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PhD student - Platform coop

PhD student - Platform coop


The Faculty of Economics and Business (FEB) - Campus Brussels - is currently looking for a full-time doctoral researcher to become involved in academic research on cooperatives, and more specifically on 'new models of cooperatives in the digital era'. Research team The FWO-SBO research project is shouldered by the Faculty of Economics and Business in collaboration with Saint-Mary's University's Sobey Business School, Halifax, Canada. The present research will be conducted under the supervision of Prof. Bert D'Espallier (Department of Accounting, Finance and Insurance) and Dr. Frédéric Dufays (Department of Work and Organization Studies) in the framework of the Centre of Expertise for Cooperative Entrepreneurship (Kenniscentrum voor Coöperatief Ondernemen, KCO in short).

Cooperative enterprises are value-driven member-owned and democratically controlled organizations that operate primarily and philosophically outside of the traditional profit to capital owners' model. Governance is often set forth as the most distinctive element of cooperatives. However, cooperatives are confronted with several pressures that challenge the nature of their governance. In the framework of a broad FWO-SBO project that aims to investigate governance of cooperatives and how they respond to these challenges, this research project aims to study whether 'platform cooperatives' can provide an alternative to 'platform capitalist companies' in the growing digital community-based economy. Specifically, we take a 'sustainable finance'-perspective and analyze to what extent and under what conditions the 'platform cooperative model' is able to alleviate social, environmental and/or governance externalities inherent to 'winner-takes-all' digital economy. Besides this focus on new digital
cooperative models, other essays within the broader and emerging field of 'sustainable finance' will be developed.

You preferably have a Master degree and background in Economics, Business Engineering, Applied Economics or related discipline. You have strong analytical skills and have theoretical as well as hands-on experience in qualitative and quantitative methodologies, statistics and/or econometrics. You have a strong interest in cooperatives, social entrepreneurship and financial sustainability. You have strong oral and written communication skills both in English and in Dutch and are open to a multidisciplinary environment. You are a team player. Most importantly, you should share our unbridled enthusiasm for scientific research.

We offer full-time employment for one doctoral researcher, starting October 1, 2019. The appointment will be for 4 years, annually renewable. The candidate will enter the doctoral program of the Faculty of Economics and Business and will develop a doctoral dissertation in Business Economics at KU Leuven (Faculty of Economics and Business).

You can apply for this PhD position no later than April 14, 2019. You can apply through our online job application, requiring a CV (including detailed study results), a short motivation letter, at least one reference that we may contact (e.g. thesis supervisor) and a one-page summary of your master's thesis.

For more information please contact Prof. dr. Bert D'Espallier, tel.: +32 16 37 63 31, mail: or dr. Frédéric Dufays, tel.: +32 16 37 30 52, mail:

PhD student - Platform coop

KU Leuven, Brussels
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