Vacancy: PhD researcher in techno-economics of digital platforms




​imec is a world-leading research and innovation hub in nanoelectronics and digital technologies. The combination of our widely acclaimed leadership in microchip technology and profound software and ICT expertise is what makes us unique. By leveraging our world-class infrastructure and local and global ecosystem of partners across a multitude of industries, we create groundbreaking innovation in application domains such as healthcare, smart cities and mobility, logistics and manufacturing, and energy.

As a trusted partner for companies, start-ups and universities we bring together close to 4000 brilliant minds from over 97 nationalities. Imec is headquartered in Leuven, Belgium and also has distributed R&D groups at a number of Flemish universities, in the Netherlands, Taiwan, USA, China, and offices in India and Japan. All of these particular traits make imec to be a top-class employer.

Ghent University – imec IDLab Research group

The Internet Technology & Data Science Lab (IDLab) is an imec research group at Ghent University and the University of Antwerp. IDLab focuses its research on internet technologies and data science. Bringing together more than 300 internet experts, we develop technologies outperforming current solutions for communication subsystems, high speed and low power networking, distributed computing and multimedia processing, machine learning, artificial intelligence and web semantics. IDLab has a unique research infrastructure used in numerous national and international collaborations.

IDLab collaborates with many universities and research centers worldwide and jointly develops advanced technologies with industry (R&D centers from international companies, Flanders’ top innovating large companies and SMEs, as well as numerous ambitious start-ups).

The IDLab techno-economics team where this vacancy is offered, consists of engineers and economists who are supporting decision makers by translating technological innovation into business opportunities and challenges in different application domains like smart cities, smart mobility and smart energy. The groups is supporting companies and policy makers in supporting their decisions by combining insights in technical possibilities with the expected economic costs and benefits.

The evolving ICT domain

Digital platforms are constantly gaining importance. Collecting multi-modal mobility data on a cloud-based platform, for example, can enable a multitude of traffic management solutions. Public as well as private actors can offer solutions that improve the city mobility, create an added value for the citizens and stimulate the local economy. Or consider a platform that allows optimal use of energy in a specific residential area by matching the demand curve of residents, retailers and electric cars to each other and to the (renewable) energy generation.

A lot of the digital platforms are set up in the context of an innovation project, where - at least partially - public funding is granted for the duration of this project. A big challenge lies in ensuring the sustainability of these platforms beyond this initial funding phase. Plenty of techno-economic research questions pop-up here. What is the appropriate way to store and share the data on the platform in order to allow maximum reusability? What is the most cost efficient way to deploy such a platform, keeping long-term sustainability in mind? What are the costs and benefits the different stakeholders are facing? Can this new ecosystem lead to changes in the policy at hand?

In order to face the different research questions in this domain, we are looking for a researcher who is able to combine technical and economic insights.

Job description

The job

  • Under the supervision of a professor and a postdoc researcher in the team, you will prepare a PhD dissertation over a duration of about 4 years.
  • You perform cutting-edge research in the domain of techno-economic evaluation of digital platforms.
  • You publish and present results both at international conferences and in scientific journals.
  • You validate your research by considering concrete use cases and discussing with public and private actors in the field.
  • You tightly collaborate with IDLab colleagues within the techno-economics teams, as well as in other teams where appropriate.
  • You will participate in the framework of national and European funded research projects, and collaborate with research partners from industry.
  • You will assist the research group with limited educational tasks.

Job requirements

  • Holder of a Master degree in Engineering, preferably Computer Science or Electrical Engineering.
  • Strong interest in economic evaluation of technological projects.
  • Good knowledge of object-oriented programming in Java, experience with web-based development and software management is a plus.
  • Strong analytical skills for designing and implementing abstract models.
  • You work independently, have a strong feeling of responsibility and are able to commit to timing and milestones set forward by different research projects.
  • You are a team player and have strong communication skills.
  • A good knowledge of English (oral and written) is a must. Any knowledge of Dutch (oral) is a plus.

This PhD position is available immediately and is open until the vacancy is filled. The position is not open for post-docs.

Apply by sending an email to . Your application should include

  • your resume (curriculum vitae)
  • motivation letter (indicating both your technical and economic background/interest as well as any specific research skills)
  • a copy of your diploma and diploma supplement (with overview of all courses followed)

More information

Sofie Verbrugge –