University of Twente

PhD position on methodological implications of adopting emerging technologies in Systemic Design

2023-12-29 (Europe/Amsterdam)
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Job description

The Challenge

There is growing academic interest in adopting new technologies to address societal challenges. Although promising, integrating these technologies into design research and practice requires careful consideration of methodological, ethical and practical implications. This PhD position examines the impact of new technologies on Systemic Design by adopting new technological tools to improve our capacity to challenge outdated systems and contribute to more sustainable and equitable futures.

In the context of this research, systems can be described as a way of designing (i.e., systemic, a holistic approach to thinking about reality) and an object of design (i.e., socio-technical systems, interconnected elements that serve a specific purpose). Investigating the way we design systems focuses on critically reviewing and expanding systemic design methods by exploring how emerging technologies can be integrated into the design process. When we look at systems as the outcomes of the design process, our research aims to apply new technologies in socio-technical interventions to address complex societal problems in different domains, for example, healthcare systems (e.g., planetary health), production systems (e.g., circular and distributed), and social systems (e.g., equality and social innovation).

As a PhD candidate, you will first investigate how the academic community has responded to using emerging technologies to generate knowledge addressing complex societal problems. You will then analyse the broader implications of these technologies within the framework of systems thinking approaches (see da Costa Junior et al., 2019). Furthermore, you will collaborate with multiple actors, such as private-public partnerships, non-profit organisations and companies, to identify leverage points, develop solutions to address significant societal challenges and test novel methods, frameworks, and tools.

The ideal PhD candidate should be able to navigate engineering and social science fields and collaborate with a multidisciplinary team within the Interaction Design group, which is part of the Department of Design, Production and Management (DPM) of the Faculty of Engineering Sciences (ET).

The PhD candidate will:

  • Conduct research on adopting emerging technologies to better understand, visualise and handle complex systems.
  • Explore the implications of adopting emerging technologies in systemic design research and practice.
  • Establish collaborations with actors from different sectors, including public services, organisations, industries, and citizens, to conduct transdisciplinary research.
  • Present research results at national and international conferences, workshops and in journals.

Your profile

  • You are highly motivated, compassionate and an enthusiastic researcher.
  • You have an MSc degree in Industrial Design Engineering, Interaction Technology, Human-Computer Interaction or a related discipline (candidates close to graduating are encouraged to apply).
  • You have a strong interest in systems thinking, socio-technical transitions and complex societal problems.
  • You possess excellent critical thinking skills and a passion for high-tech, transdisciplinary, human-centred research.
  • You have excellent communication skills to engage and work with Dutch and international stakeholders (English proficiency, knowledge of, or willingness to learn Dutch).
  • You have affinity and preferably experience with writing research papers.
  • You have good team spirit and social skills and like to work in an interdisciplinary and internationally oriented environment.

Our offer

  • Full-time 4-year PhD position with competitive salaries and excellent benefits, including a pension scheme.
  • A dynamic research environment.
  • Comprehensive mentorship from experienced researchers and academics.
  • An opportunity to make significant contributions to the magnetocaloric refrigeration field which holds promise for energy efficient and eco-friendly cooling/heating.
  • A starting salary of €2.770,- gross per month in the first year and increasing to €3.539,- gross per month in the fourth year.
  • An annual holiday allowance of 8% of the gross annual salary, and an annual year-end bonus of 8.3%.
  • A solid pension scheme.
  • Minimum of 29 leave days in case of full-time employment.
  • We provide excellent mentorship and a stimulating research environment to accelerate your further professional and personal growth.
  • The University of Twente is situated on a green and lively campus with lots of facilities for sports and other activities.

Information and application

Please submit your application before December 29, 2023. For more information about this vacancy, contact Dr. Jairo da Costa (

Include in your application:

  • A motivation letter describing your motivation for applying for a PhD position, your specific interest in this topic, and why you would be the best match for this position (one A4).
  •  A CV including publications (if any), education and work experience.
  • Contact details of at least two referees.
  • An academic transcript of BSc and MSc education, including grades.

A first round of interviews (online if necessary) is planned for 10-11 January. A second round of in-person interviews may be scheduled if necessary.

About the organisation

The Faculty of Engineering Technology (ET) engages in education and research of Mechanical Engineering, Civil Engineering and Industrial Design Engineering. We enable society and industry to innovate and create value using efficient, solid and sustainable technology. We are part of a ‘people-first' university of technology, taking our place as an internationally leading center for smart production, processes and devices in five domains: Health Technology, Maintenance, Smart Regions, Smart Industry and Sustainable Resources. Our faculty is home to about 2,900 Bachelor's and Master's students, 550 employees and 150 PhD candidates. Our educational and research programmes are closely connected with UT research institutes Mesa+ Institute, TechMed Center and Digital Society Institute.

Job details

PhD position on methodological implications of adopting emerging technologies in Systemic Design
Drienerlolaan 5 Enschede, Netherlands
Application deadline
2023-12-29 23:59 (Europe/Amsterdam)
2023-12-29 23:59 (CET)
Job type
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