Skip to content  

Working at TU/e

EngD Innovation design solving meaningful wicked problems innovation eco-systems

EngD Innovation design solving meaningful wicked problems innovation eco-systems

Impactful innovation design for solving meaningful wicked problems in innovation eco-systems.
Professional Doctorate in Engineering (PDEng trainee)
Industrial Design
Date off
Reference number

Job description

The department of Industrial Design of the TU/e is offering a fully funded 2-year position to master graduates leading to the award of an EngD (Engineering Doctorate) degree in Designing Human- System Interaction. The appointment is for two years starting in September 2022.

The project

Eindhoven Engine is an innovation accelerator founded by TU/e, Fontys and TNO, in cooperation with the Industry. It accelerates innovation in the Brainport region to provide new and timely technology-based solutions as an answer to the societal challenges our generation and environment is facing.

For this, capabilities and positions available at science, technology and business-oriented partners provide a human capital and knowledge basis. However, it is envisaged that this potential can be unleashed up to yet another level when organizational barriers are lowered, and interpersonal exchange and combination of ideas and skills are actively stimulated. Inspiring and challenging ‘moon- shot’ goals with associated deadlines are essential, as well as dedicated selection and coaching of team members, collaborating in an inspiring work and meeting space which stimulates and facilitates the joint execution of their innovation projects. This is where business model innovation comes alive.

In cooperation with a few project partners, Eindhoven Engine has decided to contribute to a deeper understanding and the design of a number of meaningful interventions, addressing the huge societal challenge of the Future of Work. With that purpose in mind, Eindhoven Engine will bring together an ecosystem of students, researchers, start-ups and corporates to co-create, in an open innovation mindset, meaningful technology-based solutions with a strong human dimension.

While this project has been prepared by a group of interested individuals, which has led to a few suggested scenario’s, what we need is a creative, innovative and open minded EngD candidate who can take responsibility for steering the ecosystem and leading the design of the possible solutions, for instance with student teams. No roads are impossible, as long as the impact is clear and it contributes to a solution of a real problem. Serious attention needs to be given to understanding the problem, before jumping into solution mode. Eindhoven Engine supports this candidate with a methodology (based on design thinking and systems thinking) and with coaching and mentorship by its own staff.

As an illustration, the preliminary brainstorm sessions suggested the following possibly interesting scenario’s to be explored. These scenario’s do not need to be leading, but should be considered as a Smörgasbord of meaningful problems around the Future of Work.

Scenario 1: How to equip agents for their transformation process with the purpose to facilitate exponential innovation, e.g. for the Eindhoven Engine ecosystem?

For an innovation ecosystem to achieve exponential innovation, the agents involved will need a (personal) transformation of their thinking and of their ways of working. In this case, the agents are not only the supervisors/managers, but in fact all those involved. Without individual transformation we continue to wear out the known fixed patterns: we continue doing what we always did. The outcome of this scenario provides the tools for the agents to go through this transformation, anchor it and act as a role model. It may develop methods, workshops, joint learning, consider useful exponential technologies that could be used. This must be adapted to the roles of those involved (and they are a key player in the process) and fit into a continuous (life long) learning cycle. Implementation can be for any particular project, or rather as a generic approach for Eindhoven Engine. From a methodological point of view, design thinking and systems thinking are two key approaches involved.

Scenario 2: How to set up a virtual/physical network infrastructure to maintain connectivity and autonomy in teams and organizations, and what would be the ideal leadership support?

Inspired by the Corona era, the combination of virtual and physical work will no doubt become a permanent part of our Future of Work. In particular, the combination of a virtual and a physical reality promises to be the road to go, to reinforce the overall purpose of innovation. On top of a correct setup (and what would that mean), continuously expanding and intensifying the network is crucial to feed the engine of exponential innovation. Today, we have no real idea what steps need to be taken, which platforms or technologies to use, and how to facilitate this kind of mixed networks.

On a personal level, we see that increasingly there is a need for connection AND autonomy. These are uniquely important for everyone. In our new way of virtual and physical work, this needs to be elaborated and adjusted on an on-going basis. How can we do that meaningful and impactful, however keeping the strongly needed human focus? How do organization and individuals need to approach this? In which situations can we use this meaningfully? In such a mixed physical/virtual environment and co-creation approach, what is the role of leadership?

Scenario 3: Life-long learning, together

The concept of life-long learning has been around for some time now, the question arises if this idea of ongoing, voluntary, and self-motivated pursuit of knowledge is still relevant since it is limited to the individual. The new generation ‘Z’ seems to desire a shift towards life-long learning together.

Together in a multi-dimensional context. Our world is developing at exponential speed; this could imply that the gap between generations is increasing with the same exponential rate regarding e.g. purpose, aspiration, attitude towards career and technology, communication media and preferences etc. In addition, not only the gap between generations seems to increase, a gap between blue- and white-color jobs is emerging. This scenario should provide tools to better understand and reduce the culture division between generations and between blue- and white-color jobs in order to initiate life- long learning together.

Scenario 4: Transformation leadership

The purpose of having a job has seen a large shift in the last century, from the notion that jobs are for life (maturists, pre-1945) to career multi-taskers who move seamlessly between organizations and businesses (generation ‘z’, born after 1995). New forms of leadership are necessary to match the changing attitude towards work and career, enabling all generations to craft their own jobs based on their individual notion of purpose. This scenario will develop tools to enable leadership to be transformational in emerging context, and if necessary, redefine the role of leadership.

Candidates should have a background in an area related to interaction design (e.g., industrial design, software engineering, human computer interaction, design for business innovation). They need to be creative, entrepreneurial and to have an innovative mind. Candidates will be embedded in a multi-disciplinary team consisting of computer scientists, industrial designers, and business entrepreneurs

HSI Program

The mission of the HSI program is to train professionals who already have a Master’s degree in design or engineering to develop competences in designing and evaluating interactive intelligent and innovative systems, services, and products. The goal is to ensure positive user experiences that support their values and needs. The HSI program is based on design thinking and system thinking, as well as scientifically founded and methodologically sound user-centered and data-driven approaches, paying special attention to the frontier of the complex systems enabled by artificial intelligence and other emerging technologies and its impact on individuals, organizations and society.

In the HSI program, candidates are positioned as designers throughout the program, as the intermediate between market demands and technical possibilities, between user needs and product satisfaction; candidates work on design cases and projects for research, industry, or government supervised by university staff and the host organization; Candidates work on assignments and case studies throughout the program; Candidates with backgrounds in the engineering, behavioral and physical sciences work in small interdisciplinary teams, together with other EngD, PhD, and Master students with different national and cultural backgrounds;
The structure of the program is attached. The design project stretches over two years with a total of 10 to 12 month of effort. The courses are offered once a year and the candidate may decide to take a course during either the first year or the second. Elective courses can be adjusted or replaced if needed. Design cases are one to three month long smaller design or research projects in the context of the research groups. For each individual candidate a Training and Supervision plan of courses, design cases and projects will be developed and followed according to the background of the candidate and the needs from the industry and business.

Career perspective

Examples of positions held by HSI graduates are data designer, ai-system designer, interaction designer, usability engineer, user experience designer, human factor engineer, information architect, manager in innovative businesses, and team leader of these roles

Job requirements

The HSI program is for people who

  • are passionate in designing with AI and data, with a focus on business model innovation,
  • wish to improve the interaction between people and systems,
  • wish to make technology truly accessible and beneficial,
  • are interested in technological development and its impact on people,
  • like to lead and work in multidisciplinary teams in an international context,
  • like to be at the forefront of enabling technologies and want to exploit those technologies from the perspective of end-users, stakeholders, and business,
  • are challenged by societal impact, engineering problems and real-world constraints.

Eligible candidates shall have a relevant Master degree with a keen interest in human-machine interaction, the use of exponential technology for impact, and business innovation. Practical experience is an asset. We require that trainees in our program have excellent social and communicative competencies, including sufficient proficiency in reading, writing, speaking and comprehension of English.

Conditions of employment

What do we offer?

We offer a fixed-term, 2 year position in a research group with an excellent reputation. Salary and benefits are in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities, including:

  • a gross monthly salary of € 2089,
  • additionally, 8% holiday and 8.3% end-of-year annual supplements,
  • a minimum of 41 holidays per year (excluding bank holidays, for a full-time employment of 40 hrs/week),
  • additional benefits, including excellent technical infrastructure, child care, holiday savings schemes, and sports facilities.

Assistance for finding accommodation is offered.

Information and application

For information about terms of employment, click here or contact HR Services, HRServices.ID[at]

Please visit and find out more about working at TU/e!

We invite you to submit a complete application by using the 'apply now'-button on this page.
The application should include:

Candidates will be selected based on graduation mark and proficiency at university including consideration of the reputation of the university, relevant experience and skills, writing skills and publications, work experience as well as performance in relevant modeling exercises and interviews.

EngD Program Designing Human-System Interaction
Department of Industrial Design
Eindhoven University of Technology