Ph.D. Position: Feedback mechanism for cancer patients through a data-centric, human-centred design approach

Ph.D. Position: Feedback mechanism for cancer patients through a data-centric, human-centred design approach

Published Deadline Location
9 Mar 22 Mar Delft

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Job description

With the increase in aging populations and cancer incidence worldwide, the accessibility of cancer care is under high pressure. The higher number of patients requiring cancer care will receive that care from a decreasing number of healthcare workers: the double aging phenomenon. These patients are typically followed up in surveillance protocols for many years

after their primary care, impacting their lives and healthcare accessibility. Fundamental action must be taken to adapt healthcare systems to be future-proof. This begs the question of whether an (intensive) in-hospital postoperative surveillance strategy is still warranted from a patient's well-being and a societalhealthcare cost perspective.

An optimal follow-up program for cancer (CRC) patients should be patient-centered, adaptive to patients’ needs, and measure objective and subjective cancer-specific and general health. Smart measurement technologies such as smart eHealth are essential in allowing adequate monitoring of patients' well-being in the comfort of their homes. TU Delft collaborates with Erasmus MC to address this challenge by combining engineering and medical perspectives through two Ph.D. positions.

The objective of this Ph.D. project hosted by the TU Delft is the design, development, and study of methods and tools that enable data-centric, human-centered feedback mechanisms for cancer patients living at home.In this context, a feedback mechanism might involve the collection, detection, recommendation, and supervision stages. Data sources will include EORTC QoL Questionnaires, biosensors, general health data, and blood test results but might be expended as requirements and needs are refined.

Funded by the Dutch Cancer Foundation (KWF) and in collaboration with LifeSignals, Digitaal Verbonden, and Microsoft, the project will involve activities such as

- Technical Exploration of existing datasets to understand what is achievable (feasibility).

- Qualitative research with patients and clinicians to better understand what to achieve (desirability, viability), such as data probes and participatory data analysis.

- Functional implementations of the feedback mechanism with a Wizard-of-Oz approach.

- An autonomous implementation of the feedback mechanism (which might include human-in-the-loop, depending on the requirements).


Delft University of Technology (TU Delft)


We are looking for a person with an aptitude for independent creative work, good team working skills, and excellent English language skills. In addition, the candidate has a master’s degree in computer science, HCI, or related discipline, experience in machine learning and user studies, and an interest in design research in the medical field.

Ideally, the candidate should have experience with prototyping interactive systems and the medical context and the confidence to interact in Dutch with study participants.

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 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
  • Engineering
  • 36—40 hours per week
  • €2541—€3247 per month
  • University graduate
  • TUD03560


Delft University of Technology (TU Delft)

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