Postdoc Position on Blending Bio-based Materials Into Everyday Life Towards Design Strategies

A new opening postdoctoral position is available at Delft University of Technology, Netherlands. The funding allows successful candidates to work for 6 months in the first instance. This position is open until filled.

Department/faculty: Faculty Industrial Design Engineering

Level: Doctorate Working hours: 36-40 hours weekly Contract: 1,5 year with a possible extension of 6 months Salary: 2640 – 3303 euros monthly (full-time basis) The faculty of Industrial Design Engineering is the largest and broadest scientific design institute in the world, with over 2,000 students, more than 6,000 alumni and 300 staff (researchers and lecturers, including designers from industrial practice). The faculty aims to contribute to a better living environment and respond to social challenges by combining human values and desires with technological feasibility and economic viability. We are excellently placed to do so, as we ground design methods and skills in scientific knowledge from a wide range of disciplines, leading to concrete solutions.

The faculty of Industrial Design Engineering consists of three departments: Industrial Design Engineering (ID), Design Engineering (DE) and Product Innovation Management (PIM). The Design Engineering Department is a centre for sustainable system-oriented product-service development, innovation, and manufacturing. The aim of our work is to empower designers through breakthrough technology innovations and to contribute to the innovative capability and competitiveness of the creative industry sector. The Design Engineering Department comprises more than twenty faculty members with research interests in cyber physical systems, intelligent products, internet of things, digital fabrication & 3D printing, data-intensive systems, augmented reality, human-robot collaboration, and sustainable design.

Materials research constantly evolves to offer novel, superior materials as better alternatives to convention.

1. selecting the best material(s), grounding on an informed awareness of the unique capabilities of materials, as such that a design takes full advantage of those capabilities.

2. designing with emerging materials, not only to find appropriate and innovative application areas for such materials, but also to inspire material industries for the further development and/or modification of those materials.

3. proposing new materials, to suggest new possible directions for material development grounding on emerging issues and approaches in the design domain, as well as inspired by design interventions.

A Post Doc position is available at Delft University of Technology (TU Delft), Faculty of Industrial Design Engineering. The hire is a 1,5 year, fully funded position with a possible extension of 6 months, to research into the qualities of new and emerging bio-based materials and products, which enable them to be appreciated in multiple contexts, when first time introduced to society

Many studies have informed how we sense materials in daily products, how we attribute meanings to them, how they elicit emotions, and what they make us do. In line with product/user experience theories, these studies emphasize that material experiences are constituted on not just the material itself but how aspects of a product (e.g. form, function), social and cultural aspects of an individual, and setting (i.e. context) interrelate. Thus, although there are some socially and culturally embedded material meanings, such as regarding wood as warm and friendly, it is not possible to elevate these relationships into hard-and-fast rules: a material can elicit different experiences when applied in different products. However, there are some frequently occurring patterns in the ways we experience materials. These patterns show how different levels of materials experience (e.g. interpretive and sensorial) interrelate in specific ways; and how these experiences are shaped by the individual and compounded effects of particular consumer, material and product aspects. Understanding these "material experience patterns" in situations where a new bio-based material is appreciated and blends in everyday life will enable designers to envision and design for new situations where a desired materials experience is likely to unfold. This will be the focus of this Post Doc position.

The candidate will be supervised by Dr. Elvin Karana, who will provide the expertise in material-driven design and materials experience research. Dr. Mikael Lindstrom from RISE Sweden will provide the expertise in materials science and engineering in relation to Pulp-based composites. The Post Doc candidate will be based in Delft University of Technology, Faculty of Industrial Design Engineering, and will have occasional visits to RISE research institute in Sweden.

Applicants should hold a PhD degree in the field of product design (engineering). Experience in research/education/design concerning materials and design, material-driven design and/or materials design, will be an advantage. A willingness to reach across scientific disciplines is essential; as are technical aptitude and a willingness to explore new areas of research as this Post Doc position includes communication with diverse disciplines (materials science and engineering, micro-biology, etc.). Excellent communication skills are essential. The candidate should hold an advanced level of English language, verbal as well as in writing.

We expect that the Post Doc researcher will adopt a material-driven design research approach through combination of interpretive and empirical/systematic research activities, which will be organised through an iterative manner between the studies focusing on bio-based material properties and material development, and the studies on product design and on the understanding of the way in which the material is received and used in a realistic context. In other words, materials and products will be developed in synergy. While the initial explorative research will concern various types of bio-based materials (e.g. mycelium-based materials, algae-based materials), one specific material family will provide experimental underpinning of the project: forest-based composites. The research will be conducted in collaboration with the RISE material research group in Sweden (

TU Delft offers a customisable compensation package, a discount for health insurance and sport memberships, and a monthly work costs contribution. Flexible work schedules can be arranged. An International Children's Centre offers childcare and an international primary school. Dual Career Services offers support to accompanying partners. Salary and benefits are in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities.

For information about this vacancy, you can contact Dr. Elvin Karana, email:

Applications should be sent by email to and include the following documents:CV, certificates of degree, contact details for 2 reference letters, a cover letter (including motivation and preliminary research proposal, max. 2 pages), and a design portfolio (if applicable). Total size limit 5KB.

Please send your application before Monday December 17.


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