PhD Position Sensor fusion for estimating physical behaviours and health

PhD Position Sensor fusion for estimating physical behaviours and health

Published Deadline Location
27 Feb 31 Mar Delft

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Challenge: Using sensor fusion to improve estimates of physical behaviours and health using wearable sensors.
Change: Use a combination of sensor fusion and machine learning to extract more information from sensor data as well as context information.
Impact: Enabling personalised interventions to improve lifestyle and to ensure a longer time-span of healthy and active living.

Job description

Nowadays, we all carry sensors around on a daily basis, for instance in our smartphones and in activity trackers. Measurements from these sensors indirectly provide information about physical activity, lifestyle, health and wellbeing. Although huge amounts of sensor data are available from cohort studies, challenges lie in extracting as much useful information as possible from this data. In cohort studies, sensor data is often limited to accelerometer data. Recent advances in sensor technology and availability, however, open up for using additional sensor data to improve estimates of physical activity and health. This position therefore aims at improving the estimation of people’s physical behaviours (physical activity, sedentary behaviour, sleep) and health using sensor data and context information.

This position offers you the unique opportunity to bridge between the fields of technology (wearables, sensor fusion), physical behaviours, and health. You will conduct fundamental research in the field of sensor fusion as well as explore the novel use of algorithms for estimating physical behaviours, their context and health. We expect that working on these topics in parallel will result in a synergy where challenges from one topic inspire ideas in the other and vice versa. Much is yet to be explored in this new research direction bridging different fields and we expect that the research conducted in this position will open up for ideas far beyond this PhD position.

This interdisciplinary PhD position emerges from a collaboration between the Delft Center for Systems and Control (DCSC) within the faculty of 3mE at TU Delft and the research theme physical behaviour monitoring of the Department of Rehabilitation Medicine at Erasmus MC. It is part of the convergence flagship ALIVE: A Lifecourse and Individual-based View on Lifestyle to Enhance Health, which brings together researchers from the TU Delft, Erasmus MC and the Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR). Within the flagship, multiple PhD students and PostDocs will be hired who are expected to actively interact and work together to reach convergence within this interdisciplinary team. Your base will be DCSC within the 3mE faculty of the TU Delft.


Delft University of Technology (TU Delft)


Due to the interdisciplinarity of the project as well as the novelty of the research line, we are looking for a curious, independent researcher who can synthesize ideas from different fields, who can translate real-world ideas into mathematical concepts, who takes the lead of this project and can interact with a large group of researchers and health care professionals with different backgrounds. Good social and communication skills are essential for this as well as:

  • An MSc degree (or close to completion) in automatic control, sensor fusion, signal processing, data science, probabilistic machine learning, or a related field.
  • A thorough understanding of state-space modelling and estimation techniques such as (extended) Kalman filtering, (nonlinear) least squares and optimisation.
  • Good programming skills, e.g. in Matlab or Python.
  • An excellent command of English, both spoken and written.
  • A strong interest in estimation of physical activity and health, experience in this area is a plus but not required. 

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 Mechanical, Maritime and Materials Engineering

From chip to ship. From machine to human being. From idea to solution. Driven by a deep-rooted desire to understand our environment and discover its underlying mechanisms, research and education at the 3mE faculty focusses on fundamental understanding, design, production including application and product improvement, materials, processes and (mechanical) systems.

3mE is a dynamic and innovative faculty with high-tech lab facilities and international reach. It’s a large faculty but also versatile, so we can often make unique connections by combining different disciplines. This is reflected in 3mE’s outstanding, state-of-the-art education, which trains students to become responsible and socially engaged engineers and scientists. We translate our knowledge and insights into solutions to societal issues, contributing to a sustainable society and to the development of prosperity and well-being. That is what unites us in pioneering research, inspiring education and (inter)national cooperation.

Click here to go to the website of the Faculty of Mechanical, Maritime and Materials Engineering. Do you want to experience working at our faculty? These videos will introduce you to some of our researchers and their work.


  • PhD
  • Engineering
  • 38—40 hours per week
  • €2541—€3247 per month
  • University graduate
  • TUD03541


Delft University of Technology (TU Delft)

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