PhD researcher - Designing sustainable waste conversion value chains using decision support models

PhD researcher - Designing sustainable waste conversion value chains using decision support models

Published Deadline Location
4 May 5 Jun Wageningen

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Job description

Are you interested in supply chain sustainability and waste recycling? Are you passionate about developing mathematical models to support decision making in waste valorisation? Do you have background in supply chain operations, sustainability analysis or systems engineering? Then this PhD position might be the perfect fit for you!

The Operations Research and Logistics group of Wageningen University is hiring a PhD candidate to participate in a large national multi-disciplinary project (ReBBloCS) funded by the Dutch Enterprise Agency (RVO). The main goal of the ReBBloCS project is to maximize utilization and add value to what is currently considered waste for a number of industrial waste streams.

The PhD project will focus on network design, specifically addressing important strategic decisions related to the choice of waste streams in combination with the selection of waste-conversion pathways; location and scale of conversion facilities; as well as the portfolio of valorized products. Methods based on multi-objective optimization, process simulation and sustainability assessment will be used to address challenges related to scale of analysis (from unit operation to supply chain), conflicts between sustainability indicators and waste stream variability.
A major challenge of this PhD research is dealing with the various scales from unit operation level to supply chain, by exploring the use of methods based on multi-objective optimization, process simulation and sustainability assessment.

The research is embedded within the chair of Operations Research and Logistics, which is led by Prof. Dr. ir. Sander de Leeuw. You will be co-supervised by Dr. Ellen Slegers and Dr. Argyris Kanellopoulos.
The group consists of 12 academics and a brilliant team of PhD students focusing their research on operations and supply chain issues in food and bio-based supply chains. Within this scope, the core research areas of the group are:
  • operations and supply chain performance analysis;
  • the strategic configuration of network structures;
  • the tactical and operational planning of material flows;

In addition to traditional efficiency goals, the research also aims to improve sustainability, product quality and safety, as well as health and nutrition. Current examples of research are the design and operation of circular supply chains, the management of disruptions in food supply chains, the connection between changing diets and sustainable supply chain design, the operations in omni-channel retail, the management of not-for-profit supply chains, and supply chain planning to minimize waste.


Wageningen University & Research


The ideal candidate must have-
  • a University degree (MSc) in a discipline relevant to the PhD project (e.g. operations research, biosystems engineering, process systems engineering);
  • experience with quantitative optimization methods like mathematical programming (both in terms of modelling and implementation in related software);
  • affinity with circular and biobased supply chains and the related sustainability performance;
  • Good communication skills and interest on working together with people from other scientific disciplines (multi-disciplinary projects);
  • Fluency in English language, both written and spoken;

For this position your command of the English language is expected to be at C1 level. Sometimes it is necessary to submit an internationally recognised Certificate of Proficiency in the English Language. More information can be found here.

Conditions of employment

Wageningen University & Research offers excellent terms of employment. A few highlights from our Collective Labour Agreement include:
  • study leave, and partially paid parental leave;
  • working hours that can be discussed and arranged so that they allow for the best possible work-life balance;
  • the option to accrue additional compensation / holiday hours by working more;
  • there is a strong focus on vitality and you can make use of the sports facilities available on campus for a small fee;
  • a fixed December bonus of 8.3%;
  • excellent pension scheme;

In addition to these first-rate employee benefits, you will receive a fully funded PhD position and you will be offered a course program tailored to your needs and the research team.
The gross salary for the first year is € 2.541,- per month rising to € 3.247,- in the fourth year in according to the Collective Labour Agreements for Dutch Universities (CAO-NU) (scale P). This is based on a full-time working week of 38 hours. We offer a temporary contract for 18 months which will be extended for the duration of the project if you perform well.

There are plenty of options for personal initiative in a learning environment, and we provide excellent training opportunities. We are offering a unique position in an international environment with a pleasant and open working atmosphere.

You are going to work at the greenest and most innovative campus in Holland, and at a university that has been chosen as the “ Best University ” in the Netherlands for the 18th consecutive time.

Coming from abroad
Wageningen University & Research is the university and research centre for life sciences. The themes we deal with are relevant to everyone around the world and Wageningen, therefore, has a large international community and a lot to offer to international employees.

Our team of advisors on Dutch immigration procedures will help you with the visa application procedures for yourself and, if applicable, for your family.

Feeling welcome also has everything to do with being well informed. Wageningen University & Research's International Community page contains practical information about what we can do to support international employees and students coming to Wageningen. Furthermore, we can assist you with any additional advice and information about helping your partner to find a job, housing, schooling. For instance under the "30% rule", certain categories of international staff can receive tax exemption on approximately 30% of their gross salary.


Wageningen University & Research

Wageningen University & Research
The mission of Wageningen University & Research is “To explore the potential of nature to improve the quality of life”. Under the banner Wageningen University & Research, Wageningen University and the specialised research institutes of the Wageningen Research Foundation have joined forces in contributing to finding solutions to important questions in the domain of healthy food and living environment. With its roughly 30 branches, 7,200 employees (6,400 fte) and 13,200 students and over 150.000 participants to WUR’s Life Long Learning, Wageningen University & Research is one of the leading organisations in its domain. The unique Wageningen approach lies in its integrated approach to issues and the collaboration between different disciplines.
Read the 5 reasons why your future colleagues enjoy working at WUR and watch this video to get an idea of our green campus!
We will recruit for the vacancy ourselves, so no employment agencies please. However, sharing in your network is appreciated.


  • PhD
  • Behaviour and society
  • max. 38 hours per week
  • University graduate
  • P1220846-1


Wageningen University & Research

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Droevendaalsesteeg, 6708 PB, Wageningen

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