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  • 03 Mar 2021 23:58 | Anonymous

    “Doing one’s best in a pandemic is different”

    It was a good hard year. The first news threads about pandemics were not so alarming, but a “new normal” has come and we have learned to live it.  Working from home, wearing masks, avoiding handshakes, keeping distance, etc. What seemed like a quest at the beginning soon became a tiring routine. I believe that we all faced many inconveniences: being away from our families during holidays, constantly rescheduling bid celebrations, being under pressure of sad news and canceled plans. I would love to say that my work and progress have not been impacted. Sadly, it isn’t true. But the beginning is always the hardest. The most important thing that I learned from the pandemic is to be kinder to myself. To remember that one of the most important qualities we, doctoral students, have is our great passion and creativity. Every day is exciting, academia is a constant adventure. But as in every relationship, the love feeling needs some space. Friends, hobbies, reading non-dissertation-related books, mindfulness meditation, sport, dancing, coffee in cafes, learning a new language, etc. Dedicating time to those things will, in fact, make the academic work more successful. Funnily, I discovered this truth thanks to the pandemic. Even though I did not probably do as much as I would hope,  I achieved a harmony of my work and life balance. An academic career is a long journey and it would be sad to run out of fuel too early.  Let’s do our best but remember that doing one’s best in a pandemic is a very different thing. I believe that in a time of lack of communication, doctoral students should seek any suitable opportunity to meet other researchers online. Sharing your work in progress with others can give a new perspective and open eyes to things not considered before. I see IPSERA doctoral workshop as an excellent opportunity not only engaged with fellow doctoral students but receive feedback from more experienced researchers on how to improve my study. I am grateful to the conference and workshop organizers to take the extra effort to move the activities online. I think that following a routine is important to feel in control of your progress. I wish my fellow doctoral students to be kinder to themselves and be open to new opportunities of ”online” pandemic times, as they might be surprisingly exciting. Good luck!      

  • 03 Mar 2021 23:54 | Anonymous

    During the sanitary crisis, all doctoral students had to face the closure of schools, libraries and the psychological difficulties of confined life. However, each was affected to a different degree and, thus, more or less delayed in their thesis work. I feel that I have been well surrounded and that I am one of the lucky ones. My school, ESCP Business School, was extremely responsive and all the doctoral courses were adapted to distance learning within a few weeks. When I too had to switch to the teachers' side to give the courses and teach for the first time in my life by distance learning a few months ago, I could benefit from great technical and pedagogical support so as not to add stress to this first experience! I felt a great sense of belonging with the whole teaching staff, a lot of informal exchanges initiated by more experienced teachers who were keen to help their young colleagues in these particular circumstances. In this sense the Covid crisis was an opportunity, that of an accelerator of links, at least professionally, paradoxically!

    At the beginning of the crisis, when the lock-down was decreed and events, conferences and symposia were postponed or cancelled, my PhD fellow students and I all had concerns about the impact that this might have on our progression. Our doctoral school  emphasises a lot the importance of participating in these gatherings and we were afraid that this lack of opportunity to meet other researchers to share our work, receive valuable feedback from academics working in the same field or simply the lack of visibility would make it more difficult to write our thesis and might also harm our employability after the crisis.  In the end, the reorganisation was quick and efficient, and I was able to attend such events online: the IPSERA doctoral workshop in February, the workshop dedicated to sustainable supply chains in November. Each time there was space for exchanges, with break-out rooms for example, and that really makes a difference. Even if the videoconference format is not easy to manage and requires reorganisation, it also has its advantages: it is a little less intimidating and this is not negligible for a beginner researcher :) More generally, I was particularly and pleasantly surprised by the orientation given to supply chain research : to contribute to a way out of the crisis with our skills as researchers, calls for papers on resilience, reorganisation, rebound of supply chains have flourished almost everywhere and, above all, a special place has been given to sustainable supply chains in this context, exactly as at the ISPERA event on the 30th of  November. As this is my field of research, I could only be pleased about this.

