PhD Position Systems Science for Sustainable Safety

PhD Position Systems Science for Sustainable Safety

Published Deadline Location
27 Oct 23 Nov Delft

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Job description

At the Institute for Health Systems Science (IHSS) at the faculty of Technology, Policy and Management, a PhD position will become available dedicated to safety in healthcare systems. The IHSS is a recently established TPM initiative that has a mission to explore and promote systems science methods in Health & Care to enable safe and sustainable health & care for all. The IHSS leverages on the faculty’s long-standing record in a.o. complex systems science and safety science. The position will be based within the safety & security science section (3S). Safety science is a discipline that builds upon knowledge from a variety of disciplines including engineering, psychology, mathematics, economics, and philosophy. In 2018 healthcare became a key focus for 3S with the establishment of the Centre for Safety in Healthcare (CSH). In this PhD position, you will work with experts from different sections and departments in the faculty, as the IHSS aims to connect people involved in health & care research and education faculty wide.

It is increasingly recognized that complex challenges, such as safety and resilience, are best approached from a systems perspective. In healthcare, systems science is as yet underexplored and has significant potential to address its longstanding complex challenges. This PhD trajectory will focus on the added value of a systems perspective in the context of safety in healthcare, with a special emphasis on the professional and organisational responsibilities towards ensuring safe care. It will consider individual professional performance and professional views on safe care as related to the healthcare system design and functioning (as a sociotechnical system). In other words, how the actions of - and interaction between healthcare system (how it is organised and functions) and the care professional, can enhance or hamper safe care. The project includes an exploration into the underlying mental models of care professionals (both clinical and managerial) on properties of safe care, how they envision execution of the multitude of tasks involved, and how responsibilities are distributed. It further includes a modelling project, for which both qualitative and quantitative approaches can be used, to explore what system conditions, changes and/or incentives would be necessary to enhance sustained safer care in healthcare systems. While we are interested in these topics broadly, here we aim to zoom in on one of the following (use) cases: acute care, mental health, or cancer care.


Delft University of Technology (TU Delft)


We are looking for a PhD candidate:

  • with a background in systems engineering, clinical technology, safety science, or a related discipline;
  • knowledge of or shown interest in the health care domain;
  • preferably an additional degree or strong interest in philosophy;
  • with basic knowledge on scientific methods to study complex challenges;
  • professional proficiency in English (mandatory);
  • proficiency in Dutch language is recommended.

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 € 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 Technology, Policy and Management

The Faculty of TPM provides an important contribution to solving complex technical-social issues, such as energy transition, mobility, digitalisation, water management and (cyber) security. TPM does this with its excellent education and research at the intersection of technology, society and policy. We combine insights from both engineering and social sciences as well as the humanities. TPM develops robust models and designs, is internationally oriented and has an extensive network of knowledge institutions, companies, social organisations and governments.

Click here to go to the website of the Faculty of Technology, Policy and Management.


  • PhD
  • Health
  • 36—40 hours per week
  • €2770—€3539 per month
  • University graduate
  • TUD04598


Delft University of Technology (TU Delft)

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