PhD Position in Business Analytics for Operations Management
Catholic University of Leuven School of Management

About IESEG School of Management IESEG is AACSB, EQUIS and AMBA accredited and co-leads LEM which is a French accredited research center. IESEG's faculty includes professors from 45 different nationalities from leading universities around the world About FEB, KU Leuven FEB is a faculty part of KU Leuven which is EQUIS accredited and is consistently ranked among the top-ten European universities in terms of scholarly output and ranked 45th in the 2020 overall ranking. FEB is committed to excellence in research with 9 interdisciplinary research centers and research groups. FEB faculty publish regularly in top international refereed academic journals. In the context of the joint PhD program between IESEG School of Management and KU Leuven's Faculty of Economics (FEB), we invite applications for a PhD position in Operations Management with a focus on workload balancing in a digital environment.


The proposed research project concerns operational `work design' decisions to positively impact the workload balance (and the consequential working conditions and well-being) of employees, in an increasingly digital, real-time data-driven and uncertain context. The recent covid-19 propagation has most tragically shown the detrimental impact on employees having to undergo heavy workload peaks to assure business continuity (as for instance observed for medical personnel dealing with unavailability of staff and demand peaks). This has put the relevance of workload balancing back on the researchers' and practitioners' agenda. Our project aims to develop a smart innovative design of work, integrating decisions about labour flexibility (and the training needed to accommodate it), digitization and automation (supported by the integration of technology in workflows), and real-time adaptability. It will support a better balance of workload within and between individuals, and an improved human-technology collaboration, which is key to improve working conditions (such as a fairer distribution of work, more work variety, and less workload peaks) and their social impact (such as less stress, staff fall-outs and safety critical human errors). Moreover, this will in turn benefit organizations and the society (through employee retention, productivity and quality). 

The originality of the PhD project comes from uniting different operational aspects in work design (flexibility, technology and real-time data integration), to positively change the balancing of work and improve the social well-being of employees.

The research will be conducted within the context of the On Track Lab ( with as professional partner the Belgian railway company Infrabel. The focus of this multidisciplinary research lab is on operations, transportation, and network analytics by linking the following domains: Big Data, Artificial Intelligence, and Operations Management. The mission of the lab is to provide control room analytics and operational intelligence for control room managers as high-performing control room operations are of great importance in a wide variety of industries. Moreover, it is expected that new types of control rooms will emerge through the introduction of new technologies (5G, drones, Internet of Things). Our objective is to develop concepts, innovations, and tools applicable to a wide range of control room settings in a safety-critical environment on a 24/7 basis. Hereby a great deal of attention is paid to the wellbeing of the control room operators. What characterizes our research lab is the intensive collaboration between academia and industry. We strive for publications of high academic value as well as for maximal implementation of the research in practice. 


Qualifications :
• Have a master of science (or be close to completion) in commercial engineering, applied economics, business analytics, statistics, optimization, or similar.
• He/she is expected to possess strong analytical skills and have a commitment to research excellence.
• He/she should display a high level of team-spirit and communicative skills.
• He/she should have strong research interests in operations management summarized by one or multiple of the following keywords: digital operations, optimization, decision support, statistical and machine learning algorithms.
• Applicants should be fluent in English and preferably have basic proficiency in French or Dutch.
• Knowledge of STATA, MATLAB, Python and/or R is a plus.


The selected applicant is expected to begin his/her assignment in September 2021. The researcher will have the opportunity to work in an international research environment and will be based both in IESEG School of Management (Lille, France) and KU Leuven (Leuven, Belgium) during the four PhD years. The first year of the PhD will be conducted in Leuven, followed by three years in Lille. The PhD student will be supported to do international research visits and to participate to international research conferences on a regular basis.
Gross salary will be competitive with other European research and academic institutions.


Interested applicants are asked to send their curriculum vitae in a PDF document bearing the applicant's name via email with subject \Joint PhD program: Business Analytics for Operations Management" to, and Potential applicants can also use these email addresses to request further information. 
The call is open from January 1, 2021 till a suited candidate is found.
You can apply for this job no later than August 31, 2021 via the
KU Leuven seeks to foster an environment where all talents can flourish, regardless of gender, age, cultural background, nationality or impairments. If you have any questions relating to accessibility or support, please contact us at
  • Employment percentage: Voltijds
  • Location: Leuven
  • Apply before: August 31, 2021
  • Tags: Economie

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