PhD Position on Interaction Design for Human-robot Teamwork in Hospital Environments

PhD Position on Interaction Design for Human-robot Teamwork in Hospital Environments

Published Deadline Location
27 Jan 1 Mar Enschede

You cannot apply for this job anymore.

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

Job description

For the next 15 years, a greater demand for well-trained healthcare workers is expected. Yet, current trends identified by the World Health Organization indicate shortages of such workers. One of the key factors that contributes to this trend is the high rate of repetitive strain injuries sustained by healthcare workers due to ergonomic risks on the job. To support these workers, a robot for mobile manipulation could collaborate with the workers and possibly reduce some of the ergonomic risks of the job. For instance, by collaborating with workers during sorting tasks, and through the delivery of time-sensitive (bio) materials.

We are seeking a PhD student for the full-time 4-year project on “Interaction Design for Human-Robot Teamwork in Hospital Environments”. The goal of this PhD research project is to design and evaluate the physical shape, movement, and interaction of mobile collaborative robots, drawing upon the expertise of theatre actors. This will result in a set of guidelines for eliciting appropriate expectations, feelings of safety, intent communication and intuitiveness for mobile manipulation robots.

You will be responsible for:

  • designing robot social behaviours for different types of robots.
  • use methods from design and theatre to identify effective robot behaviours.
  • run user studies in real world environments.
  • carry out long term evaluations of human robot teamwork in hospital environments.
  • the timely writing of project deliverables and research publications.

You will be positioned in the Human Media Interaction (HMI) group of the University of Twente, the Netherlands, and you will be a part of a dynamic, multidisciplinary team. The HMI lab does research into multimodal interaction: from brain computer interfaces to social robots. It is a multidisciplinary group in which computer science meets social science to investigate and design and evaluate novel forms of human-computer interaction. In addition, the PhD student will be part of a larger European project called Harmony. This EU project aims to develop assistive robotic mobile manipulation technologies for use in hospital environments. The Harmony consortium is a partnership made up for various entities: six university research departments, two hospitals, and two companies. The PhD student is expected to work in close collaboration with these partners.

The applicant is a team player: cooperation in a multi-disciplinary project team is required for realizing the project objectives. We are looking for an applicant who works on the intersection of technology and social sciences. Ideally someone who is interested and has some experience working across disciplines, such as design, the social sciences, computer science, and the arts.


University of Twente (UT)


  • You are highly motivated to work on designing robotic behaviour and investigating people’s perception thereof.
  • You have, or will shortly acquire, a M.Sc degree in the field of Human Computer Interaction, Creative Technology, Design, Communication, Social sciences, Technical Medicine or closely related field.
  • Ideally you have some experience in prototyping and programming in languages such as Java, Python, or C#, or in programming robots specifically.
  • Ideally you already have experience in writing academic papers.
  • You have good team spirit, excellent communication and social skills, and like to work in an internationally oriented environment where many cultures meet.
  • Fluency in English is required to present your work at conferences and project meetings.
  • As a PhD researcher you are keen to take on responsibility and you are capable of planning and executing your work individually when required.

Conditions of employment

As a PhD student at the UT, you will be appointed on a full-time position for four years, with a qualifier in the first year, within a very stimulating scientific environment;

  • The university offers a dynamic ecosystem with enthusiastic colleagues.
  • Salary and conditions are in accordance with the collective labour agreement for Dutch universities (CAO-NU).
  • You will receive a salary ranging from around €2.395,- gross per month at the start to around €3.061,- in the fourth year.
  • Excellent benefits including a holiday allowance of 8% of the gross annual salary, a year-end bonus of 8.3% and a solid pension scheme.
  • We provide excellent mentorship and a stimulating research environment with excellent facilities.
  • You are offered a professional and personal development program within the Twente Graduate School.
  • We encourage a high degree of responsibility and independence, while collaborating with close colleagues, researchers and other university staff.


  • PhD
  • Engineering
  • max. 40 hours per week
  • €2395—€3061 per month
  • University graduate
  • 2021-215


University of Twente (UT)

Learn more about this employer


Drienerlolaan 5, 7522 NB, Enschede

View on Google Maps

Interessant voor jou