PhD on consumer-related rebound effects of circular business models (0.8 - 1.0 FTE)

PhD on consumer-related rebound effects of circular business models (0.8 - 1.0 FTE)

Published Deadline Location
20 May 26 Jun Utrecht

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Utrecht University is looking for a PhD on consumer related rebound effects of circular business models.

Job description

Are you passionate about sustainability and inquisitive? Utrecht University is recruiting a full-time PhD candidate for a four-year project in the field of the circular economy. The project aims to conduct consumer research and use it to improve environmental assessment tools that currently assume perfect consumer behaviour. 
Society and policy-makers see the transition to a circular economy (CE) as a crucial step in achieving a sustainable economy. New circular business models are rising that could facilitate a shift toward sustainable consumption patterns. This hope is fueled by the idea that circular resource use will lead to reduced and sustainable use of resources. However, we lack an understanding of the behavioural response of consumers and hence the actually realised improvements in resource use. You will contribute to researching this question. The PhD candidate will work in an interdisciplinary environment to identify and quantify consumer-related rebound effects of several circular business models and integrate these in environmental assessment tools such as Life Cycle Assessment (LCA). The supervisory team that will guide the successful candidate includes Dr. Blanca Corona, an expert in Life Cycle Assessment and circularity metrics, and Dr. Vivian Tunn, an expert in circular business models and consumer behaviour.


Utrecht University


The preferred candidate:
  • holds a Master's degree (or equivalent) in Environmental Sciences, Environmental Psychology, Industrial Ecology, Sustainable Development, Sustainable Business Innovation or another relevant discipline;
  • has a multidisciplinary education and experience with both natural and social sciences disciplines. This involves both qualitative and quantitative analytical skills and systems thinking. Experience with consumer surveys and life cycle assessment is desirable. However, experience in at least one of these two methods and willingness to learn the other is required;
  • has the ability to clearly communicate complex information and to interact effectively with both academic and diverse stakeholder audiences;
  • is enthusiastic to learn and work independently and as part of a larger team on the transition to the circular economy;
  • has excellent English language skills, both written and verbal;
  • has the curiosity and motivation to address important real-world problems through rigorous and ambitious academic inquiry.

Conditions of employment

You will be offered a temporary position (0.8 - 1.0 FTE), initially for one year with an extension to a total of four years 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 €2,443 per month in the first year and €3,122 per month in the fourth year of employment (scale P according to the Collective Labour Agreement Dutch Universities) for full-time employment. Salaries are supplemented with a holiday bonus of 8% and a year-end bonus of 8.3% per year, see working at the university for more information.


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.
The 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 into four Departments: Earth Sciences, Human Geography & Spatial Planning, Physical Geography, and Sustainable Development.

The research will be carried out within the Copernicus Institute of Sustainable Development at Utrecht University. This institute aims to have a positive impact on the transition to a sustainable society. They do this by developing excellent and relevant knowledge and by educating change agents of the future. They collaborate with citizens, politicians, policy-makers, NGOs and firms to learn from each other and influence decision-making. They work in interdisciplinary teams and have organised their research around three cross-topical themes and five sustainability challenges. The themes, governance, modelling and transitions, represent our signature and cover central aspects of sustainability research and policy. The five topical sustainability challenges, circular economy, sustainable energy, sustainable food, sustainable land and sustainable water, highlight our research strengths. The PhD candidate will work within two of the main research sections of the Copernicus Institute: Innovation studies and Energy & Resources.


  • PhD
  • Economics; Natural sciences
  • 28—40 hours per week
  • €2443—€3122 per month
  • University graduate
  • 1190308



Heidelberglaan 8, 3584CS, Utrecht

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