PhD position in Designing Digital Health for Social Justice

PhD position in Designing Digital Health for Social Justice

Published Deadline Location
19 Jan 1 Mar Delft

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Do you believe digital health technologies can transform healthcare? And do you want to work on building digital tools than can advance health equity?

Job description

Digital health includes the use of mobile health apps, telemedicine, and data analytics to improve health systems. It has the potential to revolutionize healthcare and make care more equitable. The PhD candidate’s work will focus on data-driven digital tools for healthy living and mental well-being–such as smartphone apps to help individuals self-monitor their health, provide personalized health advice, and connect them to health services. 

In this PhD project the candidate will work on designing digital health for social justice. Most digital tools for mental wellbeing and physical health are not designed for and with vulnerable populations, such as people from ethnic and gender minority backgrounds and low-income individuals. These individuals often have worse health. If issues related to lower access to technology, poor usability in app design, and biases in machine learning algorithms and are not addressed, health inequities will increase rather than decrease. 

The goal of the PhD project is to conduct research on building personalized and innovative digital tools for healthy living and mental well-being for vulnerable populations. This position is part of the 4TU programme entitled ‘High-tech & data-driven agri-food system of the future’. In this project data platforms will be designed to connect citizens to healthy foods based on their wishes and needs and puts them in charge of their data. There will be close cooperation with the 4TU researchers, industry partners and government stakeholders involved in this program. You will contribute to the Health@TPM initiative, a network of research and support for the faculty's work regarding health, systems, and technology. 

What are you going to do?
• Guide the building of digital tools for healthy living (e.g. mobile apps, platforms, machine-learning algorithms to help individuals manage their (mental) health)
• Develop, conduct, and publish research on digital health for social justice
• Contribute to the 4TU events, research meetings, and activities
• Collaborate with other researchers within the 4TU consortium
• Help co-supervising research projects of students working on related topics

As a researcher in this position, you will work closely with Dr. Caroline Figueroa and Mark de Reuver. Your work will be supported by a scientific programmer and datasteward. There is are opportunities to teach and supervise students in collaboration with your supervisors.
This position will be filled within the Engineering Systems and Services section Information and Communication Technology department at the Delft University of Technology, Faculty of Technology, Policy and Management.      


Delft University of Technology (TU Delft)


The ideal candidate for this position has an MSc degree in Computer Science, Artificial Intelligence, Data Science, Human-Computer Interaction, Medical Informatics or a related field. 

Furthermore you have:
• A strong interest and experience in conducting empirical research (e.g., user studies) or familiarity with and interest in qualitative and quantitative and user-centered design methods
• A proven record and interest in further developing your programming, web/mobile software design and development skills.
• Proficient in written and verbal English communication
• Ability to work independently and in a (multidisciplinary) team
• Interest in health equity and social justice.

If the vacancy appeals to you but you are doubting whether you fulfill all the requirements, please apply. We encourage minorities, women, people with disabilities, and members of other groups underrepresented in academia to apply.      

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, health, 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. You will work in the section Information and Communication Technology, which hosts expertise in areas of blockchain, AI, open data, data platforms, e-health, health-systems, and digitalization. 

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
  • TUD03383


Delft University of Technology (TU Delft)

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