PhD candidate

The VUB and ULB are looking for a new PhD candidate to bring the knowledge on sustainable best-practices of both institutes into an entrepreneurial reality.


How to inspire and trigger entrepreneurial innovation through transformative circular economy (CE) configurations (i.e. the combination and interaction of different mechanisms behind different circular economy concepts like ‘reduce, reuse and recycle’, material cycling concepts, alternative economic models, systems thinking, industrial symbiosis, etc.) to transform our economies (national and regional) into sustainable metabolisms? Sustainability of company and economy growth is still often seen as an ‘obstacle’ that should be tackled with incremental technical solutions which are often (initially) costlier than the conventional and currently available solutions. However, sustainability (considering environmental, socio-economic and governance aspects of systems) can bring new competitive business opportunities. Thinking in sustainable systems can bring disruptive seeds for innovation to companies.

This project aims to bring these inspirational seeds to companies by (Pilar 1) working directly with companies from two sectors (mobility-energy and building sector) and by (Pilar 2) organizing a series of seminars and workshops for companies.

The project will be practically applied on two industrial sectors: (a) Combining the mobility and energy sector by reusing 2nd life batteries in electric grid applications and (b) the building sector.

Several tasks are defined and the theoretical stepwise approach can be summarized as follows:

(1) Mapping of the material flows and stocks in economies
(2) State-of-the-art analysis
(3) Typology of Circular Economy
(4) Multi-dimensional sustainability assessment methodological framework
(5) Case study selection and analysis
(6) Transition pathways to sustainability

The project is managed and supported by an interdisciplinary consortium of VUB & ULB experts:
Prof. Cathy Macharis (VUB), Dr. Maarten Messagie (VUB), Prof. Wouter Achten (ULB), Prof. Tom Bauler (ULB), Prof. Hubert Rahier (VUB) and Prof. Ahmed Khan (ULB).


You are a motivated researcher that can work independent on projects in a business oriented environment and have a good academic record. Preferably you already have experience in circular concepts and sustainability. You are a good communicator with a hands-on mentality that can organize professional workshops and seminars. You can write scientific articles in English fluently and can communicate with companies in Dutch and French. You are a team player with project management skills.


You start as a full-time researcher at the VUB & ULB at the end of 2018 in a dynamic and stimulating working environment and will be trained to become a fully independent researcher. We offer an attractive salary as well as extra-legal benefits such as free public transport and hospitalization insurance.


Send your CV to: