/!\ 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. 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.

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. Dynamic (data-enabled) visualization of complex sociotechnical systems to enhance reflection, communication and design. The Systemic Change group uses design and technology to study socio-technical systems (from micro-macro, with an emphasis on the community level), by designing interventions addressing societal challenges and analyzing their effects on a systemic level. This research merges various fields including design research, social sciences and humanities, engineering, computer and data science. The complexity of these emergent patterns and behavior through these socio-technical systems are very hard to grasp and externalize, so that multi-stakeholder design teams can work with it. The amount of data, the dynamics, the relevance as well as the invisibility and elusiveness make these larger multi-stakeholder design projects around large societal challenges very complicated. In this project we aim at turning data into a design material, with an emphasis on finding ways to include the invisible, the fluid and the ungraspable, thus merging data that can easily be sensed (e.g. people’s movement) and easily obtained (e.g. statistics about populations and environments), with data that is harder to capture (e.g. the dynamics between hundreds of people’s feelings and motivations in social settings). Moreover, we aim at making this design material accessible for all stakeholders working within the project. We are looking for a PhD that has excellent skills in media, data visualization/ data science and design, next to communicative and empathic skills to work in multi-stakeholder teams.

  2. Micro-meso-macro. Many societal challenges require a systemic approach towards change. An approach where multiple stakeholders together create insight in the challenge at hand, and explore possible directions for systemic change. Cyber-physical systems become an integral part of cyber-physical-social (CPS) systems that weave into the socio-technical fabric of human society. These hybrid systems, exhibiting both continuous (in physical and social spaces) and discrete (in cyberspaces) dynamic behavior, give rise to not only new opportunities but also new challenges in designing new products and services where human and technical aspects are massively intertwined in synergy, at the cross-section of 1) emerging socio cyber-physical systems (related also to complexity) and 2) micro-meso-macro scales. This PhD research is to explore How designers and multistakeholder design teams work with technology and develop emerging socio cyber-physical systems while shifting between micro, meso and macro scales, and how the principles of micro (which traditional designers are familiar with) can be connected to the other scales? We are looking for a PhD with excellent skills in interaction design, prototyping and experimenting with socio-technical systems in multistakeholder settings.

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