Vacancy for a PhD candidate (V39.2811)

Vacancy for a PhD candidate

For the research project ASML 2.0: "Drivers of the learning curve at customer service"
Department of Industrial Engineering & Innovation Sciences
Date off
Reference number

Job description

Eindhoven University of Technology is one of the world’s leading research universities (ranked by the Times Higher Education Supplement) and is particularly well]known for its joint research with industry (ranked number one worldwide by the Centre for Science and Technology Studies).

The Department of Industrial Engineering & Innovation Sciences (IE&IS) of Eindhoven University of Technology is one of the longest-established engineering schools in Europe, with a strong presence in the international research and education community, especially in the field of Operational Processes, Innovation Management & Technology Entrepreneurship, which are at the core of the undergraduate BSc program. The graduate programs (MSc and PhD) in Operations Management and Innovation Management attract top-level students from all over the world. Researchers are member of the Beta research school.

The PhD candidate will be located in the Innovation, Technology Entrepreneurship & Marketing (ITEM) group. The group is part of the School of Industrial Engineering of the department IE&IS.

The ITEM group consists of about 25 fte faculty and 16 fte PhD’s who participate in and contribute to the research, education and service program of the ITEM group. This program is one of the leading programs in the world and emphasizes means for measuring and improving the process of conceiving, developing, and launching new products and businesses, and also managing these products and businesses post-launch. As such, it encompasses both strategic, operational and tactical activities of new product and business development and management. While the program covers the full range of new products its primary focus is on high-tech products, like the ones at ASML.

More information about the group can be found at:

PhD project
ASML's customers increasingly demand greater accuracy of lithography machines that enable them to deliver highly advanced integrated circuits (IC) to the market. ASML has the objective to be first to the market to give customers first mover advantages. This requires them to rapidly introduce new machines. Every new product introduction (NPI) therefore has to go through a steep learning curve which results in the reduction of production and service cycle times. This ability to reduce cycle times by mastering the learning curve explains most of the success of ASML in the past years. However, despite of the past success, one of ASML biggest future challenges is the management of the service organization in the introduction of the new machines.

Prior research has shown that in the factory ASML is able to realize a steep cycle time learning curve for the first systems, followed by less steeper one for the rest of the systems. The shape of the learning curve has a major impact on performance indicators such as cost and quality. Prior research also shows that this learning process can be managed by a specific number of drivers. The Customer Service (CS) organization has, as a result of the introduction of new machines, a similar challenge: the CS organization must identify the drivers to realize a steep learning curve in order to achieve the optimal service performance in terms of cost, quality and time.

Although the CS learning curve is fundamentally different from the one in the factory, as the underlying learning principles that apply in the CS organization are different, there are many and perhaps even more opportunities to learn for several reasons. First, the CS organization provides many more opportunities to learn in parallel on the machine level as service knowledge accumulates over time. Second, as the CS learning process is distributed across many offices, so there are opportunities for learning between offices. Third, CS is involved in the complete life cycle of the machines (in contrast to the factory) which provides a broader and deeper knowledge base ready for use for other departments. Fourth, typical field issues, such as upgrades, and system downs might also lead to precious learnings and performance improvements. Finally there is the ability to learn at the system level which creates the opportunity to be more efficient and to learn from mistakes. Realizing the advantages of these multiple opportunities however does not happen spontaneously. This requires a well thought-out learning curve management model for the CS organization. The principal aim of this PhD research is to identify the process indicators and management principles to improve the CS learning curve.

Job requirements

Applicants should have completed (or be very close to completion of) a master's degree in the area of industrial engineering, operations research, innovation management, operations management and/or management sciences. Moreover the applicant should have a solid and proven background in quantitative, econometric research methods. An interdisciplinary background (e.g., combination of a technical
master degree and a social science degree) and the ability to speak Dutch are highly appreciated. Furthermore, the candidate will collaborate
intensively with managers at ASML with different technical, cultural and managerial backgrounds. So besides the outstanding research skills we are looking for a candidate who has excellent social, communication and organization skills to work effectively in such a business setting.

Conditions of employment

We offer a PhD appointment for a period of 4 years with a latest start date May 1st, 2017 and a gross salary in the range of € 30.500,- € 39.000, per annum (on a full-time basis), which includes 8% holiday allowance and 8.3% end of year allowance. Working at Eindhoven University of Technology means working in a professional environment that stimulates people to engage in innovation. We offer a broad package of fringe benefits, including an excellent IT infrastructure, child care, moving expenses, savings schemes, and excellent sports facilities.

Information and application

For inquiries about the PhD position please contact dr. Alex Alblas ( or prof. dr. Fred Langerak (
Information about terms of employment can be obtained from Mr. Kees Deneer, HR advisor with the departments of IE&IS ( Information about Eindhoven University of Technology can be found at

Your application must contain the following documents (all in English):

  • A statement of purpose (2 page max) which includes a motivation of your interest in the position and an explanation of why you would fit well for the project;
  • A detailed curriculum vitae;
  • Name and contact information of three references;
  • Proof of fluency in English (TOEFL, IELTS, etc.);
  • Journal or conference papers (if any);
  • A copy of the MSc thesis (if you have already received your degree);
  • Transcripts (undergraduate and graduate).

If you are interested, we invite you to apply as soon as possible The screening of candidates will start immediately and will stop once the position is filled. To apply please use the "apply now" button.

Applications by email will not be accepted.

Please note that a maximum of 5 documents of 2 MB each can be uploaded. If you have more than 5 documents you will have to combine them.