    Anne Ratsimandresy, PhD Student

    Joe Miemczyk, Supervisor

  • 03 Mar 2021 23:41 | Anonymous

    "IPSERA doctoral workshop even more important in these times"

    I am Madelon Wind, external doctoral student at Utrecht University (UU) and University of Twente (UT) in the Netherlands. I also work as researcher and consultant at the Public Procurement Research Centre (PPRC). My research revolves around the topic of building and maintaining ‘buyer-supplier’ relationships in the public sector, in the context of municipalities procuring youth care. Fredo Schotanus (UU) and Louise Knight (UT) are my supervisors.

    COVID-19 has influenced the way in which I conduct my research greatly. I started setting up my research just before COVID-19 hit Europe. And both my supervisors also just started working at new universities just before that. Where you would normally have regular meetings at your professors’ offices, all of our discussions about the theme and later on my research plan had to be done online, except for one early kick-off meeting. This is how it is, but I am looking forward to meeting in real life, getting to know more about the others and their lives via the small talk at the coffee machine. Also, the unplanned discussions you have with your research colleagues at the university are really valuable, not only by discussing literature, but also about things like structure and research methods in general. 

    Nevertheless, I am satisfied with what we ‘produced’ in 2020: my research plan has been approved by both my professors as well as the research director. So, now I can really start with conducting the research I proposed! I am therefore very happy that I am accepted as one of this year’s students for the IPSERA doctoral workshop. For me, the timing is excellent: my plans are still rather flexible, and I am eager to have an in-depth discussion about them. I think that even more than in other times the doctoral workshop is of high relevance. The doctoral workshop provides the explicit opportunity to discuss your research with colleagues (around the world): something that is generally less easy due to COVID-19.

    Of course, but also in terms of progress I hope that COVID-19 soon starts to lose its grip on the world. I have an interesting paper planned in which I propose longitudinal research, but I could not start this research yet because of the virus. I think it is relevant, though, that COVID-19 underlines the (practical) importance of my research project: more than ever the relationships between municipalities and youth care providers are of high importance to deal with the situation at hand in our country. And more than ever it is clear that the provision of youth care is very important for our society. I also see this in my work as researcher/consultant, in which I most often work in the social domain. My research and advisory projects go hand-in-hand, from which I learn a lot both ways!

    Concluding, I am very much looking forward to IPSERA-DW 2021 and to the rest of the (scientific) year!

    Madelon Wind, PhD Student

    Louise Knight, Supervisor

    Fredo Schotanus, Supervisor

  • 03 Mar 2021 23:20 | Anonymous

    The Covid-19 pandemic has raised awareness of supply chains. Things that few people thought twice about before — like toilet paper being readily available on supermarket shelves — suddenly made the headlines when they didn’t happen anymore. Sourcing personal protective equipment (PPE) became a hotly debated issue and, towards the end of 2020, vaccine supply and distribution caught the public attention.

    Collaboration in existing and new ways became common place. New collaborations and ventures were encouraged to respond to global scarcity of items such as ventilators, hand sanitiser and PPE. Researchers were asked to respond to Covid-19 rapid funding calls to understand the magnitude and impact of the pandemic on all aspects of our lives. The outcome of which quickly led to the generation of a wealth of intelligence and paved the way to the development of numerous viable vaccines.

    The initial supply shortages and the complexity of distributing temperature-sensitive and labile vaccines will not have come as a surprise to many of us working in this area. With the first vaccines gaining authorisation, terms like hubs and ultra-cold chains made their way into the media. We first proposed to publish a media article on vaccine supply chain issues in September 2020 but were quickly told that there wasn’t much interest at the moment. The interest came early December 2020.  We responded to this by producing a series of three articles relating to the vaccine rollout programme as reported globally.

    Tens of thousands of people have read our articles since December. Requests for contributions from radio, television, and print media followed. It has been an exhilarating though time-consuming experience. Most importantly, it was been a joy to use our expertise to condense a vast amount of complex information into comprehensible chunks and to do our part in fighting misinformation.

    The Covid-19 vaccine supply chain is inherently complex due to the strict guidelines for the movement and storage of the vials, as well as the sheer scale of rolling out newly developed products to the entire world. Capacity issues exist on the supply side as production facilities are being ramped up. The equipment to safely transport the products is being deployed.  Thousands of flights are needed to distribute the vaccines around the globe, in the midst of the greatest ever crisis of the air transport industry.

