PhD position in the NWO-funded SMART4L project on collaborating learning communities

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

Are you passionate about improving collaboration, learning and innovation within and between organizations through cutting-edge research? Is it your ambition to achieve impact based on systematic and evidence-based research? Do you like a challenging and independent job in a dynamic setting in close collaboration with multiple stakeholders? Join our dynamic team and contribute to the SMART4L project, which aims to enhance our knowledge and skills about utilizing rapidly developing ICT innovations. Please apply for a Ph.D. position at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam’s Management and Organization research group.

FTE: 0,8

Job description

In an era of rapid technological advancement, companies and their workforce need to adapt quickly. However, a significant gap exists in the workforce’s ability to harness these advancements effectively. The SMART4L project seeks to bridge this gap by enhancing the learning capacity of companies and increasing the employability of the workforce, in the context of logistics. Key questions within this project are: How can the workforce keep up with and contribute to adoption and application of new ICT technologies? And, how can organizations create conditions for stimulating and facilitating ICT learning and innovation? Learning communities are promising vehicles to facilitate inter-organizational learning and innovation. Within learning communities, different stakeholders (companies, knowledge-, educational-, and sector institutions) collaborate to learn, co-create, and adopt ICT-driven innovations. Digital platforms, such as the SMART4L platform, promise to be valuable tools to further accelerate this learning and innovation in collaborative learning communities.

In this PhD project, we aim to uncover the social and psychological mechanisms that support learning and the creation, adoption and diffusion of ICT-driven innovations in logistics. Within this NWO-funded project we aim to answer this research question using a variety of research methods.

Your duties

  • data collection among multiple stakeholders using various methods (e.g., multi-level survey studies, longitudinal survey studies, interviews, observations) and conducting a systematic literature review.
  • You will analyse data using advanced multilevel methods and interpretive analysis, and write articles for scientific publication.
  • You will actively take part in meetings with partners in the SMART4L project and you will also be actively disseminating knowledge (e.g., through policy reports, presentations) to facilitate inter-organizational learning and innovation in the logistics sector and beyond.
  • You will give a modest contribution to the department’s teaching program (max. 20%), with the opportunity to obtain a basic qualification teaching certificate (“BKO”).


  • has (or is within 3 months of obtaining) a university Research Master’s or MSc degree in business administration, organizational studies, psychology, or a related field
  • is enthusiastic, motivated, driven, conscientious, and independent
  • has knowledge and expertise of quantitative or qualitative empirical research and affinity with multi-methods research
  • likes to work in a team, has outstanding organizational skills, and knows how to manage interests of different stakeholders
  • has excellent oral and written communication skills in Dutch and English

What are we offering?

A challenging position in a socially involved organization. The salary will be in accordance with university regulations for academic personnel and amounts €2,770 (PhD) per month during the first year and increases to €3,539 (PhD) per month during the fourth year, based on a full-time employment. The job profile: is based on the university job ranking system and is vacant for at least 1 FTE. The starting date will be 1 February 2024.

The appointment will initially be for 1 year. After a satisfactory evaluation of the initial appointment, the contract will be extended for a total duration of 5 years.
Additionally, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam offers excellent fringe benefits and various schemes and regulations to promote a good work/life balance, such as:

  • a maximum of 41 days of annual leave based on full-time employment, 8% holiday allowance and 8.3% end-of-year bonus, solid pension scheme (ABP), contribution to commuting expenses

About Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

The ambition of Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is clear: to contribute to a better world through outstanding education and ground-breaking research. We strive to be a university where personal development and commitment to society play a leading role. A university where people from different disciplines and backgrounds collaborate to achieve innovations and to generate new knowledge. Our teaching and research encompass the entire spectrum of academic endeavor – from the humanities, the social sciences and the natural sciences through to the life sciences and the medical sciences.

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is home to more than 31,000 students. We employ over 5,000 individuals. The VU campus is easily accessible and located in the heart of Amsterdam’s Zuidas district, a truly inspiring environment for teaching and research.

We are an inclusive university community. Diversity is one of our most important values. We believe that engaging in international activities and welcoming students and staff from a wide variety of backgrounds enhances the quality of our education and research. We are always looking for people who can enrich our world with their own unique perspectives and experiences.

School of Business and Economics
The School of Business and Economics (SBE) provides high-quality education and excellent research in business administration and economics with a focus on contributing to the social, economic and ecological challenges of our time. Whether it is the use of robots in society or big data, labour market participation or flexibility in the labour market, traffic jams or the housing market, flash crashes in the stock market or choice behaviour in gambling, leadership or change management: we believe in goal-oriented scientific research and understand that progress in academics, the business community and society is achieved through cooperation, openness and social responsibility.

At SBE, all of our highly-motivated colleagues work together closely in a stimulating, dynamic and international environment to achieve our collective goal of encouraging society to make informed choices. Approximately 7,000 Bachelor’s and Master’s students and 1,700 executive students are enrolled at the School, and employs roughly 600 people.

The project
The overall research program is led by Dr. M.W. (Menno) Vos (Windesheim) and consists of a multidisciplinary team of researchers from the University of Twente (prof. dr. Maria Iacob & Sebastian Piest PDEng), Windesheim (Dr. C.A.M. de Ruijt), and Saxion (Dr. L.D. Collou). The research team closely collaborates with an extensive consortium, consisting of companies in transport, logistics and manufacturing (Bolk Transport, Scania, Zehnder, Fuite), technology providers (Weesvaardig, Bullit Digital), regional network organizations (Port of Twente), learning communities (Logistics Lab Zwolle, Kansen met Data-Lab) and sector organizations (VNO-NCW, Evofenedex, and TLN). This consortium provides a rich and dynamic environment to conduct empirical research and ensure that your work has societal impact!

You will be supervised by Roy Sijbom (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam), Christine Moser (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam) en Matthijs Baas (Universiteit van Amsterdam).


Are you interested in this position? Please apply via the application button and upload your curriculum vitae and cover letter until


. The job interviews are planned for 6 to 10 November and consequently 27 November to 1 December. If possible please take them into account when applying for the position.

Applications in one bundled .pdf should include:

  • a curriculum vitae;
  • a letter of motivation;
  • your master’s thesis;
  • your master’s degree and list with courses and course grades.
  • 2 contact details of references

Submitting a diploma is part of the application process.

Applications received by e-mail will not be processed.

Vacancy questions
If you have any questions regarding this vacancy, you may contact:

Name: R.B.L. Sijbom
Position: Associate Professor
E-mail: [email protected]

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