PhD-student (3 years) Innovations in Human Health & Life Sciences

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
  • PhD-student (3 years) Innovations in Human Health & Life Sciences
  • University Graduate
ONCORNET2.0, the Marie Skłodowska-Curie European Training Network (ETN), is looking for a  highly motivated and talented student with proven affinity in combining sciences and social sciences for an ambitious multidisciplinary international project on oncogenic G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) to study ambidextrous value (co)creation in drug discovery & development.

FTE: 1.0

Job description

Ambidextrous value (co) creation (ESR15)
Ambidexterity means that companies are both involved in process of discovery (research and development) as well as exploitation. In this project, we will study innovation management in pharmaceutical sciences from this point of view (ambidexterity) with a focus on 1) the understanding of the absorptive capacity of the pharmaceutical industry (the capacity to absorb knowledge and implement the new insights) and 2) IP-arrangements in the collaborative innovation projects in the open innovation landscape in which academia and companies participate side-by-side (or even triple helix: government supported arrangements). We will study the absorptive capacity and IP-arrangements throughout the whole drug discovery & development process and explore differences in innovation management in different industrial settings.
As part of the broader ONCORNET 2.0 consortium, this project aims to describe ambidexterity of SMEs, pharma and academici institutes using ONCORNET and ONCORNET 2.0 as a case study (
Key publications:
  • Chen, Q., & Liu, Z. (2018). How does openness to innovation drive organizational ambidexterity? The mediating role of organizational learning goal orientation. IEEE Transactions on Engineering Management, 66(2), 156-169.
  • Freitas, I. M. B., Marques, R. A., & e Silva, E. M. D. P. (2013). University–industry collaboration and innovation in emergent and mature industries in new industrialized countries. Research Policy, 42(2): 443-453.
  • Romasanta, A. K., van der Sijde, P., Hellsten, I., Hubbard, R. E., Keseru, G. M., van Muijlwijk-Koezen, J., & de Esch, I. J. (2018). When fragments link: a bibliometric perspective on the development of fragment-based drug discovery. Drug discovery today, 23(9), 1596-1609.

Your duties
  • to investigate the ambidexterity-balance in the consortium between exploration and exploitation and the role of (fore- and background) IP.
  • to study the interaction between consortium participants with regards to exploration and exploitation in view of value creation and the role of the consortium network
  • close collaboration with fellow PhD students
  • collaborations with other fellow PhD students in the consortium on the dissemination of the project
  • execution of at least two external secondments
  • supervision of research traineeships and literature theses of master students
  • regular updating in project meetings and group meetings
  • dissemination of results in peer-reviewed journals and at conferences


  • required diploma: A BSc or MSc degree in (medicinal) chemistry, chemical biology or pharmaceutical sciences and a BSc or MSc degree or attended courses in social sciences
  • required expertise: Experience in bridging science and social sciences. The candidate has proven affinity in combining science and social sciences, for example through science and technology studies approaches, in particular within medical and/or pharmaceutical innovations

Eligibility criteria of Marie Curie Initial Training Networks apply. Only applicants who comply to the following conditions will be considered:
  • conditions:  Candidates must be, at the time of recruitment by the host organisation, in the first four years (full-time equivalent) of their research careers and have not yet been awarded a doctoral degree. This is measured from the date when they obtained the MSc degree which would formally entitle them to embark on a doctorate
  • conditions of international mobility: Eligible candidates may be of any nationality but must not, at the time of recruitment, have resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc) in the Netherlands for more than 12 months in the 3 last years immediately prior to the reference date

What are we offering?

