Internship | Risk assessment in the development of circular business models in e-bikes and circular flooring



Education type

university (wo)


Internship and graduation project

Hours a week

Fulltime – 40


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In the pursuit of a sustainable economy, several environmental transitions are initiated which affect the way of doing business. Each initiated transition, such as the energy transition and the transition towards a circular economy, offers a response to a specific undesired effect of the current economy. Each transition makes that companies face different challenges to make the adaptations. The energy transition is a more local transition and, therefore, companies can each take their responsibility. While the transitions to a circular economy is dependent on the performance of all actors along the value chain, a global transition. In both transitions, companies face a risk of business continuation when there is a lack of adaptation to a, so-called, new regime. It’s the result of the development of the transition and eventual application of legislation. This impacts not only the competitiveness of the specific company held responsible for the emissions/interventions. The complete chain can be impacted by the performance of partners negatively or positively. The eco-costs along the complete value chain should be reduced for business continuation. So, all actors along the value chain should have the resources to be adaptive and, thus, have a high transition adaptive capacity.

What will be your role?

To stimulate and support companies in the adaptation for a more sustainable future, a tool is proposed, as result of the thesis ‘transition towards a sustainable economy through product life cycle governance’. The first outlines of a tool are defined which is an assessment of the perceived risks of the transition from the partners across the value chain. The transition risks are identified by the relative environmental performance and perceived quality of governance to be adaptive. The assessment is executed per partner for the six environmental objectives as defined by the EU taxonomy; climate change mitigation, climate change adaptation, pollution prevention, circular economy, sustainable use of water and marine resources and healthy ecosystem.

The environmental performance is used as an indicator since the amount of environmental impact indicates the extent to which the activity needs to adapt to fit the new regime. However, this is also dependent on the type of activity performed. Some activities are essential since they enable, contribute by themselves or support the transition. For some activities, it is inevitable to have more impact while they are essential for our society. Considering the process of the transition, not all activities will perceive the same amount of transition risk directly. It depends on their contribution to the transitions and performance of competing value chains. Therefore, the same amount of environmental impact for different activities can result in different scores. The impact needs to be considered in reference to what is perceived as good or bad for the particular activity.

The second indicator is the quality of governance. It is expressed in a score that describes the adaptive capacity to the transition from the assessors’ perspective. Therefore, it’s more subjective compared to the assessment of the environmental performance. The assessment takes place from a specific perspective since the quality of governance is perspective-dependent. The assessor first will explicitly define what quality of governance, on all levels, is needed and to what extent this is fulfilled. Together these two indicators reflect the risks of the transitions experienced by the assessor of the partners across the value chain.

How do you want to contribute to tomorrow's world? How big can your impact be? Come and work at TNO and envision it.

What we expect from you

Two assignments
As a follow-up of the previously executed research, two research proposals are formulated. Each proposal focuses on a different application of the tool and, thus, the added value of the insight in relation to the transitions. The specific goal per assignment is defined below.

Bike battery
The first assignment focusses on the added-value of assessing the current adaptive capacity of the Bike Battery value chain. To initiate redesign or restructure of the value chain, the complete value chain needs to acknowledge the shared responsibility to mitigate the risks and support the indirect value creation. By the assessment of the initial perceived risks of the transition, companies are stimulated to start communicating about those risks, what is acceptable, what actions are required and what other value-creating activities along the value chain are essential to be adaptive and how does this translate in value chain partners collaboration.
The tool is going to be applied on the case-study of bike batteries. The bike battery is chosen as case study due to the (relatively) uncluttered value chain. The current status is that parties are not yet thinking of nor taking action towards circularity, but are thinking about the number of batteries that will return into waste in the coming years. This relatively open terrain makes it possible to study which risks play a role, to test and adjust the tool according to findings and testing. In a previously executed graduation assignment, insights in the bike battery value chains were gained. So in this intern the student will build upon both this work and the work that has been done for the risk assessment tool.
  • Identify the extent to which the assessment of the adaptive capacity for the relevant environmental transitions supports initiating the transition process at companies. So, assess the utility of the tool for this application.
  • Identify the way the assessment of the adaptive capacity can be executed conveniently. So, design the tool for this particular application.

Circular floorings
The second assignment focusses on the added-value of the identification of the adaptive capacity in the redesign process of the value chain. During the redesign process of a value chain, companies need to be aware of what resources are required to transition towards the new value chain. By assessing the adaptive capacity, potential bottlenecks in the process of adaptation are identified. The information can support the reevaluation of resources distributed over the value chain.
The tool is going to be applied during a redesign process for circular flooring. Partners along this value chain already acknowledge the shared responsibility to do the redesign process. The application of the tool tries to guide them during the process of this change and during (expected) reallocating resources along the partners of the value chain.
  • Identify the extent to which the assessment of the adaptive capacity for the relevant environmental transition supports the value chain redesign process. So, assess the utility of the tool for this application.
  • Identify the way the assessment of the adaptive capacity can be applied conveniently in the redesign process of the value chain. So, design the tool for this particular application.

What you’ll get in return

You want to work on the precursor of your career; a work placement gives you an opportunity to take a good look at your prospective future employer. TNO goes a step further. It’s not just looking that interests us; you and your knowledge are essential to our innovation. That’s why we attach a great deal of value to your personal and professional development. You will, of course, be properly supervised during your work placement and be given the scope for you to get the best out of yourself. Naturally, we provide suitable work placement compensation.

TNO as an employer

At TNO, we innovate for a healthier, safer and more sustainable life. And for a strong economy. Since 1932, we have been making knowledge and technology available for the common good. We find each other in wonder and ingenuity. We are driven to push boundaries. There is all the space and support for your talent and ambition. You work with people who will challenge you: who inspire you and want to learn from you. Our state-of-the-art facilities are there to realize your vision. What you do at TNO matters: impact makes the difference. Because with every innovation you contribute to tomorrow’s world. Read more about TNO as an employer.

The selection process

After the first CV selection, the application process will be conducted by the concerning department. TNO will provide a suitable internship agreement. If you have any questions about this vacancy, you can contact the contact person mentioned below.

Due to Covid-19 and the consequent uncertainties and restrictions, students who are not residing in the Netherlands may currently not be able to start an internship or graduation project at TNO.

Has this job opening sparked your interest?

Then we’d like to hear from you! Please contact us for more information about the job or the selection process. To apply, please upload your CV and covering letter using the ‘apply now’ button.

Contact: Jelmer Lennartz
Phone number: +31621318698

Note that applications via email and third party applications are not taken into consideration.


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