PhD Position on "Knowledge and Talent in Entrepreneurial Ecosystems in Times of Digital Transformation" (1.0 FTE)

Utrecht University’s School of Economics (U.S.E.) is searching for a PhD candidate with the aim to improve our understanding of the role of knowledge and talent in entrepreneurial ecosystems in Europe.

New technologies are an important driver of economic change. They are the result of investments in knowledge in organizations and economies. Entrepreneurship is a key mechanism to turn new knowledge into useful technologies. One of the current key drivers of economic change are digital technologies. In this PhD project, we focus on entrepreneurial ecosystems in different European countries and assess how within these entrepreneurial ecosystems, human capital (talent) and knowledge affect entrepreneurship and economic development, in the light of current digital transformations. A regional perspective is used because of the variation in entrepreneurship and economic performance within nations, and the rise of regional forms of governance aiming to improve the prosperity of regions.

In this PhD project we aim to answer the following questions: (1) To what extent and how are knowledge and human capital interdependent in entrepreneurial ecosystems? (2) What are the aggregate welfare effects of entrepreneurship? (3) To what extent and how do institutions explain how knowledge and human capital affect entrepreneurship and economic development?

The PhD candidate will perform a systematic literature review on the role of knowledge and talent in entrepreneurial ecosystems. The core of the project will be the quantitative analysis of regional entrepreneurial ecosystems in Europe, with an in-depth analysis of a subset of contrasting regions in a limited set of countries.

The research project is connected to the European Union H2020 project BEYOND 4.0 led by TNO. Beyond 4.0 aims to help deliver an inclusive European future by examining the impact of the new technologies, and digitalization in particular, on the future of jobs, business models and welfare. BEYOND 4.0 addresses the general priorities of the H2020 Work Programme (2018-2020) “Europe in a changing world – Inclusive, innovative and reflective societies”.

You, as a successful applicant, will engage with the research project mainly by following a quantitative research approach. In doing so you will:

  • mobilize theoretical insights and employ quantitative research methods for data gathering and analysis;
  • report your research findings at (international) conferences and workshops and in scientific journals;
  • present the results of the research in a PhD-dissertation, to be completed within three years;
  • be engaged in contributing to and supporting teaching activities at Bachelor and Master level (no more than 10% of your time).

Centrally, you want to put your brains and heart to work for understanding and contributing to an economy where people flourish. You love to learn, analyze, write and make a difference. The ideal candidate for this position will have a strong, demonstrated capacity to undertake advanced study in economics or related disciplines, with a high level of accomplishment in their Master’s level study.

In addition, you:

  • hold a Research Master’s degree / MPhil in Economics, or a related discipline;
  • have advanced methodological skills and proven experience with quantitative methods designs;
  • have excellent communication skills and an excellent command of written and spoken English;
  • are reliable and you can work and deliver timely both independently and in a team;
  • are willing to conduct empirical field research and are able to engage with members of academic, business, and policy communities.

The candidate is offered a full-time position for three years, with an evaluation after one year. The gross monthly salary with a full-time appointment will amount to €2,709 in the first year and to €2,972 in the third year (P-scale of the Collective Labour Agreement Dutch Universities). The salary is supplemented with a holiday bonus of 8% and an end-of-year bonus of 8,3% per year. In addition we offer: a pension scheme, a partially paid parental leave, flexible employment conditions. Conditions are based on the Collective Labour Agreement Dutch Universities. For further information, see our website: working at Utrecht University.

A better future for everyone. This ambition motivates our scientists in executing their leading research and inspiring teaching. At Utrecht University, colleagues from various disciplines collaborate intensively towards major societal themes. Our focus is on Sustainability, Dynamics of Youth, Institutions for Open Societies, and Life Sciences.

The Faculty of Law, Economics and Governance is a Faculty at the heart of society, with a strong focus on social issues. Our subjects of Law, Economics and Governance give us a strong mix of academic disciplines that complement and enhance each other. This is a unique combination and a mark of our Faculty’s strength.

The Utrecht University School of Economics (U.S.E.) aims to contribute to an economy where people flourish. We enrich economics with other disciplines to better solve problems and identify opportunities, from a business and a government point of view: the real world perspective. Scientifically rigorous and relevant to society. Well-being, cooperation, innovation and curiosity are our core values.

For further information about the vacancy, please contact Prof. Dr. Erik Stam via .

To apply you can click on the button below. Applications should include a motivation for the application, curriculum vitae, and the names of at least two referees (with e-mail contact addresses and phone numbers). Applications should be sent by September 30, 2019. The exact date of the interview will be decided at a later stage.

Everyone deserves to feel at home at our university. We welcome employees with a wide variety of backgrounds and perspectives.


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