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Apply by: 2024-07-05

PhD position Platform Cooperatives for the Inclusion of Disabled Workers

Published 2024-06-11


This fully-funded, 4-year PhD research position is part of the project "Don't Forget the Forgotten! Towards a Platform-Based Approach for Sustainable Employment of Workers with a Disability". This project, funded by the Dutch Research Council (NWO), addresses the challenge of limited sustainable employment opportunities for workers with disabilities (i.e., a healthy, productive, and meaningful career). By developing online platform cooperatives and matching algorithms, you will address this urgent challenge while contributing to broader societal issues such as labor market shortages, budget strains, and energy transition.

Key takeaways

This PhD project builds on the notion that labor market intermediaries - particularly online 'gig' platforms like Uber, Deliveroo and Fiverr - may facilitate employment but often fail to promote sustainable employment (e.g., due to mismatched job placements or precarious contracts). To address this, you will study and help co-create cooperatively-owned platforms, known as 'platform cooperatives'. These platform cooperatives blend digital technology and democratic ownership structures aiming to enhance sustainable employment for workers with disabilities by prioritizing principles such as equitable access to quality work, solidarity, and trust. As such, the PhD project will contribute to the following objectives:

  • Studying and addressing the challenges associated with establishing democratic organizational forms that empower workers such as platform cooperatives;
  • Mapping, understanding, and remedying paradoxical tensions between value systems and dynamics of the market, hierarchy, and community that platform cooperatives are subject to;
  • Perform and publish high-quality and internationally visible research, and be involved in teaching and student supervision to a limited extent;
  • Building a collaborative network with partners from business, society, and the political sphere;
  • Contributing to a vibrant team with two other PhD researchers from the engineering and social sciences;
  • You will receive mentorship by an experienced, international team of senior scholars with expertise in online platforms, labor markets, and AI systems at work.


We look for a highly motivated, enthusiastic researcher who is driven by curiosity and has/is:

  • Master’s degree or equivalent in organization studies, human resource management, sociology (of labor), business and management, political economy, management information systems, communication science, public administration, or a related field;
  • You have an interest and some experience in one or more of the following topics: digital technology at work, new organizational forms, sustainable employment, vulnerable workers, labor market intermediaries, workplace democracy or employee voice;
  • You have experience in or the interest to develop skills for conducting qualitative research (including interviews, ethnography, and observations);
  • Experience/affinity with collaboration and community building with societal partners, employers, employees, and/or government representatives;
  • Commitment to addressing societal problems and making an impact;
  • A standout colleague who likes to work in an interdisciplinary and internatiSustaonally oriented environment;
  • Possess good communication skills and an excellent command of English (C1; above IELTS 7 or equivalent).


Our offer contains a full-time 4-year PhD position, excellent mentorship in a stimulating research environment; and a personal development program within the Twente Graduate School. Specifically, it includes:

  • Gross monthly salary of € 2.770 in the first year, increasing each year up to € 3.539 in the fourth year;
  • Excellent benefits including a holiday allowance of 8% of the gross annual salary, an end-of-year bonus of 8.3%, and a solid pension scheme;
  • 29 holidays per year in case of full-time employment;
  • A green campus with free access to sports facilities and an international scientific community;
  • A family-friendly institution that offers parental leave (both paid and unpaid);
  • A status as an employee at the University of Twente, including pension, health care benefits and good secondary conditions are part of our collective labour agreement CAO-NU for Dutch universities.


The HBE department is dedicated to encouraging a supportive and inclusive working culture. Our aim is that all job applicants are given equal opportunities. When we select candidates for employment, it will be on the basis of their competence and ability. To support the workforce diversity, we are open to offer flexible working conditions on an individual basis to support work-life balance, that may include contract of employment, working hours and location, or child care arrangements.

Please have a look at this video to learn about our wider HBE department: The High Business Entrepreneurship corporate video can be watched via this link.


Are you interested? Please submit your application before July 5th, 2024and include:

  • A letter of application (maximum 2 pages A4), emphasizing your specific interest, qualifications, and motivations to apply for this position;
  • A Curriculum Vitae, including a list of all courses attended and grades obtained, and, if applicable, a list of publications and references. Your CV should demonstrate the scope of your work and education and indicate a good fit with the stated requirements for the position;
  • Your MSc thesis or the latest draft in English (or alternatively if your MSc thesis is not in English, a 5-page summary of your MSc thesis in English);
  • An IELTS-test, Internet TOEFL test (TOEFL-iBT), or a Cambridge CAE-C (CPE). Applicants with a non-Dutch qualification and who have not had secondary and tertiary education in English can only be admitted with an IELTS-test showing a total band score of at least 6.5, internet. TOEFL test (TOEFL-iBT) showing a score of at least 90, or a Cambridge CAE-C (CPE);
  • References (contact information) of two scientific staff members (one of whom would preferably be the supervisor of your MSc thesis/final project) who are willing to be contacted by us.

The first round of job interviews will take place mid-July.

Preferred starting date of position: as soon as possible, yet before November 1st, 2024
Additional information can be acquired from Dr. Jeroen Meijerink, via j.g.meijerink@utwente.nl.

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