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A large research project investigating the conditions conducive for creating effective collective action conducted across four countries – begins at Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM) on 1 February, when Dr Thomas Bauwens begins his assistant professor tenured position in the department of Business-Society Management (BSM)

Multi-disciplinarity in circular economy and energy

Thomas is specialised in sustainability and energy issues with a pronounced interest in multi-disciplinarity. He combines insights from geography, institutional economics, and organisation studies to create new theoretical frameworks and empirical insights. His research agenda for the coming years focuses on the nature of collective action.

“I hold that communities can play pivotal roles in addressing large-scale sustainability issues. I consider this vision on collective action ground-breaking as it goes against the dominant view that sustainability challenges are best tackled by market firms and the state alone.”

Most recently, Dr Thomas Bauwens worked in the Utrecht University’s Copernicus Institute of Sustainable Development, where he led research and taught on circular economy, energy communities and sustainability transitions. Before that, he was a researcher at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne and at Oxford University. He holds a PhD in Economics and Management from HEC Management School, University of Liege, Belgium, and a MSc in Economics from the Economic School of Louvain, University of Louvain, Belgium.

His most recent published work includes Conceptualising institutional complexity in the upscaling of community enterprises: lessons from renewable energy and carsharing published in Environmental Innovation & Societal Transition (2022) and Institutional relatedness and the emergence of renewable energy cooperatives in German districts (2021) published in Regional Studies.

More information

Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM) is one of Europe’s top-ranked business schools. RSM provides ground-breaking research and education furthering excellence in all aspects of management and is based in the international port city of Rotterdam – a vital nexus of business, logistics and trade. RSM’s primary focus is on developing business leaders with international careers who can become a force for positive change by carrying their innovative mindset into a sustainable future. Our first-class range of bachelor, master, MBA, PhD and executive programmes encourage them to become critical, creative, caring and collaborative thinkers and doers.

For more information about RSM or this release, please contact Erika Harriford-McLaren, communications manager for RSM, on +31 10 408 2877 or by email at

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