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  3. Two PhD Candidates: On the Move: Transition towards Sustainable Mobility

Two PhD Candidates: On the Move: Transition towards Sustainable Mobility

Context The Dutch Research Council (NWO) has granted the research proposal 'On the Move: Transition towards Sustainable Mobility'. Together with public and …

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Houtlaan, Nijmegen, Gelderland
Tijdelijk contract / Tijdelijke opdracht
Uren per week:
32 - 40 uur
€ 2972 - € 2972 per maand


The Dutch Research Council (NWO) has granted the research proposal 'On the Move: Transition towards Sustainable Mobility'. Together with public and private partners, Radboud University (RU) and Delft University of Technology (DUT) plan to study transition strategies towards a sustainable mobility system. The grant enables two PhD positions and one postdoctoral position at RU and two PhD positions at DUT.

Two PhD Positions
Radboud University is looking for two PhD candidates to be appointed at the Nijmegen School of Management (NSM):

1. Project: Consumers on the move, Supervised by Dr G. de Vries (DUT), Prof. R. van der Heijden (RU) and Dr F. Bekius (RU).

Brief description: Travel behaviour results from travellers’ or commercial drivers' capabilities and contextual factors. These are partly influenced by governmental decisions. Therefore, public decision makers increasingly seek the active involvement of commercial firms and the public to co-decide on sustainable mobility strategies. This project takes the challenge to develop and test effective strategies to organise and benefit from such government-consumer interactions.

2. Project: Uncertainty management in mobility innovations, Supervised by Dr W. Veeneman (DUT), Dr S. Ritter (RU) and Prof. V. Marchau (RU).

Brief description: The interplay between governments, mobility providers and innovators is crucial for sustainable mobility. Key actors develop new services, interacting with the positions and intentions of the other stakeholders and changing external conditions. This project studies different ways to support stakeholders to recognise and overcome uncertainty in key areas, and to allow them to innovate in a synergetic way by aligning the innovative power of the sector with crucial public values.

You will become a member of the IMR Doctoral School, the TRAIL Research School and possibly the Netherlands Institute of Government (NIG). You will be expected to attend relevant courses and activities for further personal development. A plan for this will be made at the start of the project. In addition, you will participate proactively in the On the Move consortium of Radboud University (RU), Delft University of Technology (DUT) and societal partners participating in this project. You will be expected to present your research at international conferences and publish your results in scientific journals. Moreover, you are expected to finish your research with a PhD thesis.

Background of On the Move
Mobility must become more sustainable. However, there is great uncertainty about the right ways to achieve a sustainable future for mobility. Options range from electric to hydrogen, from self-driving to collective, from shared to as-a-service, or perhaps combinations. But how? That is a question that can only be answered if you understand the positions of all relevant actors: the service providers who innovate, the users who may adjust their behaviour, governments that want to shape a transition. Jointly, there are many paths to lead them to the future.

This project adopts an integrated perspective and focuses on how to deal with uncertainty in such a dynamic field of actors. It aims to develop and test disruptive strategies that justify the many, often deep, uncertainties and real-world actor behaviours. Traditional trend-based models used to explore the future (the traditional ‘predict and act’ paradigm) do not match this challenge. Therefore, this research adopts a ‘monitor and adapt’ paradigm based on a completely different systems approach. It aims for an interdisciplinary and creative way of future thinking, and initiating interventions. This systems approach is based on creative and participatory methods for mapping systems, designing and modelling interventions, and visualising their impacts.

According to this approach, the mobility system is conceptualised as an actor-behaviour triangle with interacting behaviour of different actors operating at different geographical scales. This relates to choice behaviour of consumers (C), the behaviour of private mobility service providers (P), and the behaviour of government parties (G) at all levels. Five subprojects are planned. Three subprojects focus on behavioural analyses: (i) between governmental organisations and consumers (individuals or firms)), (ii) between governmental organisations and service providers, and (iii) between service providers and consumers. In addition, adaptive strategies for the system as a whole are subject of two subprojects, analysing plausible futures of the system.


  • A Master’s degree (preferably a Research Master’s degree) in a relevant social science (e.g. public administration, business administration, urban and regional planning, or sociology) or in engineering science with a demonstrable link to social sciences.
  • An interest in innovations for mobility systems as well as a demonstrable interest in governance issues.
  • Demonstrable strong analytical and methodological skills.
  • Systems thinker (multidisciplinary interest).
  • An excellent command of written and spoken English and at least working knowledge of Dutch.
  • Excellent communication skills and an interest in translating research ideas and findings for the benefit of non-academic stakeholders (e.g. managers and policymakers).
  • The ability to work independently and in a team, i.e. a willingness to interact intensively with your academic colleagues and the Dutch societal partners within the consortium.


  • Employment: 32 - 40 hours per week.
  • The gross starting salary amounts to €2,325 per month, and will increase to €2,972 in the fourth year (p scale).
  • In addition to the salary: an 8% holiday allowance and an 8.3% end-of-year bonus.
  • Duration of the contract: You will be appointed for an initial period of 18 months, with an evaluation of your performance after 9-12 months. If the evaluation is positive, the contract will be extended by 2.5 years (4-year contract).
  • The intended start date is 1 June 2020.
  • You will be able to make use of our Dual Career Service: our Dual Career Officer will assist with family-related support, such as child care, and help your partner prepare for the local labour market and with finding an occupation.
  • Are you interested in our excellent employment conditions?

Additional information

For more information about this vacancy, please contact:

Project 1: Prof. Rob van der Heijden, Professor RU
Email: r.vanderheijden@fm.ru.nl

Project 2: Dr Wijnand Veeneman, Associate Professor TU Delft
Email: w.w.veeneman@TUDelft.nl


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