PhD on New Business Models to Unlock Mixed Cropping Potential

Eindhoven University of Technology
April 30, 2023
Offerd Salary:Negotiation
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Contract Type:Other
Working Time:Full time
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PhD on New Business Models to Unlock Mixed Cropping Potential

Do you like to play a significant role in how the future Dutch agriculture system will look like? Then, this vacancy might be of interest to you!



Irène Curie Fellowship



Industrial Engineering and Innovation Sciences



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Job description

Eindhoven University of Technology is looking for a PhD candidate with a background in Innovation Management, Technology Management, Strategy & Entrepreneurship or Industrial Engineering interested in rigorous research with practical relevance in the area of business model innovation connecting sustainability, entrepreneurship and technology across value chains in agriculture.

Project This PhD project will be carried out within the context of the research program CropMix, a Dutch Research Agenda initiative of a large interdisciplinary research team joining forces with the agricultural sector to achieve a breakthrough in the transition to sustainable arable farming. The program will study how crop diversity in the field can benefit from and enhance ecological processes, among others to reduce the use of pesticides and fertilization. CropMix will also investigate which societal and institutional changes in the food system are needed to enable and accelerate the transition to sustainable mixed crop production. This will be done within three living labs with a diversity of potential transition paths and stakeholders.

In this PhD project, we will explore how business model innovation can help farmers to bypass or adapt conventional value chains connected to retail. Currently, bulk supply contracts from retailers require farmers to scale up, make investments in equipment and retail relationships, increasing difficulties for farmers to change their business model. The current business models are built on short-term results, that do not allow for longer term processes of soil recovery and biodiversity restoration that enhances crop resilience. There is a need for new business models based on diversity of products. Furthermore, a broad set of value indicators, variation in value chains and alignment with technology development are required to break the bulk-contract-oriented business models that keep farmers locked-in industrial farming.

The aim of the PhD project is to identify, design, and evaluate sustainable business model options and their accompanying value chain configurations that allow for the creation, delivery, and distribution of the value enabled by CropMix systems. In particular, this PhD project aims to:

(1) develop an in-depth understanding of the perspective of every actor affected by or involved in mixed cropping systems for the range of transition routes identified in living labs with stakeholders,

(2) analyze the interdependencies and complementarities of supply-side actors in enabling the internal alignment within value chains,

(3) proactively test mixed cropping systems-based business models by combining the insights from technical experiments with the insights to the wider systemic contexts and dynamics from living labs to account for the co- evolutionary nature between the business model development and societal change.

Job description

You, as a successful applicant, will perform the PhD project outlined above in a multidisciplinary team and in close collaboration with organizations involved in the research consortium. The research will be concluded with a PhD thesis. You will be supervised by Isabelle Reymen, dr. Duygu Keskin, and dr. Annelies Bobelyn. Marius Monen from Avans University of Applied Sciences will be involved as co-referent. A limited teaching load is also part of the job.

Research consortium This work will be performed in close cooperation with the research consortium, including stakeholders in the full value chain from technology providers and farmers to consumers. You will work in an interdisciplinary setting, combining insights from social sciences, innovation sciences, and engineering with knowledge of the use of mixed cropping systems.

Group For this PhD position, the Innovation, Technology Entrepreneurship & Marketing group (ITEM) is involved. The group is part of the School of Industrial Engineering of the department IE&IS. The ITEM group focusses on understanding and improving new business and product development processes by combining a management and engineering perspective to capture the complexity and multidisciplinary nature of these processes. More information about the group can be found at: https: // www. engineering/innovation-technology-entrepreneurship-marketing/

Job requirements
  • You have a Master's degree in Innovation Management, Technology Management, Strategy & Entrepreneurship or another related, relevant field.
  • You have a strong affinity with interdisciplinary research, as well as collaboration with industry.
  • You have strong analytical skills and demonstrated competences for qualitative and design science research.
  • You like to take initiative and are able to work on a challenging topic that has both basic and applied research aspects.
  • You have excellent project management skills (e.g., planning, organizing and execution).
  • You have a strong affinity with (business model) innovation.
  • Your verbal and written communication skills are excellent as is your proficiency in English and your ability to collaborate in a multidisciplinary setting.
  • You are proficient in Dutch or willing to learn it quicky as the project requires frequent interaction with Dutch farmers.
  • Conditions of employment

    A meaningful job in a dynamic and ambitious university, in an interdisciplinary setting and within an international network. You will work on a beautiful, green campus within walking distance of the central train station. In addition, we offer you:

  • Full-time employment for four years, with an intermediate evaluation (go/no-go) after nine months. You will spend 10% of your employment on teaching tasks.
  • Salary and benefits (such as a pension scheme, paid pregnancy and maternity leave, partially paid parental leave) in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities.
  • A year-end bonus of 8.3% and annual vacation pay of 8%.
  • High-quality training programs and other support to grow into a self- aware, autonomous scientific researcher. At TU/e we challenge you to take charge of your own learning process.
  • An excellent technical infrastructure, on-campus children's day care and sports facilities.
  • An allowance for commuting, working from home and internet costs.
  • A Staff Immigration Team and a tax compensation scheme (the 30% facility) for international candidates.
  • Information and application

    About us

    Eindhoven University of Technology is a top-ranking Dutch university that combines scientific curiosity with a hands-on attitude. Our spirit of collaboration translates into an open culture and a number 1 position in collaborating with advanced industries. Fundamental knowledge enables us to design solutions for the highly complex problems of today and tomorrow.

    The Department of Industrial Engineering & Innovation Sciences (IE&IS) is a leading school in the area of industrial engineering and management science as well as innovation sciences. IE&IS has several BSc and MSc programs housed in two separate schools. Research is multi-disciplinary, based on fundamental scientific insights and methods. The school of Industrial Engineering (IE) focuses on the analysis, (re)design, and control of operational processes in organizations and the information systems needed for these processes, and the school of Innovation Sciences (IS) focuses on the realization and impact of technological innovations at the individual, organizational, and societal level. At the heart of our academic philosophy is the synergy between research and teaching.

    More information

    Do you recognize yourself in this profile and would you like to know more? Please contact dr. D. Keskin, asisstant professor,, or dr. Annelies Bobelyn, assistant professor,

    For information about terms of employment, please contact HR-services: or +31 40 247 8827.


    We invite you to submit a complete application by using the apply button. The application should include a:

  • Cover letter in which you describe your motivation and qualifications for the position.
  • Curriculum vitae, including a list of your publications and the contact information of two references.
  • Brief description of your MSc thesis (topic, method, contribution).
  • Copy of Master thesis, if available, or other significant report (e.g., Bachelor thesis).
  • Extract of the grades acquired in the courses for your BSc and MSc studies.
  • We look forward to receiving your application and will screen it as soon as possible. The preferred starting date for this position is the 1st of September 2023. The deadline for application is 1st of May 2023.

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