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PhD Position: Accelerating the Transition to a Circular Textile Economy

Geplaatst 16 jul. 2024
1 tot 3 jaar
Full-time / part-time
€ 2.770 - € 3.539 per maand
Soort opleiding
Engels (Vloeiend)
Nederlands (Vloeiend)
15 sep. 2024 00:00

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In this project, you will integrate analysis of technical and social innovations to enable behavioural change and uptake of new business models.

Your job

The extensive use of land, water, energy, and chemicals makes the textile industry one of the most polluting sectors worldwide. Both the Dutch government and the European Commission aim to improve the circularity of the textile sector to ensure a sustainable future. The Dutch Circular Economy programme highlights the necessity of behaviour change and the adoption of circular principles, such as the use of second-hand platforms and the dissuasion of fast-fashion consumption, to name two examples. Central to the programme is the Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR), which in principles is meant to encourage producers and retailers in the Dutch textile industry to change their business models and enhance textile collection efforts.

This PhD project aims to accelerate the transition to a circular textile economy by leveraging the Mission-specific Innovation Systems (MIS) framework. This framework provides a systems perspective to study the dynamics of diffusion and implementation of innovation. It maps the actors, networks, and institutions involved, assesses system performance, and identifies barriers to achieving societal missions through innovation. Until now, the MIS has mainly focused on technological innovation but in this project we also want to focus on the social innovations that are needed to accelerate the transition towards circular textiles. The research will focus on integrating both technological and social innovations and will focus on those R strategies that involve behavioural change and new business models. The project will map the mental models of various stakeholders within the Mission-specific Innovation System (MIS), assess the viability of circular business models, and provide intervention options for stakeholders in the innovation ecosystem that might be needed to supplement the shortcomings of existing mechanisms, such as some aspects of EPR.

Research Questions:

  • What do mental models of drivers and barriers for participating, collaborating in, and understanding a circular textile ecosystem look like?
  • How can mapping mental models of actors in the circular economy support a system analysis and be integrated into system models?
  • What is the diversity in perspectives on the circular economy among and across actors (policymakers, producers, consumers)?
  • What is preventing the uptake and diffusion of Circular Business Models (CBMs) and Circular Consumption Practices (CCPs)?

The research will combine qualitative and quantitative methods, including:

  • Qualitative Research: Expert interviews, desktop research, and workshops to collect data on the MIS and business models.
  • Quantitative Research: Surveys and data analysis to map the mental models of stakeholders across the value chain; Cost-Benefit Analysis.

You key tasks include:

  • conducting expert interviews and workshops to gather insights on MIS and business models;
  • designing and distributing surveys to map stakeholders' mental models using M-Tool;
  • analysing data to identify intervention points and design recommendations;
  • developing a framework for studying the transition to a circular textile economy from systems, organisational, and actor perspectives;
  • providing specific intervention strategies for policymakers and stakeholders within the innovation ecosystem.

Your qualities

  • a Master’s degree in a relevant field such as innovation and transition studies, behavioural studies, sustainability, environmental science, industrial ecology or a related discipline;
  • strong interest in interdisciplinary research and the circular economy;
  • affinity with transition studies and behavioural change;
  • experience in qualitative and quantitative research methods;
  • excellent analytical and problem-solving skills;
  • ability to interact with stakeholders across different sectors;
  • strong communication skills in English (Dutch is a plus).

Our offer

We offer:

  • a position for one year, with an extension to a total of four years upon a successful assessment in the first year, and with the specific intent that it results in a doctorate within this period;
  • a gross monthly salary between €2,770 and €3,539 in the case of full-time employment (salary scale P under the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities (CAO NU));
  • 8% holiday pay and 8.3% year-end bonus;
  • a pension scheme, partially paid parental leave and flexible terms of employment based on the CAO NU.

We work on a better future. In order to do that, we join forces with academics, students, alumni, social partners, the government and the corporate world. Together, we look for sustainable solutions to the big challenges of today and tomorrow.

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