PhD Position in Smart Technologies for Empowered Citizens

A new PhD position is available at Eindhoven University of Technology. Successful candidate will have funding to work and study for four years in Netherlands. Applications will be evaluated immediately.

Available now is a four years PhD position in theSmart Technologies Empowered Citizensresearch project. If accepted you will define your own research project within the research project scope and collaborate with the industrial and academic partners in the project. The PhD research will be carried out as part of the NWO-funded research project calledSmart Technologies, Empowered Citizens(STEC), a collaboration between the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences, the Eindhoven University of Technology, and the University of Technology Sydney.

STEC investigates how digital media technologies and practices such as social media platforms, big data and serious games can be used to empower citizens and mobilize and organize them around collective societal issues. What design practices and strategies can be identified in domains such as health, urban planning and sustainability? And what is the changing role of the stakeholders in designing empowering solutions, considering different values and perspectives?


We define empowerment asthe process of change that gives people influence and agency to take charge of their own situations resulting in the tools and capacity to make choices for yourself. This might be through for instance tools and methods for codesign, by enabling citizens to take collective action by forming communities and sharing knowledge and resources in neighbourhood development, or personal empowerment in the form of behaviour change, where the user is empowered to achieve for instance weight loss. In STEC we study what qualities are needed in tools, platforms and methods supporting such a process of empowerment and how to implement them together with the individual research partners. The scaling up of these insights means that STEC is part of the emerging research fields ofTransformation DesignandDigital Civics.

Research themes

STEC builds on three thematic pillars, each of which represents a specific approach to design and empowerment. In the first, we will look at the role ofdigital platforms, in the second we will look atplay and gamesand in the third the focus is on theuse of data and the production of meaningfrom it. From these pillars we will investigate a number of case studies brought in by industry partners, such as a platform for collaborative urban development, devices created to empower communities around healthy lifestyles, or a smart toy to empower young people to take better care of their oral health. Working as a PhD student on STEC

Your main place of work will be at the TU Eindhoven where you will be part of theSystemic Changeresearch group and the PhD cohort, and take PhD courses that train you to become a strong researcher. That means that you will have a social group that work on related issues, have lunch and socialize with. You will also have a strong connection to the Hogeschool van Amsterdam's research group ofPlay and Civic Media, providing you with further colleagues and collaborators in Amsterdam apart from the strong setup in Eindhoven. As a PhD student you will start out by defining your research project primarily within one of the research themes above (though expect some crossover): This starts with a literature review and summary of salient examples. This project should be achievable within two constraints: it has to be related to citizen empowerment, and it should preferably be in collaboration with one or more of our project partners - see below. We will help you shape your project to fit within the STEC frame.

With your research agenda identified, you will collaborate actively with one or more of our industrial partners in STEC: OneArchitecture, PlayTheCity, TransformCity, Philips, KPN or IJsFontein. This you will do with the help of your daily supervisor, professor Ben Schouten, and in close collaboration with the postdoc on the research project, Dr. Nicolai Brodersen Hansen. The outputs of this work will be designs: requirements, concepts, prototypes and design methods, about which you will write papers in collaboration with your supervisor and the postdoc on the project. As this position is in collaboration with the University Technology Sydney (UTS) you will spend one year (conditions can be negotiated) working with the group of Professor Kees Dorst there. STEC also encompasses Dr. Tilde Bekker and Dr. Martijn de Waal (HvA), who will become co-supervisors on your project and collaborate on papers and research.

Your work, and STEC, follows a research-through-design approach where we use design work as a way of generating research knowledge. That means that you must be willing to jump between literature and theorizing and doing practical design work within the context of our industrial research partners. While initially daunting, this also means that you have the opportunity to hone technical interests as well as research and design skills.

About Industrial Design at TU/e

The Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e, is one of Europe's leading research universities. The Eindhoven area, in the southern part of the Netherlands, is one of Europe's top 'innovation ecosystems', with many high-tech companies and institutes. TU/e works closely with many of these companies and institutes, and research at TU/e is characterized by a combination of academic excellence and industrial relevance.The Department of Industrial Design (ID) of the TU/e, founded in 2001, is a rapidly growing and dynamic department with over 600 students, both Bachelor and Master, and around 80 research staff members and about 60 lecturers and supportive staff. ID focuses on intelligent products, systems, and related Candidates for this position should hold a Master's degree or be finishing it soon, in an area related to Interaction Design, HCI, Informatics, User Experience Design, Design for Games and Play. The candidate should have excellent grades.

They should be pro-active and have a 'hands-on' attitude and a strong interest in games and/or playful interaction as well as with creating experiential prototypes. Skills in prototyping with software and electronics and physical modelling skills are essential. Furthermore, candidates should have demonstrated ability to think out of the box, and the interest and motivation to conduct empirical evaluations of design concepts.

Demonstrated research skills will be valued very highly, especially in the form of good writing, collaboration and methodological skills. This can be proved in the form of papers or work experience.

General information about the Department Industrial Design, candidates will find on About this project and position candidates can get more information from dr. N.B. Hansen, email and prof.dr. B.A.M. Schouten, email

If you have any questions about the application procedure, please contact HR Services Industrial Design, tel. +31(0)40 2475336, email

Send a short CV (max one page) in PDF, a link to a portfolio, and a letter of motivation in PDF (max one page) motivating why you are interested in the PhD position by using the "apply now" button via this link before 14 January 2019.

Please note that a maximum of 5 documents of 2 MB each can be uploaded. If you have more than 5 documents you will have to combine them.

Applications sent by e-mail will not be accepted.


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