Co-designing dynamically adaptive systems with people living with dementia

Eindhoven University of Technology
November 30, 2023
Offerd Salary:€2,770
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Contract Type:Other
Working Time:Full time
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Co-designing dynamically adaptive systems with people living with dementia



Irène Curie Fellowship



Industrial Engineering and Innovation Sciences



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Job description

Are you interested in designing meaningful technologies through co-design and participatory design practices? Would you like to contribute to how artificial intelligence could improve the lives of people with dementia? Are you excited about exploring and developing innovative methodologies in co-design of products, systems and services that utilize AI? If so, this PhD position at the Human-Technology Interaction group of Eindhoven University of Technology is for you.

Project background

Dementia has a major impact on quality of life with high experienced disease burden in society. Investment in technological innovations to better meet the individual needs of people with dementia and carers is urgently needed. The QoLEAD project aims to address this challenge by harnessing progress in artificial intelligence (AI) to tailor interventions to the needs of people with dementia, and to deliver warm smart care solutions with people with dementia themselves at the steering wheel to help drive, focus, and support these innovations. Such a co-design approach refers to a collaborative approach to designing products, services, or environments that involve individuals living with dementia, their caregivers, and relevant stakeholders in the design process. This approach aims to create more inclusive and dementia-friendly solutions that cater to the specific needs and preferences of people with dementia.

Job description

The PhD candidate working on this position “co-designing complexity with people living with dementia” will focus on developing and conducting participatory design activities around complex material such as AI or AI- enabled interventions with people with dementia and their caregivers. The candidate will conduct research to support, enable and advance co-design with people living with dementia. In this project, you have to adapt the co-design methodology when involving vulnerable groups such as people living with dementia. An additional interest is the challenge around conducting co-design when dealing with complex topics such as AI. Most people have limited understanding of how AI operates, but to what level is it needed to co-design AI? This limits the intuitions they may have regarding AI-based interactive products, systems or services, what could be desired or expected from interactions with such systems, or how they would prefer these technologies to impact their own lived experience. In addition, depending on the nature of AI technologies used, some of the underlying AI techniques (such as deep learning) may offer additional design challenges, in the sense that we have to take into account some of the adaptive, non-deterministic and sometimes unexpected behaviors of AI-powered systems.

In this project, participatory work is not seen as a one-time occurrence or a solidified output: we see it as a continuous process that supports and feeds the other researchers working on the project throughout. The co-design process is continuously in development as user needs and technological requirements will evolve during the project. As a part of co-design practice the candidate will work on applying and developing rough-and-ready prototypes, allowing the exploration and evaluation of the design space, to increasingly focused work to be evaluated in context.

In the larger QoLEAD project, you will also play a role in helping to facilitate and support other researchers in the co-design with people living with dementia, their families and formal carers throughout the project. Co- design will generally be set up in the form of interactive qualitative sessions where participants can actively contribute to the various technology and design related decisions and challenges of this project.

Embedding of the project

This PhD student position is part of the QoLEAD project – Quality of Life by use of Enabling AI in Dementia. QoLEAD is a new, NWO-funded research project, characterized by an interdisciplinary collaboration between several Dutch universities. Its unique focus at the intersection of healthcare and technology offers a challenging and inspiring work environment for ambitious PhD candidates. The entire project offers 8 PhD positions, spread across several work packages and various partner organizations. As a PhD student, you will work closely together with your work packages' team, as well as with the entire QoLEAD team.

This research project will be done in a multi-disciplinary team within Eindhoven University of Technology, combining expertise from industrial design, psychology, and artificial intelligence. You will receive day-to-day supervision from Dr. Rens Brankaert (Industrial Design) and Prof.dr. Wijnand IJsselsteijn (Human-Technology Interaction) and will work in a larger team of PhD students and staff within TU/e's Expertise Center for Dementia & Technology (ECDT). The ECDT is an initiative of the TU/e and Alzheimer Nederland to positively change the lives of people with dementia through the use of Warm Technology. In this, we work together with healthcare organization, companies, researchers and citizens.

Job requirements
  • Have a MSc degree in Industrial Design, Human-Technology Interaction, Human-Computer Interaction, Human-Centred Artificial Intelligence, Applied Psychology, or related field.
  • Have strong computational and design or design thinking skills, and a keen interest in co-design and participatory design practices.
  • Have affinity with (the care for) people with dementia and an innate capability to empathize with others and show warmheartedness.
  • Have a strong motivation to conduct research in a challenging, multidisciplinary environment.
  • Have high proficiency in spoken and written English,
  • Have high proficiency in spoken and written Dutch (as you will interact and design for Dutch-speaking people with dementia),
  • Strong organization & communication skills: proactive, well-organized, communicative, team player.
  • Conditions of employment

    A meaningful job in a dynamic and ambitious university, in an interdisciplinary setting and within an international network. You will work on a beautiful, green campus within walking distance of the central train station. In addition, we offer you:

  • Full-time employment for four years, with an intermediate evaluation (go/no-go) after nine months. You will spend 10% of your employment on teaching tasks.
  • Salary and benefits (such as a pension scheme, paid pregnancy and maternity leave, partially paid parental leave) in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities, scale P (min. €2,770 max. €3,539).
  • A year-end bonus of 8.3% and annual vacation pay of 8%.
  • High-quality training programs and other support to grow into a self- aware, autonomous scientific researcher. At TU/e we challenge you to take charge of your own learning process.
  • An excellent technical infrastructure, on-campus children's day care and sports facilities.
  • An allowance for commuting, working from home and internet costs.
  • A Staff Immigration Team and a tax compensation scheme (the 30% facility) for international candidates.
  • Information and application

    TU/e 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 is intertwined with many of these companies and institutes, and research at TU/e is characterized by a combination of academic excellence, industrial relevance and societal interweaving.

    Diversity We are an inclusive university community. Diversity is one of our most important values. We believe that engaging in international activities and welcoming students and staff from a wide variety of backgrounds enhances the quality of our education and research. We are always looking for people who can enrich our world with their own unique perspectives and experiences.

    Information Do you recognize yourself in this profile and would you like to know more? Please contact dr. Rens Brankaert,, and prof.dr. Wijnand IJsselsteijn,

    Visit our website for more information about the application process or the conditions of employment. You can also contact

    Are you inspired and would like to know more about working at TU/e? Please visit our career page.


    We invite you to submit a complete application by using the apply button. The application should include:

  • a cover letter explaining your motivation and suitability for the position
  • a detailed curriculum vitae
  • a written scientific report in English (MSc thesis, traineeship report or scientific paper)
  • copies of diplomas with course grades (transcripts)
  • letter(s) of reference and/or reference contact information
  • We look forward to your application and will screen it as soon as we have received it.

    Screening will continue until the position has been filled. We do not respond to applications that are sent to us in a different way. Please keep in mind you can upload only 5 documents up to 2 MB each. If necessary, please combine files.

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