PhD Position: Accelerating the Transition to a Circular Textile Economy

PhD Position: Accelerating the Transition to a Circular Textile Economy

Published Deadline Location
6 Jun 15 Sep Utrecht
The project integrates analysis of technical and social innovations to enable behavioural change and new business models. Something for you? Apply now!

Job description

In this project, you will integrate analysis of technical and social innovations to enable behavioural change and uptake of new business models.

Your job
The extensive use of land, water, energy, and chemicals makes the textile industry one of the most polluting sectors worldwide. Both the Dutch government and the European Commission aim to improve the circularity of the textile sector to ensure a sustainable future. The Dutch Circular Economy programme highlights the necessity of behaviour change and the adoption of circular principles, such as the use of second-hand platforms and the dissuasion of fast-fashion consumption, to name two examples. Central to the programme is the Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR), which in principles is meant to encourage producers and retailers in the Dutch textile industry to change their business models and enhance textile collection efforts.

This PhD project aims to accelerate the transition to a circular textile economy by leveraging the Mission-specific Innovation Systems (MIS) framework. This framework provides a systems perspective to study the dynamics of diffusion and implementation of innovation. It maps the actors, networks, and institutions involved, assesses system performance, and identifies barriers to achieving societal missions through innovation. Until now, the MIS has mainly focused on technological innovation but in this project we also want to focus on the social innovations that are needed to accelerate the transition towards circular textiles. The research will focus on integrating both technological and social innovations and will focus on those R strategies that involve behavioural change and new business models. The project will map the mental models of various stakeholders within the Mission-specific Innovation System (MIS), assess the viability of circular business models, and provide intervention options for stakeholders in the innovation ecosystem that might be needed to supplement the shortcomings of existing mechanisms, such as some aspects of EPR.

Research Questions:
  • What do mental models of drivers and barriers for participating, collaborating in, and understanding a circular textile ecosystem look like?
  • How can mapping mental models of actors in the circular economy support a system analysis and be integrated into system models?
  • What is the diversity in perspectives on the circular economy among and across actors (policymakers, producers, consumers)?
  • What is preventing the uptake and diffusion of Circular Business Models (CBMs) and Circular Consumption Practices (CCPs)?

The research will combine qualitative and quantitative methods, including:
  • Qualitative Research: Expert interviews, desktop research, and workshops to collect data on the MIS and business models.
  • Quantitative Research: Surveys and data analysis to map the mental models of stakeholders across the value chain; Cost-Benefit Analysis.

You key tasks include:
  • conducting expert interviews and workshops to gather insights on MIS and business models;
  • designing and distributing surveys to map stakeholders' mental models using M-Tool;
  • analysing data to identify intervention points and design recommendations;
  • developing a framework for studying the transition to a circular textile economy from systems, organisational, and actor perspectives;
  • providing specific intervention strategies for policymakers and stakeholders within the innovation ecosystem.

Specifications

Utrecht University

Requirements

  • a Master’s degree in a relevant field such as innovation and transition studies, behavioural studies, sustainability, environmental science, industrial ecology or a related discipline;
  • strong interest in interdisciplinary research and the circular economy;
  • affinity with transition studies and behavioural change;
  • experience in qualitative and quantitative research methods;
  • excellent analytical and problem-solving skills;
  • ability to interact with stakeholders across different sectors;
  • strong communication skills in English (Dutch is a plus).

Conditions of employment

We offer:
  • a position 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;
  • a gross monthly salary between €2,770 and €3,539 in the case of full-time employment (salary scale P under the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities (CAO NU));
  • 8% holiday pay and 8.3% year-end bonus;
  • a pension scheme, partially paid parental leave and flexible terms of employment based on the CAO NU.

In addition to the terms of employment laid down in the CAO NU, Utrecht University has a number of schemes and facilities of its own for employees. This includes schemes facilitating professional development, leave schemes and schemes for sports and cultural activities, as well as discounts on software and other IT products. We also offer access to additional employee benefits through our Terms of Employment Options Model. In this way, we encourage our employees to continue to invest in their growth. For more information, please visit Working at Utrecht University.

Employer

Universiteit Utrecht

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 strategic themes. Our focus is on Dynamics of Youth, Institutions for Open Societies, Life Sciences and Pathways to Sustainability. Sharing science, shaping tomorrow.

Utrecht University’s Faculty of Geosciences studies the Earth: from the Earth’s core to its surface, including man’s spatial and material utilisation of the Earth – always with a focus on sustainability and innovation. With 3,400 students (BSc and MSc) and 720 staff, the faculty is a strong and challenging organisation. The Faculty of Geosciences is organised in four Departments: Earth Sciences, Human Geography & Spatial Planning, Physical Geography, and Sustainable Development.

Additional information

For more information, please contact Dr Simona Negro at s.o.negro@uu.nl; Dr Arturo Castillo at a.castillocastillo@uu.nl; or Dr Karlijn van den Broek at k.l.vandenbroek@uu.nl.

Candidates for this vacancy will be recruited by Utrecht University.

Specifications

  • PhD; Research, development, innovation; Education
  • Natural sciences
  • 32—40 hours per week
  • €2770—€3539 per month
  • University graduate
  • 3974

Employer

Location

Princetonlaan 8a, 3584CB, Utrecht

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Application procedure

As Utrecht University, we want to be a home for everyone. We value staff with diverse backgrounds, perspectives and identities, including cultural, religious or ethnic background, gender, sexual orientation, disability or age. We strive to create a safe and inclusive environment in which everyone can flourish and contribute.

To apply, please send your curriculum vitae, including a letter of motivation, via the ‘apply now’ button.

Application procedure

Application procedure

As Utrecht University, we want to be a home for everyone. We value staff with diverse backgrounds, perspectives and identities, including cultural, religious or ethnic background, gender, sexual orientation, disability or age. We strive to create a safe and inclusive environment in which everyone can flourish and contribute.

To apply, please send your curriculum vitae, including a letter of motivation, via the ‘apply now’ button.

Make sure to apply no later than 15 Sep 2024 23:59 (Europe/Amsterdam).