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Smart, Active and Sustainable Micromobility’ PhD position

Department of Industrial Engineering & Innovation Sciences

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Dr Frauke Behrendt No more applications being accepted Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)
Eindhoven Netherlands Cultural Geography Digital Media Human Geography Architecture, Building & Planning Sociology Public Policy Social Geography Transport Geography Urban Geography Urban Planning

About the Project

You will explore micromobility in the Netherlands and the UK to understand how they can support transitions to sustainable mobilities. The focus is specifically on electrically assisted modes that also require some physical activity such as bicycles, cargo bicycles, push (step) scooters, skateboards, etc, both for private ownership and Mobility as a Service (MaaS) shared schemes. They are conceptualized at the intersection of active mobility and electric mobility. The second key focus is on digital, smart and data elements of these types of mobility, from unlocking shared vehicles, to 'track-and-trace' systems for delivery companies, to health feedback apps. The legal and policy context is also of key concern. 

As part of this, you will work with the UK-based interdisciplinary ELEVATE project. ELEVATE explores how light electric vehicles for active and digital travel can play a key role in reducing mobility-related energy demand and carbon emissions. Academic partners on the project are Eindhoven University of Technology, the Universities of Leeds, Oxford and Brighton. Non-academic partners include local authorities and the World Health Organization. For more information about ELEVATE, see  

In addition, you will also explore the Dutch micromobility landscape, including policy, end users, and/or industry perspectives. Your work might also have some comparative elements that draw on findings from both the UK and the Netherlands.  

Micromobility often has an urban focus and is a rapidly emerging field with a wide variety of legal and policy contexts. E-scooters (steps), for example, have rapidly become a key feature of many EU and American cities, while the UK is running first trials, and the Netherlands have no legal basis for operating them in public. In terms of e-bikes and cargo bikes, the Netherlands have earlier and higher uptake, while the UK and other EU are catching up.  

You will be open to interdisciplinary collaboration and take a socio-cultural mobilities approach, with an inclusive perspective. You will be keen to contribute to making mobility more sustainable, and to understand mobility as part of our digital/data societies. In addition to literature reviews, your work will largely consist of qualitative methods such as interviews, case studies, analysis of policy documents, actors or media (e.g. press, social media), but could also have a quantitative element, such as surveys or basic GPS data analysis.  

In addition to producing excellent science, your work and ELEVATE aim at a large societal impact.

 We are looking for candidates with a background in Urban Studies, Mobility Studies, Science & Technology Studies (STS), Sociology, Cultural Studies, Policy Studies, Human/Cultural/Historic Geography, Transport Studies, Planning, Sustainability Studies, Innovation Studies, or any other field with expertise relevant to the project. 


The above PhD project is embedded in the Department of Industrial Engineering and Innovation Sciences (IE&IS) of Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e). TU/e is one of the world’s leading research universities (ranked by the Times Higher Education Supplement). It is in particular well‐known for its joint research with industry (ranked number one worldwide by the Centre for Science and Technology Studies). 

Within the Department IE&IS you will be affiliated with the research group Technology, Innovation & Society (TIS). The TIS group of the School of Innovation Sciences is an ambitious, international group. Our research focuses on understanding the development and use of technology in a societal context. Other current mobility research includes projects on smart cycling, electric mobility and cycling cities. Our staff teaches in the BSc program ‘Sustainable Innovation’, and the MSc program ‘Innovation Sciences’, as well as in university-wide programs for engineering students. 

The department of IE&IS has a strong national and international reputation for both basic research in the academic community and applied research with industry and policy. You will have the opportunity to benefit from that environment and to contribute to the ongoing research. 

Job requirements 

The ideal advanced students for this program will have a strong, demonstrated capacity to undertake advanced study in technology- and policy-related fields, with a high level of accomplishment in their Master’s level study. More specifically, PhD candidates:

 ·       hold a relevant Master’s degree (see details above).

·       have good communication skills and command of written and spoken English

·       are reliable, can work and deliver timely both independently and in a team, and have strong organisational skills and a pro-active work attitude

·       ideally also have some Dutch language skills and, if basic, are willing to improve these

·       are willing to collaborate with technology and engineering subject areas 

Funding Notes

A full-time appointment for a period of 4 years at Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e). With an intermediate evaluation after nine months
Gross monthly salary from € 2.395 (gross in the first year) to € 3.061 per month (last year).
TU/e offers an additional 8% holiday allowance and 8,3% end-of-year bonus.
An attractive package of fringe benefits, including a personal development program for PhD students (PROOF program), and excellent sport facilities.
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