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PhD on purchasing strategies to enable circularity in the hospital value chain

Posted 17 Jun 2024
Work experience
1 to 3 years
Full-time / part-time
Job function
€2,770 - €3,539 per month
Degree level
Required languages
English (Fluent)
Dutch (Fluent)
23 Jun 2024 00:00

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ESHPM has a vacancy for a PhD student:

Purchasing strategies to enable circularity and sustainability in the hospital value chain

Do you have an interest in healthcare, circular economy, sustainability and purchasing/supply chain management? Do you like the idea of working with concepts and theories related to circularity and supply (chain) management and combining these with quantitative as well as qualitative research methods to create a sustainable and resilient healthcare system? Then we are looking for you!

Job description

While the goal of healthcare is to maintain or improve the quality of life of individuals and populations, it is at the same time a sector with significant negative impact on the environment. The healthcare sector is a considerable contributor to climate change and biodiversity loss, and therefore harms population health through the same activities with which it tries to improve.

Looking at hospitals in the Netherlands (as in many other countries), their value chain is mostly a linear system in which many single-use disposable products are procured and used, like gloves, syringes, infusion bags, catheters, video laryngoscopes, robot surgery consumables, consoles, sensors, cables and multiple layers of packaging. Medical consumables and their packaging require substantial amounts of energy and use of (virgin) materials during their production and are often disposed of after single-use. As most of the hospital waste is incinerated, the value of the materials is destroyed. Even worse, due to extremely strict protocols focused on efficiency and infection prevention, many consumables are disposed of without being used at all, still in their unopened, original packaging. Given the current climate- and resource crisis, there is an urgent need for a more circular approach concerning material use in the healthcare sector, based on three core principles: (1) design out waste and pollution, (2) keep products and materials in use, and (3) regenerate natural systems.

The implementation of circularity requires changes in various areas, calling for transdisciplinary research. Implementation of circularity in hospitals requires attention to behaviour of healthcare staff on the shopfloor, regulation and policy governing healthcare, product design, and also purchasing and supply (chain) management (PSM). Purchasing and supply management goes well beyond just negotiating and ordering and is meant to encompass all elements of the purchasing process, including demand management, specification, supplier selection (incl. tendering), contract management and supplier relationship management.

This position is part of the NWO-funded research project 'Evidence-based Strategies to create Circular Hospitals: Applying the 10-Rs framework to healthcare' (ESCH-R) in which a consortium of researchers coordinated by Erasmus MC takes up the mission to accelerate the application of circular interventions in hospitals and reduce the ecological footprint of healthcare in the Netherlands. Together with industry partners, such as SABIC, Philips, Medtronic, two Dutch University Medical Centers, namely Erasmus Medical Center (EMC) and University Medical Center Utrecht (UMCU), and other consortium partners, the interdisciplinary research team will develop strategies that are circular, safe and scalable.

Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR), in particular Erasmus School of Health Policy & Management (ESHPM) participates in work package 4 (WP4) of the ESCH-R project together with Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e). The aim of WP4 is to identify Business Models and accompanying ecosystem designs along with relevant Purchasing and Supply Management (PSM) strategies that create economic and environmental value for stakeholders along the value chain. The PhD project at ESHPM will focus on the development of viable PSM strategies for supply chain partners to enable circularity in the hospital value chain. The execution of this project demands close collaboration with a PhD researcher at TU/e, faculty at TU/e and EUR-ESHPM, purchasers at Erasmus MC and UMC Utrecht, suppliers of medical devices and other consortium partners.

The PhD candidate will be based at the section Health Services Management & Organisation (HSMO) at Erasmus School of Health Policy & Management (ESHPM), a faculty of Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR). Strategically, ESHPM is investing in three main themes: Planetary Health, Sustainable Workforce, and ‘Global Health. Through these initiatives, ESHPM is at the forefront of shaping healthcare policy and management, innovating for sustainable future in healthcare. More vacancies for PhD positions at ESHPM will appear soon around these three themes, including additional positions in the area of sustainability and circularity in healthcare.

Job requirements

We are looking for someone who is not only academically talented but also able to critically assess the sustainability of healthcare. If you are ready to take on this challenge and contribute to a project with far-reaching impact, we encourage you to apply.

