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 1. ''automotive''. Details to be announced later.

/!\ This webpage is still under revision. The concrete research topics or directions may change without notice before the end of November 2019.

Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e) enables excellent Chinese students to obtain their PhD degrees at TU/e with a 4-year scholarship from the CSC. Students from all Chinese universities are eligible for this program. The program aims to foster long-term research co-operation between Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e) and Chinese universities. Students who receive a scholarship are provided with a living allowance as prescribed by the Chinese Government for the term of the scholarship, return airfare to the Netherlands by the most economical route, student visa fees and the cost of health insurance for international students.



Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e) is among the top 100 universities according to the QS Global World Ranking. It is located in a highly industrialized region, known as ‘Brainport’. This region is internationally recognized as a top technology area with a special focus on the integration of design and technology. The department of Industrial Design was established in close collaboration with the technological industry, and, because of this, focuses its research on the Design of Systems with Emerging Technologies in a Societal Context.

PhD program Industrial Design

Changing demographics and social structures are putting several key human values of modern society under serious pressure; these include social inclusion, sustainable healthcare and healthy ageing. Department of Industrial Design envisions a world where these fundamental human values are addressed through interactive and evolving product-service-systems. The goal is to empower people towards a state of complete physical, mental, emotional and social well-being, through the creation of interactive and (co-)evolving systems where future technologies and humans co-adapt to achieve qualities beyond utility and usability.

As a PhD student, you will work on research topics related to the aspects above by exploring future technology (Research-through-Design) through probing prototypes in everyday-life settings (e.g. Experiential Design Landscapes).

Expected Background

Applicants to this PhD research shall have a background in industrial design, digital arts and interactive media, human-computer interaction, computer science, information technology, electrical engineering, biomedical engineering, mechanical engineering and physics.

Research Topics

We are aiming at recruiting up to 4 CSC PhDs in 2020. The applicants can apply for one of the following research directions under two different research clusters:

Future Everyday

The Future Everyday cluster investigates the everyday interactions between individual people and the highly interconnected technology that surrounds them. We measure, model and design for the user experience when individuals interact with social-technological networks in their homes, at work, in transit, while doing sport or going out.

  1. Systems of Smart Things. In Future Everyday, humans will interact with things in their daily life, everywhere and all the time. Such things are essentially interactive, intelligent products and they are increasingly interconnected within the home and in the world. The research direction “Systems of Smart Things” investigates how things can meaningfully connect, how they can form dynamic product groups and share data. This research project aims for extending systems with a layer of indoor-positioning information, so future products can adapt their behaviour based on their precise location in the home or workplace and also based on which other products are nearby. We will use emerging indoor-positioning technologies, such as active UWB tags, which allow to integrate accurate positioning data into designed prototypes and, over time, integrally into the design process around future connected products. In this project, we aim to establish a link between the emerging technologies, interactive installations that demonstrates the value to end-users, and design methods and tools that can be used by designers and design students. The PhD student will collaborate with other international researchers in the new “FE Things Ecology” lab and help strategically advance the research line on “Systems of Smart Things”. This research project will have implications for future healthcare, lifelong learning, and graceful ageing as well as domestic sustainability and smart mobility. Depending on the progress of the project, links to industrial partner will be established. This research project requires skills in software programming (Java, Python, C, C++, or C#) and hardware prototyping. We welcome applicants with a master degree in Computer Science or related disciplines.

  2. Collaborations with Intelligent Machines. Industrial design is the art of making creative use of the possibilities of industrial production systems. Now, as the production floor is increasingly dominated by semi-autonomous systems, we may reconsider how these systems influence our ways of working and design with, against or alongside them. We have the opportunity to bring design into the center of such complex systems, by collaborating with and understanding the technologies that made them (AI, machine learning, algorithms) and by finding designerly uses for both their stated functions and their fringe capabilities and potential errors. Software and hardware systems are increasingly “helping” the user deal with complexity in ways that are becoming less transparent, resulting in outcomes with a high degree of “sameness”. This is especially an issue to creative expert user groups where sameness has little-to-no value and introduces the risk of an impoverished set of new expressions and designs. Can we use computational systems for diversity, novelty, serendipity, or unexpectedness in the form of surprise, opposition and obstruction? This would open up two areas of research: The connection of traditional artistic practices with computational systems in order to provide more creative interactions with machines, and secondly, the use of algorithms as a means to recommend degrees of difference instead of sameness; with a particular focus on soft and flexible materials and machines that knit, embroider, weave and extrude substate. The ideal profile would be a technically minded creative student, with a flair for hacking code and mechanical systems in order to arrive at complex conceptual and aesthetic outcomes. Such expertise is often found amongst artists, designers and engineers and in particular those with a background in computer art, applied industrial robotics, digital music production and design. The work would be conducted in a lab with complex machines for the production of fabrics, e-textiles and other soft things.

  3. Shape-Changing Interfaces. In the last two decades, the field of interaction design has shifted its attention from on-screen interfaces to physical interactive artefacts and materials and more recently to shape-changing interfaces for their potential as intuitive controls or as means for interactive data representations in physical form. Research in shape-changing interfaces has so far considered the opportunities interactive materials and actuated objects can open up to create objects that are interacted by single users, supporting intuitive and natural interaction, ease of learning and aesthetic interactivity. Yet, in everyday use data are frequently shared, consumed, or produced by small groups of people. Various frameworks for collocated collaboration inform the design of artefacts for discussion, analysis, and exploration. This PhD shall explore how shape-change can serve as tools or props to support the joint decision making by small groups of people. The project shall follow a design-driven research approach to explore new opportunities for using interactive materials in supporting collocated groups to work with data. Based on the design and empirical evaluations exploratory prototypes this research will derive a set of global design considerations for designing shape-changing artefacts and how they can support joint understanding, hypothesis generation, and decision-making. Applications in a health behaviour change and education context will be examined. This research will emphasize the role new materials can play in these contexts, their capabilities and the opportunities they open up for interaction design research.

Systemic Change

The Systemic Change cluster focuses on designing innovations that have an impact on systemic structures and groups of people, ultimately aiming to address large-scale issues such as urban health, future mobility and sustainability. Field data is used in novel iterative and circular research-through-design processes involving strategic alliances of stakeholders.

  1. Designing perinatal life support systems (we seek designers). Neonatal Intensive Care Units are not an adequate substitute for the protective environment of the maternal womb for extremely premature born infants. The PhD project envisions a solution where maternal womb environment can be preserved outside the body of a woman by transferring the extremely premature infant to a perinatal life support (PLS) system, with the goal to delay and ease the transition to newborn life. The PhD position is about

    • the development, use and validation of a Perinatal Life Support system and in particular the development of the simulation(s) for medical training of this Perinatal Life Support system, or
    • designing and realizing prototypes for improving Comfort and Bonding of parents and the extremely premature born infant.
  2. Human Centred Artificial Intelligence (USI’s with AI expertise, or AI expertise). In recent years AI has been making strides and is becoming embedded in our daily life, empowering humans and enhancing their autonomy and quality of life. By the same token, AI can potentially reduce human autonomy when it acts autonomously, when it monitors and interprets human actions and emotions, and by its sheer complexity which makes it hard for users to understand and anticipate its operation. This tension between human and machine autonomy poses major scientific, technological and ethical challenges to the design of AI systems, and failing to consider this tension challenges social stability and democratic constitutions. It is thus vital to develop models and methods that can predict and evaluate how people respond to changing interactions with such a social and technological environment and that can guide the design of AI to be transparent and intelligible, and safeguarding people’s autonomy. This challenge is particularly acute for artificial autonomous systems that understand, predict, and respond to our internal states (thoughts, feelings, and goals) to recommend and/or take action within the emerging technological landscape of the Internet of things (IoT).

  3. automotive. Details to be announced later.

Application Procedure

It is a two-step process:

  1. Applying with us. According to the quality of the application documents, you might be invited for an interview (video conferencing, if necessary). If the interview gives positive advice, you will be offered with the admission letter, with a tuition fee waiver.
  2. Applying at CSC. We will help you adjust, refine and improve your research proposal, and help you improve the quality of other application documents. We will assist and advise you throughout the CSC application process.

If you are interested in applying, please first address your interest to dr. Jun Hu: j.hu@tue.nl as early as possible for questions and guidance, and later prepare the following documents and submit them to j.hu@tue.nl, with "CSC PhD application 2020" in the subject:

  1. Curriculum Vitae
  2. Research plan according to one of the aforementioned topics (no more than 4-pages of A4 in English, Including Background, Objectives and Research questions, Methodology, Planning, Expected results, Feasibility, Future Plan after your PhD, and References).
  3. Motivation letter (no more than 1-page A4).
  4. Copy of Master Degree (if available, or a letter from your university to prove that you are expected to graduate in due time).
  5. Letter of recommendation from your supervisor at the home university.
  6. Any indication of your English level (IELTS 6.5 or TOEFL 95, or equivalent) according to the requirements from CSC (http://www.csc.edu.cn/) and TU/e.

  7. If you have a design or art background, portfolio of your design or artwork.

If these documents are too big to be attached to an email, you are advised to simply send in a link to a single online ZIP file that contains all the documents.


Please notice the deadlines: February 1, 2020 at TU/e; Deadline for applying at CSC is March 31, 2020 (please check the CSC website http://www.csc.edu.cn/). For better support for your application, we would encourage you to apply as early as possible.

For more information

For more information, please contact dr. Jun Hu: j.hu@tue.nl

More about research at ID, TU/e: https://www.tue.nl/en/our-university/departments/industrial-design/research/

More about the requirements in applying for the Scholarship from China Scholarship Council (CSC) for Chinese PhD candidates: http://www.csc.edu.cn

JunHu: CSC (last edited 2020-02-11 14:00:41 by JunHu)