    The demand side is also experiencing challenges. Various countries are being criticised for their slow roll-out of vaccinations. While large vaccination hubs are appealing in terms of ensuring appropriate handling and storage of vaccines, reaching vulnerable populations is much easier through a decentralised model of local vaccination centres at doctors’ surgeries, pharmacies, and care homes. Logistically, that raises questions of waste, both through user errors and through a mismatch of supply and demand. More recently the delays associated with vaccines caused by supplier capacity issues have reminded us of the importance of procurement and contracting decisions in sourcing these vital products. Trust is imperative in collaborations and this is especially pertinent now.

    We would be the first to remind our academic colleagues that there are many areas in which purchasing and supply chain professionals/academics can contribute their expertise to support business and social agendas. We have found that, as in so many situations, collaboration is key. This work on the vaccine supply chain is the first time we have collaborated. It has worked exceedingly well. Our first vaccine article reportedly having a ‘reach’ of 2.5 million readers.

    Different experience and disciplines (one of us is employed by a School of Pharmacy and Medical Sciences, the other by a Business School) offer complementary points of view. It is important to understand what each of us can contribute and also what we are not familiar or comfortable with.

    These are confusing times full of complex problems. None of us are able to solve or even comprehend them all. But as purchasing and supply chain professionals, we can all add a part to the larger puzzle. Our expertise is probably more needed than ever before. Let’s contribute. Together.


    COVID vaccine: some waste is normal – but here's how it is being kept to a minimum  

    COVID vaccines are starting to arrive – here’s how everyone will get them. The  Conversation.    

    Vaccines are here, but how will we get them to billions of people. The Conversation.

    The Authors

    Liz Breen Director of the Digital Health Enterprise Zone (DHEZ), University of Bradford, Reader in Health Service Operations, University of Bradford

    Sarah Schiffling Senior Lecturer in Supply Chain Management, Liverpool John Moores University

  • 03 Mar 2021 23:04 | Anonymous

    I was happy to host the very first IPSERA online Doctoral Workshop which took place February 18, 2021. We had 78 participants registered for the workshop which shows that people are really interested about PhD research. We had such a wonderful workshop where the PhD students of our community shared their research. We had 16 PhD student presentations representing PhD research from different countries and different continents. The PhD students of this year were Jan Martin Spreitzenbarth, Gregor Möllers, Michela Guida, Mickaël Cïta, Anne Ratsimandresy, Max Emanuel Schwarzer, Tommaso Calzolari, Yujia Han, Favour Uzoma Mba, Kati Marttinen, Débora Masullo de Goes, Alessio Ronchini, Iryna Maliatsina, Murielle Francillette, Madelon Wind and Honey Zimmerman. This year PhD research focused on IoT, artificial intelligence, big data and the role of these in purchasing and supply management. Another popular topic was again this year sustainability and, in particular, circular economy. We were also able to enjoy the wonderful keynote speech by professor Erik van Raaij who shared some insights about reviewing and publishing.

    The faculty mentors have a key role in successful workshop and this year our PhD students got excellent feedback from their mentors in a friendly IPSERA atmosphere.

    Big thanks to our faculty mentors – Andrea Patrucco, Anne Touboulic, Guido Orzes, Arash Azadegan, Robert Suurmond, Antonella Moretto, Aki Jääskeläinen, Thomas Johnsen, Wendy Tate, Leonardo Marques, Federico Caniato, Donna Marshall, Steven Carnovale, Jo Meehan, Davide Luzzini, George Zsidisin – for your time and effort in helping the PhD students of our community to develop their research further.

    Even though the online version worked well, we hope that the next IPSERA Doctoral Workshop in 2022 can be organized in person. In a meanwhile, hopefully we’ll see you all at the IPSERA 2021 online conference March 29 – April 1, 2021.

