PhD position on Using Educational Games and Simulations for Fostering Students' Entrepreneurial Skills

We are looking for

The European Union as well as the European Society for Engineering Education (SEFI) argue that entrepreneurship is one of the 8 generic 21st century skills required for all graduates. In thisPhD research proposal, we are in particular interested in the influence of educational games and simulations on two exemplary entrepreneurial skills:

1. opportunity recognition and
2. entrepreneurial decision-making.

The game industry has grown rapidly in recent years, also in the field of serious games for entrepreneurship (e.g. GoVenture, SimVenture, VC Game). These can be defined as computer-based learning simulations that engage players in realistic activities designed to increase knowledge, improve skills, and enable positive learning outcomes. Although there is much attention to educational games and simulations in entrepreneurship education practice, the subject is under researched. The studies that have been conducted show that most games serve a very narrow niche of “small business management for undergraduate students”, leaving many opportunities for addressing more generic entrepreneurial skills like opportunity recognition and decision-making. At the same time, while there have been previous studies on important entrepreneurial skills like opportunity recognition and decision-making, there are very few dated papers directly addressing these skills in relation to simulations and games. Many fundamental questions like to what extent are these skills subject to learning and to development in game/simulation environments, what are design principles to do so and how can these games/simulations be further embedded in entrepreneurship education curricula are still open.
Therefore, the overall aim of the proposal is to design, validate, implement, and evaluate educational games and simulations (i.e. gamification principles) to stimulate students’ learning of opportunity recognition and entrepreneurial decision-making. After designing and prototyping the game elements, their effects will be tested on students’ learning, motivation and satisfaction.

More specifically, the following research questions will be addressed in this project:• What is the current status of the use of the games and simulations for the development of students’ exemplary entrepreneurial skills opportunity recognition and entrepreneurial decision-making?
• What are the design principles of educational games and simulations for the development of these entrepreneurial skills?
• How do the teachers and students experience the use of gamification elements in entrepreneurship education and what are their motivation and satisfaction?
• What are the effects of the gamification on students’ learning and acquisition of opportunity recognition and entrepreneurial decision-making? 

You will:

  • completed a PhD dissertation (in English) within the four year period,
  • conduct high-quality empirical research, write high quality scientific articles (based on PhD chapters),
  • follow a training and supervision plan in the WASS and ICO graduate schools, present papers at (international) conferences,
  • participate in research meetings of the chair group.


We ask

You have:

  • completed MSc degree (or near-completion) in one of the following or related disciplines: educational sciences, learning sciences, educational psychology, learning analytics, educational technology, digital media, economics, management studies, combined with specific expertise with respect to fostering of entrepreneurial thinking,
  • familiarity with (digital) educational game principles and computer programming and informatics background is certainly a plus,
  • excellent academic record (as shown by a list of MSc grades),
  • familiarity with planning and conducting empirical studies, and with working with online learning environments,
  • familiarity with analysing empirical data using advanced statistical methods,
  • you are a hardworking networker who loves to work in a team in an international context

This position requires an excellent English language proficiency (minimum CEFR C1 level). For more information about this proficiency level, please visit our special language page.

We offer

We offer you a meaningful job for a period of 4 years (first 1,5 year and upon positive evaluation an extension for another 2,5years) at an inspiring chair group at the Social Science group Education and Learning Sciences group. The organization has good and flexible employment conditions, including good education and training facilities. We will reward you with a market-based salary for a 38 hours full time working week. You also have the opportunity to work 40 hours a week with additional holidays. The salary in scale P starts with a gross salary of € 2.325 in the first year up to € 2.972 in the fourth year according to the Collective Labour Agreement of Wageningen University.
In addition we offer:

  • 8% holiday allowance
  • 8.3% fixed-year allowance
  • Excellent training opportunities and secondary working conditions;
  • Flexible working hours and vacations can in consultation with colleagues be settled so that an optimal balance between work and private is possible;
  • An excellent pension scheme via ABP;
  • 232 holiday hours, the ability to purchase and good supplementary leave arrangements and an individualized model to compose part of your working conditions and a bicycle plan;
  • Make use of the sports facilities available on campus for a small fee

We stimulate internal growth opportunities and mobility with an active and internal recruitment policy. There are ample opportunities for own initiative in a creative learning environment.

More information

More details about the role can be obtained by contacting Omid Noroozi, (mail: or Harm Biemans (
The preferred starting date is 1 September 2019 and the interviews will take place before end of May 2019. You can apply up to and including April 30th, 2019, via the apply button on this page. Please upload the following:

  • Letter of motivation
  • Your CV
  • Two names of referents plus contact details
  • A brief outline of your own research ideas related to this PhD project (maximum 1000 words).

We are

The Education and Learning Sciences group (ELS) aims to understand and facilitate the enhancement of human potential in response to global challenges, in particular those in the domain of food and life sciences, such that humans can contribute to these challenges in a meaningful, responsible and critical manner, with knowledge and understanding of their own qualities and competencies. ELS contributes to understanding by being engaged in different types of research, and to facilitation by means of education and involvement in activities with societal impact, both internationally, nationally as well as locally at WUR. ELS is a chair group within the domain of Social Sciences (SSG) at Wageningen University and Research (WUR). It is part of the section Business Science, but in terms of focus, also has strong affinity with the section Communication, Philosophy and Technology. Within the section Business, ELS caters for a specific flagship theme called ‘learning’, a theme that supports the other major themes of the section: ‘inclusive business models’, ‘decision making along the value chain’, and ‘customer science’. Wageningen University and Research aims to deliver substantial contribution to the quality of life. That's our focus – each and every day. Within our domain, healthy food and living environment, we search for answers to issues affecting society – such as sustainable food production, climate change and alternative energy. Of course, we don’t do this alone. Every day, 6,500 people work on ‘the quality of life’, turning ideas into reality, on a global scale. Could you be one of these people?

Wageningen University & Research
The mission of our University is to explore the potential of nature to improve the quality of life. Within Wageningen University & Research, nine specialised research institutes from the Wageningen Research Foundation and Wageningen University have joined forces to help answer the most important questions in the domain of healthy food and living environment. With approximately 30 locations, 5,000 employees, and 10,000 students, it is one of the leading organisations in its domain worldwide. An integrated approach to problems and the cooperation between various disciplines are at the heart of the unique approach of Wageningen.

Equal opportunities employer
We welcome applications from all suitably qualified persons regardless of their race, sex, disability, religion/belief, sexual orientation or age.