PhD position: smart industry solutions for human centered workplaces in future factories

University of Twente


December 18, 2021


Job description

Manual labour is an important cornerstone in manufacturing and will also be in the future smart factories. In a new project, we are investigating innovative workplace designs for wellbeing providing positive contributions to the physiological and mental health of workers.

We take a human centred approach while utilising advanced opportunities of smart industry technologies and methods. The goal is to develop smart, shape- changing workstations that self-adapt to the unique physical and cognitive needs of a worker. The workstations are responsive, they interact in real- time, and promote dynamic activities and varying physical exertion through understanding the context of work.

The project follows a clear interdisciplinary approach and brings together fields like production engineering, human interaction design, creative design techniques, and social impact assessment. Developments take place in an industrial scale testbed at the University of Twente but also within an industrial manufacturing factory nearby.

Your profile

You can switch between researching the future factory, publishing results in reputable journals, and also design practical applications that work with real people on the factory floor. We're looking for two candidates with relevant expertise and interest in developing innovative human centred, smart manufacturing solutions:

  • You have a MSc degree in or related to Production/Industrial Engineering and/or Human-Computer Interaction (e.g. computer science, design, human factors).
  • You know qualitative user studies and co-design with users (for human interaction candidate).
  • You have relevant qualifications and interest in building up smart industry solutions including dealing with innovative sensors, a lot of data and relevant software environments.
  • Besides a clear research perspective, you are a "hands-on" person who enjoys building physical prototypes from low-tech to high-tech.
  • You have strong analytical skills and the ability to work independently as well in a team.
  • You have excellent communication skills and are fluent in English, both spoken and written.
  • Candidates are expected to be good team players and work in an international team with experts on manufacturing, co-design and human factors.

    Our offer

    We offer you a very challenging position in an inspiring multidisciplinary environment. The university offers a dynamic ecosystem with enthusiastic colleagues in which internationalization is an important part of the strategic agenda.

  • We offer a four-year fulltime PhD position.
  • We provide a stimulating, modern research environment with world-class research facilities.
  • You will be part of a dedicated team with which you will collaborate extensively with industry.
  • A starting salary of €2.434,- gross per month in the first year and increasing to €3.111,- 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.
  • Your first responsibility is to carry out the research, but you are also encouraged to acquire teaching experience. We support you to broaden your knowledge by joining international exchange programs, by participating in national and international conferences and workshops, and by visiting industrial companies, research institutes, and universities worldwide.

    Information and application

    Additional information about this position can be obtained from Dr. Daniel Saakes, Interaction Design, (email: or Prof. Sebastian Thiede, Manufacturing Technology (e-mail: both at Engineering Technology, University of Twente

  • The application deadline is December 18, 2021. You must use the “apply now” button below to submit your application. Please upload your application, including:
  • A full Curriculum Vitae, including a list of all courses attended and grades obtained, references, and, if applicable, a list of publications.
  • A Motivational letter (maximum 2 page A4), emphasizing your specific interest, qualifications, motivations to apply for this position, and research ideas for the PhD project.
  • We will hold the first round of interviews (via MsTeams) in January 2022.

    About the organization

    The Faculty of Engineering Technology (ET) engages in education and research Mechanical Engineering, Civil Engineering and Industrial Design Engineering with a view to enabling society and industry to innovate and create value using sound, efficient and sustainable technology. We are part of a ‘people- first' university of technology, taking our place as an internationally leading centre for smart production, processes and devices in five domains: Health Technology, Maintenance, Smart Regions, Smart Industry and Sustainable Resources. Our faculty is home to some 1,800 Bachelor's and Master's students, 400 employees and 150 PhD candidates and offers three degree programmes: Mechanical Engineering, Civil Engineering and Industrial Design Engineering. Our educational and research programme are closely connected with UT research institutes Mesa+ Institute, TechMed Centra and Digital Society Institute.

    University of Twente (UT)

    University of Twente (UT) has entered the new decade with an ambitious, new vision, mission and strategy. As ‘the ultimate people-first university of technology' we are rapidly expanding on our High Tech Human Touch philosophy and the unique role it affords us in society. Everything we do is aimed at maximum impact on people, society and connections through the sustainable utilisation of science and technology. We want to contribute to the development of a fair, digital and sustainable society through our open, inclusive and entrepreneurial attitude. This attitude permeates everything we do and is present in every one of UT's departments and faculties. Building on our rich legacy in merging technical and social sciences, we focus on five distinguishing research domains: Improving healthcare by personalised technologies; Creating intelligent manufacturing systems; Shaping our world with smart materials; Engineering our digital society; and Engineering for a resilient world.

    As an employer, University of Twente offers jobs that matter. We equip you as a staff member to shape new opportunities both for yourself and for our society. With us, you will be part of a leading tech university that is changing our world for the better. We offer an open, inclusive and entrepreneurial climate, in which we encourage you to make healthy choices, for example, with our flexible, customisable conditions.

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