PhD-position Musical Robot for People with Dementia

PhD-position Musical Robot for People with Dementia

Published Deadline Location
20 Oct 4 Dec Delft

You cannot apply for this job anymore (deadline was 4 Dec 2022).

Browse the current job offers or choose an item in the top navigation above.

Collaborating with main stakeholders to enhance the quality of life of people with dementia, you co-create a musical social robot that guides and enriches people's daily activities.

Job description

The PhD-candidate will join the QoLEAD project, a unique interdisciplinary collaborative network for the co-creation of intelligent personalized support for people with dementia (PwD). This position is at the Interactive Intelligence group of TU Delft, with a tight connection to the Music, Brain, Health & Technology (MBHT) lab of University Leiden (Rebecca Schaefer, the head of the lab, will co-supervise the PhD). Furthermore, the PhD-research is part of a work package that develops a "social agent and robot framework", in which TU Delft closely  collaborates with the Radboud University, RU (i.e., the concerning RU PhD-student and supervisors who focus on a supportive virtual agent).

The TU Delft PhD-research will co-create a musical social robot that guides and enriches people's daily activities, supporting and augmenting caregivers tasks. Among other things the co-creation will build on the results and insight of the ReJAM-project ( The envisioned social robot supports caregivers to bring about positive experiences and mitigate participation bottlenecks of the PwD. As music has a high potential to stimulate beneficial social, cognitive and affective processes, specific attention will be paid to the selection and provision of music during the robot-guided activitities. Furthermore, to appropriately continue the robot conversations with the PwD and to support (positive) experience sharing, the PhD-research will provide an affective-cognitive memory module that addresses the influence of music. A second important research outcome is a set of  theoretically and empirically founded design patterns for the beneficial human-robot interactions (which is driven by the memory module).

The PhD-candidate will initiate, manage and execute a systematic iterative process of (co)-designing, prototyping and evaluation. People with dementia and their caregivers will be involded in the research from the beginning (such as user requirements, use cases, knowledge acquisitions and evaluations), although first prototypes will be tested with less vulnerable people. 


Delft University of Technology (TU Delft)


Candidates should have a master’s degree in artificial intelligence, computer science, cognitive science, human-computer interaction, or a related field. In addition, you:

  • have strong computational skills, and interests in human-robot interaction and music;
  • have affinity with human-centered design, conversational agents, and empricial studies
  • have affinity with people with dementia, and speak Dutch (as you will design for and with Dutch speaking PwD)  
  • have excellent social skills and interests to learn and think across disciplines;
  • preferably have some experience with cognitive (memory, conversation) modeling and statistical data analysis.

A description of the project is available upon request.

Doing a PhD at TU Delft requires English proficiency at a certain level to ensure that the candidate is able to communicate and interact well, participate in English-taught Doctoral Education courses, and write scientific articles and a final thesis. For more details please check the Graduate Schools Admission Requirements.

Conditions of employment

Fixed-term contract: 4 years.

Doctoral candidates will be offered a 4-year period of employment in principle, but in the form of 2 employment contracts. An initial 1,5 year contract with an official go/no go progress assessment within 15 months. Followed by an additional contract for the remaining 2,5 years assuming everything goes well and performance requirements are met.

Salary and benefits are in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities, increasing from € 2541 per month in the first year to € 3247 in the fourth year. As a PhD candidate you will be enrolled in the TU Delft Graduate School. The TU Delft Graduate School provides an inspiring research environment with an excellent team of supervisors, academic staff and a mentor. The Doctoral Education Programme is aimed at developing your transferable, discipline-related and research skills.

The TU Delft offers a customisable compensation package, discounts on health insurance and sport memberships, and a monthly work costs contribution. Flexible work schedules can be arranged. For international applicants we offer the Coming to Delft Service and Partner Career Advice to assist you with your relocation.


Delft University of Technology

Delft University of Technology is built on strong foundations. As creators of the world-famous Dutch waterworks and pioneers in biotech, TU Delft is a top international university combining science, engineering and design. It delivers world class results in education, research and innovation to address challenges in the areas of energy, climate, mobility, health and digital society. For generations, our engineers have proven to be entrepreneurial problem-solvers, both in business and in a social context.

At TU Delft we embrace diversity as one of our core values and we actively engage to be a university where you feel at home and can flourish. We value different perspectives and qualities. We believe this makes our work more innovative, the TU Delft community more vibrant and the world more just. Together, we imagine, invent and create solutions using technology to have a positive impact on a global scale. That is why we invite you to apply. Your application will receive fair consideration.

Challenge. Change. Impact!


Faculty Electrical Engineering, Mathematics and Computer Science

The Faculty of Electrical Engineering, Mathematics and Computer Science (EEMCS) brings together three disciplines - electrical engineering, mathematics and computer science. Combined, they reinforce each other and are the driving force behind the technology we use in our daily lives. Technology such as the electricity grid, which our faculty is helping to make future-proof. We are also working on a world in which humans and computers reinforce each other. We are mapping out disease processes using single cell data, and using mathematics to simulate gigantic ash plumes after a volcanic eruption. There is plenty of room here for ground-breaking research. We educate innovative engineers and have excellent labs and facilities that underline our strong international position. In total, more than 1,100 employees and 4,000 students work and study in this innovative environment.

Click here to go to the website of the Faculty of Electrical Engineering, Mathematics and Computer Science.


  • PhD
  • Engineering
  • 38—40 hours per week
  • €2541—€3247 per month
  • University graduate
  • TUD02646


Delft University of Technology (TU Delft)

Learn more about this employer


Mekelweg 2, 2628 CD, Delft

View on Google Maps

Interesting for you