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PhD in Light Therapy for patients suffering from depression

PhD in Light Therapy for patients suffering from depression

Are you fascinated by light, internal clocks and mental health?
Industrial Engineering and Innovation Sciences


The Department of Industrial Engineering & Innovation Sciences of Eindhoven University of Technology has a PhD position on restoration of the biological clock of patients with depression in the Human Technology Interaction (HTI) group, to work within the NWO-NWA funded BioClock consortium and in close collaboration with the Eindhoven Regional Mental Healthcare Center (GGzE).

Project context: The BioClock consortium

This PhD position is one of in total 25 positions at the core of the BioClock consortium, funded by the Dutch Research Council (NWO) in the framework of the Dutch Research Agenda (NWA). BioClock is a national consortium in which academic institutes, societal partners, and industry join forces to address a broad spectrum of fundamental and applied research questions on the circadian clock in modern society. As a PhD student in the BioClock consortium, you’ll get the opportunity to actively participate in this multidisciplinary team effort. See for more information about the BioClock consortium.

The BioClock consortium will investigate how biological rhythms relate to (mental) health,
sleep, shift work, cognitive performance and the consequences of artificial light in nature. LUMC researchers Joke Meijer and Laura Kervezee will lead the consortium. Together with mental health clinics in the Leiden and Eindhoven regions (GGzE and LUBEC), the Eindhoven University of Technology plays a major role in the BioClock workpackage that implements and optimizes biological clock-based treatment of depression within mental health clinics.

Our modern society is marked by artificial light at night, irregular lifestyles, shift work, which leads to disrupted biological clocks of humans and the organisms around us. This increases our risk of a range of diseases, including depression, cancer, and diabetes and threatens biodiversity. Clearly, action is required to address the challenges that arise from living against the biological clock. In the BioClock consortium, molecular biologists, neuroscientists, ecologists, clinicians and psychologists team up with educators, policy makers, citizens, local governments, environmental organizations and industry. The results of the BioClock consortium will foster a sustainable living environment in which a healthy biological clock function is preserved within humans and ecosystems.  

The core objectives of BioClock are:

  • Promote a healthy biological clock in populations at risk, including the aged and young, students and shift workers
  • Improve patient care by optimizing time of treatment, designing clock-enhancing tools, and augmenting light-dark cycles in intensive care units
  • Develop novel strategies to preserve clock function in ecosystems in urban, rural and natural areas and protect biodiversity in the presence of light pollution.

PhD position: Light therapy and chronotherapeutic treatment to enhance recovery, well-being and sleep in depressed patients

The Human Technology Interaction department of the TU/e is seeking an enthusiastic, ambitious young researcher to work in our team on the execution of the BioClock work package titled
“A healthy clock, a healthy mind: restoring 24-h rhythms to combat mood disorders”.

Job description

We aim to test a chronotherapeutic approach that combines light therapy with lifestyle interventions to improve well-being, support sleep and facilitate recovery in depressed patients in a clinical trial. Data collection will include subjective and objective assessments of sleep, experience sampling/ecological momentary assessments and psycho-physiology. These data will be used to develop psycho-physiological and behavioral markers that can predict individual responses to antidepressant treatments.  In addition to testing the objective effectiveness of this approach, we would like to learn more about interindividual differences in light-sensitivity among healthy and depressed individuals. The final aim is to generate evidence-based strategies and clinical guidelines (AGREE criteria) for chronotherapeutic treatments of depression, as well as enabling for a better selection of these interventions and improved monitoring of their effects among healthcare patients.

You will conduct your research under the supervision of prof. Yvonne de Kort (TU/e), prof. Machteld Marcelis (GGzE) and dr. Luc Schlangen (TU/e). You will be a member of the light group in the HTI department at TU/e, the Intelligent Lighting Institute of the TU/e, the GGzE research team and the larger BioClock community. It is envisioned that the research involves experiments and a clinical study that will be executed in close collaboration with the regional mental health centers in Eindhoven (GGzE) and Leiden (LUBEC).


  • A master’s degree or an equivalent university degree in (clinical) psychology, health sciences, chronobiology, neuroscience, human-technology interaction, or a related discipline
  • Experience with and affinity for working with chronobiological and/or psychological theory
  • Advanced statistical skills.
  • Expertise with empirical research among humans
  • Experience with chronobiological paradigms in the field of lighting is considered a plus
  • A strong interest in lighting and psychological research
  • A research-oriented attitude 
  • Strong conceptual thinking and planning skills; you are creative and proactive
  • Ability to work in an international and interdisciplinary team and interested in collaborating with industrial partners.
  • Fluent in spoken and written English.


  • 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.

Informatie en sollicitatie

About us

Eindhoven University of Technology is a top-ranking Dutch university that combines scientific curiosity with a hands-on attitude. Our spirit of collaboration translates into an open culture and a number 1 position in collaborating with advanced industries. Fundamental knowledge enables us to design solutions for the highly complex problems of today and tomorrow.

The Department of Industrial Engineering & Innovation Sciences (IE&IS) is a leading school in the area of industrial engineering and management science as well as innovation sciences.
IE&IS has several BSc and MSc programs housed in two separate schools. Research is multi-disciplinary, based on fundamental scientific insights and methods. The school of Industrial Engineering (IE) focuses on the analysis, (re)design, and control of operational processes in organizations and the information systems needed for these processes, and the school of Innovation Sciences (IS) focuses on the realization and impact of technological innovations at the individual, organizational, and societal level. At the heart of our academic philosophy is the synergy between research and teaching.

The Human Technology Interaction (HTI) group is part of the school of IS. It concentrates expertise in social sciences – in particular psychology – and engineering, and is concerned with the responsible development, introduction, and use of technology, focusing on its interface to humans, its successful deployment in organizations, and a fundamental understanding of its transformative effects on individuals and society. We highly value collegiality, collaboration and team science and look forward to welcoming you in our midst.

The Intelligent Lighting Institute (ILI) is TU/e’s interdepartmental institute for innovations in lighting. It was established in 2010 and is home to multidisciplinary research around novel intelligent lighting solutions, with a special emphasis on how these new solutions might affect people. In addition, ILI aims at providing scientific evidence for the claims that go with these novel lighting solutions.

Eindhoven Regional Mental Healthcare Center (GGzE) has extensive experience in developing and providing innovative treatment strategies for mental healthcare patients and will co-supervise the PhD and provide access to the desired patient groups via its facilities and clinical center.

More information

Do you recognize yourself in this profile and would you like to know more? Please contact
prof. Yvonne de Kort, y.a.w.d.kort[at], or dr. Luc Schlangen, l.j.m.schlangen[at],
or +31 40 247 2889.

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

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

For the other BioClock positions at the partner universities, please see the BioClock and
NWO websites .


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.
  • Curriculum vitae, including a list of your publications and the contact information of
    three references.
  • Brief description of your MSc thesis.
  • Grade list

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.

We do not respond to applications that are sent to us in a different way.

Please keep in mind you can upload only 5 documents up to 2 MB each. If necessary please combine files.