PhD in Social Entrepreneurship (1.0 FTE)

PhD in Social Entrepreneurship (1.0 FTE)

Published Deadline Location
7 Nov 6 Dec Utrecht

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We are looking for a PhD candidate who wants to put their brains and heart to work for understanding and contributing to a world where people flourish.

Job description

Utrecht University School of Economics (U.S.E.) is looking for a PhD candidate. The aim is to improve our understanding of the role of social entrepreneurship and how social and public value creation through social and community entrepreneurship can be scaled via improving entrepreneurial ecosystems.

Academic literature on social entrepreneurship (SE) and community entrepreneurship (CE) partially overlap in addressing how these forms of entrepreneurship can spur transitions that are deemed necessary for a number of societal challenges related to for example: energy, sustainability and health. Furthermore, the flourishing literature on entrepreneurial ecosystems calls for more new knowledge as to how ecosystems can be arranged such that new SE and CE initiatives can lead to scaled solutions that enhance societal outcomes and impact.

In this PhD project we aim to answer the following questions: Which conditions facilitate or hinder or social and community entrepreneurship? Which contextual factors – including rules, regulations, procurement procedures and collaborations with stakeholders - and actors – including policy makers, finance, knowledge institutes, civil society, and entrepreneurs - work best or worst for which types of social and community-driven entrepreneurship? Which governance models are (not) helpful? The research project is part of a new collaborative research project "Boosting Social and Community-driven Entrepreneurship for the Transition to an Inclusive and Sustainable Society"; (SCENTISS). It is an NWO funded research in the call KIA "societal earning capacity" and is led by Utrecht University, in collaboration with among others Eindhoven University of Technology and Erasmus University Rotterdam. The project develops new tools in a living lab setting with input from local governments and initiatives.

The first key objective is to develop the framework that guides this research project: a taxonomy of successful and failing SCEs in their heterogeneous contexts. This will be done in cocreation with other researchers and partners involved in the project. The second key objective is to add to our understanding of the breadth and scope of the phenomena by integrating and analyzing various existing data relevant sources (including the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor and dotChange), as well as contributing to new data initiatives. Within the scope of the research project, the PhD can navigate their research focus and develop a PhD dissertation.


Utrecht University


You will work with scholars from both Utrecht University School of Economics and Utrecht University School of Governance. You engage with the research project by following a mixed (quantitative and qualitative) research approach. In doing so, you will:
  • act as a team player in the project in close collaboration with your supervisors, other SCENTISS researchers and the SCENTISS programme manager;
  • mobilise theoretical insights and employ quantitative and qualitative research methods for data gathering and analysis;
  • report your research findings at (international) conferences and workshops and in scientific journals;
  • report your research findings to relevant stakeholders outside of academia, including in regional, national, international and virtual platforms and fora;
  • present the results of the research in a PhD dissertation, to be completed within four years;
  • be engaged in contributing to and supporting teaching activities at Bachelor's and Master's level (no more than 10% of your time).
Centrally, you want to put your brains and heart to work for understanding and contributing to a world where people flourish. You love to learn, analyse, write and make a difference. The ideal candidate for this position has a strong, demonstrated capacity to undertake advanced study in economics, governance or related disciplines, with a high level of accomplishment in their Master's level study.

In addition, you:
  • preferably hold a Research Master's degree / MPhil in Economics, Governance, or a related discipline - participation in relevant PhD courses is expected;
  • have advanced methodological skills and preferably proven experience with both quantitative and qualitative methods designs;
  • have excellent communication skills, an excellent command of written and spoken English, and ability to easily interact with the Dutch stakeholders involved in the project
  • are reliable and you can work and deliver timely both independently and in a team;
  • are willing to conduct empirical field research and are able to engage with members of academic, business, and policy communities.

Conditions of employment

You will be offered a temporary position (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 €2,541 in the first year and €3,247 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). For more information, please visit working at Utrecht University.


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 Law, Economics and Governance is a faculty at the heart of society, with a strong focus on social issues. Our subjects of law, economics and governance give us a strong mix of academic disciplines that complement and enhance each other. This is a unique combination and a mark of our faculty's strength.

Utrecht University School of Economics (U.S.E.) aims to contribute to an economy where people flourish. We enrich economics with other disciplines to better solve problems and identify opportunities, from a business and a government point of view: the real-world perspective. Scientifically rigorous and relevant to society. Well-being, cooperation, innovation and curiosity are our core values. Utrecht University School of Governance (USG) studies public issues and public organisations in their interaction with the developments in politics and society. The key question in this is how public organisations and private organisations with a public task deal with current social issues, how they shape their public responsibilities and deliver public value.


  • PhD
  • Economics
  • 36—40 hours per week
  • €2541—€3247 per month
  • University graduate
  • 1199746



Kriekenpitplein 21, 3584 EC, Utrecht

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