European Study Research Spring



This year’s destination of ESR Spring will be Lisbon! From the 16th to the 23rd of May, a group of 25 bachelor and master students, 2 professors, 6 committee members and a board member will join together for a week to visit this amazing Portuguese city and conduct research. The trip will consist of cultural activities, company visits with the aim of finalizing our research, and chances to experience the amazing nightlife that the city has to offer.

ESR is an amazing experience for students. It’s an opportunity to bring something unique to your university experience, a chance to broaden and diversify your skill set, a way to improve your research skills and an amazing way to create memories and new friendships. All of this in the exciting city Lisbon!

Lisbon is a city that is home to a unique combination of multinationals from a variety of markets and exciting start-ups with great prospects. This year, the research theme will be ‘’The economic comeback of Portugal; with Lisbon as key player.’’ You will be split up into teams of 5 students, each with a specific sub theme to focus the research on. More information about the sub themes can be found under the theme tab.

The ESR experience begins with an opening dinner, followed by 7 weeks of lectures, dinners and socials every Monday night. A variety of different topics, lecturers and points of view will be discussed each week. After we return, there will be another 2 weeks of lectures before the final dinner in order to put the finishing touches on our work.

The total cost of joining will be €200,- , which includes plane tickets, accommodation and transportation during our stay, as well as various other activities to take part in.

This ESR experience is one that is unique and should not be missed! In order to take part in this amazing project, click on the register button! Applications open on the 4th of February and close on the 23rd of February, 23:59! The applications are open to bachelor students with at least 45 ECTS and master students.

For any other questions about the trip, feel free to contact us at  


Application deadline
Sunday 23 February 23:59

Interviews and selection

Monday 24 February till Thursday 5 March

Introduction dinner

Monday 9 March 19:00

Weekly dinners, lectures and socials (7 times)

Every Monday at 17:00 from 16 March till 11 May (with exception from 2nd Easterday and Kingsday)

Theme party

Wednesday 29 April

Research trip to Lisbon

Saturday 16May till Saturday 23 May

Lecture, dinner and social after trip (2 times)

Monday 25 May and 3 June

Closing dinner

3 June



In the 7 weeks prior to the trip there will be a lecture (5-7pm), dinner (7-9pm) and a social (9pm onwards) every Monday which you will be expected to attend. In the lectures we will discuss how to conduct research, there will be presentations by the various subgroups and guest lectures about Portuguese culture and conducting qualitative research. The dinners and socials are a great way to get to know everyone. Next to these activities you are expected to actually prepare your specific research together with your subgroup, which will mostly be done during the preparatory phase of the trip. In total ESR will cost you about 6-10 hours per week.



The Portuguese economy has been thriving for the last couple of years, with the Lisbon economy as a great example of this. From 2014 onwards, the GDP has steadily increased, unemployment has halved, exports are booming, and foreign investors have flooded Lisbon. But it has not always been this glorious. During the economic crisis, Portugal was hit as one of the hardest. However, besides the well-known economic crisis of 2008, Portugal was already in their own economic crisis that started in 2001. Multiple reforms failed, their public debt kept growing and the economy stagnated. This all lasted until Portugal requested and obtained a bailout worth of €78 billion from the EU (European Union) and the IMF (International Monetary Fund). The structural reforms that followed with the help of the EU and the IMF improved Portugal's productivity and competitiveness. 

Talking about Lisbon; the capital city is the economic, cultural and political centre of Portugal. Almost 50% of the Portuguese GDP is generated here and it has one of the largest European ports. Over the last few years, more and more multinationals settled in Lisbon. Also, the number of start-ups has significantly increased. The goal of the city’s economic strategy is to be one of Europe’s most competitive and innovative cities. This is trying to be accomplished by The Lisbon 2020 Regional Operational Programme (ROP), a funding instrument which is paid by the EU. Several sectors have been given priority by the ROP, such as research & innovation, sustainability and education. However, there are bumps on the road ahead. The increasing cost of living in the city is becoming an issue for its inhabitants. Recently, many of the middle-income population left the city, while new residents were highly skilled with a high income. This has led to a greater socio-economic polarisation within Lisbon. Consequently, certain areas in the city have a higher unemployment rate, more vandalism and a lack of social and health facilities. 

