Vacancy – Marie Curie PhD Fellowship in Strategic Management: Alternative Business Models in Digital Ecosystems

  • 40 hours per week
  • Maximum gross monthly salary: € 3,061
  • Nijmegen School of Management
  • Required background: Research University Degree
  • Duration of the contract: 4 years
  • Application deadline extended to: 8 August 2020

Click here to apply

We are looking for


The FINDER programme, a research collaboration between Radboud University and Atos, sets out to Foster Innovation Networks in a Digital Era (FINDER). You will investigate the innovative collaborative arrangement amongst organisations – grassroots, incumbents and the wider society – as they inclusively explore digital technology for new product or market development. The keywords defining the programme are digital transformation, collaboration, strategic reorientation and value creation to society at large.

The FINDER research scope spans industries and job functions, requiring candidates to synthesise complex information and to approach problems nimbly in a manner that can be transferred to both academics and practitioners. It demands a sophisticated understanding of the context in which business is done, the effect of technology in driving these collaborative processes and of the stakeholders involved. FINDER’s integrated curriculum prepares students to drive change at the vanguard of business and technology by challenging them to consider multiple perspectives and to create innovative solutions to problems that are not only profitable to business but also relevant and responsible towards society at large.

We are currently looking for an intellectually curious candidate, aspiring to gain a doctorate in the discipline of Management – FINDER workstream #3: ‘Alternative business models in digital ecosystems’:

In good times and bad, firms regularly reshape themselves. Firms may re-align organisation structure with strategy and changed external circumstances (Puranam & Gulati 2009), intervene to stimulate specific activities (Okhuysen and Eisenhardt 2002; Aalbers, 2019), or downsize during challenging times (Dougherty & Bowman 1995). Even under such challenging circumstances, entrepreneurship continues to take place. Intra-entrepreneurs often have to build organisations in order to perform activities for which markets are not yet ready, or even are the first to render solutions to navigate out of crisis. Accordingly, entrepreneurs and managers must consider the design of business models and even building businesses to execute transactions which cannot yet be performed in the market. While reshaping firms (e.g. changing structure or size) is both important and frequent, it is also relatively understudied. Moreover, extant research (e.g. on downsizing and turnaround) typically focuses on traditional outcomes (e.g. profits) with less emphasis on such things as collaboration, knowledge creation and innovation at the individual or team levels. The study of business models at the intersection of strategy and entrepreneurship research involves an exploration of how firms do business at the system-level under such challenging conditions. These are conditions typically to be expected, also in the wake of COVID-19, with economic prospects scaling down substantially across various industries. Such interdisciplinary investigations are essential for understanding how firms may re-align organisation structure with strategy under suddenly changing external circumstances, with the implications of digital transformation potentially helping different emergent ecosystem actors to outperform in this new landscape. Europe’s financial services industry presents an example of this type of dynamics, facing both technology-driven as well as institutionally-driven challenges in re-inventing and exploring alternative business models as well as entering into economically uncertain times as economic crisis looms on the horizon.

This quantitatively oriented research project investigates the following research question: What are the characteristics of alternative business models in digital ecosystems? Which factors facilitate their development as firms reshape themselves in the face of sudden crisis? This project brings together research on antecedents, processes and consequences associated with organisational reshaping and consider the role of technology as enabler or constraint in this process. The project outline allows for the combination of diverse theoretical and methodological approaches targeting single or multiple organisational levels. The project has good access to the European financial services industry and the fintech community in particular as inroads to original data collection and industry exposure, as well as access to the major academic business data repositories (Icon, Crunchbase, Lexus Nexus, etc.).

For this project you will counselled by and report to your supervisory team lead by Dr Rick (H.L.) Aalbers, Associate Professor of Strategy and Innovation at Radboud University | Institute for Management Research| Centre For Organization Restructuring

As a Marie Curie FINDER PhD Fellow you will (amongst other things) be responsible for delivering prescribed project objectives on time and within budget. You will be collaborating with other researchers at the Institute for Management Research (IMR) at Radboud University and Atos Europe. You will communicate and provide information to academic and industrial supervisors, and regularly attend formal supervisory meetings. While placed at Atos, you will be conducting doctoral research in order to support a dedicated impact case. You will also be expected to attend and prepare reports for regular meetings with other members of the FINDER team, and to report progress, agree future work and exchange data/experience.

