PhD Pictorial representations of material properties

Department/faculty: Industrial Design Engineering
Level: Master degree
Working hours: 38 hours per week
Contract: 4 years
Salary: €2191 to €2801 per month gross

Industrial Design Engineering

The Faculty of Industrial Design Engineering is world-leading in design education and research, integrating design knowledge about people, technology and business into solutions that are desirable, feasible and viable. The Faculty consists of 25 full Professors, 120 faculty members, 120 PhD students and about 2000 Bachelor and Master students. At IDE we believe that by creating insights into people and society, and by developing foresights on how technology can improve our future, we enable designers to be inspirational yet realistic leaders that can move the needle towards a better future.

The Department of Industrial Design is recognized as an international leader in design research and was ranked as excellent by an international review panel in 2015. It houses the Perceptual Intelligence lab, a centre of expertise on applied perception research and interdisciplinary research combining optics, computer science, experimental psychology and art.

Job description

The (fully funded) PhD position is linked to the NWO-Vidi project ‘Visual communication of material properties’ lead by Maarten Wijntjes. In this project, we will investigate how artists represent material properties in various forms of pictorial communication (e.g. painting, drawing and photography). We will investigate this through developing an annotated database of material depictions. The PhD candidate will contribute to collecting perceptual judgements of depicted materials through crowdsourcing. Specifically, the candidate will investigate the relation between perceived material properties and images cues. Furthermore, a relation is sought between image cues and artistic practices that lead to effective communications of material properties.
There is some space within the project to emphasize either a psychological, computational or art historical component, although all three should be present.


First, and foremost, we are looking for a curious and analytical personality who is (or will be after reading this ad) as intrigued by visual perception as we are. Applicants should have a recent MSc degree in (experimental) physics, experimental psychology, computer science, industrial design, or a similar field. We will also consider canditates with an art historical background who have a strong (and demonstrable) interest in empirical (perception) research.
Other requirements are: social skills, teamwork skills, experimental research experience, mathematical skills (e.g. calculus at the bachelor’s level), good scientific writing skills in English and good (English) verbal communication.

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. An International Children’s Centre offers childcare and an international primary school. Dual Career Services offers support to accompanying partners. 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. The 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 more information about this position, please feel free to contact Dr. Maarten Wijntjes, e-mail: To apply send a letter of application, a detailed CV, one recent academic publication (or master's thesis), a statement of research interests (concerning this project) and the affiliations and contact information of two people who could furnish a letter of reference. Please e-mail your application by 15 June 2017 to:
When applying for this position, please refer to vacancy number AT/IO-0731.

Enquiries from agencies are not appreciated.


Industrial Design Engineering
Master degree
Working hours
4 years
€2191 to €2801 per month gross

Closing date
June 15, 2017
Vacancy nr.


For more information about this job, please contact Maarten Wijntjes, Assistant Professor.

T +31 (0)15-2781835

For more information about the application procedure, please contact A. Klumpers-Nieuwpoort/ID.