Business model innovation for the electronics industry


The PhD position focuses on developing business models for circular electronics. Many electronic products (e.g., mobile phones and computers) have a rapid innovation cycle which makes products and product components outdated long before the technical end-of-life. This discrepancy between a short innovation cycle and a long technical life cycle prevents product longevity, product re-use, and component re-use. In part, however, the short innovation cycle is also related to the dominant business model in electronics, focusing on sales maximization. In such a business model profit depends on the number of units sold. We see clear examples where it appears to be possible to design products for upgradability or component re-use (e.g., Fairphone), but these solutions often require very different earning models or business models.

We see that current companies struggle with recipes to implement circular solutions in the electronics sector. There is a lack of lifetime-extending solutions. Approaches for product/product service designs that foster product longevity and component re-use are immature and not widely applied. Current mainstream separation and recycling technologies cannot deal optimally with the complex composition of E-waste. And finally, companies and financiers are unfamiliar with business models that focus on use rather than sales, while at the same time the adoption of such business models is uncertain.

The integral approach of this research, which stretches from micro-electronics developments to recycling technology, while simultaneously exploring implementation through circular design and business models and environmental assessments at the system level makes this research unique. Within this research, our collaborations enable us to bridge the gap between manufacturing and recycling. This is done from a technical perspective as well as from a business perspective. Innovative circular business models that stimulate collaboration between recyclers and manufacturers are therefore essential. More information on the research project can be found here.


Circular economy, sustainability, closed loop supply chains, consumer electronics

Required profile

Given the prospected multi-disciplinary research project, we encourage the application of candidates that are interested in operations research, supply chain management, sustainability, industrial engineering, or innovation management.

Required by ERIM

All application documents required by ERIM can be found here:

Below are the test scores required by ERIM:

- GMAT/GRE scores above the 85th percentile, not older than 5 years

- IELTS/TOEFL test scores, not older than 2 years:

  IELTS: minimum overall band score 7.5; no band score lower than 6.5

  Internet-based TOEFL: minimum total score 100, no sub-score lower than 23

  Paper-based TOEFL: minimum score 600

NOTE: Please note that applications for this vacancy are reviewed as they come in. We reserve the right to appoint a candidate before the closing date.

Our annual PhD recruitment begins on 1 November. The vacancies are posted here:

Employment conditions

ERIM offers fully-funded and salaried PhD positions, which means that accepted PhD candidates become employees (promovendi) of Erasmus University Rotterdam. Salary and benefits are in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities (CAO).

Contact Information

For questions regarding the PhD application and selection procedure, please check the Admissions or send us an e-mail via

Erasmus Research Institute of Management

ERIM is the research institute of management at Erasmus University Rotterdam, founded by Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM) and Erasmus School of Economics (ESE), both of which excel in their research and teaching programmes. The level and international character of their research and teaching programmes has put both schools at the forefront of academic excellence. They offer a diversified portfolio of accredited teaching and research programmes, ranging from pre-experience MSc to postgraduate Masters and executive development, and from fundamental research to applied research and business support, which are renowned throughout the world. RSM is one of the few schools worldwide that holds a triple accreditation from the AMBAs, EQUIS and the AASCB, and is positioned among the top European business schools. The scientific staff of both schools plays a major role in the schools’ interaction with the international business community.

ERIM distinguishes itself by the high-level and international character of its research and has repeatedly been ranked among top 3 research institutes in Europe. ERIM’s key aims are top-quality academic research with impact both on academia and managerial practice, and the advancement of international academic careers and high-level support for both research and doctoral education. For more information about ERIM please visit [link:].