You, as a successful applicant, will perform the research project outlined above in an international team. The research will be concluded with a PhD thesis. The project is supervised by Prof. dr. ir. Erik M. van Raaij with further members of the supervisory team to be decided later. The tasks include:

  • further developing and implementing the PhD trajectory;
  • publishing scientific articles and a dissertation on the research;
  • developing tools (e.g., a toolkit, e-learning, podcast) to disseminate the knowledge from the project;
  • initiating and participating in knowledge transfer to external parties;
  • following additional training in research methods and theories;
  • providing education within ESHPM for approximately 15% of the appointment.


  • You hold (or are close to finishing) a Master’s degree in Purchasing Management, Supply Chain Management, Industrial Engineering, Industrial Design, Sustainability, Healthcare Management or a related discipline.
  • You have a strong affinity with interdisciplinary research and working with academics as well as key stakeholders in the field, preferably in the healthcare sector.
  • You have affinity and experience with procurement, supply chain management or value chain design.
  • You have strong analytical skills and demonstrated research competences for performing qualitative, quantitative and design science research.
  • You have the ability to work in a multidisciplinary team, and navigating and managing complex, multi-stakeholder settings involving technology experts, industrial partners, and other societal stakeholders.
  • You like to take initiative and you are able to work on a challenging topic that has both basic and applied research aspects.
  • You have excellent social, communication and organization skills to work effectively in a university and industry setting.
  • Your verbal and written communication skills are excellent, your proficiency in English is excellent (C1 level) and knowledge of Dutch language is an advantage.
  • You are a team player who wants to contribute to the research agenda of ESHPM.

Employment conditions and benefits

We offer you an internationally oriented and varied job in an enthusiastic team, with excellent working conditions in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities (CAO-NU).

The start date of this position is 1 September 2024, and you will be based at Campus Woudestein in Erasmus School of Health Policy & Management (ESHPM). This position is for 0.8 fte - 1 fte. The salary ranges from a minimum of € 2.770 to a maximum of € 3.539 gross per month Scale PhD on a fulltime basis (38 hours), in accordance with the CAO-NU. The contract is entered into for the duration of 18 months with the aim to extend to 4 year.

Everything else we offer you, you can find below!

  • Everything you need for a good work-life balance: the option to work from home in consultation with your manager, 41 days of paid leave with a 40 hour contract, 8% holiday pay and an 8.3% end-of-year bonus, and a significant discount on a subscription for our on-campus sports centreOpens external
  • Sustainable, inclusive and diverse work environment with an open culture, where you can be yourself and we pay attention to each other and to the world around us. Make the most of our bicycle budget, or join networks such as Young@EUROpens externa, FAME or QuEUR.
  • Time and space for your development in the broadest sense: development days and a personal career budget, foreign exchange opportunities with most costs paid by EUR, and free access to our university library.
  • Good pension with ABP that EUR contributes 2/3rds towards, discounts on various collective insurances with Zilveren Kruis Achmea, Loyalis, and Allianz, and compensation for travel, working from home and home internet use.
  • Are you currently combining your job with parenthood, or do you want to do so in the future? EUR offers partially paid parental leave and fully paid additional birth leave for partners, and our campus features a daycare.
  • Moving to the Netherlands for your job with EUR? Then you may be eligible for the 30%-ruling if you meet the requirements of the Belastingdienst (Dutch tax agency), and with our Dual Career Programme we will also help your partner find the right job for them.


Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) is an internationally oriented university with a strong social orientation in its education and research, as expressed in our mission ‘Creating positive societal impact’. EUR is home to 4.100 academics and professionals and almost 33.000 students from more than 140 countries. Everything we do, we do under the credo The Erasmian Way – Making Minds Matter. We’re global citizens, connecting, entrepreneurial, open-minded, and socially involved. These Erasmian Values function as our internal compass and create EUR’s distinctive and recognizable profile. From these values, with a broad perspective and with an eye for diversity, different backgrounds and opinions, our employees work closely together to solve societal challenges from the dynamic and cosmopolitan city of Rotterdam. Thanks to the high quality and positive societal impact of our research and education, EUR can compete with the top European universities

Met een open blik op de wereld en met aandacht voor diversiteit van achtergronden en opvattingen werken onze wetenschappers en onderzoekers, docenten, studenten en professionals nauw samen aan het oplossen van maatschappelijke vraagstukken. Dit doen we onder het motto Making Minds Matter, wat staat voor onze ambities.
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