PhD on Burnout prevention: good lighting and circadian alignment 1.0 fte (V39.3617)

PhD on Burnout prevention: good lighting and circadian alignment 1.0 fte

The Eindhoven University of Technology has the following vacancy PhD Student on Burnout prevention good lighting and circadian alignment (1.0 fte, 4 years)
Faculteit Industrial Engineering & Innovation Sciences

Project description
We are looking for a motivated and talented junior researcher to work with us on the project concerning burnout prevention, light(ing) conditions, and sleep. Despite the prevalence of burnout, our current understanding of burnout and how to prevent it is still incomplete. The impact of lighting conditions at work and sleep (disturbances) on the severity of burnout complaints, and the development of burnout complaints over time have remained under-investigated. This PhD project aims to address this gap by tracking and quantifying burnout-related symptoms, psychosocial factors, light exposure and sleep-wake patterns among a large group of employees who are under a high workload by means of a so-called ‘quantified-self approach’. Based on those insights, a data-driven, user-tailored lighting intervention will be developed and tested to investigate if the manipulation of lighting conditions can reduce burnout complaints. During this project, we will integrate knowledge and measures from psychology, chronobiology, lighting research, and psychophysiology. The ambition of this project is to steer early detection of burnout risk and promote sustainable employability.

The tasks of the PhD student will be to set up and conduct a series of studies (longitudinal and intervention study) using a multi-level research design, to write scientific articles, and to complete a PhD dissertation within four years. The student will also participate in conferences, workshops, seminars and other scholarly activities, and contribute to teaching.

This project is a collaboration between the Human Performance Management (HPM) group and the Human Technology Interaction (HTI) group at the Department of Industrial Engineering & Innovation Sciences. The PhD student will be based at the HPM group, but will also work closely with the HTI group. The research will be conducted under the daily supervision of Dr. Leander van der Meij (HPM group) and Dr. Karin Smolders (HTI group). Moreover, the project is performed in collaboration with the Intelligent Lighting Institute.

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. Moreover, IE&IS is a small-scale department in which scholars and students work on critical problems at the interface of engineering, management, innovation, and human behavior in a broad societal context.

The Human Performance Management Group (HPM) currently consists of 2 full professors, 1 part-time professor, 2 associate professors, 5 assistant professors, 1 postdoc, and 5 PhD students. The HPM group focuses its research and education on the question of how to optimize employees’ performance within organizations. In other words, how should jobs, teams, and organizations be designed and developed to become a high-performance organization in which employees can work with high motivation, creativity and pleasure? The members of the HPM Group are highly motivated researchers who publish in leading journals. All research of the group is embedded in BETA, the KNAW recognized research school for business engineering and technology application. The HPM group teaches courses at undergraduate, graduate and PhD levels.

The Human Technology Interaction (HTI) group concentrates expertise in social sciences – in particular psychology – and engineering, studying technology in the service of human wellbeing, within the broader context of a socially and ecologically sustainable society. The HTI group has a strong track record in education at the TU/e, running the BSc program Psychology and Technology and a (international) Master program in Human-Technology Interaction. Current research topics at the Human-Technology Interaction group include data science, affective computing, persuasive technology, recommender systems, online behavior, robotics, and interactive lighting.

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.

We are looking for candidates who have:

  • A (nearly) completed MSc. in Psychology, Health Sciences, Human-Technology Interaction, Chronobiology, Psychophysiology or a related discipline.
  • A strong expertise and interest in employee health, work and organizational psychology, and/or lighting and sleep research.
  • Experience or affinity with psychophysiological measures. Please note that in this project we will not use EEG or fMRI.
  • A strong research interest, advanced statistical skills, and expertise with empirical research.

The successful candidate is able to demonstrate a strong interest in occupational health, lighting, sleep, and psychological research, has strong conceptual thinking and planning skills, is creative and proactive, is fluent in English, and has excellent verbal as well as written communication skills.

We offer:

  • A challenging job in a multidisciplinary research team at an ambitious university
  • A four-year full-time appointment as a PhD candidate;
  • A gross monthly salary of €2266 during the first year up to €2897 during the fourth year of the appointment;
  • A holiday allowance of 8% of the yearly salary and an end-of-year allowance of 8,3% of the yearly salary;
  • A PhD program suited to your specific needs;
  • A broad package of fringe benefits (including child care, savings schemes, and excellent sports facilities);
  • Covering of the costs of publishing your dissertation if the PhD program is successfully completed.

For further questions or information on the academic contact of the project, you may contact Dr. L. van der Meij, email:, or Dr. K. Smolders, email: For further practical questions, please contact: Mrs. S. Opgenoorth, personnel officer, email:

Your application should contain the following documents:

  • A motivation letter, explaining your interest in the position and your qualifications for it
  • A curriculum vitae (including publications if any)
  • A list of courses and marks
  • Names and contact information of two persons willing to provide references

    If you are interested, we invite you to apply before 7 January 2019. You can submit your application via the ‘apply now’ button. Please note that a maximum of 5 documents of each 2 MB can be uploaded, so if you have more than 5 documents you will have to combine them. Please do not send us applications by e-mail.