Job Opportunities

Hoffmann Fellow - Circular Economy Adoption and the Fourth Industrial Revolution


Department: Research
Location: Europe Campus
Status: Non Manager
Contract: Temporary - Full Time
Contact: Spencer HARRISON

Posted on: 22 February 2021

Job Description

Hoffmann Fellow - Circular Economy Adoption and the Fourth Industrial Revolution (two-year fixed-term programme)


The position:

The World Economic Forum and INSEAD seek a Hoffmann Fellow for a two-year joint appointment for work at the intersection of society, science and technology. The Hoffmann Fellow will be jointly appointed between the World Economic Forum, the International Organization for Public-Private Cooperation committed to improving the state of the world, and INSEAD (Europe campus, France), an organization dedicated to researching and developing international leaders that see business as a source for good. The Hoffmann Fellow will work with Professor Spencer Harrison, Associate Professor of Organisational Behaviour at INSEAD and Helen Burdett who is leading the Circular Economy Innovation work within the Platform for Global Public Goods at the World Economic Forum to explore the intersection of Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) technology and circular economy innovations that use waste in new ways.

The Hoffmann Fellow will collaborate with Forum partners and INSEAD faculty to investigate how new technology and the adoption of “Dirty Innovations” (new solutions that use waste in new ways) can facilitate the transition to a more circular economy. The shift from a linear economy (buying a product and then disposing of it as waste); to a circular economy (buying a product and then reusing the materials from the product in a new form) requires that we make new products out of old products. In addition to reducing consumption and redesigning products away from an end-of-life mentality, the ability to create new products from materials that were once cast off is a fundamental tenant of a circular economy. This may mean wearing clothes created out of cow manure, drinking water that was once sewage, eating insect-based food, building homes made out of left-over concrete tubes, using fungus as packaging, and driving cars that run on poop. But, a circular economy doesn't work if people will not use these products because of the previous uses of their materials.

Crucially, AI, biotechnology, advanced robotics, and other 4IR technologies offer new avenues for businesses to redesign production and logistics throughout a product’s life cycle. The intersection of these “dirty” materials and new technologies, offers an opportunity for generating new theories and frameworks that can guide the process of understanding the a psychological shifts necessary at the heart of the circular economy and leveraging technology to design truly sustainable products and structure the future organizations that create them.


André Hoffmann Fellowship Programme:

This Fellowship program is unique in that it offers an opportunity for a mix of research and applied policy work leveraging the World Economic Forum’s global network and INSEAD’s history of rigorous leadership and international expertise. Over the course of the two-year term, the Hoffmann Fellow will help build and drive intensive collaborations among Forum and INSEAD partners. This will include leaders from the private sector, governments, international organizations, and civil society, and integration with research activities at INSEAD. The Forum and INSEAD are committed to providing each Hoffmann Fellow with appropriate training and mentorship, including participation in select Forum events, and access to workshops, trainings and the wider community of Fellows.


Preferred qualifications and experience:

  • PhD or equivalent earned in the last five years in Management, Organizational Behaviour, Behavioural Science or other disciplines (e.g., Sociology, Psychology, Cognitive Neuroscience, 4IR topics, etc.) with experience or demonstrated interest in working on the nexus of creativity/innovation, environmental, and social issues.
  • Excellent academic track record, knowledge of diverse research methodologies, a sound understanding of research, and a good work ethic are required. The methodological toolkit is broad, potentially following the complete inductive-to-deductive loop. This will include conducting ethnographic-styled research in collaboration with Forum Partners, including close observation and interviews (inductive). It will hopefully also include testing emergent hypotheses with behavioural experiments or quantitative data (deductive).
  • In addition to subject matter expertise in their field, Hoffmann Fellows must have experience or demonstrated strong interest in working on the nexus of technology and policy issues. They will also have excellent interpersonal skills; are self-starters with the ability to work both independently and as a member of a team; and can manage multiple projects simultaneously.
  • Ability to travel and work in-person at INSEAD or World Economic Forum offices (e.g., Geneva, San Francisco, etc.) and/or work remotely depending on the global health situation. That is, in a non-pandemic environment, the goal would be that the Hoffmann Fellow splits time between INSEAD and World Economic Forum offices. The Fellowship would likely begin as a remote/virtual position.
  • Experience working in an international and/or multicultural environment.
  • Fluency in English is required; any additional language would be an asset.


