Fully funded PhD projects in Marketing & Innovation

Prof. Stefan Stremersch (Erasmus School of Economics) is looking for highly motivated PhD students looking to pursue an academic career in top American or European business schools in the field of marketing or innovation. The ideal candidates will thus be highly passionate and have a keen interest to do cutting-edge research in core topics which are (i) marketing & innovation, (ii) pharmaceutical and life sciences marketing, and (iii) marketing spending. Applicants are expected to have a very strong ambition and superior intelligence to match the ambition of the position, which is top journal output and top placement.

Successful candidates will be doing their PhD at the Erasmus School of Economics. Projects described herein will be conducted under the scientific direction of prof.dr. Stefan Stremersch (promotor of the PhD student), often in collaboration with an associate or assistant professor with strong interest and ongoing research in the specific field chosen by the student for her or his dissertation. Professor Stremersch has a wide interest and has published in all top journals in marketing strategy and modeling, where he also is an ERB member or Associate Editor. Thus, a lot of flexibility is offered to students to identify their own space, as long as research quality is high. ¾ of all graduating students graduate with dissertation-based top journal papers. 

Within the general domains discussed above, students have high autonomy in determining the direction of their own projects, in consultation with their promotor or supervisors. Ultimately, the goal is that the projects we initiate lead to top-level dissertations with at least one or two publications in top-tier journals in marketing, economics or business.


Marketing & Innovation

Innovation is a decision of prime relevance to firms. There is a well-established and high impactful stream of research on marketing of innovations, an area where our group has made significant scientific contributions over the years

(Tellis, Stremersch and Yin 2003; Stremersch and Tellis 2004; Van den Bulte and Stremersch 2004; Wuyts, Dutta and Stremersch 2004; Van Everdingen, Fok and Stremersch 2009; Stremersch, Muller and Peres 2010; Camacho, Nam, Kannan and Stremersch 2019). Despite this well-established literature, many innovation-related decisions are still fraught with uncertainty, leading to high costs and failure rates in innovation. These challenges open many opportunities for further research in the intersection between marketing and innovation. Among others we have ongoing work and active interest in the following topics:

  • Optimal organization of innovation processes;
  • Idea generation and crowdsourcing;
  • Idea selection;
  • Financial assessment of innovation proposals;
  • Launch of new and sequeled video games.

Pharmaceutical & life sciences marketing

One of the main research interests of prof. Stefan Stremersch at present is pharmaceutical and life sciences marketing, a field he helped found and grow (see Stremersch 2008; Stremersch and Van Dyck 2009; Ding, Eliashberg and Stremersch 2014; Kappe and Stremersch 2016; Kappe, Stremersch and Venkataraman 2017; Stremersch, Landsman and Venkataraman 2013). Life sciences industries in general, and the pharmaceutical industry in particular, have unique characteristics that require industry-specific knowledge development. Given the sheer size and impact of these industries in the economy and people’s welfare, marketing of life sciences and pharmaceutical products offers a fertile area for potentially high-impact topics for doctoral dissertations. Among others we have ongoing work and active interest in the following topics:

  • Life cycle strategies;
  • International new drug launch strategies;
  • Withdrawal strategies for drugs;
  • Drug pioneering effects;
  • International substitution of branded in generic drugs;
  • Patient-physician decision-making.

Marketing spending

Determining how much to spend on advertising, or marketing in general, is one of the most critical decisions faced by firms across the globe. According to a recent survey by McKinsey, global spending on media will reach US$2.1 trillion in 2019, which represents a compound annual growth rate of 5.1% over its 2014 level. The emergence of new media channels competing for customer attention and the inherent complexity of optimizing advertising spending leads many firms to use heuristic methods such as “percentage of sales” or “competitive parity” allocation to determine their advertising budget. Such heuristics lead to advertising spending decisions that deviate from the optimal profit-maximizing budget, which contributes to the pervasiveness of advertising overspending. Over the years, we have developed seminal work on optimal advertising and marketing policies (e.g., Guitart, Gonzalez and Stremersch 2018; Kappe and Stremersch 2016; Kappe, Venkataraman and Stremersch 2017). However, many questions remain unanswered. Among others we have ongoing work and active interest in the following topics:

  • Impact of new media through prospective meta-analysis;
  • Methods how to cut spending on marketing;
  • Advertising budgeting decisions in the boardroom;
  • Optimal controlling of marketing spending;
  • Impact of advertising and F1 spending on automotive sales.

Also other topics may qualify for this position, but condsult Stefan Stremersch.


Research in marketing is characterized by three pillars that jointly determine the quality of the research, which are theory, methods and data.

Our research often builds on large and very rich datasets. Here one can think of country level marketing and sales data to study the adoption or diffusion of new products, or every single click in a website that can be used to improve the website experience. We often also conduct primary data collection, either through large-scale (often global) surveys and using state-of-the-art survey methodology, or by designing and executing online or field experiments.

In part driven by the data available for each project, our research builds on many research methods such as:

  • Applied econometrics on large scale datasets;
  • Design of longitudinal and field experiments;
  • Global survey research;
  • Choice models;
  • Count models;
  • Bayesian estimation.