    Anni-Kaisa Kähkönen

    IPSERA Doctoral Workshop coordinator

    Professor of Supply Management

    LUT University, Lappeenranta, Finland

  • 03 Mar 2021 22:54 | Anonymous

    A Difficult but Exciting Year for the Audencia RICC

    The Audencia IPSERA RICC revolves around the Audencia Sustainable Supply Chain Management Group that is part of our Business & Society Department. The research interests of the group span a wide range of topics related to purchasing and supply chain management, but sustainability is one of our core interests as is the role of purchasing in innovation. Although 2020 was naturally a difficult year due to Covid-19 it was also a very busy year with lots of activity involving the RICC.

    Audencia is part of the IPSERA SIG in Purchasing & Innovation and as part of this we have dedicated time to a Special Topic Forum (STF) on Purchasing & Innovation in Journal of Purchasing & Supply Management (JPSM). Manuscripts are currently undergoing review and/or being revised and we look forward to the outcome of this process.

    We also organized an online workshop on Purchasing & Supply Management Digitalization. This workshop was organized in collaboration with two other SIGs - ‘Supply Chain Finance’ and ‘Internet of Things’ – and generated a great deal of interests amongst the over 50 participants. Considering the success of this event, we expect that this will not be the last joint SIG event.

    We have also been working on our EU ERASMUS+ funded “PERISCOPE” project (, which was launched in 2019 as a follow-up to Project PERFECT, which also counted a number of IPSERA participants. Project PERISCOPE aims to identify PSM skills and key competencies for innovation and sustainability and is undertaken by a consortium of five partner institutions: ESSCA, Copenhagen Business School, Graz University of Technology, the University of Twente and Audencia. During 2020 we held an online World-cafe and launched a Delphi study, which is still ongoing. These events are giving us great insights from senior purchasing professionals that represent multiple industries and we look forward to reporting the results from this work in due course.

    Finally, our "Purchasing and Digital Innovation” chair, launched in 2019 in collaboration with French consulting company AXYS, has been busy working on exciting new projects related to purchasing digitalization. The chair engages many of our students as well as French companies in these projects. We held one event on Purchasing and Artificial Intelligence in Nantes in November – a physical event we managed in between lockdowns!

    Audencia RICC coordinator Thomas Johnsen

  • 03 Mar 2021 22:48 | Anonymous

    The IPSERA Education SIG was involved in the recent Educator's Workshop and coordinated a session on teaching and learning techniques and tools for engaging students in the online environment we find ourselves in. This involved some brief presentations from community members on what they have found useful over the last year and an open discussion on others experiences and thoughts. We are keen to build on these activities and support the IPSERA community through an increased sharing of experiences and will therefore be making use of the IPSERA members area as a place to store any relevant materials and if you have anything that you think others would find useful, please do email with details.

    We would like to organise future SIG activities that are aligned to the needs of the community and therefore invite you to attend an open and informal meeting via Zoom on Friday the 5th of March at 15:00 CET to discuss this in more depth. Please contact for the Zoom link and with any suggestions for discussion items. 

  • 12 Jan 2021 15:44 | Jenny Backstrand (Administrator)

    The Ivey Business School (Western University, London, Canada) is seeking to fill a postdoctoral fellowship in Operations and Supply Chain Management, ideally with an interest in the Circular Economy.

    The post-doctoral researcher will support the Circular Economy Lighthouse Project, which explores the operational, organizational and institutional factors influencing the integration of waste synergies into existing supply chains, and the implications for competitiveness and resilience.

    Please read more here!

  • 18 Dec 2020 20:56 | Anonymous

    The provision of critical medical supplies such as mouth mask, respirators and tests became a critical part of the fight against the covid-19 outbreak. These medical supplies – normally routine purchases – became strategic purchases with the worldwide sharp increase in demand and supply chain disruptions as a result of the pandemic. Countries around the world used different supply strategies to obtain sufficient medical materials.

    A team of researchers from research centre PPRC, the University of Twente, the Erasmus University Rotterdam, and the International Research Study on Public Procurement (IRSPP) research team obtained a ZonMw grant to study these Material Supply Strategies in the covid-19 Crisis. The first stage of the research focusses on studying the Dutch response on national, regional and organisational level. The second phase broadens the scope to include the supply strategies on a national level in at least 23 countries around the world. The aim of this research is to learn from an international comparison of the different strategies in the Covid-19 crisis.

