PhD in Acute non-visual effects of light on attention & cognition during daytime

PhD in Acute non-visual effects of light on attention & cognition during daytime

Published Deadline Location
20 May 20 Jun Eindhoven

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PhD in intelligent, human-centric lighting - Acute non-image forming effects of light on attention and cognition during daytime

Job description

"The LIGHTCAP project"

The Department of Industrial Engineering & Innovation Sciences of Eindhoven University of Technology has three PhD positions in intelligent, human-centric lighting in the Human Technology Interaction (HTI) group, to work on the Marie Skłodowska-Curie ITN funded LIGHTCAP project.

The LIGHTCAP project is a European Training Network under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie actions framework. LIGHTCAP aims to provide a strong, innovative and necessary impulse to our insights in the intricate and complex relationships between light, perception, attention and cognition. Prof Yvonne de Kort of the HTI group is the coordinator of this ETN project.

Cognition, Attention and Perception (CAP) are crucial for professional success, core to educational success, and essential to productive, safe and healthy functioning. Yet cognition is hard work, attention is fragile, and perception is selective. Recent research has shown that light directly and indirectly helps to foster CAP, in particular via the activation of a recently discovered photoreceptor in the human eye. However, large-scale migration to cities, increased time spent indoors, and our 24-hour economy have impacted on our light exposure. Such aberrant, unnatural light dark cycles impact on human physiology and functioning and can result in sleep, mood and circadian rhythm disturbances, in fatigue and cognitive failure, and they even may aggravate certain cancer pathologies.

LIGHTCAP is an international, interdisciplinary, cross-sectional and translational training program. It unites experts from neurobiology, cognitive neuroscience, chronobiology, psychology and lighting technology. It will train a generation of researchers who can look beyond the borders of their discipline and understand the implications of their findings for other fields.

In LIGHTCAP, 15 early stage researchers will be trained in a joint programme between 7 academic European partners:
  • the Human-Technology Interaction group and the Building Lighting group at Eindhoven University of Technology;
  • the Centre for Biological Timing at the University of Manchester;
  • the Lighting and Visual Perception group of the University of Sheffield;
  • the GIGA-Cyclontron Research Centre-In Vivo Imaging of the University of Liège;
  • the Centre for Chronobiology of the University of Basel;
  • the Laboratory of Integrated Performance in Design of the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL); and
  • the Lighting Technology group of the Technical University of Berlin.

These groups will be collaborating intensively with each other and with the solid consortium of industrial and medical partners through secondments (research visits), consortium meetings and a joint training programme. The HTI group is seeking three enthusiastic, ambitious young researchers to work in our team; this is the description for one project. For the remaining LIGHTCAP positions at TU/e and in the partner universities, please see the LIGHTCAP project's website:

PhD position: Acute non-image forming effects of light on attention and cognition during daytime

We aim to quantify the magnitude and direction of acute non-image forming (NIF) effects on subjective and objective markers of attention and cognition. Important factors will be the timing of the light exposure in relation to internal circadian time and time awake, the duration of the light pulse, and its spectral composition. Your studies will be mostly laboratory based and may include psychophysiological measurements, cognitive tasks as well as self-reports, and may make use of metameric light interventions to assess acute NIF effects of (melanopic) light exposure on attention and cognition.

You will conduct your research under the supervision of Dr. Karin Smolders, Dr. Luc Schlangen, and Prof. Yvonne de Kort. You will be a member of the light group of HTI, the larger LIGHTCAP team, and of TU/e's Intelligent Lighting Institute. We have planned secondments for you with the chronobiology group in Basel and Emmlight.


Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e)


  • A master's degree or an equivalent university degree in chronobiology, neuroscience, (cognitive) psychology, health sciences, human-technology interaction, or a related discipline
  • Experience with and affinity for working with chronobiological and/or psychological theory
  • Advanced statistical skills.
  • Experience with chronobiological paradigms in the field of lighting is considered a plus
  • A strong interest in lighting and psychological research
  • Expertise with empirical research among humans
  • A research oriented attitude 
  • Strong conceptual thinking and planning skills; you are creative and proactive
  • Ability to work in an international and interdisciplinary team and interested in collaborating with industrial partners.
  • Fluent in spoken and written English.
  • To be eligible for recruitment within an MSCA-ITN project, you must - at the date of recruitment - be within the first four years (full-time equivalent research experience) of your research career and not have a doctoral degree.
  • The MSCA are a researcher mobility programme. You therefore must not have resided or carried out your main activity (e.g. work, studies) in the Netherlands for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately before your start date.

Conditions of employment

  • A meaningful job in a dynamic and ambitious university with the possibility to present your work at international conferences.
  • A full-time employment for four years, with an intermediate evaluation after one year.
  • To support you during your PhD and to prepare you for the rest of your career, you will have free access to a personal development program for PhD students (PROOF program).
  • A gross monthly salary and benefits in accordance with the Collective Labor Agreement for Dutch Universities.
  • Additionally, an annual holiday allowance of 8% of the yearly salary, plus a year-end allowance of 8.3% of the annual salary. Your total pay will also be in accordance with the allowances of the MSCA work programme.[1]
  • A broad package of fringe benefits, including an excellent technical infrastructure, moving expenses, and savings schemes.
  • Family-friendly initiatives are in place, such as an international spouse program, and excellent on-campus children day care and sports facilities.



  • PhD
  • Economics
  • max. 38 hours per week
  • University graduate
  • V39.4375


Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e)

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