Literature references

  • Camacho, N, H.R. Nam, P.K. Kannan & S. Stremersch (2018), “Tournaments to Crowdsource Innovation: The Role of Moderator Feedback and Participation Intensity,” Journal of Marketing (forthcoming).
  • Ding, Min, Jehoshua Eliashberg, and Stefan Stremersch (2014), Innovation and Marketing in the Pharmaceutical Industry. New York, NY: Springer.
  • Guitart, Ivan A., Jorge Gonzalez, and Stefan Stremersch (2018), “Advertising non-premium products as if they were premium: The impact of advertising up on advertising elasticity and brand equity,” International Journal of Research in Marketing, 35(3), 471-489.
  • Kappe, Eelco, and Stefan Stremersch (2016), “Drug detailing and doctorhttps://apply.erim.eur.nl/applys’ prescription decisions: The role of information content in the face of competitive entry,” Marketing Science, 35(6), 915-933.
  • Kappe, Eelco, Sriram Venkataraman, and Stefan Stremersch (2017), “Predicting the Consequences of Marketing Policy Changes: A New Data Enrichment Method with Competitive Reactions,” Journal of Marketing Research, 54(5), 720-736.
  • Roberts, John H., Ujwal Kayande, and Stefan Stremersch (2014), “From academic research to marketing practice: Exploring the marketing science value chain,” International Journal of Research in Marketing, 31(2), 127-140.
  • Stremersch, Stefan, and Gerard J. Tellis (2004), “Understanding and managing international growth of new products,” International Journal of Research in Marketing, 21(4), 421-438.
  • Stremersch, Stefan (2008), “Health and marketing: The emergence of a new field of research,” International Journal of Research in Marketing, 25(4): 229-233.
  • Stremersch, Stefan, and Walter Van Dyck (2009), “Marketing of the life sciences: A new framework and research agenda for a nascent field,” Journal of Marketing, 73(4): 4-30.
  • S. Stremersch, V. Landsman & S. Venkataraman (2013), “The Relationship Between DTCA, Drug Requests and Prescriptions: Uncovering Variation in Specialty and Space,” Marketing Science, 32 (1), 89-110.
  • Stremersch, Stefan, Eitan Muller, and Renana Peres (2010), “Does new product growth accelerate across technology generations?,” Marketing Letters, 21(2): 103-120.
  • Tellis, Gerard J., Stefan Stremersch, and Eden Yin (2003), “The international takeoff of new products: The role of economics, culture, and country innovativeness,” Marketing Science, 22(2): 188-208.
  • Van den Bulte, Christophe, and Stefan Stremersch (2004), “Social contagion and income heterogeneity in new product diffusion: A meta-analytic test,” Marketing Science, 23(4), 530-544.
  • Van Everdingen, Yvonne, Dennis Fok, and Stefan Stremersch (2009), “Modeling global spillover of new product takeoff,” Journal of Marketing Research, 46(5), 637-652.
  • Wuyts, Stefan, Shantanu Dutta, and Stefan Stremersch (2004), “Portfolios of interfirm agreements in technology-intensive markets: Consequences for innovation and profitability,” Journal of Marketing, 68(2), 88-100.


Our research team is well integrated in the global academic community. For instance, prof. Stremersch holds close ties with IESE Business School and the University of Ghent. We collaborate with researchers from institutions all over the world such as University of Maryland, Columbia University, NYU and IDC Herzliya in Tel-Aviv, to name just a few.

Expected output

The focus of the PhD project will be on writing papers that will appear in the top-tier journals in marketing such as Journal of Marketing Research, Journal of Marketing, and Marketing Science. On top of the academic publications, we expect the output of a doctoral dissertation to also have an impact in the practice of marketing and innovation. Such insights may lead to additional output in outlets such as Harvard Business Review or MIT Sloan Management Review.

Scientific relevance

Our research team is at the forefront of academic research in the areas discussed above. Our collaboration with outstanding PhD students aims to strengthen this positioning and ensure that we position our department as a world-leading department in these areas. For this reason, PhD students are expected to advance knowledge in the field of marketing and beyond.

Societal relevance

The topics examined herein have a large societal relevance. Innovation generates new wealth for the future of our society. The role of marketing in pharmaceutical and life sciences industry is heavily debated, and thus additional empirical evidence that helps settle hot debates will have a strong societal impact. Marketing spending is another hotly debated topic. New media, in particular (e.g. Facebook), has dramatically changed the way we communicate with one another and has vast business impact.

Moreover, we always try to strive for a deep connection between academia and industry (see e.g., Roberts, Kayande and Stremersch 2014). Therefore, projects we initiate are expected to contribute with ground-breaking and novel insights with high societal impact.

This societal relevance is exemplified by frequent grant approvals for our scientific team and close collaboration with companies, other institutions, organization of conferences and special sessions in our field’s top conferences with strong impact on the field both academically and practically.

PhD candidate profile

Candidates should have a recently completed Master’s degree. We look for outstanding students (typically top 1% in their class), with a variety of backgrounds (ranging from economics, econometrics, statistics or computer science, to behavioural economics, life sciences, commercial or industrial engineering, etc). The important requirement is to be able to use your creativity, curiosity and self-direction to discover and execute research projects that combine high impact with high scientific rigor (thus, a sufficient background in statistics and econometric techniques is highly desirable, even though we offer training in these areas in the first year of the PhD for those lacking such background).

Furthermore, the candidate is expected to be hard-working, have a high level of integrity, rigorous, entrepreneurial, and willing to travel.


Prof. dr. Stefan Stremersch
T: +31 10 4088719
E: stremersch@ese.eur.nl

Graduate school

Depending on the candidate’s interest the project can be affiliated with either ERIM (for a Research in Management approach) or Tinbergen Institute (for an Economics, Econometrics approach).

Applicants for this project need to pass ERIM’s or the Tinbergen Institute’s admission requirements (depending on approach) before they can be considered for a PhD position at Erasmus School of Economics.

If you are unsure of the graduate school with which you want to be affiliated please contact the project supervisor.


Application deadline: 15 January, 2019.


Depending on the candidate’s interest the project can be affiliated with either ERIM (for a Research in Management approach) or the Tinbergen Institute (for an Economics and Econometrics approach).


ERIM project page

Tinbergen Institute

Apply for this project using the Tinbergen Institute online application form. Please use the project code below to apply for this project.

Tinbergen project code