PhD Position in Global Value Chain Economics

Recent shocks to the world economy (BREXIT, COVID-19, Russian-Ukraine war, mounting US-China trade tensions) led to new questions on efficiency and resilience aspects of international value chains.
  • WO
  • Tijdelijk
Delft University of Technology (TU Delft)


The section Economics of Technology and Innovation (ETI) offers a 4-year PhD position to support its research on international value chains.

International value chains are a defining feature of the globalization wave of the 1990s and 2000s, which left its mark on the division of labour between firms, regions, and countries. Analysing international value chains requires the examination of trade and investment patterns across different dimensions and the position of firms in international production networks in order to understand welfare implications and economic trajectories of open economies. Equally interesting is the study of the driving forces behind these developments, such as technology, economic policies, and geopolitical events.

Technology was an enabler for the emergence of international value chains and will remain highly relevant for future reconfiguration. The competition for technological leadership in the digital domain and resulting geopolitical frictions are as relevant as the growing awareness of the vulnerabilities of existing supply chains. These vulnerabilities reflect the prioritization of efficiency by lead firms in the organization of their production networks, which came at the expense of supply chain resilience and robustness. Concerns about resilience have grown with ‘systemic rivalries’ and the strive for ‘technological sovereignty’. It is unclear yet whether the ‘reshoring’ of economic activities will make value chains less vulnerable to adverse shocks.

You are expected to do research in the field of international value chain economics leading to a PhD thesis. Your work will contribute to the research of the ETI section, which has a quantitative focus. The research undertaken is expected to be both original and related to 'real world' problems, thus contributing to existing societal challenges.  

Research questions that you could tackle in your PhD thesis include, but are certainly not limited to, the following:  

  • How will digital technologies and artificial intelligence affect the location decisions of multinational firms?
  • Which supply chain reconfiguration strategies (e.g. reshoring, supplier redundancies, return to inventory holdings) make value chains more resilient?
  • Is globalization associated with the concentration of economic activities, higher economic rents, a change in the labor share, and greater inequality?


Potential PhD candidates are expected to have:

  • A Master’s degree in Economics, International Development, Political Science, Supply Chain Management, International Business Management or a related field. Irrespective of your background, you have a good knowledge of economics and a genuine interest in global interactions.
  • Work experience with large datasets, economic models and programming skills (e.g. in R, STATA, Python).
  • Excellent study results.
  • Strong and explicit interest and motivation for scientific research in efficiency and resilience of international value chains.
  • A willingness to work in teams and a multidisciplinary environment, with engineers and scholars in social sciences and humanities, is important.

Doing a PhD at TU Delft requires English proficiency at a certain level to ensure that the candidate is able to communicate and interact well, participate in English-taught Doctoral Education courses, and write scientific articles and a final thesis. For more details please check the Graduate Schools Admission Requirements.


Delft University of Technology is built on strong foundations. As creators of the world-famous Dutch waterworks and pioneers in biotech, TU Delft is a top international university combining science, engineering and design. It delivers world class results in education, research and innovation to address challenges in the areas of energy, climate, mobility, health and digital society. For generations, our engineers have proven to be entrepreneurial problem-solvers, both in business and in a social context.

At TU Delft we embrace diversity as one of our core values and we actively engage to be a university where you feel at home and can flourish. We value different perspectives and qualities. We believe this makes our work more innovative, the TU Delft community more vibrant and the world more just. Together, we imagine, invent and create solutions using technology to have a positive impact on a global scale. That is why we invite you to apply. Your application will receive fair consideration.

Challenge. Change. Impact!


Doctoral candidates will be offered a 4-year period of employment in principle, but in the form of 2 employment contracts. An initial 1,5 year contract with an official go/no go progress assessment within 15 months. Followed by an additional contract for the remaining 2,5 years assuming everything goes well and performance requirements are met.

Salary and benefits are in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities, increasing from € 2770 per month in the first year to € 3539 in the fourth year. As a PhD candidate you will be enrolled in the TU Delft Graduate School. The TU Delft Graduate School provides an inspiring research environment with an excellent team of supervisors, academic staff and a mentor. The Doctoral Education Programme is aimed at developing your transferable, discipline-related and research skills.

The TU Delft offers a customisable compensation package, discounts on health insurance, and a monthly work costs contribution. Flexible work schedules can be arranged. 

For international applicants, TU Delft has the Coming to Delft Service. This service provides information for new international employees to help you prepare the relocation and to settle in the Netherlands. The Coming to Delft Service offers a Dual Career Programme for partners and they organise events to expand your (social) network.

Meer informatie

For more information about this vacancy, please contact dr. R. Stöllinger ( or prof.dr. C.P. van Beers ( Interviews with selected candidates will take place Wednesday, January 24th, and/or Tuesday, February 13th 2024, either off-line or online.