PhD position on Technology-enabled design interventions to motivate consumers' to repair their electronic products

PhD position on Technology-enabled design interventions to motivate consumers' to repair their electronic products

Published Deadline Location
25 Mar 3 May Delft

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Job description

The Faculty of Industrial Design Engineering at the Delft University of Technology (TU Delft) has openings for a PhD candidate as part of the NWO KIC (Dutch Consortium grant) on "Tackling Fixophobia: Improving repair practices for consumer electronics".

In today’s linear economy, the rapid replacement of consumer electronics leads to CO2-emissions, resource scarcity, e-waste and pollution, thereby providing important environmental and societal challenges. Extending the lifetimes of consumer electronics is essential to tackle these challenges. Most consumer electronics are currently replaced because of the inability to fulfil their main function or a loss in performance. A repair economy in which all value chain actors (incl. consumers) adopt repair practices can resolve such performance issues, leading to extended product lifetimes, and a Circular Economy for consumer electronics. Yet, all value chain actors currently experience barriers that withhold them from trusting, accepting, and adopting repair practices, leading to ‘Fixophobia’.

This project aims to provide the much-needed scientific theories, societal tools, and repair system innovations to encourage a multi-actor system change and enhance trust, acceptance and adoption of repair practices for consumer electronics. To achieve societal impact, we collaborate intensely with a unique consortium, including all actors in the consumer electronics value chain: Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs), (design) consultancies, retail, repair organisations, consumer organisations, network/trade

In this KIC-project, three PhD students will work on different factors related to 'Fixophobia'.

This particular PhD vacancy focuses on designing and testing technology-enabled design interventions that can motivate consumers to repair their electronic products. In this PhD research, the candidate will take a design perspective to uncover interventions that will either enhance consumers' trust in repair, that will make the repair activities more pleasurable and/or that help consumers in diagnosing the cause of the failure. Specific attention will be paid to the opportunities provided by emerging technologies (e.g., AI, Internet of Things). Moreover, in the final project you will intensively collaborate with the other academic partners on consumer behavior (Wageningen University), design (Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences) value chain (University of Maastricht) and law (Erasmus University) to together develop an integrated framework on repair. Interdisciplinary research is thus a valuable part of the project.

Specifically, the project will include:

- Providing an overview of the different design interventions (including product, service, system) that motivate consumers to repair their electronic products.

- Developing (virtual) prototypes in which the different interventions are implemented in different products

- Investigating how consumers respond to the created prototypes using both interviews and experimental studies.

- Develop a design tool for new motivating repair solutions.

- Integrating findings with other academics into an interdisciplinary framework on repair.

- Discussing the findings in dissemination sessions with stakeholders from industry and government to achieve societal impact.

- Writing scientific papers for academic conferences and journals

The PhD candidate should have an interest in education and in how to translate research outcomes into educational experiences. You will also be required to do a small amount (10%) of teaching in related courses and co-supervise Master graduate students. The preferred starting date for the position is September 2024.


Delft University of Technology (TU Delft)


-Completed MSc in the Design, Marketing or Consumer Psychology fields with demonstrated interest in design and technological realization; as well as product innovation skills (e.g., creativity, prototyping, and future thinking)

- Experience in conducting consumer studies (preferably both qualitative and quantitative)

- Good scientific writing skills

- Interest in working on Sustainability and Circular Economy

- Ability to work independently as well as in a team, take initiative, and work towards results in a systematic way.

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.

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
  • TUD05187


Delft University of Technology (TU Delft)

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