PhD candidate in Supply Chain Management - Kedge Business School (Bordeaux) / Kühne Logistics University (Hamburg)

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PhD candidate in Supply Chain Management - Kedge Business School (Bordeaux) / Kühne Logistics University (Hamburg)

Beitrag von KLU » 26.03.2020, 17:12

KEDGE Business School (Bordeaux) and Kühne Logistics University (Hamburg) are investigating the transparency in pharma supply chains to reduce drug shortages and are looking for a

Research Assistant / PhD Student (m/f)

KEDGE Business School is created in 2013 as an outcome of a high-profile merger between two leading business schools BEM and EUROMED. Kedge is accredited AACSB, EQUIS and AMBA and is the leader in research among French management schools. Within Kedge, the Center of Excellence in Supply Chain Innovation and Transportation’ (CESIT) mission is to be a collaborative platform for research and training in supply chain innovation. It aims at developing research on new methods, techniques and concepts of organization and decision making in the areas of Supply Chain Management (SCM). The CESIT develop programmes such as ISLI Master in SCM for students and executive managers.

Kühne Logistics University (KLU) is an independent, state-accredited private university based in the HafenCity of Hamburg in Germany and sponsored by the non-profit Kühne Foundation. The KLU currently offers Master and Bachelor programs in Global Logistics and Management, and an Executive MBA program and has the right to grant PhDs. KLU is unique for its international faculty known for research excellence in logistics, transportation, supply chain management, and related aspects of business. The university is one of the top five universities in the 2014 Handelsblatt research ranking of business administration faculties and achieved top ratings in the 2017 CHE university rankings.

PhD work title
Improving transparency in pharma supply chains to reduce drug shortages

PhD work description
The pharmaceutical market in Europe has a value of over 208 billion Euro in 2017 (EFPIA 2019), positioning Europe as the second biggest pharmaceutical market in the world. While the efficiency of drugs and medical products has increased over the past decades, the pharma industry was also required to increasingly focus on costs. As a consequence, many pharma supply chains have changed significantly: manufacturers have focused on their core competencies, supply chains became longer and more complex, and manufacturing footprints have shifted to countries with labor cost advantages (e.g. China and India). Accordingly, pharma supply chains have become more vulnerable to disruptions e.g. due to GMP issues, production delays, or raw materials shortages. In Germany alone, the German Drug Administration (Bundesinstitut for Arzneimittel and Medizinprodukte, BfArM) has tracked 507 shortages of drugs with direct medical relevance in 2019 that often directly affected patients (Fischer 2020).
A key challenge in the pharma industry is the limited visibility on the supply-demand match. Based on the complex supply chain structures with many tiers for supplying raw materials, intermediate products and active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs), the supply visibility is typically limited and potential disruptions are difficult to forecast. On the other hand, demand visibility is also limited since demand can be volatile with unforeseen peaks (e.g. due to diseases or and tenders won). This is certainly challenging for individual pharma manufacturers but even more difficult to a government body that has to ensure availability for all drugs. On the aggregate level, no control tower concept exists that can help to avoid drug shortages. In the future, serialization data with information on the location of every drug package in the supply chain can potentially help to create a better visibility of supply, inventories and demand but is only becoming available in the future. In addition, the rules for using serialization data, data quality, and tools for data processing the massive amount of data need to be validated and developed.
In the research project, the PhD student will work on a set of research questions related to improving transparency in pharma supply chains. Part of the research could be conducted in collaboration with a government body (i.e. the German Drug Administration expressed its interest to collaborate) while other research could be in collaboration with pharma manufacturers.
The potential research topics include (i) the challenge to set up a process that enables the government body to obtain visibility on the actual supply chain structures and supply situation. (ii) the challenge to create good demand forecasts for individual drugs and drug categories. This forecasting process could leverage serialization data once it becomes available. However, many challenges for handling, cleaning and analyzing the massive amount of data must be considered and overcome.

European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA). 2019. The Pharmaceutical Industry in Figures. Key Data 2019.
Fischer, M. (2020). Drug Shortages and Stockouts – An Empirical Analysis. Master Thesis. Kühne Logistics University.

PhD Supervisors
Zied BABAI - Kedge Business School (
Kai HOBERG - Kühne Logistics University (

Required Profile for the PhD position
  • A master’s degree (or equivalent), preferably in Industrial Engineering or Operations Research, with a background in Supply Chain Management,
  • Skills in statistics and coding (with R, Python, VBA, etc.) are advantageous,
  • A passion for research,
  • Proofs of Fluency in English (German language is a plus).
Conditions of employment
  • The PhD position is fully funded for a period of up to 4 years. The successful PhD candidate will be an employee of KEDGE Business School and will receive a salary of approx. EUR 1900 per month gross, including health care benefits.
  • The successful candidate will be appointed on a full-time basis for a duration of up to four years. The PhD position is intended to start on 1 September 2020.
  • The successful candidate will alternate stays between KEDGE (Bordeaux, France) and KLU (Hamburg, Germany).
How to apply
All applicants are required to follow our online application platform:

A copy of the application should be sent to the PhD supervisors

The application deadline is 10 May 2020. Shortlisted candidates will be invited to interview, which can be via Skype.

Please submit the following documents:
  • Statement of purpose (Cover letter)
  • Curriculum Vitae
  • Research Proposal (2 pages, based on PhD work description above)
  • Grade reports of MA and BA degrees
  • A pdf copy of the MA thesis or other research-oriented output (e.g. BA thesis, seminar papers, etc.). This work must be single-authored
  • At least one reference letter
Additional information can be obtained from:
Zied BABAI - Kedge Business School (
Kai HOBERG - Kühne Logistics University (