PhD Decision-Making for Reliable Supply Chains

PhD Decision-Making for Reliable Supply Chains

Published Deadline Location
10 May 5 Jun Delft

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Combine Excellent Research with Impact for the Netherlands Ministry of Defence

Job description

The success of critical operations depends on the rapid availability of essential supplies anywhere in the world. Even in the face of changing requirements and demands, processes and procedures must be in place that ensure rapid procurement and distribution of essential supplies. And while different types of supplies are conventionally be managed and procured by different entities within the ministry, there are important interdependencies between them. These interdependencies require the coordination of procurement decisions (e.g., timing, quantity or quality). Yet, time pressure and stress typical for rapid decisions are known to introduce biases. Therefore, behavioural aspects such as principal-agent relationships and the impact of information asymmetries play a pivotal role in understanding the barriers to rapid procurement.

The candidate will develop and test novel approaches that enable reliable and rapid management of essential supplies. Focusing on concrete case studies on procurement and distribution of equipment provided by the Netherlands Ministry of Defence, you will have a unique opportunity to combine excellent research with concrete and tangible impact for practice. You will especially focus on improving the supply and demand management (VAM), and  thereby you will contribute to better contract and supplier management (CLM).

The aim of this position is to design, develop, and test methods and tools to support planning and procurement to improve the performance of military supply chains under varying conditions. Besides conventional supply chain criteria such as costs, in this context the reliability and rapid availability are key to ensure that the required supplies are available at all times. To integrate behavioural aspects, you will combine methods from agent-based modeling, into supply chain management and decision-making under uncertainty. This work will result in concrete policy recommendations.   

The successful candidate will work on establishing and implementing this research program on Resilient Systems between the Netherlands Ministry of Defence and the Faculty of Technology, Policy and Management at the Delft University of Technology. You will benefit from working in a dedicated setting that appreciates and promotes interdisciplinary research to create impact for practice at a leading technical university. 


The PhD position is supported and co-supervised by the Netherlands Defence Academy and the Directorate of Policy at the Netherlands Ministry of Defence. Within the Directorate of Policy, the Department of Business Operations & Evaluation works to repair, simplify and harmonize key business processes at the central level for all branches of the Dutch Defence. The department will provide you with relevant knowledge and information, business cases and critical feedback.

Within TU Delft, the position is embedded in the newly founded TPM Resilience Lab which provides you with the opportunity to collaborate in an interdisciplinary team of top scientists in resilience, logistics & supply chain management, and decision-making under deep uncertainty. The TPM Resilience Lab aims to improve today's understanding of resilience in complex socio-technical systems by connecting the perspectives values, governance and systems. We do this by developing, testing and applying theories, methods and tools that are rooted in (system) engineering and modeling disciplines, ethics and the social and behavioural sciences. 

You will be directly working with Dr. Tina Comes and Jan Kwakkel as your supervisors. During the PhD trajectory, you will gain experience in supervising MSc students as well as contribute to teaching. Via our network and tailored mentoring, we will create opportunities for you to develop your career through support for conferences, collaborations, and training possibilities.


Delft University of Technology (TU Delft)


Candidates for the PhD position are expected to bring the skills and motivation necessary to conduct interdisciplinary research at the interface between academia and practice and successfully complete a PhD position within the dedicated time.

- You have successfully completed your master's degree in operations management / research, transportation & logistics, policy analysis or an equivalent that provides a good basis from which to engage with supply chain management and planning under uncertainty.

- You have excellent analytical skills, you like to work with and conceptualize complex problems, and you are experienced in Python (or other programming languages).

- You have an affinity for research and you are open to exploring new topics and learning new methods.

- You are good in networking, presenting and discussing your work, and you like to coach and supervise.

- You are fluent in English. Dutch language proficiency is a plus.

- You thrive in a collaborative and inter-disciplinary environment, and you are looking forward to working with the Ministry of Defence. To foster this collaboration, if you are not yet proficient in Dutch, you are willing to learn Dutch in the first 1-2 years of your PhD trajectory. We will support you via dedicated courses and alloting time for learning Dutch.

- You are a citizen of a NATO member nation. This position will require you to work with confidential data, you must be able to obtain a declaration of no objection (VGB) at least at level B. To get this VGB, you will undergo a security screening at the start of the position.

Conditions of employment

Fixed-term contract: 4 years.

TU Delft offers PhD-candidates a 4-year contract, with an official go/no go progress assessment after one year. Salary and benefits are in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities, increasing from € 2395 per month in the first year to € 3061 in the fourth year. As a PhD candidate you will be enrolled in the TU Delft Graduate School. The TU Delft Graduate School provides an inspiring research environment with an excellent team of supervisors, academic staff and a mentor. The Doctoral Education Programme is aimed at developing your transferable, discipline-related and research skills.

The TU Delft offers a customisable compensation package, discounts on health insurance and sport memberships, and a monthly work costs contribution. Flexible work schedules can be arranged. For international applicants we offer the Coming to Delft Service and Partner Career Advice to assist you with your relocation.


Delft University of Technology

Delft University of Technology is built on strong foundations. As creators of the world-famous Dutch waterworks and pioneers in biotech, TU Delft is a top international university combining science, engineering and design. It delivers world class results in education, research and innovation to address challenges in the areas of energy, climate, mobility, health and digital society. For generations, our engineers have proven to be entrepreneurial problem-solvers, both in business and in a social context. At TU Delft we embrace diversity and aim to be as inclusive as possible (see our Code of Conduct). Together, we imagine, invent and create solutions using technology to have a positive impact on a global scale.

Challenge. Change. Impact! 


Faculty Technology, Policy and Management

With its excellent education and research at the intersection of technology, society and policy, the Faculty of TPM makes an important contribution to solving complex technical-social issues, such as energy transition, mobility, digitalisation, water management and (cyber) security.
We combine insights from the engineering sciences, the social and the humanities. We develop robust models and designs, are internationally oriented and have an extensive network with knowledge institutions, companies, social organisations and governments.

Click here to go to the website of the Faculty of Technology, Policy and Management.


  • PhD
  • Behaviour and society
  • 36—40 hours per week
  • €2395—€3061 per month
  • University graduate
  • TUD01098


Delft University of Technology (TU Delft)

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