We ask

  • A (research) Master’s degree, preferably with a business administration background.
  • You must be available for a starting date as soon as possible, 1 October 2020 at the latest.
  • You must meet the Marie Sklodowska-Curie EID programme eligibility requirements: at the time of recruitment, researchers must not have resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc.) in the Netherlands for more than 1 year in the 3 years immediately prior to the reference date.
  • Evidence of independent research skills.
  • Experience in empirical research.
  • Demonstrable ability to work independently, to prioritize tasks, manage time and meet deadlines.
  • Proactive and self-organising.
  • Willingness to relocate.
  • Strong interpersonal skills.
  • High motivation to perform rigorous academic research and collaborate with industry.
  • Excellent communication skills, including a high standard of written and spoken English.
  • Willingness to work flexibly where necessary to fulfil the needs of the research project, including international travel and completing the industrial placement.


  • Affinity with the Financial Services and/or FinTech sector and the turnaround and restructuring theme.
  • Affinity with new technology and forms of collaboration as technology and new business model drivers.
  • Knowledge of R (statistics program) or other advanced statistical modelling programs; or advanced qualitative research methods.

We are

Radboud University (RU) in Nijmegen is one of the largest Dutch universities, acclaimed for the quality of teaching and research. RU has seven faculties (including the Nijmegen School of Management) and enrols over 19,899 students. It was internationally ranked 156th by the QS World University Rankings and occupies a prominent position in Europe. RU is currently successfully coordinating 114 European Commission Research projects and 41 H2020 projects, ten of which are MC ITN projects.

The Nijmegen School of Management (NSM) is a leading academic centre of research and higher education, focusing on institutional and managerial issues within complex organisations.

Atos is a global leader in digital transformation with 120,000 employees in 73 countries and an annual revenue of €13 billion. European number one in cloud, cybersecurity and high-performance computing, the group provides end-to-end orchestrated hybrid cloud, big data, business applications and digital workplace solutions through its Digital Transformation Factory, as well as transactional services through Worldline, the European leader in the payment industry. With its cutting-edge technologies and industry knowledge, Atos supports the digital transformation of its clients across all business sectors.

Radboud University

We want to get the best out of science, others and ourselves. Why? Because this is what the world around us desperately needs. Leading research and education make an indispensable contribution to a healthy, free world with equal opportunities for all. This is what unites the more than 22,000 students and 5,000 employees at Radboud University. And this requires even more talent, collaboration and lifelong learning. You have a part to play!

We offer

  • Employment: 40 hours per week.
  • The gross starting salary amounts to €2,395 per month, and will increase to €3,061 in the fourth year (salary scale P).
  • In addition to the salary: an 8% holiday allowance and an 8.3% end-of-year bonus.
  • Duration of the contract: as a FINDER Marie Curie PhD Fellow you will be appointed for an initial period of 18 months, after which your performance will be evaluated. If the evaluation is positive, the contract will be extended by 2.5 years.
  • The intended start date is as soon as possible, 1 October 2020 at the latest.
  • Generous benefits from the Marie Curie programme apply for the first three years (including relocation and extended conference funding facilities and travel allowance), after which, in the fourth year, standard Dutch university job-ranking system (UFO) conditions will apply.
  • Training and research on the intersection of academia and business.
  • Generous travel allowances for conference and research purposes.
  • You will be able to make use of our Dual Career Service: our Dual Career Officer will assist with family-related support, such as child care, and help your partner prepare for the local labour market and with finding an occupation.
  • Are you interested in our excellent employment conditions?

Would you like more information?

For more information about this vacancy, please contact:
Linda Buis, Project Management Officer FINDER – Marie Curie Initial Training Networks (ITN) 
Applications only via this link.

Apply directly

Please address your application to Linda Buis and submit it, using the application button on the Radboud University site, (here), no later than 8 August 2020, 23:59 Amsterdam Time Zone.   

Your application should include the following attachments:

  • Letter of motivation.
  • CV.
  • Part of your Master’s thesis.
  • A two-page essay reflecting on the research question, showcasing your view on potential future research directions and (academic) relevance.

Review of applications will start immediately and will continue until the position is filled. Interviews will be set up digitally and will take place with a selection of the FINDER Selection and Evaluation Team (academic and/or business side of the team). Expect 2 to 4 interviews to be part of the selection procedure. 

You will be asked to give a presentation as part of the selection procedure. This presentation will provide us with a better feel for your interest and potential. The presentation must be based on the aforementioned two-page essay, reflecting on the research question and showcasing your view on potential future research directions and (academic) relevance, and should be included in your application.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s