2 PhD students on Micro hub solutions for city logistics (1.0 fte each)

Research / Academic
The School of Industrial Engineering is one of the longest-established IE Schools in Europe, with a strong presence in the international research and education community, especially in the field of Operations Management (OM) and Operations Research (OR). OM and OR are part of the core of the undergraduate IE program. The graduate programs (MSc and PhD) in Operations Management & Logistics attract top-level students from all over the world.

The Operations, Planning, Accounting and Control group teaches and conducts research in the area of operations planning and control in manufacturing, services, logistics, reliability and maintenance, and supply chains. Research is generally quantitative in nature, while many of the researchers also engage in empirical research. The OPAC group is responsible within the university for all teaching in the areas of operations management, transportation, manufacturing operations, reliability and maintenance, and accounting and finance, both at undergraduate and graduate level. All research is embedded in Beta, the research school for Operations Management & Logistics.

PhD projects

The PhD positions are part of the NWO funded project 'NEON: New Energy Outlook for the Netherlands.' NEON project aims to investigate how to cost-effectively accelerate the transition towards sustainable energy and mobility. The PhD students will be a part of the research work-package on 'Smart Mobility' and will investigate the potential of micro transport hubs in urban centers.

Micro hubs are used as flexible consolidation points where parcels are consolidated from multiple carriers. Recently, rather than having a fixed location for the micro hub, increasing attention is given to mobile hubs, where, for example, a large truck has the same warehouse function, but can be located dynamically in the city, depending upon the needs in terms of important characteristics such as, downstream demand, time windows, etc. A mobile micro hub is, for example, a trailer (or bus, barge, tram) fitted with loading dock operations and warehouse facilities. This mobile hub is then used as an inner-city base where last-mile deliveries and first-mile pick-ups are initiated. Usually, this is done with low-emission last mile delivery vehicles, e.g. Light Electrical Vehicles (reducing last mile autonomy problems), cargo bikes, or (flying or driving) drones. Mobile micro hubs can be used dynamically in time and space, require less investments, and are more flexible in terms of capacity.  The PhD projects will focus on the business and socio-economic value, the effective and efficient planning and scheduling, and the space use and location evaluation of (mobile) micro hubs within a city logistics context.

Finally, it is worth noting that the two PhD students will also collaborate with other NEON partners on the implications of these hubs for the energy grid.


The PhD candidates are expected to do scientific research in the domain described, write PhD theses and publish research results in scientific journals. The research is executed under the supervision of dr. Virginie Lurkin (OPAC group) and Prof.dr. Tom van Woensel (OPAC group). The candidates also participate in the PhD education program. A small part of the each position involves teaching in courses offered by the OPAC group. Applicants should have completed (or be close to completion of) a Master's degree in operations management, industrial engineering, operations research, econometrics, statistics, computer science, data science, or a comparable domain with a solid background in quantitative research methods. Fluency in English is required.

Salary Benefits:

For each candidate, we offer
  • a challenging job in a dynamic and ambitious university, and you will be part of the NEON team;
  • an appointment as a PhD student for a period of 4 years with intended starting date of 1 September 2020; the gross salary is in the range of €2325 - €2972 per month (on a full-time basis); in addition, 8% holiday allowance and 8.3% end of year allowance;
  • a broad package of fringe benefits (including an excellent technical infrastructure, moving expenses, savings schemes, coverage of costs of publishing the dissertation/scientific papers and excellent sports facilities).
Work Hours:

38 hours per week


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