Ambidextrous value (co)creation

Early stage researcher 15 (ESR15) project
Supervision: Prof. Dr. Jacqueline van Muijlwijk-Koezen, Prof. Dr. Peter van der Sijde
Host: Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

I – Project proposal:

Ambidexterity means that companies are both involved in process of discovery (research and development) as well as exploitation. In this project, we will study innovation management in pharmaceutical sciences from this point of view (ambidexterity) with a focus on the understanding of absorptive capacity (the capacity to absorb knowledge) in/of pharmaceutical industry and IP-arrangements in the collaborative innovation projects in the open innovation landscape. In these joint projects in which academia and SMEs participate side-by-side (often government supported arrangements – triple helix), we will study the disseminative capacity (including IP arrangements) and absorptice capacity throughout the whole drug discovery and development process.


  1. Investigate the ambidexterity-balance in the consortium between exploration and exploitation and the role of (fore- and background) IP.
  2. Study the interaction between consortium participants with regards to exploration and exploitation in view of value creation and the role of the not-directly involved consortium members.
  3. Describe the ambidexterity of SMEs, pharma and academic institutes (EU,US) using among others ONCORNET and ONCORNET2.0 as case study.

The overarching topic of this study is innovation management in the pharmaceutical industry, focusing on the role of absorptive capacity and ambidexterity in different settings of pharmaceutical sciences (start-up, small company, large company) and intellectual property. A review of the literature (bibliometric analysis?) is a first step in the process. Further steps in the process will involve empirical studies (via interviews) into processes of collaboration (transfer of knowledge – absorptive capacity and IP-arrangements) between small and big pharma and universities.

The results of the ESR15 will be published as scientific articles, and a PhD Dissertation.


II – Requirement candidate:

We are looking for a PhD candidate with proven affinity in combining sciences and social sciences, for example through science and technology studies approaches, in particular within medical and/or pharmaceutical innovations. The successful candidate is interested in bridging the (exact) sciences and the social sciences, and holds, preferably, and (BSc or MSc) degree in (medicinal) chemistry, chemical biology or pharmaceutical sciences, and a (BSc or MSc) degree or attended (relevant) courses in social sciences.

Key publications:

  1. Chen, Q., & Liu, Z. (2018). How does openness to innovation drive organizational ambidexterity? The mediating role of organizational learning goal orientation. IEEE Transactions on Engineering Management, 66(2), 156-169.
  2. Freitas, I. M. B., Marques, R. A., & e Silva, E. M. D. P. (2013). University–industry collaboration and innovation in emergent and mature industries in new industrialized countries. Research Policy, 42(2): 443-453.
  3. Romasanta, A. K., van der Sijde, P., Hellsten, I., Hubbard, R. E., Keseru, G. M., van Muijlwijk-Koezen, J., & de Esch, I. J. (2018). When fragments link: a bibliometric perspective on the development of fragment-based drug discovery. Drug discovery today, 23(9), 1596-1609.

For more information:
Prof. Dr. Jacqueline van Muijlwijk-Koezen –

Prof. Dr. Peter van der Sijde –



Apply here

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Contact details

Please contact us at:

ONCORNET Coordinator
VU University Amsterdam
The Netherlands