PhD position in Critical Design Futures

Department/faculty: Faculty Industrial Design Engineering
Level: University Graduate
Working hours: 36-40 hours weekly
Contract: 4 years
Salary: 2325 - 2972 euros monthly (full-time basis)

Faculty Industrial Design Engineering

The faculty of Industrial Design Engineering is the largest and broadest scientific design institute in the world, with over 2,000 students, 7,000 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.

A PhD position is offered within the department of Human-Centered Design. The department HCD is recognized as an international leader in design research and was ranked excellent by an international review panel in 2015. Our research and education focusing on topics like design for happiness, prototyping in design thinking, design aesthetics, future interactions, ergonomics and social design. The department also houses the ID-StudioLab, a unique interdisciplinary design research community that facilitates design-driven research and education. We believe that a professional designer needs scientific knowledge and the skills to use systematic methods, techniques and tools. We teach future designers to conceptualize products and services that are understandable and stimulate meaningful experiences. We develop and improve the knowledge and skills that help designers and researchers contribute to relevant societal challenges and to have an impact.

Job description

Central to society’s ability to engage with complex and urgent challenges is its capacity to envision and pursue alternative futures. Facing such challenges as climate change and the loss of species, accelerated urban development and the introduction of new pervasive technologies (to name just a few), calls upon designers to expand the space of possibility for new social, political and economic configurations to emerge.

We invite applicants for a fully funded PhD position at the Department of Human-Centered Design, to explore design as a form of critical future-making. We are particularly interested in projects that seek to elaborate the ways in which design can seed an inclusive discourse about the future – one that is sensitive to different power constellations, the histories and identities of different actors, and the assumptions and interests that motivate them.

Applicants are expected to propose a specific topic and area of application for their research. Possible themes may include (but are not limited to):

  • The historical, cultural and practical links between design and futures studies

  • Critical and speculative design

  • Design and social or sociotechnical imaginaries

  • Critical approaches to creativity-by-design, co-creation and participatory design

  • Art and design as forms of social inquiry

  • Design activism


Formal criteria:

  • Master’s degree in a relevant field (such as design, future studies, media & culture studies, philosophy, sociology, anthropology, history);

  • Outstanding research skills as evident in a high-quality Master’s thesis, and/or previous publications;

  • Excellent spoken and written academic English (Dutch is an advantage);

  • Experience with initiating or facilitating art- or design-led co-creation processes is an advantage.

Personal qualities:

  • Interdisciplinary attitude;

  • Self-motivated, hardworking and diligent;

  • Curious, inquisitive and with a proven willingness to experiment.

Conditions of employment

The 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. Coming to Delft Service organizes diverse events for new international employees and their accompanying partners, like Partner Career Workshops and Dutch Culture Workshops. Located on campus are the International Children’s Centre and an international primary school which are subject to availability as well as several bilingual schools in the nearby surrounding. Salary and benefits are in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities.

As a PhD candidate you will be enrolled in the TU Delft Graduate School. TU Delft Graduate School provides an inspiring research environment; an excellent team of supervisors, academic staff and a mentor; and a Doctoral Education Programme aimed at developing your transferable, discipline-related and research skills. Please visit for more information.

Information and application

For information about this vacancy, you can contact Roy Bendor, Assistant Professor, email:

For information about the selection procedure, please contact A. (Amanda) Klumpers-Nieuwpoort, HR Secretaresse Human-Centered Design, email:

To apply please send:

  • Motivation letter (1 page, max.500 words, in pdf format) that expresses the reasons for your pursuit of the position and explains why you are uniquely suited for it;

  • Research statement (1-2 pages, max.1000 words, in pdf format) that responds to the issues and themes described above by indicating your position within the field of design (understood widely), and outlining a preliminary direction for your research project;

  • Academic CV + portfolio (if applicable);

  • Academic transcripts of previous degrees;

  • Summary of Master’s thesis (max. 250 words);

  • The names of 2 potential recommenders that may be contacted if you are invited to interview.

Enquiries from agencies are not appreciated.


Faculty Industrial Design Engineering
University Graduate
Working hours
36-40 hours weekly
4 years
2325 - 2972 euros monthly (full-time basis)

Closing date
April 15, 2020
Vacancy nr.
ATIO 0806


For more information about the application procedure, please contact: