PhD Position Policy Analysis, Modelling and Simulation for Circularity in HealthCare

PhD Position Policy Analysis, Modelling and Simulation for Circularity in HealthCare

Published Deadline Location
11 Mar 22 Apr Delft
Address the broader systemic policy and regulatory challenges for achieving circularity in healthcare systems!

Job description

The healthcare sector is highly carbon-intensive, contributing to 7% of emissions in the Netherlands and responsible for 13% of the national footprint of material extraction. In response, the Dutch government has called for more environmentally sustainable healthcare. Moreover, a growing number of healthcare professionals acknowledge that the relatively new culture of disposable product use in hospitals is not sustainable and therefore advocate for a radical transition towards circularity and environmental sustainability for hospitals.

Our project ESCH-R (Evidence-based Strategies to create Circular Hospitals: Applying the 10-Rs framework to healthcare) addresses this challenge with its mission to accelerate the adoption of circular interventions in hospitals. Our research question is: How can hospitals move away from single use medical consumables to make the transition towards circularity? Together with societal partners, our interdisciplinary team will develop circular, safe and scalable strategies.

Within the ESCH-R project, various research sub-projects exist, including exploration of the behaviour of staff in hospitals towards achieving circularity, the purchasing strategies of hospitals who buy different consumables, and the potential for designing new materials and packaging that is more circular.

In this PhD project, you will specifically look at the broader policy, governance, and regulatory context in which decisions take place for achieving circularity in healthcare, specifically for the Dutch context. Our overarching question is: “How do we scale up sustainability?", and our objective is to analyse and evaluate the systemic structures, processes and policies that support or hamper the development and diffusion of circular medical consumables, e.g. disposable medical instruments and personal protective equipment (PPE) and their packaging.

The work will include, but is not limited to: desk research, stakeholder analyses, qualitative interviews, observations, co-creation workshops and participatory modelling, and simulation (using system dynamics) to assess the effects of different practices and/or policy interventions.

Many of the above tasks will be in conjunction with other PhD candidates and members of the consortium. The consortium includes various academic, healthcare and industrial partaners.

As a result of this project, you will contribute to creating deliver an evidence-based roadmap for the successful implementation and upscaling of circular interventions in hospitals. You will help provide recommendations for changes in hospital practices and national healthcare policies that will help upscale the use of circular interventions in hospitals and, ultimately, support the transformation of the Dutch healthcare value chain from a linear to a circular one.

You will be supervised by Dr Saba Hinrichs-Krapels, Dr Willem Auping, and Prof Jan Kwakkel and work in a multi-disciplinary team on this multi-disciplinary and cross-sectoral programme. This embedding ensures access to a broad network of partners in research, policy and practice, in the Netherlands and worldwide. You may also gain experience in supervising MSc students as well as engage in teaching if you wish. 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)


  • You are a highly motivated and enthusiastic researcher with the ambition to conduct high-quality interdisciplinary research bridging qualitiative and quantitative methods to improve circularity in healthcare.
  • You have an MSc Degree in Operations Research; Health Management; Policy Analysis; or a related field.
  • You have system dynamics modelling experience.
  • You combine experience or a keen interest in qualitative research methods (interviews, ethnographic research) with experience in simulation modeling.
  • You are an independent and original thinker with a creative mindset.
  • You thrive in a collaborative and multi-disciplinary environment and look forward to interacting with researchers and experts on different domains.
  • You have an excellent command of spoken and written English and good communication skills. Dutch language skills are required, given the nature of the empirical work required.
  • You have excellent study results, and academic writing skills are regarded as assets.

Doing a PhD at TU Delft requires English proficiency at a certain level to ensure that the candidate is able to communicate and interact well, participate in English-taught Doctoral Education courses, and write scientific articles and a final thesis. For more details please check the Graduate Schools Admission Requirements.

Conditions of employment

Fixed-term contract: 4 years.

Doctoral candidates will be offered a 4-year period of employment in principle, but in the form of 2 employment contracts. An initial 1,5 year contract with an official go/no go progress assessment within 15 months. Followed by an additional contract for the remaining 2,5 years assuming everything goes well and performance requirements are met.

Salary and benefits are in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities, increasing from € 2770 per month in the first year to € 3539 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 a monthly work costs contribution. Flexible work schedules can be arranged. 

For international applicants, TU Delft has the Coming to Delft Service. This service provides information for new international employees to help you prepare the relocation and to settle in the Netherlands. The Coming to Delft Service offers a Dual Career Programme for partners and they organise events to expand your (social) network.


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 as one of our core values and we actively engage to be a university where you feel at home and can flourish. We value different perspectives and qualities. We believe this makes our work more innovative, the TU Delft community more vibrant and the world more just. Together, we imagine, invent and create solutions using technology to have a positive impact on a global scale. That is why we invite you to apply. Your application will receive fair consideration.

Challenge. Change. Impact!


Faculty Technology, Policy and Management

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

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

Additional information

Are you interested in this vacancy? Please apply no later than 22 April 2024 via the application button and upload:

  • Motivation letter.
  • Academic CV.
  • Your MSc thesis or a paper you wrote based on your MSc research. If neither are available in English, include a 1-page abstract of your MSc thesis written in English.
  • Transcripts from your BSc and MSc studies.


  • The expectation is that the position will commence in September 2024.
  • You can apply online. We will not process applications sent by email and/or post.
  • Please do not contact us for unsolicited services.

For more information about this vacancy, please contact Dr Saba Hinrichs-Krapels:


  • PhD
  • Health
  • 32—40 hours per week
  • €2770—€3539 per month
  • University graduate
  • TUD05049


Delft University of Technology (TU Delft)

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Mekelweg 2, 2628 CD, Delft

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Application procedure

A pre-employment screening can be part of the selection procedure.

Application procedure

Application procedure

A pre-employment screening can be part of the selection procedure.

Make sure to apply no later than 22 Apr 2024 23:59 (Europe/Amsterdam).