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  3. PhD candidate in Collaboration in complex networks

PhD candidate in Collaboration in complex networks

Eindhoven University of Technology is looking for a PhD candidate with a background in Industrial Engineering, Mathematics, Operations Research, or Econometrics, interested in rigorous research with practical relevance in the area of collaboration in complex networks.

27 dagen geleden


de Rondom, Eindhoven, Noord-Brabant
Tijdelijk contract / Tijdelijke opdracht
Uren per week:
38 uur



Eindhoven University of Technology is one of the world's leading research universities (ranked by the Times Higher Education Supplement) and is particularly well known for its joint research with industry (ranked number one worldwide by the Centre for Science and Technology Studies). The Department of Industrial Engineering & Innovation Sciences (IE&IS) of Eindhoven University of Technology is one of the longest-established engineering schools in Europe, with a strong presence in the international research and education community, especially in the fields of Operations Management and Innovation Management, which are at the core of the undergraduate BSc program. The graduate programs (MSc and PhD) in Operations Management & Logistics and Innovation Management attract top-level students from all over the world. Researchers are member of the Beta research school.


The open position is at the Operations Planning, Accounting & Control group (OPAC). OPAC currently consists of 5 full professors, 5 associate professors, 15 assistant professors, 9 postdoctoral fellows, and 27 PhD candidates. The faculty teaches and conducts research in the area of operations planning and control in manufacturing, maintenance services, logistics and supply chains. Research is generally quantitative in nature, while many of the researchers also engage in empirical research. The OPAC group is responsible within the university for all teaching in the areas of operations management, transportation, manufacturing operations, reliability and maintenance, and accounting and finance, both at undergraduate and graduate level. The OPAC group has an extensive industrial network, which gives direct access to challenging operations management problems, new technologies, and empirical data.

Logistics Community Brabant (LCB)

The position is funded by Logistics Community Brabant (LCB). LCB is the unique place gathering scholars who work and live at the heart of logistics and who are daily engaged in growth, development, and innovation, from both theory and practice. Within LCB, the logistics sector in Brabant is preparing itself for the far-reaching economic changes that are coming. For example, LCB ensures the accelerated exchange of logistics knowledge between companies and knowledge institutions with the support of the government, the Ministry of Defense, students, and professionals. LCB's unique profile is the optimal interface between the business community and knowledge institutions with two goals: accelerated translation of knowledge into the business community and impulses for logistics education and research into the knowledge institutions. Towards this end, LCB offers (pro-actively) attractive knowledge products, such as knowledge maintenance contracts, educational partnerships and fresh brains tailored to the needs of the companies. LCB is managed as a real company and supported by the new and unique collaboration between the knowledge institutions of the Noord-Brabant region. The result is accelerated innovation, particularly in the areas of digital transformation, sustainability, circular economy, and omni-channel, for both business models for companies and scientific and practical research for knowledge institutions. In this way, the competitiveness of the logistics sector, the municipality of Breda, and the Noord-Brabant region as a whole, can be strengthened in a sustainable manner, which leads to extra turnover and jobs. For the knowledge institutions, LCB increases the possibilities for scientific and practical research. In time, Brabant region could become the smartest logistics region with a central hub function in Breda, with the ambition of becoming the number one logistics knowledge region in the world.

The themes related to this position is:
  • Data-driven logistics and Smart Industry: acceleration within the chains, shortening of the product life cycle, customizing, and vulnerability within the chains (disruption) result in increased complexity, which calls for the application of smart algorithms. The focus is increasingly on connecting information in order to be able to predict the needs of the market and to ensure that production responds appropriately to these needs. A Smart algorithms can be embedded in collaborative planning processes involving multiple partners in the supply chain.

PhD project

Collaboration in supply chains is of vital importance. For example in the high-tech sector, via collaboration one could avoid obsolescence of expensive components, idleness of expensive equipment and highly-skilled employees, and missed sales opportunities. Though there is extensive collaboration in the research and development phase of the product life cycle, and the importance of collaboration in the operation is acknowledged, actually establishing operational collaboration is a challenge. The importance of operational collaboration is even higher as the demand for high-tech equipment and products is highly volatile. To illustrate, vendor-managed inventory is applied extensively, even though there is empirical evidence that the increased demand volatility upstream in the supply chain is not resolved by it: the Bullwhip effect remains.

Important drivers for suboptimal operational performance of a chain are the different individual incentives of parties involved. Interests may differ, but next to that, even if parties strive to optimize the same interests it might well be that the joint impact on the chain is different from the impact the deciding party experiences himself. Logically, operational decisions of parties are not in the best interest of the chain as a whole. Anticipating parties to behave like this, may then well lead to correcting (suboptimal) choices by other parties in the chain. A rational chain reaction of correcting (suboptimal) choices can be expected naturally.

Research has focused on creating incentives at parties to better align their interests. Oftentimes, a stylized setting with a limited number of parties and/or periods is considered. What is missing is a close connection with operational decision making. In this project we aim to achieve aligned incentives/interests within and between different echelons of a supply chain, directly connected to the operational (collaborative) decision making. This encompasses a setting with a producer of a final product and its suppliers of various components in which there should alignment over multiple periods between producer and supplier (vertical) as well as between suppliers (horizontal). To see the importance of the last aspect, note that costly efforts to deliver a component in time are worthless if not all necessary components are present.

The innovativeness of the research lies in the combination of game theory and multi-item multi-echelon inventory theory. Game-theoretic concepts are the solid theoretical foundation for analyzing cooperative and noncooperative situations to get to stable operational cooperation. Concepts from multi-item multi-echelon inventory theory are used to translate tactical decisions regarding contract structures into operational day-to-day decision making.

Job Description

You, as a successful applicant, will perform the PhD project outlined above in an international team and in close collaboration with industry. The research will be concluded with a PhD thesis. You will be supervised by dr. Marco Slikker and prof.dr. Ton de Kok. A small teaching load is part of the job.


You have:

  • A Master's degree in Operations Research, Econometrics, Industrial Engineering, Operations Management, Applied Mathematics, or a related field.
  • Strong interest in interdisciplinary research, as well as collaboration with industry.
  • Strong analytical and mathematical skills and demonstrated competence for quantitative modeling.
  • Potential and ambition to become a top-level management scholar.
  • The ability to work on a challenging topic that has both fundamental and applied research aspects.
  • Proven excellent verbal and written communication skills, as is your proficiency in English and your ability to collaborate in an international setting.


We offer:
  • A challenging job in a dynamic and ambitious university.
  • A PhD appointment for a period of 4 years.
  • A gross monthly salary of €2.325,- in the first year up to €2.972,- (gross) in the fourth year on a full-time basis.
  • A yearly holiday allowance of 8% and 8.3% end of year allowance.
  • A broad package of fringe benefits (including an excellent technical infrastructure, moving expenses, savings schemes, coverage of costs of publishing the dissertation and excellent sports facilities).

Additional information

More information about the job itself can be obtained from dr. Marco Slikker at m.slikker[at]tue.nl. Information about terms of employment can be obtained from Mrs. Susan Opgenoorth, HR advisor, at pz.ieis[at]tue.nl

Your application must contain the following documents (all in English):
  • Cover letter (2 page max), which includes a motivation of your interest in the vacancy and an explanation of why you would fit well for the project.
  • Detailed curriculum vitae.
  • List of courses you have taken in Master's and Bachelor's programs (including grades).
  • Results of a recent English language test, or other evidence of your English language capabilities (TOEFL, IELTS, etc.).
  • Name and contact information of two references.

The deadline for applications is 12 July 2020. However, if you are interested, we invite you to apply as soon possible. Selection will begin immediately and continue until the position has been filled.

Please use the apply "now button" and do not send us applications by e-mail. Note that you will have to combine all documents to 1 document before you can upload it.


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