PhD Candidate - Researching Effective Ecosystem Orchestrators in Addressing Skills Gaps for Crucial Transitions

PhD Candidate - Researching Effective Ecosystem Orchestrators in Addressing Skills Gaps for Crucial Transitions

Published Deadline Location
18 Mar 19 May Heerlen

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Job description

Prof. Dr. Petra de Weerd-Nederhof and Prof. Dr. Nadine Roijakkers of the Open University in collaboration with Pieter Moerman and Thomas Boekhoud of Katapult ( are looking for you!

Do you want to contribute to shaping a sustainable future through research and innovation in technology-driven ecosystems? Be part of a transformative journey that bridges skills gaps and drives crucial transitions towards a digital and circular age.

Job description

Are you passionate about driving sustainable transitions in a rapidly changing world? Do you have a keen interest in technology-driven ecosystems and their potential to bring about crucial changes in various sectors? We are seeking a highly motivated and talented PhD candidate to join our research team and investigate the role of ecosystem orchestrators in addressing skills gaps during transitions towards a digital and circular age.


  • Conduct in-depth research on effective ecosystem orchestrators and their strategies for ensuring access to necessary skills during crucial transitions.
  • Analyze case studies and gather empirical evidence to understand the key strategies, tools, and approaches employed by successful ecosystem orchestrators.
  • Explore the role of state-of-the-art technology, such as assessments, predictive analytics, personalized learning, virtual training, and automation of tasks, in facilitating effective ecosystem orchestration.
  • Collaborate with industry partners, policymakers, and other stakeholders to gather insights and validate research findings.
  • Develop recommendations and guidelines for policymakers, industry leaders, and other stakeholders on leveraging ecosystem orchestration and technology to bridge skills gaps during transitions.
  • Present research findings at conferences, workshops, and seminars.
  • Write and publish research papers in reputable academic journals.


The Open Universiteit (OU)



  • You hold a completed academic master's degree in relevant fields such as Business Administration, Innovation Management, Technology Management or Sustainability.
  • You have a demonstrable affinity with (qualitative/quantitative) academic research.
  • You have an interest in ecosystem theory, technology-driven ecosystems, and sustainability transitions.
  • Knowledge of state-of-the-art digital technologies, such as AI and blockchain, and their potential in addressing skills gaps is a plus.
  • You have excellent collaboration skills.
  • You can work in a team as well as independently.
  • You have very good communication skills (writing, presenting and speaking) in both English and Dutch.
  • You have an analytical mind and are able to provide creative input and ideas.
  • You are results-oriented with a proactive attitude.


  • The opportunity to contribute to cutting-edge research on crucial transitions towards a digital and circular age.
  • Access to state-of-the-art research facilities and resources.
  • Mentorship from experienced researchers, academics, and practitioners.
  • Networking opportunities with industry experts and policymakers.
  • Competitive stipend and funding support for conference travel and research-related expenses.
  • Potential for publication in renowned academic journals.
  • A dynamic and collaborative research environment.

Conditions of employment

Fixed-term contract: for 4 years.


Heerlen. In consultation with your supervisors, you work on campus or from home. But as the candidate will also be a member of the research team at Katapult, you will also regularly be in The Hague.


The salary is determined in accordance with salary scale P of Appendix A of the Collective Labour Agreement of Dutch Universities and amounts to € 2.770,= gross per month upon commencement, in case of full employment.

The PhD candidate will be appointed for a period of 15 months. The appointment will be extended to 4 years when progress and performance are good.


Open Universiteit

Flexible studying anywhere in the Netherlands and (Belgium) Flanders
The Open Universiteit is the part-time university in the Netherlands. Students follow personalised and activating academic distance education and disciplinary research is carried out within the various fields of science. Students can complete bachelor and master programmes, but also shorter programmes. The characteristics of education are openness, flexibility and quality (see The Open Universiteit has over 17,000 students and more than 850 employees. The OU has branches in the Netherlands and Belgium (see The main office is located in Heerlen.

The latest technologies and educational insights are applied both in the bachelor's and master's programmes and courses and in projects and programmes with partners. Nationally and internationally, the OU plays an important role in the innovation of higher education. Education is interwoven with research, which also ensures that the current state of science is incorporated. The Open Universiteit invests not only in disciplinary research in nine scientific fields, but also in research in a multidisciplinary programme: Innovating for resilience.


Faculty of Science

The faculty of Science is one of the six faculties of the Open Universiteit. Education, research and valorisation are the main tasks. The faculty offers academic bachelor and master programmes in the fields of Computer Science, Information Science, and Environmental Sciences, including a recently developed Artificial Intelligence master programme (started February 2022). The faculty’s research programme focuses on Innovating for Resilience. The faculty has Ph.D.-students who conduct research on various current topics within the research programme. As a result of the interdisciplinary focus on education and research, as well as the close link with practice, work at our faculty provides many innovative and challenging opportunities for entrepreneurial researchers.


  • PhD
  • Natural sciences
  • max. 38 hours per week
  • max. €2770 per month
  • University graduate
  • FAC/BW/24035


The Open Universiteit (OU)

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Postbus 2960, 6401 DL, Heerlen

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