Contact person: Maud Hartstra

SMO Promovendi Programme was initiated by SMO and 10 PhD’ers who expressed a desire to go beyond their own research and boost their social impact. This entrepreneurial spirit led to the establishment of a network of young, independent and ambitious researchers. SMO Promovendi apply their academic knowledge and insights in the industry to accelerate societal transitions and transform themselves into entrepreneurial scientists.

SMO Promovendi was awesome! I particularly enjoyed working together with other young PhD students (…) I learned a lot from having to work and brainstorm in a totally different way than I am used to at the university. (…), I also really benefited from the opportunity to grow my network and see what’s out there in the world in terms of companies and jobs!’ Esther Heckendorf, Leiden University, Pedagogical Science



The rapidly changing world demands a revision of the role of the academic community. Due to current societal and economic challenges, communication with industry practitioners, valorization and making societal impact are becoming increasingly important. Their unique combination of professional skills, scientific knowledge and diversity make SMO Promovendi the change-makers of the future.

‘SMO Promovendi particularly challenged me to think about how to apply my knowledge and skills to solve wicked societal problems. And even more importantly, to actively test potential solutions by engaging and collaborating with the problem-owners in order to create real innovations.’ – Jannes ten Berge, Universiteit Utrecht, Sociology

SMO Promovendi apply their expertise and fresh perspective to three topics: Healthcare & Wellbeing, Circular Economy and Labour Market & Income. The international and multidisciplinary character of the Phd-students ensures that issues within the three topic are approached from different angles. The background of the SMO Promovendi varies from philosophy and economics, to biomechanical engineering, neuroscience and medicine.

In previous years, SMO Promovendi conducted research and shared the outcomes via publications, seminars and conferences. SMO’s broad network of renowned scientists, policy makers and entrepreneurs enables the SMO Promovendi to connect key stakeholders and share their meaningful findings with these different stakeholders. Interested in changing the future?

Check out the SMO Promovendi Programme 2018 for this year’s approach!

‘It was an interesting and valuable ride (…) I had a closer look at how the Dutch industries, entrepreneurs, customers, and governments perceived and contributed to the transition to circular economy.– Zhizhen Wang, TU Delft, Sustainability

We work closely with Promovendi Netwerk Nederland, Erasmus Center for Entrepreneurship, Zorginstituut Nederland, deRotterdamseZorg and the Municipality of Rotterdam.