Phd Position Safety and Quality Control of Algorithmic Systems in Clinical Decision Making

Phd Position Safety and Quality Control of Algorithmic Systems in Clinical Decision Making

Published Deadline Location
22 Nov 16 Jan Delft

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Algoritmic systems have great potential to help healthcare professionals deliver better care to patients - but how do we integrate and govern these in a safe and responsible manner?

Job description

While medical hospitals have advanced quality and safety controls and assessments for technological tools, these cannot be straightforwardly applied to algorithmic decision systems (ADS), due to the complex nature of how these integrate in a clinical treatment or research context. This means emergent safety risks are not yet understood nor appropriately anticipated, and challenges emerge around assigning responsibility to developers versus (quality) management versus clinical personnel. In addition, new regulatory requirements will emerge to ensure effective human oversight. This PhD project will research current quality and safety control requirements in academic hospitals, map how these relate to existing legal practises and how these are operationalized, to then identify emergent risks of ADS applications in the current regime and identify emergent regulatory requirements. We then draw lessons from the history of system safety and systems engineering to propose effective paradigms for ensuring quality and safety of ADS in clinical contexts, and to in turn inform regulatory initiatives. An important part of this work will happen in conjunction with the development and implementation of the European AI Act. In particular, we will study to what extent emerging regulatory frameworks are effective in making sure that AI systems in place have the necessary affordances to enable meaningful human oversight, and where they do not, how these findings could inform the regulation of the professional obligations of systems developers.

This project is part of the Algosoc Gravitation program Public Values in the Algorithmic Society. The Gravitation program is an initiative by the Dutch government to support excellent research in the Netherlands. The funding is reserved for scientific consortia that have the potential to rank among the world's best in their field. Algosoc is a response to the urgent need for an informed societal perspective on automated decision-making. Funded by the ministry for Education, Culture and Science for a period for 10 years, research in the algosoc program will be grounded in a deep understanding of the systemic changes that automated decision making entails for core public institutions, for society, and for how public values are realized. The research will focus on three sectors: justice, health and media. The program brings together researchers in law, communication science, computer science, philosophy, public governance, STS, economy and social sciences from five Dutch universities (Amsterdam, Utrecht, Tilburg, Delft and Rotterdam). Together, the algosoc community will develop solutions for the design of governance frameworks needed to complement technology-driven initiatives in the algorithmic society.

This PhD project will be executed in close collaboration with the academic medical center of Utrecht and other medical centers in The Netherlands. We will study concrete ADS applications in clinical context and emerging in research.

What you are going to do?


  • Develop, conduct, and publish research on new safety and quality control paradigms for algorithmic decision making in medical contexts
  • Contribute to the public debate and organise outreach activitites of algosoc;
  • Contribute to the overall program in terms of events, research meetings, activities;
  • Collaborate with other researchers within the algosoc consortium
  • Give guest-lectures in the area of your expertise at BSc or MSc level at the Delft University of Technology and partner universities;
  • Help co-supervising research projects of students working on related topics.


Delft University of Technology (TU Delft)


The candidate for this position has a (research) master degree in medicine, (systems) engineering, biomedical data science, bio-informatics, medical safety science or public administration. The ideal candidate will likely not have a formal background in all the above topics but ideally has a strong affinity and willingness to work in a team of people from diverse disciplines and to quickly learn and attain new research skills outside of their current training.  

You need to have affinity with the design of engineering systems or data science, and have intrinsic motivation to build bridges between those building systems, those using it, those managing or supervising it, and those being affected by it.

Furthermore you:

  • Have a clear research interest in the topic of the project;
  • An excellent written and spoken command of English, as demonstrated by publications in English-language journals (written and spoken command of other languages, including French, German and/or Dutch is a plus);
  • The ability, willingness, and commitment to do autonomous work in a multidisciplinary team that includes legal scholars, communication scholars, ethici and data scientists;
  • Experience with organising workshops, lecture series, and similar events.

If the vacancy appeals to you, but you are doubting whether you might be THE person we are looking for, please do apply.  We encourage all qualified applicants, including minorities, women, people with disabilities, and members of other groups underrepresented in academia to apply. We wish to create a consortium that consists of persons who each contribute in their unique way to the team. Complementarity and not homogeneity is what we are looking for.  

Developing a societal vision on automated decision making concerns us all. We believe that a diversity of perspectives in our consortium will be important in developing an inclusive societal vision and strive therefore also in our hiring policy for encouraging applicants from diverse backgrounds. We are committed to creating an environment of mutual respect, inclusiveness, equal opportunities with room for situated experiences, diverse perspectives, and ideas to flourish. This commitment applies to our research, organisation, room for flexibility, training, and community activities as well as our hiring strategy.   

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 Technology, Policy and Management

The Faculty of Technology, Policy and Management (TPM) at TU Delft contributes to sustainable solutions for technological challenges in society by combining the insights from engineering with the humanities and the social sciences. The PhD-student will be positioned in the Engineering Systems and Services (ESS) department. The core activity of the department is to model, understand, forecast, and shape emerging technological innovations and user patterns in the increasingly interconnected sectors of energy, industry, mobility and ICT; and use these insights for improved design, regulation and operation of such engineering systems. ESS aims to contribute to the scholarly debate at the highest international level, and is rooted in both engineering and social sciences.

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


  • PhD
  • Behaviour and society
  • 36—40 hours per week
  • €2541—€3247 per month
  • University graduate
  • TUD03121


Delft University of Technology (TU Delft)

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