ONCORNET2.0 offers:
  • generously funded positions (duration 36 months) for 15 Early stage researchers (ESRs) according to the EU Marie Curie ITN funding scheme (for more information see version 2 on
  • high profile research projects in an Innovative Training Network Program
  • excellent facilities for research and education
  • research training in both academic and industrial settings
  • training in state-of-the-art scientific and transferable skills
  • intensive contacts with international collaborators & secondments in other research laboratories

A challenging position in a socially involved organization. The salary will be in accordance with university regulations for academic personnel and amounts €2325 (PhD) gross per month during the first year and increases to €2972 (PhD) gross per month during the third year, based on a full-time employment. The job profile: is based on the university job ranking system and is vacant for at least 1.0 FTE.

The appointment will initially be for 1 year. After a satisfactory evaluation of the initial appointment, the contract will be extended for another 2 years.

About Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

The ambition of Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is clear: to contribute to a better world through outstanding education and ground-breaking research. And to be a university where personal education and societal involvement play a leading role. Where people from different disciplines and backgrounds work together on innovations and on generating new knowledge. Our teaching and research embrace the whole spectrum of science – from the humanities, the social sciences and the pure sciences through to the life sciences and the medical sciences.

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is home to more than 26,500 students. We employ more than 4,600 individuals. The VU campus is easily accessible, located in the heart of Amsterdam’s Zuidas district, a truly inspiring environment for teaching and research.

Diversity is one of our university’s core values. We are an inclusive community, and we believe that diversity and international activities enhance the quality of education and research. We are always looking for people who can enhance diversity on our campus thanks to their background and experience.

The Faculty of Science
The Faculty of Science inspires researchers and students to find sustainable solutions for complex societal issues. From forest fires to big data, from obesity to medicines and from molecules to the moon: our teaching and research programmes cover the full spectrum of the natural sciences. We share knowledge and experience with leading research institutes and industries, both here in the Netherlands and abroad.

Working at the Faculty of Science means working with students, PhD candidates and researchers, all with a clear focus on their field and a broad view of the world. We employ more than 1,250 staff members, and we are home to around 6,000 students.

About the ONCORNET 2.0 consortium
The ETN ONCORNET 2.0 consortium ( has a dedicated mission to train and educate the next generation of interdisciplinary ESRs in the field of oncogenic G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs). The ONCORNET2.0 consortium will offer an extensive multidisciplinary training programme to the Early Stage Researchers (ESRs) to ensure that they can operate in today’s drug discovery programmes. This will include both research (e.g. drug discovery, proteomics, imaging) and transferable (e.g. entrepreneurship, academic writing, media training) skill sets. The aim is to enhance their career opportunities by specifically focusing on skill sets that are needed to work in today’s drug discovery pipelines in academia, biotech and pharmaceutical industries.
ONCORNET2.0 will hire 15 ESRs who will be trained in both academic and industrial settings according to a personalised scheme with cross-secondments in academic and/or industrial participating organisations. This PhD student is embedded in the department of Chemistry and Pharmaceutical Sciences, division Medicinal Chemistry, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam.


Are you interested in this position? Please apply via the application button and upload your curriculum vitae and cover letter until 31 december 2019. The job interviews will take place via a Skype interview and final round on February 11th 2020 in Amsterdam, when possible please take this day into account when applying for the position.

Please send the following information (as one pdf file)
  • Detailed CV (include information on your BSc and MSc studies, languages, achievements, expertise)
  • Motivation letter, addressed to the ONCORNET2.0 selection committee, explaining your motivation why you apply with us. You have to indicate which ONCORNET ESR projects you are interested in (please motivate your selection).
  • Provide contact details of at least 2 references (names, addresses, emails).
  • Reference letter from one of the enlisted references
  • Copies of your key educational certificates
  • Transcript of Records (i.e. documents enlisting your performance as BSc and MSc student over time by listing the course units or modules taken, credits gained and the grades awarded). If you have not completed your MSc degree yet include all grades obtained so far.

If applicable provide a language certificate

Applications received by e-mail will not be processed.

Vacancy questions
If you have any questions regarding this vacancy, you may contact:

Name: Prof. Dr. Jacqueline van Muijlwijk, Prof. Dr. Peter van der Sijde
Position: Supervisors of this project

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