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Five PhD fellows recruited

During the second half of 2018 we began our search for five PhD fellows. About 360 applications landed on the desks of our selection committee. The applicants reached out to us via the vacancy on the Radboud University website or via our partners in this ambitious project. The origin of the applicants was quite diverse; we received applications from (amongst others) The Netherlands, United Kingdom, Brazil, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Turkey, USA, Germany, Russia, Poland, South Africa, China, Kenya, etc.

The selection committee interviewed 37 candidates for the FINDER program. These interview rounds were mostly set up following this scheme:

  • First interview with one or two members of the Selection Committee
  • Second interview with Selection Committee member & Academic partner
  • Third interview with Selection Committee member & Business partner
  • Fourth interview with Selection Committee member & Academic partner & Business partner

Writing assignments were given in between interviews to be discussed / evaluated during upcoming interview. Also, the three phases of training were discussed during these interviews:

  • Phase 1:
    Each ESR will spend their first 10 months of doctoral training at Radboud University. The intensive study of literature, attending taught modules of their doctoral program and interactions with their supervisory team will enable them to prepare for their industrial placement and data collection at Atos.
  • Phase 2:
    After 10 months in The Netherlands ESRs will relocate to Atos in Spain or Germany for 18 months. This period will be devoted to intensive industrial training and data collection. To enhance on-going supervision, the lead academic supervisors will visit ESRs at Atos premises, with other meetings organized by communication technology. ESR will attend training at Radboud University.
  • Phase 3:
    ESRs will spend the last 8 months (and more) of their doctoral training at Radboud University to focus on writing up their thesis and working on manuscripts for publication.

It is with great please that we introduce you to our PhD Fellows:

James Ellis is currently completing his Master’s degree in Globalization & Development Studies at Maastricht University, where his research centers around a Science & Technology Studies analysis of drone usage among farmers in South Africa. Prior to that, he has worked since 2012 as a broadcast journalist in the United States Air Force, through which he has gained dynamic experience in leadership, management, strategic planning, and naturally, journalistic research. Furthermore, his rise through military ranks and recognition for quality work afforded him the opportunity to attend formal leadership, management, and entrepreneurship courses and go on to apply the concepts learned therein to a wide range of settings. After leaving the full-time military, he has pursued the establishment of an academic career in order to leverage his unorthodox range of experiences and lessons from around the world into current, ongoing management research in hopes of implementing unique arguments into the process of research, publication, and theory-building.

Barbara Voelkl is a PhD fellow in the FINDER working stream focusing on alternative business models in digital ecosystems. With BSc degrees in Psychology and Business Administration and a MSc in International Business, her research interest lies in the intersection between digitalization and human behavior. More specific, she is enthusiastic about revealing the cognitive and behavioral aspects of collaborative business models in and between new ventures and incumbents. After studying and gaining initial work experience in Germany, Norway, The Philippines, Japan and Taiwan, she highly values intercultural teamwork as well as a cross-cultural research context.

Tze Yeen Liew was a Research analyst at Holland FinTech responsible for curating and producing fintech-related insights for stakeholders before she joined the FINDER program at Radboud University. Tze Yeen holds a Bachelors degree in Finance, Accounting and Management from the University of Nottingham and a Masters in Migration Studies from the University of Oxford, where she also received the Queen Elizabeth Departmental Scholarship. Tze Yeen’s prior academic experience is diverse, stretching from corporate governance to migration policy. Her research interests encompass structuring and analyzing characteristics of learning networks that exist between financial incumbents and acquired fintechs.​

The profiles of the other two PhD fellows will follow.


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Online financial decision making holds the future. And various fintech companies are jumping on board of this trend. But how do people come to decision making on these platforms, and how does new technology allow for more inclusive or even social investment decision making?

As part of the FINDER research agenda, Voleo Inc. serves as a case-study-in-point on this terrain. The FINDER program is proud to be working with this innovative fintech start up to explore some fundamental research questions that link technology, behavioural decision making and dynamic social networks.

Voleo is a Canada-based mobile fintech company that is transforming the retail investing space through its powerful, collaborative investing platform. Voleo has increased retail investor participation in the stock market by breaking down barriers to entry, facilitating trust and improving financial literacy. As an interesting example of successful scale up of fintech technology and entrepreneurial activity, the Voleo platform is being white-labeled by major financial institutions around the world as an innovative product to engage and retain a new category of investors.

In their press release on this FINDER cooperation Thomas Beattie, CEO of Voleo, stated, “Dr. Aalbers has extensive knowledge in the field of collaboration, and his team at FINDER are doing important work in researching and uncovering insights about organizational and consumer behaviour. There is a clear synergy between Voleo’s objectives as an emerging technology, its users’ objectives as part of a community, and FINDER’s goal of understanding social interaction in the digital age. We are especially excited to apply learnings from this study and equip our users with new tools in the coming years.”

From the FINDER program perspective, due to Voleo’s differentiated positioning in the online brokerage industry and their unique approach to social investing Voleo was top of mind when deciding upon the final configuration of consortium partners for the FINDER research scoping. The welcoming spirit to work close with some of our FINDER PhD fellows, and the willingness to help them understand the business side of things make Voleo in a valued research partner. We are looking forward this collaboration.

To find out more about Voleo, please visit their website: https://www.myvoleo.com

Read all about Voleo being selected for the FINDER project in their press release: https://ir.myvoleo.com/newsroom/index.php?content_id=103