PhD Position in Social and Sustainable Entrepreneurship (1.0 FTE)

Hours per week: 
36 to 40
Faculty of Law, Economics and Governance
Utrecht University School of Economics
Application deadline: 

Job description

The Utrecht University School of Economics (U.S.E.) is looking for a PhD candidate with a strong interest in social and sustainable entrepreneurship as well as in small and medium enterprises (SME's) and sustainable business more broadly. In this fully funded three-year position, you will develop research skills and gain teaching experience, enabling you to jump-start your future (academic) career.

Over a period of three years, you will conduct doctoral research. You will spend 90% of your time on your research and 10% on minor teaching tasks. Working time is reserved for training and development, among others for obtaining your Basic Teaching Qualification and for PhD courses. Within the period of three years, the progress of your research will be evaluated at predetermined moments.

Small and medium enterprises (SME's) are increasingly pivoting their business activities towards environmental and societal well-being — creating so-called hybrid organisations. Simultaneously, society and policy makers pressure firms to do so, assuming overall positive effects on society and the economy. In this position, you will investigate how SME's and governments can steer decision-making towards sustainability practices that enable socio-environmental, as well as financial performance at the firm and regional level. The research will draw on novel data from leading organisations in the field of business and social impact. You will actively collaborate with experts from sustainable business, entrepreneurship, innovation, political economy and finance.


We are looking for a talented researcher with passion for teaching, who meets multiple of the following requirements:

  • a Master's degree in economics, business or management, or a related discipline of the social sciences with relevant specialisations in the aforementioned fields. A research master's degree is preferred;
  • a talent for quantitative research in social sciences (e.g., econometrics, surveys, experiments, web-scraping); qualitative research skills are an asset, but will be developed throughout the trajectory;
  • a team player and proactive organiser. You are comfortable doing multidisciplinary research and interacting with important stakeholders;
  • a preference for business- and regional-level research questions;
  • excellent writing skills. You speak and write English fluently, and you are at least proficient in Dutch on a basic level, or willing to achieve this;
  • eager to conduct innovative and thorough research, resulting in a PhD degree within three years.


You will be offered a temporary position (1.0 FTE) for three years. The gross salary ranges between €2,541 in the first year and €3,098 in the third year of employment (scale P according to the Collective Labour Agreement Dutch Universities) per month for a full-time employment. Salaries are supplemented with a holiday bonus of 8% and a year-end bonus of 8.3% per year.

In addition, Utrecht University offers excellent secondary conditions, including an attractive retirement scheme, professional development, (partly paid) parental leave, sports and flexible employment conditions (multiple choice model). For more information, please visit working at Utrecht University.

About the organisation

Sharing science, shaping tomorrow, A better future for everyone. This ambition motivates our scientists in executing their leading research and inspiring teaching. At Utrecht University, the various disciplines collaborate intensively towards major strategic themes. Our focus is on Dynamics of Youth, Institutions for Open Societies, Life Sciences and Sustainability.

The Faculty of Law, Economics and Governance is a faculty at the heart of society, with a strong focus on social issues. Our subjects of Law, Economics and Governance give us a strong mix of academic disciplines that complement and enhance each other. This is a unique combination and a mark of our faculty's strength.

The Utrecht University School of Economics (U.S.E) is part of the Faculty of Law, Economics, and Governance of Utrecht University. U.S.E. aims to contribute to an economy where people flourish by taking a broad view on welfare and its causes. We aspire to be an internationally renowned school of economics, with scientifically rigorous and socially relevant research and education. We enrich economics with other disciplines to better solve problems and identify opportunities, from a business as well as government perspective. Well-being, cooperation, innovation and curiosity are our core values. U.S.E. maintains an excellent international network of academic relationships and is continuously working on extending this network. It teaches its curricula entirely in English.

U.S.E. is an important contributor to the Utrecht Centre for Entrepreneurship, the Utrecht University Social Entrepreneurship Initiative, the European Center for Alternative Finance and the Sustainable Finance Lab and is involved in Utrecht University's research themes 'Institutions for Open Societies' and 'Pathways to Sustainability'. The candidate will teach in U.S.E.'s Bachelor's programme in Economics and Business Economics.

Additional information

For more information about this position, please contact Dr. Timo van Balen (Assistant Professor of Entrepreneurship) at or Dr. Friedemann Polzin (Associate Professor of Sustainable Business and Finance) at


Everyone deserves to feel at home at our university. We welcome employees with a wide variety of backgrounds and perspectives.

Your application should include:

  • a motivation letter; please elaborate on your affinity with the research topic and your obtained research competences;
  • a complete and up-to-date curriculum vitae;
  • a recent writing sample (e.g., a (part of the) master's thesis or thesis proposal);
  • two references and, if available, reference letters.

The interviews (focusing on research and teaching) will be scheduled at the beginning of July 2023 (most likely on 11 July the whole day). There will be another round if there is doubt about the suitability of a candidate. The whole selection procedure is planned to be finished before August 2023.
The starting date of this position is 1 September 2023, at the earliest. Later starting dates are negotiable.

Please do not contact U.S.E. with services or other commercial interest.

The application deadline is 30 June 2023.