It's paramount for industries to prioritise sustainability for the improvement of health and social well-being. Embracing sustainable practices enables companies to decrease their negative impact on the environment, conserve resources, and promote a healthier planet. This not only benefits the environment but also has a positive impact on the health and well-being of individuals and communities. Additionally, sustainable industries can create new job opportunities and contribute to economic growth while safeguarding the planet for future generations. In conclusion, sustainability in industry is a mutually beneficial approach for all stakeholders involved.
The objective is to understand how sustainability strategies (including circular economy practices, diffusion of renewable energy technologies, healthy lifestyles, sustainable consumption, etc.) can reshape the future of industry and health systems. In fact, by prioritising sustainable practices in industry, we can reduce pollution and environmental degradation, leading to cleaner air and water for everyone. This, in turn, can improve public health and reduce healthcare costs. Additionally, sustainable practices often involve the use of renewable energy sources, which can create new jobs and boost the economy. By supporting sustainable practices, individuals and communities can work towards a better quality of life for all, both now and in the future.
The overarching goal of this PhD position is to investigate and develop prevention and intervention strategies that enhance the sustainability of the health system and social well-being. The successful candidate will contribute to the development and implementation of strategies aimed at increasing the sustainability of the health system and achieving a positive impact on Sustainable Development Goal #3, which focuses on good health and social well-being. This research will explore innovative approaches, including circularity and preventive healthcare practices, to promote sustainability using methods such as system dynamics, big data analytics, agent-based modelling, artificial neural networks, etc. Other diversified methods are also welcome.
This project aims to investigate how this innovative perspective could transform various industries, in particular, those that directly influence the health and social well-being of society, including food, pharmaceuticals, agriculture, and manufacturing, and the collaboration possibilities among these industries. Within this project, the focus can be on one or more of the following topics:
* Sustainable Food Supply Chains for Improved Nutrition: examine the relationship between sustainable food supply chains and health outcomes. This research will explore ways to reduce the environmental impact of food production, distribution, and consumption while ensuring access to nutritious and sustainable food options. The focus will be on addressing health issues caused by unsustainable nutrition practices.
* Diffusion of Preventive Healthcare Practices: investigate the diffusion of preventive healthcare practices within society. This will involve analysing existing interventions, identifying barriers to adoption, and developing strategies to promote and encourage preventive healthcare behaviours among individuals and communities. The aim is to reduce the occurrence of health issues through proactive measures.
* Circular and Sustainable Industry Sectors: assess the environmental and social impact of industry sectors, such as construction, electric & electronics, IT products, sustainable energy technologies, textile, etc. and identify opportunities for increasing circularity and sustainability. By implementing sustainable practices and minimising the industry's impact on human health, this research aims to contribute to the overall sustainability of the healthcare system.
* Circular and Sustainable Pharmaceutical Supply Chain: examine the current pharmaceutical supply chain and identify opportunities for increasing circularity and sustainability. This will involve exploring initiatives such as waste reduction, recycling, and responsible sourcing of raw materials, as well as assessing the environmental and social impacts of pharmaceutical production and consumption.
* Circular and Sustainable Health Technology Tools/Devices/Machines: investigate the life cycle of health technology tools, devices, and machines, with a particular emphasis on those containing critical raw materials. By integrating principles of circular economy and sustainable design, the aim is to develop strategies for prolonging the lifespan of these technologies, promoting reuse and recycling, and minimising their environmental footprint.
* Overall systemic improvement: employ simulation approaches to model and simulate the interactions and interdependencies among the identified strategies. This will allow for a comprehensive understanding of their combined effects on sustainability and health outcomes. The research will provide insights into the potential synergies, trade-offs, and optimal implementation strategies for achieving Sustainable Development Goal #3.
As a doctoral student, your key responsibility will be to manage and carry out the research project within 48 months and write a PhD thesis. You will participate in research and training activities and disseminate research in the scientific community (international conferences) as well as the non-scientific community by outreach and public engagement.
Furthermore, you will write articles for scientific peer-reviewed journals and progress reports, and prepare results for publication and dissemination via public lectures, presentations, and the web.
You will also be responsible for taking courses per the research education and liaising with the other research staff, students, and partner institutions working in broad areas relevant to the research project.
Participation in other department duties, such as meetings, teaching, etc., is expected to cover a maximum scope of 20%. Requirements and Qualifications:
- A Master's degree in a relevant field, such as sustainability, public health, psychology, systems engineering, data analytics, industrial engineering, circular economy, artificial intelligence, interactive/persuasive technology, applied mathematics, business analytics, operations research, or a related discipline.
- Strong analytical and research skills, with a demonstrated ability to work independently and as part of a multidisciplinary team.
- Knowledge and interest in sustainability, circular economy, healthcare systems, and/or preventive healthcare practices.
- Proficiency in quantitative and qualitative research methods.
- Excellent communication skills in English, both written and verbal.
- Ability to collaborate with stakeholders from academia, industry, and healthcare organisations.
- Coding skills in one or more of the following programming languages: Python, Java, C++, Delphi, Matlab, and R;
- Prior work- and/or teaching experience in relevant areas is considered a merit.
- Exceptional interpersonal and communication skills and knowledge of the Dutch language or willingness to learn.