ESR9: CWS and their place in local entrepreneurial ecosystems; A comparison between Germany and Austria

Host:  Leibniz Institute for Research on Society and Space (IRS), Erkner, Germany, Supervisors: Suntje Schmidt (IRS), Elmar Kulke (Humboldt University)

1 PhD position, full-time

Duration: September 2021 – August 2024

The rising number of CWS in small and medium sized cities in rural areas challenges the conceptual framing of CWS that so far exhibits a clear urban bias.  This ESR-project seeks to investigate working routines and practices of managers and users of CWS and thereby reconstructs the embeddedness of CWS in their socio-economic environments. More precisely, the project seeks to question if and how rural CWS foster and support local and trans-local ecosystems of entrepreneurship in rural and peripheral areas. The project builds on in-depth case studies in Germany and Austria, using a mix of qualitative and quantitative methods.

The fellow will be integrated in the PhD program of Humboldt University in Berlin Germany.

Secondments are foreseen at Paris School of Business, France and the Impact Hub Global, Vienna Austria


  • Conceptual development and implementation of a PhD research project within the frame of the above topic
  • Designing case studies and conducting comparative empirical research in Germany and Austria, e.g. in form of qualitative interviews, participatory observation
  • Theoretical, conceptual and empirical contributions to entrepreneurial ecosystem debates and collaborative work spaces with a time-spatial perspective
  • Contributing to the research program of the IRS department “Dynamics of Economic Spaces”


  • Very good Masters’ degree in a program with spatial perspectives, such as geography, regional and spatial planning, regional and spatial development, spatial policies,  organisational or business studies, economics, or another discipline corresponding to the topic of the project
  • Experiences in qualitative and quantitative research methods in social sciences
  • Excellent English language skills and preferably good knowledge of German
  • Experiences in IT-based communication tools
  • Willingness to actively participate in secondments, national and international conferences and workshops
  • Excellent communication skills, capacity for teamwork, flexibility and an interest in interdisciplinary research
  • Strong interest in interdisciplinary collaboration and in working in a cooperative and flexible team environment

The fellow should contribute to the outreach of the project, especially by:

  • Elaborating a PhD thesis
  • Active participation in progressing the ITN’s publications (WP monographs, journal articles)
  • Active participation in scientific conferences, policy workshops etc. at national and EU level
  • Participation in media communication, in the development of a web-based glossary, in creating video clips and podcasts and in disseminating project information at the EU level using the European Commissions’ communication tools

The IRS explicitly supports the compatibility of career and family and was certified as a family-oriented employer.

For further information you may contact:

Prof. Dr. Suntje Schmidt,; +49(0)3362 793 172.

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This project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No 955907.