Our PhD students (V to Z)

Allard van Mossel

Project title:Tipping points in organizational communities

Project summary: Socio-technical transitions are typically viewed as a change in the behavior of many individual actors. However, studies on firm behavior focus almost exclusively on the factors that entice individual firms to change. Although these studies show that environmental shocks can trigger behavioral change, it remains unclear how the behavior of individual firms aggregates to population- and community-level change and, hence, to the level at which transitions take place. Recent advances in bio-ecology and complexity studies provide a first clue of how this might happen. Similar to organizational communities, ecological systems also feature individuals that are grouped in populations and that interact with each other as well as with their physical environment. In this domain, scholars have shown that transitions typically occur when an environmental variable approaches a so called ‘tipping point.’ When this is the case, even a relatively small change can ‘tip’ the system by triggering self-reinforcing feedback loops. This effectively jump-start a transition. This PhD project combines organization science’s insights on micro-level firm behavior with bio-ecology’s understanding of the dynamics of complex systems, in order to advance our understanding of the dynamics of organizational communities.

Related platform: Making transitions happen

Robin van Oorschot

Project title: New venture creation & Entrepreneurship Education

Project summary: In this project we are doing research in how to educate students to become entrepreneurs. Yes, we realise that when becoming an entrepreneur, you need to know about finance, administration and so on. But what is the entrepreneurial behaviour that is needed to start your own business? By on the one hand researching the behaviours of entrepreneurs in start-ups and on the other hand testing multiple theories in our class rooms  we are building grounded theory that will allow us to better educate entrepreneurs. Students are expected to already start their company during the education. In that way, theory and real life practice are developing hand in hand.

Related platform: Across all platforms

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Marijn van Weele

Project title: An international comparison of incubators

Project summary: Stimulating the growth of technology-based 'start-ups' has become a central part of global policies to achieve sustainable economic growth. Consequently, the number of (government sponsored) incubators is rapidly increasing around the world. However, it remains unclear how these incubators facilitate the survival and growth of start-ups. Existing studies have primarily focused on providing typologies of incubators and assessing their impact, while neglecting the internal process of incubation. Using different theoretical perspectives, such as the resource based view, communities of practice and organizational learning, my research aims to open the black box of incubation. In doing so, I focus on the role of the incubator's context, as I expect incubators to adapt to local institutional forces. As such, I study incubators across different industries (e.g. clean tech, software, life sciences) and in different countries (e.g. USA, Europe, Israel, Australia)

Project summary: Making transitions happen

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Lucie Vermeulen

Project title: A Spatially Explicit Modelling Approach to Estimate Waterborne Pathogen Concentrations in the Surface Waters of the World

Project summary: Waterborne pathogens pose a health risk all over the world. In many regions quantitative information on these pathogens is essential, but unavailable. The main objective of this study is to increase our knowledge on the sources, fate and transport of waterborne pathogens by spatially explicit modelling of past, contemporary and future trends worldwide. This study builds on existing global nutrient-export models and catchment-scale pathogen models.

Related platform: Land and water

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Marjolein Vogels

Project title: Food security and water availability in data-poor regions. Towards optimizing land use and ecosystem services

Project summary: In the Horn of Africa both the economy and the population are growing rapidly, which results in changes in land use. For instance in Ethiopia, forests and grazing land have been converted into crop land, affecting both land degradation and water availability. Conversion of vegetated land to nearly bare agricultural crop land results in less infiltration and more surface runoff leading to increased soil erosion. Optimizing land use could reduce these effects, by e.g. creating smart patterns of agricultural fields and natural vegetation. The work of land-use managers is frustrated by the absence of reliable information on current land use and land degradation status. Up-to-date land-use/cover patterns will be obtained from satellite imagery as input for a hydrological model. Land degradation and hydrology will be assessed by the Soil Water Assessment Tool model, which can predict the effects of management decisions on water, sediment, nutrient and pesticide yields on large, ungaged river basins. The project will demonstrate a service that will optimize water availability and minimize land degradation while meeting the requirementsof a growing population and considering future changes in precipitation patterns. Intended users of the service are local (water) authorities that operate at the regional basins scale.

Related platform:Land and water

Daan Wesselman

Project title: How flooding can save our barrier coast

Project summary: During this project I will investigate the influence of overwash events on the long-term development of the Wadden Islands. The hypothesis is that overwash can contribute on the long-term to the vertical accretion of the islands, so that they can keep up with the expected sea level rise. However, manmade sand-drift dikes (artificial dunes) closed the natural washover fans, preventing overwash events to occur. During this project, I investigate the role of overwash in the future, by a possible reopening of the washover fans. I use a model (XBEACH) to simulate overwash during storms and performs field campaigns to compare the model with data. First I look in detail at which processes (both related to water and sand) are important during one single event. This information will then be used to simulate the long-term development of the islands under influence of overwash. The final goal is to give advice about a possible reopening of the overwash fans.

Related platform: Land and water

Ben Zhu

Project title: Investigating the role of open data in designing Industrial Symbiosis

Project summary: The research objective of this work is to develop a methodology that guides the pan-Europe consortium  to facilitate the cooperation of organizations towards developing a mutually beneficial relationship, in order to make productive use of otherwise underutilized resources among two or more otherwise unrelated industries.Part of the research involves developing a dynamic and applicable Industrial Symbiosis data repository by use of semantic web tools extracting from and combining major European databases.

Related platform: Industrial Symbiosis

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