PhD Designing personalized lifestyle interventions

PhD Designing personalized lifestyle interventions

Published Deadline Location
26 Oct 26 Nov Delft

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Are you interested in combining expertise from design research and behavioural science to improve people’s healthy behaviours and their health? Check our PhD vacancy and apply now!

Job description

A healthy lifestyle is key for maintaining health, well-being and functional ability at all stages of our life. However, the percentage of the population that has an unhealthy lifestyle remains high, especially among low socioeconomic groups and other vulnerable and hard to reach groups. Current lifestyle interventions show limited effectiveness. To investigate how interventions can become more successful at improving lifestyles, this PhD position will focus on how to design them in a way that considers the individual and contextual characteristics of its users, such as socio-economic status, personal beliefs and preferences. We expect this will improve engagement, adherence and effectiveness of lifestyle interventions, and thus improve health and quality of life.

In this position, you will work at the intersection of design research and behavioural science, developing new knowledge through quantitative and qualitative (design) research methods. You will take a participatory approach, working closely together with health and design experts, researchers and clinicians, patients and individuals with (a high risk for) chronic diseases. During this project, you will explore how lifestyle interventions can be personalised to individual characteristics and preferences, as well as contextual characteristics. In addition, you will assess the role of perception and beliefs regarding health behaviour and how they may impact (intention to change) health behaviour. Finally, you will design and develop innovative tools and strategies to address these factors in health interventions. Throughout the project, you will interact with a variety of target groups and health interventions, aiming for solutions that are applicable to these different groups and interventions.

Convergence Health and Technology Flagship ALIVE

This project is a collaboration between the Faculty of Industrial Design Engineering at TU Delft, the Erasmus School of Economics of Erasmus University Rotterdam, and Erasmus MC. It is embedded in the Health & Technology theme of the recently launched Convergence between the three universities. The Health and Technology theme is creating and funding new frameworks that promote scientific discoveries and technological innovation in the field of health and healthcare. This project is part of the Convergence Flagship ALIVE (A Lifecourse and Individual-based View on Lifestyle to Enhance Health).

The aim of ALIVE is to investigate lifestyle to better match individual characteristics, preferences, personal goals and background. Within this Flagship, at least 4 new PhD students and 2 postdoctoral researchers will be hired in 2023 and 2024. This means that you will have the opportunity to collaborate with a large team of researchers from multiple disciplines at all three research institutes. 


Delft University of Technology (TU Delft)


Due to the interdisciplinarity of this position, we are looking for a curious and independent researcher who can integrate ideas and combine research methods from different fields. You also have:

  • A MSc in either Industrial Design, Health Psychology, Behavioural Economics, Health Economics or another subject relevant to this project.
  • A great interest in human behaviour, decision making or behaviour change techniques.
  • Experience and knowledge of both qualitative and quantitative research methods, such as participatory design, experimental design and survey studies.
  • If there are any gaps in your knowledge or experience on the topics mentioned above, you are willing and capable to learn quickly.
  • Excellent communication and social skills. These are essential to collaborate with researchers with different fields of expertise within this project.
  • Command of Dutch is highly desirable, given that some parts of the project will involve contact with vulnerable Dutch populations.

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 jaar.

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 € 2770 per month in the first year to € 3539 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 a monthly work costs contribution. Flexible work schedules can be arranged. 

For international applicants, TU Delft has the Coming to Delft Service. This service provides information for new international employees to help you prepare the relocation and to settle in the Netherlands. The Coming to Delft Service offers a Dual Career Programme for partners and they organise events to expand your (social) network.


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 Industrial Design Engineering

Matching the evolution of people with the speed of the revolution of technology. This is the focus of the Faculty of Industrial Design Engineering (IDE). Delft designers act as a bridge between advances in technology and the needs of people, organisations and society to create products, services and systems with purpose.

IDE is a leader in design research across the application areas of mobility, sustainability and health, as well as its development of design tools and methods. A 350-strong research team and over 2,000 students work together in our inspiring hall, labs and studios.

In close cooperation with industry, the public sector and NGOs we rehearse possible futures in research and education to design for a complex future.

Click here to go to the website of the Faculty of Industrial Design Engineering.


  • PhD
  • Behaviour and society
  • 36—40 hours per week
  • €2770—€3539 per month
  • University graduate
  • TUD04553


Delft University of Technology (TU Delft)

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