 PhD students and around 1,000 undergraduate students. We focus on high quality teaching and research in the fields of social and economic geography, demography, and spatial planning. With a single collective research theme of 'towards Wellbeing, Innovation and Spatial Transformation' (tWIST), it is our mission to produce research which is world leading, distinctive, and policy-relevant. With two bachelor and eight master programmes, we provide a wide range of courses within the fields of geography and spatial sciences.

The Faculty of Spatial Sciences offers a PhD position in the field of transport geography that contributes to the NWO Sustainable Lighthouse project ‘SMiLES (Shared connectivity in Mobility and Logistics Enable Sustainability)’.

You will be based in the Department of Economic Geography. The department offers teaching and training at different levels, including the master’s programme ‘Economic Geography’. This position contributes to our research programme within the field of transport geography (Prof. Taede Tillema). At the same time, you will work closely together with the environment and infrastructure planning group (Prof. Jos Arts) in the Department of Spatial Planning. More specifically this position contributes to the NWO Sustainable Lighthouse project ‘SMiLES - Shared connectivity in Mobility and Logistics Enable Sustainability’. This is a large multidisciplinary research project into smart and shared logistics, in which the University of Groningen intensively cooperates with the Hanze University of Applied Sciences and with public and private sector in the Northern part of The Netherlands. There is also a close connection to the Hive.mobility initiative, where public, private and knowledge institutes in the Northern part of the Netherlands cooperate in the development of smart and green transport.

Job description

Your research project focuses on gaining insight into the opportunities and barriers for shared logistics on, and via (multimodal) hubs. Logistic hubs can be found in and around cities, but also in lower density peri-urban and rural areas. They form important connections and interchanges between (inter)national and regional and regional and local logistic flows.

Sharing initiatives ask for an integrated approach to logistics, infrastructure and spatial development from a public-private-people perspective. You will study the potential for logistic companies to mutually share services and resources at logistic nodes (private-private). At the same time, your project involves studying the conditions under which travellers are willing to embrace sustainable logistic pick-up services at multimodal hubs (private-people). And you will study how governments (public) could act and collaborate with the various parties (public-private-people) to achieve more shared logistics. Based on both qualitative and quantitative data collection and analyses in a living lab setting you will help to develop practical and sustainable shared logistic concepts in a real-world context.

The PhD thesis will usually be based on first-authored articles or publications of comparable quality at the level of international scientific journals, an introduction and a discussion. It will be written in English. Presentations at (inter)national conferences are part of the job as well. Also, the position involves contributing to the progress in the SMiLES project. Teaching can take up to 10% of your time.


We are looking for a social, enthusiastic and ambitious researcher.

You have:
• a (research) master’s degree in a field of study relevant to the topic of the project (e.g. (economic) geography, (technical) planning, civil engineering/transport studies, (spatial) economics, public administration), to be completed before 1 January 2020
• experience in working in interdisciplinary settings and in multidisciplinary teams
• interest in logistics, transportation, infrastructure (planning)
• interest and experience in conducting research in (planning) practice
• good writing skills and fluency in English; preferably experience in academic writing
• strong conceptual thinking with the desire and capacity to relate theoretical topics to practical challenges and solutions, also in policies
• excellent skills in mixed research methods (quantitative and qualitative) and data handling
• a strong motivation, good communicative skills in different settings (scientific and in the policy arena), and a proactive and independent work attitude

Given the research and data to be used, understanding of the Dutch language is preferred.

We are looking for you with the following competences:
• conceptual capacity & abstract reasoning
• communicative skills (presenting for diverse audiences)
• planning & organizing
• drive & enthusiasm.

Conditions of employment

Contract length: 12 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, up to a maximum of € 2,972 gross per month in the fourth and final year, based on a full-time position (1.0 FTE)
• a holiday allowance of 8% gross annual income
• an 8.3% year-end bonus
• a position for four years; you will get 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 next three years is to be expected
• a PhD training programme.

Job Application

Do you meet our qualification criteria? If yes, your application should include:
• a motivation letter (1 page, in English)
• a curriculum vitae (including a list of publications if any)
• a copy of your master diploma and transcripts
• the contact details of two referees whom we may contact for a recommendation.

Please submit your application until 19 January 11:59pm / 20 January 2020 Dutch local time (CET) by means of the application form (click on "Apply" below on the advertisement on the university website).

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:

Prof. Taede Tillema
+31 6 16452274

Prof. Jos Arts
+31 6 14848585

In your application, please always include the job opening ID 219630

Digital application form