    The research project started in September 2020 and will last throughout 2021. While the results are expected early 2022, intermediate findings will be shared through online sessions.

    The research team currently working on the Dutch analysis consists of longtime IPSERA community members Louise Knight (UT), Esmee Peters (PPRC, UT), Laura Bosman (PPRC, UT), Jan Telgen (PPRC, UT), Niels Uenk (PPRC, UT, UU), Annelie Oortwijn (EUR), Erik van Raaij (EUR), and Kees Ahaus (EUR).

    For the international comparison we work together with the IRSPP research group Christine Harland, Jane Lynch, Andrea Patrucco, Tünde Tatrai, Petra Ferk, Louise Knight, Jan Telgen, Esmee Peters, and Niels Uenk

    If you wish to be updated on the progress and findings of the MASSC research, please contact Laura Bosman (, and check the newsfeed of For questions concerning the setup of the research, feel free to contact Niels Uenk ( as overall project leader of the MASSC project.

  • 18 Dec 2020 20:34 | Anonymous

    On Nov 30th, we held the Workshop Sustainable Supply Chains Versus Covid 19, the opening event of not only the ‘Year of IPSERA’ but also the first activity for the newly formed IPSERA Sustainability Special Interest Group. We had almost 60 people attending an amazing array of presentations and discussions about solutions to ensure sustainable supply chains through this crisis and any crisis to come.

    Nothing better than hearing from the speakers themselves:

    Donna Marshall:

    “In the procurement and supply chain world, we witnessed a natural social experiment in scenario planning, in risk mitigation and in crisis management. We saw some organisations reacting in a very blind knee-jerk way, forgetting they are part of a supply chain and focusing only on their own needs. Others were reacting as a community and pulling together to really help workers, suppliers and society. Some organisations and suppliers changed their entire business models in order to supply key protective equipment to frontline workers. It really was a tale of two supply chain reactions. Some of these reactions have led to calls for change in industries and for how we live, how we work and how we play. Some of the lessons from Covid-19 are here to stay. If we can learn these lessons, we can then shape a future that is more inclusive, more human and more sustainable”

    Hakan Karaosman:

    “Negative impacts have been exacerbated for lower-tier suppliers. Fashion supply chains need to become more connected. Fashion players must move from self-isolation toward multi-level partnerships”

    Annachiara Longoni:

    “Understanding how social impact supply chains function might be crucial to react after Covid-19 outbreaks. Tensions emerging between sustainability and resilience are becoming a pressing need”

    Davide Luzzini:

    “Let’s investigate social impact considering vulnerable people and focus on three response approaches: transform & adopt, collective action and system change”

    Lucy McCarthy:

    “The sustainability of our seafood supply chains is interlinked with our planetary health. Overfishing is widely acknowledged as the single greatest stress to marine wildlife and habitats. We really need to reach an agreement at the national and international levels on these issues”

    Mellie Pullman:

    “Prior to the pandemic 70% of seafood was sold to the non-home consumer, restaurants, catering and other institutions but now that market has disappeared which has caused many fishing organisations to go under as they did not have the ability to go online. One of the problems is that they have to offer a lot of variety and variety conflicts with good sourcing practices. They end up having a lot of different kinds of fish which means that they are delving into fish that are not sustainably sourced”

    Thomas Udesen:

    “One of the positive aspects emerging amidst and beyond Covid is collaboration. We saw what is possible when the industry, regulators and different players put their heads together and say we want to solve an issue. But we also saw some worst practices. Unfortunately, some procurement organisations were seen going 10-15 years back in time toward the mindset of ‘price first’. One of the possible ways to change this negative discourse is to bring together procurement practitioners around the world and have them engaged bottom up”

    Oliver Hurrey:

    “It is very important we get coordinated. There are far too many initiatives, platforms, groups, events and one of the challenges of trying to find progress for procurement on sustainability is that almost too much stuff going on as well as too little, arguably as well. It is time to clarify where you need to go and who you need to talk to tackle some of those challenges”

    Stay tuned to interact with the Sustainability SIG future activities!

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