Key opportunities and responsibilities:

With joint guidance from Helen Burdett, Lead for Circular Economy Innovation at the Forum and INSEAD’s Faculty supervisor, Professor Spencer Harrison, the Hoffmann Fellow will help build and drive intensive collaborations among Forum, INSEAD and all involved stakeholders to deliver specific action-oriented outcomes through:

  • Developing and executing initiatives to bring technology to bear on solving important global challenges
  • Engaging Forum Partners – including leaders from the private sector, governments, international organizations, civil society and faculty from diverse academic disciplines – to build selected initiatives
  • Researching key challenges and opportunities for 4IR circular solutions
  • Participating in career-development activities such as training and hands-on experience with grantspersonship, publication of the individual research, and by working with projects as a collaborator and/or co-author;
  • Identifying and addressing research questions to understand behavioral and technological challenges and corresponding opportunities related to 4IR adoption for circular economy—and to deepen and strengthen projects’ technical and/or methodological underpinnings and outcomes; 
  • Organizing conference participation and workshops on topics relevant to the project and research questions; and/or attending conferences to present research findings.


Start date: TBD, as early as Spring 2021

Location: The role will begin work remotely as part of teams in Fontainebleau, France and Geneva, Switzerland. Location will be assessed over time to travel to and/or co-locate with each organization as the global health situation allows.

To apply:

  1. Please submit a letter that outlines your specific interest in the topic, highlights prior research that showcases the methodological skills and/or expertise with the literatures required for the project, and provide any additional details that you feel make you a good fit - or an optimal “misfit” - for the project.
  2. A detailed CV with contacts details of two potential references.
  3. One writing sample (empirical research paper preferred) and your academic grade transcript.

Send you complete application to: [email protected].

Please mention the specific job title "INSEAD HOFFMANN FELLOW (OB AREA)” in your email.

Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis from March. We shall review applications as they arrive and until the position is filled. Due to the large volume of applications we receive, we shall only contact shortlisted candidates. Please further note that only duly completed applications will be considered. You will receive an acknowledgement of receipt of your application.


About the World Economic Forum and Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution Network:

The Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution (C4IR) Network brings together policy leaders and strategists of international, national and sub-national bodies with technology pioneers, business leaders, academic experts from leading universities, and civil society representatives to study emerging technologies, address the resulting transformations and test protocols and policies that could harness and accelerate the benefits of these technologies while minimizing their potential disruptive impacts. This multi-stakeholder hub provides policy leaders with the unique opportunity to anticipate and shape the trajectory of emerging technologies.

The World Economic Forum, committed to improving the state of the world, is the international organization for public-private cooperation. It engages the foremost political, business and other leaders of society to shape global, regional and industry agendas. The Forum believes that progress happens by bringing together people from all walks of life that have the drive and the influence to make positive change happen. That begins with the Forum’s own people representing the character, values and spirit of the Forum mission.


About the André Hoffmann Fellowship:

The André Hoffmann Fellowship for the Fourth Industrial Revolution offers early-career academics the opportunity to work at the intersection of society, science and technology through a joint appointment between the World Economic Forum and leading academic institutions. This two-year Hoffmann Fellowship term is co-hosted evenly between INSEAD and the World Economic Forum.



INSEAD brings together people, cultures, and ideas worldwide to educate leaders who transform business and society.  As a mission-driven school, INSEAD focuses on three values: open, rigorous, and entrepreneurial. Founded on a commitment to innovation in management education, INSEAD was the first international business school, introduced the first one-year MBA, pioneered company-specific executive education, and has developed a unique fully integrated multi-continent campus structure.

Protection of personal data:

The personal data (CV, motivation letter, etc.) you communicate to INSEAD will be registered and stored in our database. They will be treated as confidential information and we will not communicate them to third parties under any condition. We will keep your personal data for a period of 1 year in order to be reviewed in case a new opportunity arises within INSEAD. Your data will be deleted after this period. 

INSEAD Personalised Experience




Save & Manage



It is easy, simply log in:

Via Social

  • icons
  • icons
  • icons


Use your email address