Study programme

Current patterns of industrial and economic growth are causing a mounting burden upon the life support systems of nature. 

Case studies in Cleaner Production, Eco-Product Design, Industrial Ecology, and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) approaches show considerable promise in what some scientists call 'the next industrial revolution'. Interest is mounting on the part of industry and among governments whose regulatory structures and governance arrangements are inadequate to address the scale of environmental degradation that results from existing industrial practices. 

This PhD programme responds to the rapidly growing awareness of the need for in-depth scientific research and theoretical elaboration of the foundations of Sustainable Production and Consumption, the transition to post-fossil fuel economies, and thus for a new generation of scientist-practitioners. 

This program helped me to improve my ability to communicate my theoretical knowledge toward helping to build more sustainable cities.
Bogachan Bayulken (Turkey) - Alumni 2016

Characteristics of the programme

  • Flexibility while staying in your home country
  • Research-oriented
  • Interactive collaboration
  • More supervisory hours than average PhD's 

The programme is designed to provide in-depth theoretical foundations to conduct an independent PhD research. Besides, the programme offers a conceptual module about cleaner production and sustainability. 

The module Research Topic aims at providing initial research abilities, starting by supporting candidates to refine their chosen research topic and the preparation for the research plan. 

Modules are offered in one week, during yearly intensives. Some webinars might be offered to strengthen particular research competencies. 

All the modules are mandatory and are provided over a period of 4+ years. During this period, candidates develop their research skills, publish articles and prove that they are capable 'to conduct independent scientific research' worthy to be defended in public before a PhD committee, whose members ask critical questions. 


  1. Cleaner Production
  2. Research Topic
  3. Theory and methods
  4. Literature review
  5. Ethics
  6. Conceptualization and Operationalization
  7. Document Analysis
  8. Doing interviews (is 'Conducting interviews' niet beter?)
  9. Writing scientific articles
  10. Data Analysis

Year 1

Research plan

Year 2

Literature review, research question and methods

Year 3

Field work and methods deployed (or in process), chapters draft

Year 4+

Draft manuscript

This study programme differentiates from other programmes in the sense that other PhD candidates work on-campus on research issues provided by their department. Some candidates exceptionally move to Rotterdam to pursue the PhD programme as guest researchers. 

In this programme you take center position, conducting your PhD research on a topic of your fascination, in your local/national context, seeking synergy with your professional work and ambitions, advised by two supervisors and a local co-advisor.