Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions

MSCA-COFUND-CLEAR-Doc - PhD Position #CD21-59: Simulation of logistic patterns in circular economy models with multi-agent systems

This job offer has expired

    Université Gustave Eiffel
    Computer science
    First Stage Researcher (R1)
    21/03/2022 17:00 - Europe/Brussels
    France › Marne-La-Vallée
    H2020 / Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions COFUND


Background and motivations

The current dominant linear development model, based on the triptych ""Extract, Produce, Throw away"", has reached its limits and demonstrated its inability to ensure the sustainability of the economy and the species within a finite planetary system. A paradigm shift is required to address ecological and climate challenges. The circular economy, inspired by the functioning of natural ecosystems, is today a credible alternative, based on the creation of positive value loops linked to the reuse of resources (water, energy, air), materials or products, following a logic of transformation and regeneration avoiding destruction and the production of waste. The circular economy focuses on new ways of designing, producing and consuming, on extending the life of products, on using rather than owning goods, and on reusing, reclaiming and recycling components.

However, the circular economy [3] has logistical impacts in its implementation, which are either manifested in terms of:

•changes in flow volumes (e.g. by reducing the amount of materials needed for reuse, recovery and/or recycling, or by developing eco-design and packaging-free products),

•the geography of flows, in connection with the relocation of certain supplies or the development of necessary intermediate storage and recovery sites,

•flows organization to ensure that the outputs of one activity are converted into inputs for another at the right time, in the right quantities and at the best cost.

The PhD thesis proposed here focuses on these logistical impacts, which are often overlooked and yet condition the success (or failure) of circular economy initiatives. These new models deserve to be taken into account, especially in dense urban areas where the flow of goods is already significant [2]. It is therefore necessary to examine the impact of the deployment of the circular economy on the flow of goods, and consequently on congestion and other externalities. But it is also necessary to shed light on how to optimize the logistics of the circular economy to ensure the success of initiatives.

To answer these questions, it is necessary to represent the logistical demand inherent in the development of the circular economy (in terms of flows, space, and organization: origin and destination of flows; frequency; quantities) and the impacts in terms of economic and environmental costs of different deployment scenarios. Do these impacts cancel out the estimated environmental gains? Is it possible to set up virtuous logistics systems?


The objective of this PhD thesis is to assess the logistical impact of circular economy models. To this end, we intend to model the logistics and transport demand associated with circular economy strategies in a few territories, and carry out a simulation of the impacts of different circular economy deployment scenarios.

A central issue is to quantify the flows linked to the development of the circular economy for consumer goods, and to compare them with the volume of flows resulting from linear economy models. On the other hand, it will be necessary to test the evolution of the volumes of these flows, but also of the land requirements or the organization of the chains (origin-destination; frequency...) according to different scenarios of development of this circular economy, including public policy actions, and finally to evaluate the environmental and economic impacts of these scenarios, taking into account the logistic aspects.


This PhD thesis is part of a resolutely multidisciplinary framework. It will articulate economic sciences first, a model will be proposed for the representation and quantification of logistic flows, as well as the associated costs (economic, ecological, etc.); with contributions in computer sciences, with the multi-agent modelling and simulation of activities and logistic flows. The use of multi-agent modelling allows a differentiated representation of actors in the system (different profiles, different preferences, different decision mechanisms, etc.) and the observation of collective emergent behaviour. Multi-agent simulation is now a mature field with proven and effective platforms, some of which integrate tools specific to transport and mobility (Repast [1], MATSim [4], etc.).

This PhD thesis will be co-directed by Mahdi Zargayouna, HDR research fellow at Gustave Eiffel University for the computer science aspects and Corinne Blanquart, research director at Gustave Eiffel University for the economic aspects.


[1] North et al, Visual agent-based model development with Repast Simphony. In Proceedings of the Conference on Complex Interaction and Social Emergence, 2007.

[2] Blanquart et al (2014). The impact of e-commerce on final deliveries: alternative parcel delivery services in France and Germany. Transportation Research Procedia, 4, 178-190.

[3] Blanquart et al. ""Territorial development process based on the circular economy: a systematic literature review."" European Planning Studies (2021): 1-20.

[4] Axhausen et al (2016). The multi-agent transport simulation MATSim, Ubiquity Press.

[5] Zargayouna et al (2020). Multiagent simulation of real-time passenger information on transit networks. IEEE Intelligent Transportation Systems Magazine, 12(2), 50-63.

[6] Scemama et al. Claire-siti, public road transport network management control: a unified approach. In RTIC'04, 20

[7] Hörl et al (2021). From synthetic population to parcel demand: Modeling pipeline and case study for last-mile deliveries in Lyon."

International Mobility

A three-month mobility is planned for the candidate at ETH Zurich, with Milos Balac, assistant professor in computer science, expert in activity-based multi-agent simulation. A second three-month mobility is planned at TU-Delft with Manuela Triggianese, assistant professor in architecture, urban planning and mobility.

More Information


  • High-quality doctoral training rewarded by a PhD degree, delivered by Université Gustave Eiffel
  • Access to cutting-edge infrastructures for research & innovation.
  • Appointment for a period of 36 months based on a salary of 2 700 € (gross salary per month).
  • Job contract under the French labour legislation in force, respecting health and safety, and social security: 35 hours per week contract, 25 days of annual leave per year.
  • International mobility will be mandatory
  • An international environment supported by the adherence to the European Charter & Code.
  • Access to dedicated CLEAR-Doc trainings with a strong interdisciplinary focus, together with a Career development Plan.


Eligibility criteria

  • At the time of the deadline, applicants must be in possession or finalizing their Master’s degree or equivalent/postgraduate degree. At the time of recruitment, applicants must be in possession of their Master’s degree or equivalent/postgraduate degree which would formally entitle to embark on a doctorate.
  • At the time of the deadline, applicants must be in the first four years (full-time equivalent research experience) of their research career (career breaks excluded) and not yet been awarded a doctoral degree. Career breaks refer to periods of time where the candidate was not active in research, regardless of his/her employment status (sick leave, maternity leave etc). Short stays such as holidays and/or compulsory national service are not taken into account.
  • At the time of the deadline, applicants must not have resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc.) in France for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately prior to the call deadline.
  • Applicants must be available to start the programme on schedule (around 1st October 2022).

Selection process

Additional comments

  • The First step before applying is contacting the PhD supervisor. You will not be able to apply without an acceptation letter from the PhD supervisor.
  • Please contact the PhD supervisor for any additional detail on job offer.
  • There are no restrictions concerning the age, gender or nationality of the candidates. Applicants with career breaks or variations in the chronological sequence of their career, with mobility experience or with interdisciplinary background or private sector experience are welcome to apply.
  • Support service is available during every step of the application process by email: clear-doc@univ-eiffel.fr

Web site for additional job details

Offer Requirements

    Computer science: Master Degree or equivalent
    Economics: Master Degree or equivalent
    ENGLISH: Excellent


  • At the time of the deadline, applicants must be in possession or finalizing their Master’s degree or equivalent/postgraduate degree.
  • At the time of recruitment, applicants must be in possession of their Master’s degree or equivalent/postgraduate degree which would formally entitle to embark on a doctorate.


Work location(s)
1 position(s) available at
Université Gustave Eiffel
5, Boulevard Descartes

EURAXESS offer ID: 717587


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