PhD in gamified mHealth for (post-)pandemic mental healthcare support
Industrial Engineering and Innovation Sciences
The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted or halted critical mental health services in 93% of countries worldwide while the demand for mental health is increasing, according to a WHO survey across 130 countries. Various articles illustrate COVID-19 based mental health escalations. This burden is extra-large on existing psychiatric patients and their caregivers. Even though the majority of mental healthcare organizations have rapidly implemented telemedicine (remote video counseling), there is a significant variety in the actual use of such technologies. Various studies emphasize the need to also monitor and promote a healthy lifestyle. While physical exercise has a significantly large effect on depression, mental healthcare organizations are struggling to deliver lifestyle programs, let alone remotely, especially in pandemic times. Among others, it is unclear how to manage huge patient cohorts with a small workforce, and how to deliver social interaction of sufficient quality when coaching remotely.
Eindhoven University of Technology has invested since 2015 in the GameBus research line. This work leverages a scientific software tool for promoting healthy activities remotely, using gamification, social media techniques, and data science. Positive outcomes were achieved mainly in the context of occupational health, but the tool was designed to strengthen also family, friend and community ties more broadly. GGz Centraal (GGz), is a mental health care institution in the middle of the Netherlands, providing specialized mental health care to approximately 15000 patients. GGz aims to apply digital gamification techniques in the (post-)pandemic care for high-risk patients. Exploratory work on the use of GameBus for its patients in Flexible Assertive Community Treatment (FACT) confirms that social gamification has great potential, but various scientific research questions still need to be answered.
Do you want to help improve the quality of life for GGz patients and their loved ones… while becoming an expert in the domain of e-coaching? Then you may be the right candidate!
- Overall, you will be responsible for designing in multiple iterations an evidence-based mHealth tool to promote healthy lifestyles socially, via gamified mHealth techniques.
- You will collaborate with other scientists in the GameBus research line, chaired by dr. Pieter Van Gorp, within the Information Systems research group of the IE&IS department.
- You will tailor the GameBus user experience and ensure that adequate data is collected for deep customization based on data science and artificial intelligence. You will enable mental healthcare professionals to tailor the gamification such that game rules and storylines are supporting in a scalable manner the personal treatment plan of the patient.
- You will also at least work two days per week with the target group in GGz Centraal (Amersfoort). You will master the Dutch language sufficiently to ensure that the target group feels well understood. Furthermore, you have an understanding of the challenges that GGz patients and their loved ones experience in their every day life.
- You are applying the state-of-the-art methods, as described in scientific conferences and journals and you will share your results also in such outlets. Over the course of 4 years, you are building an adequate publication portfolio to be bundled in a PhD manuscript.
- A master’s degree (or an equivalent university degree) in data science, software engineering, information systems or a comparable domain with a solid background in iterative systems design and hybrid (qualitative and quantitative) research methods.
- A research-oriented attitude (challenge-seeking, problem-solving, ...)
- Ability to work in a team and interested in collaborating with patients and professionals from the mental healthcare setting.
- Fluent in spoken and written English.
- Fluent in spoken Dutch (B2 upper intermediate).
Conditions of employment
- A meaningful job in a dynamic and ambitious university with the possibility to present your work at international conferences.
- A full-time employment for four years, with an intermediate evaluation (go/no-go) after nine months.
- To develop your teaching skills, you will spend 10% of your employment on teaching tasks.
- To support you during your PhD and to prepare you for the rest of your career, you will make a Training and Supervision plan and you will have free access to a personal development program for PhD students (PROOF program).
- A gross monthly salary and benefits (such as a pension scheme, pregnancy and maternity leave, partially paid parental leave) in accordance with the Collective Labor Agreement for Dutch Universities.
- Additionally, an annual holiday allowance of 8% of the yearly salary, plus a year-end allowance of 8.3% of the annual salary.
- Should you come from abroad and comply with certain conditions, you can make use of the so-called ‘30% facility’, which permits you not to pay tax on 30% of your salary.
- A broad package of fringe benefits, including an excellent technical infrastructure, moving expenses, and savings schemes.
- Family-friendly initiatives are in place, such as an international spouse program, and excellent on-campus children day care and sports facilities.
Information and application
Do you recognize yourself in this profile and would you like to know more? Please contact Pieter Van Gorp, (assistant professor, hiring manager) at p.m.e.v.gorp[at]tue.nl or https://twitter.com/pvgorp. When doing so, please demonstrate familiarity with the research portfolio on https://research.tue.nl/en/persons/pieter-me-van-gorp.
For information about terms of employment, please contact Susan Opgenoorth, (HR advisor), HRservices.ieis[at]tue.nl or +31 40 247 4465.
Please visit www.tue.nl/jobs to 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 a:
- Cover letter in which you describe your motivation and qualifications for the position. In particular, also demonstrate your aim to achieve societal impact.
- Curriculum vitae, including a list of your publications and the contact information of three references.
- Brief description of your MSc thesis.
Please note that you can upload 5 documents of max. 2 Mb. If you have more documents you will have to combine them!
We look forward to your application and will screen it as soon as we have received it. Screening will continue until the position has been filled.
Apllications by e-mail will not be considered.