Despite their very positive development in the last few years, Lisbon is still catching up compared to other European capital cities. Specifically, the use of existing technological expertise that benefit businesses in the region remains a great challenge. Will Lisbon complete their comeback and become a leading European city, or will upcoming challenges turn out to be too much? 

To conduct research on the research theme ‘’The economic comeback of Portugal; with Lisbon as key player’’, you will be divided into five subgroups. In these subgroups you will investigate research questions and conduct research specific to your subject. Every subtheme is linked to the main research theme. During the lectures and the preparations you will get the chance to acquire the necessary skills to conduct business research and to come up with a theoretical framework and conceptual model. Together with your subgroup you will discuss your findings during the lectures and get the chance to get feedback from either the committee or the professors. The final product will include an advice from every group to the companies. All companies we visit in Lisbon will receive your report. With the main research theme in mind, we have established five sub themes by which we want to investigate our main research theme in a more detailed manner. The five subthemes are Business climate, Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Human Resource Management, International markets and fiscal policy.

Business climate

There are multiple factors that determine whether a business climate is advantageous or disadvantageous for a company. For example, certain laws and regulations can stimulate or prevent a company to settle in Lisbon. Moreover, taxes and other costs are great examples of indicators for a business climate. In 2019, Portugal was seen as the most promising Western-European country when it comes to attractiveness for companies. Looking at a business climate also involves the ease of doing business. When governmental regulations are clear to everyone, companies have more time to focus on their activities. Another important indicator is competitiveness. Lisbon wants to reach their desired level of competitiveness by supporting innovation, developing education and reducing taxation. What do these varying factors mean for the business climate in Lisbon? 

Innovation and entrepreneurship

If a company wants to grow in today's competitive society it is of great importance that it outperforms its competitors. One of the most used manners to do this is through innovation. A good, innovative plan is what will separate a company from the mass. The purpose of innovation is to continuously grow and renew an enterprise with new or improved products, more efficient processes and strengthened business models. Innovation and entrepreneurship are essential ingredients in becoming a successful venture. Now, Lisbon is fast becoming a true startup hub, helped by the growing number of business accelerators and some government help. How really important is the level of innovation and entrepreneurship for an economy?

Human Resource Management (HRM)

Human resources, arguably the most valuable resource of a company. People have unique skills and knowledge that contribute to the success of an organization. As all other resources, human resources come at a price. One of its costs is its management, which makes sure employees are energized and productive. The Human Resource Management department ensures full potential is reached and leads the way in career paths. Moreover, HRM is responsible for the recruitment of new, talented people that add something new to an organization. What other factors are crucial for a Human Resource Management department?

International market

Some companies might have the desire to operate locally or domestically only, whereas others have incentives to exploit international markets as well. The expansion of an organization into an international market gives this organization numerous new opportunities and challenges. Also, international trade can stimulate economic growth. Nowadays, businesses are more internationally integrated than ever, but is that always a good thing? Lisbon possesses the most utilized port in Europe, being strategically located between Europe, Africa and the Atlantic. The main trading partners of Portugal are Western-European countries, such as Spain, France, Germany and The Netherlands. Over the last few years businesses in Lisbon rapidly became more internationally integrated, but how did this affect the economy?

Fiscal policy 

One of the many used tools by a government to stimulate an economy is its fiscal policy. By changing the government spending and tax policies, the government can change economic conditions which eventually lead to a change in employment, inflation and economic growth. Not only does a fiscal policy have an effect on economic conditions, but also on companies. Portugal has been running a fiscal deficit for a long time and therefore the priority now is on designing and implementing a fiscal consolidation. However, there is fear that extra taxes negatively affect the productivity and welfare of the country. How do companies cope with these uncertainties?