Ruben Nicolas

PhD Candidate

Ruben Nicolas is a PhD candidate at the Utrecht School of Economics (U.S.E.). Ruben completed the Master Programme in Economic Policy at U.S.E. in 2019 and has worked as an independent policy researcher at the Economic Institute for Construction and Housing (2019-2021). 


The topic of Ruben's dissertation is Sustainable Public Procurement (SPP). Many public organizations around the globe have set ambitious goals for 2030 and 2050, with regard to various societal challenges. Public procurement, which amounts to 12% of the global gross product, is regarded as a strategic policy tool that can contribute to achieving these goals. However, SPP is applied marginally and knowledge of its effects is limited.


Ruben's dissertation firstly aims to give better insights in SPP uptake and show how it is affected by institutional conditions (e.g. law and policy) and organisational arrangements in the public domain and with private stakeholders. Next, the dissertation will concentrate more extensively on the effects of SPP, by researching to which extent suppliers' green behaviour can be explained by engagement in public contracts and innovation partnerships with ((semi-) public) third parties. Finally, the dissertation studies procurement practices in relation to different sustainability outcomes of public contracts.


The research is carried out under the supervision of Prof. dr. ir. Fredo Schotanus, dr. Helen Toxopeus and mr. dr. Willem Janssen. Ruben is part of the Utrecht University Centre for Public Procurement (UUCePP) and U.S.E.’s Entrepreneurship section. The chair of Public Procurement, that holds the PhD position, is supported by the Dutch Ministries of Defence, Interior & Kingdom Relations (DGOO & UBR|HIS) and Justice & Security, the municipalities of The Hague and Amsterdam, the Tax and Customs Administration (Belastingdienst), National Police, Employee Insurance Agency (UWV) and Stichting Rijk, in collaboration with NEVI.



Read Ruben's interview with UUCePP (Dutch / English)