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Interest in sustainability and corporate social responsibility (CSR) has grown in recent decades in many regions of the world, and an increasing number of organisations aim to influence the governance of responsible corporate behaviour, through international standards, global principles, and multi-stakeholder initiatives for example. Whilst the origin of this type of governance is well studied, we know little of its effectiveness in governing corporate behaviour.
The aim of the PhD scholarship is to study how multinational corporations work collectively with stakeholders to take action to address sustainability. The research is expected to extend or develop theories of governance and collective action, with a focus on responsible investment and/or CSR. Topics of current research in this area include sustainability rankings and standards, shareholder engagement on environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues, and the role of organizations such as the Principles for Responsible Investment.
The PhD scholarship entails international data collection with organisations in the fields of sustainability and responsible investment. Such organisations could be involved with governing various sustainability issues, depending on the preferences and interests of the PhD student. The student will be actively involved in designing the PhD project, for example in developing the appropriate case study design, collecting and analyzing the data (most likely using mixed methods, including qualitative & quantitative statistical methods) and writing scientific papers based on the findings.
University of Groningen
We are looking for a candidate with
- a MSc degree in International Business or International Relations or equivalent degree, with a research methods component
- basic knowledge of interdisciplinary work in the area of governance and sustainability/Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)
- preferably prior experience with or exposure to both qualitative and quantitative analytical techniques
- excellent English language skills and communication skills
- high motivation to work interdisciplinary
- ability to work in a team, but also independently and proactively
- ability to carefully organize and plan projects.
Conditions of employment
The PhD Scholarship student will be enrolled in the PhD Scholarship Programme and receives a scholarship of €2,120 per month (gross) from the University of Groningen under the condition of a positive assessment at the end of the first year. The monthly allowance is comparable to the first-year salary of PhD candidates with an appointment. For more information on the RUG PhD scholarship programme and its benefits please check the website at
An assessment may be part of the procedure, consisting of psychological tests and an interview.
Starting date: Preferably September 1, 2019.
Faculty of Economics and Business
Since its foundation in 1614, the University of Groningen has enjoyed an international reputation as a dynamic and innovative center of higher education offering high-quality teaching and research. Belonging to the best research universities of Europe and joining forces with prestigious partner universities and networks, the University of Groningen is truly an international place of knowledge.
Faculty of Economics and Business
The Faculty of Economics and Business offers an inspiring study and working environment for students and employees. International accreditation enables the Faculty to assess performance against the highest international standards. It also creates an exciting environment of continuous improvement. FEB's programmes, academic staff and research do well on various excellence ranking lists.