PhD-position at the Maastricht Sustainability Institute in Circular Business Models and Ecosystems

PhD-position at the Maastricht Sustainability Institute in Circular Business Models and Ecosystems

Published Deadline Location
26 May 29 Jun Maastricht

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Job description

Maastricht Sustainability Institute (MSI) offers an exciting opportunity for a fulltime PhD position for four years in circular business models and ecosystems.

The PhD in circular business models and ecosystems will be funded through project DRASTIC which is about Demonstrating Real and Affordable Sustainable Building Solutions with Top-level whole life-cycle performance and Improved Circularity.

Project DRASTIC is a collaborative Horizon Europe project involving several European academic and business partners, led by VITO (Belgium) and with Maastricht University as one of the key academic partners. DRASTIC is about designing sustainable buildings with reduced embodied energy and carbon emissions, high life-cycle performance, and reduced life-cycle costs. The project addresses systemic changes in a rapidly evolving EU building and construction sector. It aims to accelerate the circular processes of constructing, renovating, reusing, and relocating new and existing products to empower local ecosystems to make the CE transition by implementing Circular Systemic Solutions (CSS). This is done through providing frameworks and a digital platform to assess, trace, and validate the reduction in GHG emissions throughout the lifecycle(s) and by recommending new business models that accelerate market uptake. DRASTIC revolves around 5 demonstrators each with a different focus on the building sector, in France, Germany, Spain, Norway and Estonia.

The PhD candidate is expected to conduct novel research with a focus on novel circular business models and ecosystems in the building sector related to the project. Objectives of the work e.g., include:

  • Investigating stakeholders for decarbonisation processes of innovative solutions in the construction industry that contribute to a more circular economy.
  • Addressing drivers and barriers to reuse in the construction industry.
  • Creating an innovative circular business model for the construction industry to address reuse and decarbonisation.
  • Creating awareness of to increase the demand for circular solutions to fasten the market uptake.

The candidate will be working in a transdisciplinary team, led by Prof. Nancy Bocken, based at Maastricht Sustainability Institute (MSI), Maastricht University, and will be co-supervised by Dr Veronique Vasseur at MSI.  The candidate is expected to contribute to teaching activities in the field of Sustainable Business at the department, taking max. 20% of his/her time. We offer a dynamic and challenging job in an internationally oriented organisation. MSI has strong collaborations with other institutes and departments at Maastricht University and elsewhere.


Maastricht University (UM)


We are looking for:

  • Eligible candidates must have successfully completed a Master in relevant areas to the project, including, for example: Sustainable and Circular Business, the Sustainable or Circular Built Environment, Sustainability Science, Science and Technology Studies (STS) or Innovation Studies (with a focus on sustainability).
  • Someone who has a record of high academic achievement (e.g. good grade for final dissertation, other research papers and/or involvement in other academic activities).
  • A candidate with a good competence in written and spoken English.
  • Strong collaborative and networking skills are desirable.
  • Affinity with / or experience with collaborating in multi-disciplinary and international teams.
  • Affinity with / or experience with environmental sustainability issues in the built environment and sustainable / circular business model issues (e.g., demonstrated via a relevant dissertation or group work).
  • Someone who is able to start in the position fully by September 1th, 2023.

Applicants are expected to include a concise CV, and a motivation letter (max 1 page) which makes reference to their background and dissertation in the field of Sustainable or Circular Business and/or the Sustainable or Circular Built Environment. In addition, a 2–3-page research proposal related to the topic will need to be submitted (with references and reference list, using APA-referencing style). This is to get a broad idea about how you would be addressing this topic.

Conditions of employment

The full-time position is offered for four years (1+3), with a yearly evaluation.

Remuneration will be according to standard salary levels for PhD students starting with a gross monthly salary of € 2.541 with a yearly growth to € 3.247 (based on a full-time appointment). Each year the standard salary is supplemented with a holiday allowance of 8% and an end-of-year bonus of 8.3%.

In addition to good primary employment conditions, UM also offers an attractive package of secondary employment conditions.

You should be willing to move to (the vicinity of) Maastricht.

The terms of employment of Maastricht University are set out in the Collective Labour Agreement of Dutch Universities (CAO). Furthermore, local UM provisions also apply. For more information look at the website > About UM > Working at UM.


Maastricht University

Maastricht University is renowned for its unique, innovative, problem-based learning system, which is characterized by a small-scale and student-oriented approach. Research at UM is characterized by a multidisciplinary and thematic approach, and is concentrated in research institutes and schools. Maastricht University has around 22,000 students and about 5,000 employees. Reflecting the university's strong international profile, a fair amount of both students and staff are from abroad. The university hosts 6 faculties: Faculty of Health, Medicine and Life Sciences, Faculty of Law, School of Business and Economics, Faculty of Science and Engineering, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, Faculty of Psychology and Neuroscience. 
For more information, visit



Maastricht Sustainability Institute (MSI) is part of the School of Business and Economics at Maastricht University, and with its focus on sustainable development in research and education centrally at the interface of science, policy and society. The institute offers the Master programme Sustainability Science, Policy and Society (which attracts a large international, multidisciplinary student population) which has a new specialization in Sustainable Business. The institute provides sustainability and circular economy education also at bachelor level. The multidisciplinary staff (ca. 40 persons) has an interdisciplinary working style and transdisciplinary interest for addressing sustainability problems.

The School of Business and Economics (SBE) is one of the youngest Faculties of Business and Economics in the Netherlands. It has a distinctive international profile and is Triple Crown accredited. It provides high-quality education and conducts excellent research with an international perspective. SBE strongly believes in creating close collaborations with its academic partners and societal stakeholders, its students and alumni, and with businesses and organisations in the Limburg Euregion, the Netherlands, Europe and the rest of the world.


  • PhD
  • Natural sciences; Behaviour and society
  • max. 38 hours per week
  • €2541—€3247 per month
  • University graduate
  • AT2023.232


Maastricht University (UM)

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