Postdoc in Digital Fabrication in Architecture: Formalizing the Demonstrator Implementation Research Method

Updated: 3 months ago
Deadline: 22 Oct 2023 - 21:59 (UTC)

20 Sep 2023
Job Information

Delft University of Technology (TU Delft)
Research Field

Researcher Profile

Recognised Researcher (R2)

Application Deadline

22 Oct 2023 - 21:59 (UTC)
Type of Contract

Job Status

Not Applicable
Hours Per Week

Is the job funded through the EU Research Framework Programme?

Not funded by an EU programme
Is the Job related to staff position within a Research Infrastructure?


Offer Description

Technical research on digital fabrication and robotics in architecture increasingly uses full-scale construction demonstrators to support the scaling of research towards industry application. Recent research suggests that these demonstrator projects achieve more than the simple act of technology transfer; instead, demonstrators act as temporary, interorganizational spinoffs at the intersection of technology development, project organization, and innovation management. We believe that these demonstrator projects represent a form of action research that iterates between research discovery and industry transfer. However, the specific conceptualization and implications of a demonstrator implementation methodology has not yet been done.

To address this challenge, we are hiring a new postdoctoral researcher in the Section of Design and Construction Management on the topic of Digital Fabrication in Architecture: Formalizing the Demonstrator Implementation Research Methodology.

Within the above overall context, this specific position will investigate questions such as:

  • How does digital collaboration occur between digital fabrication research and early industry adopters?
  • What can be learned from demonstrator projects that can be generalized into a formalized method that achieves both research objectives and industry technology transfer?
  • Based on learnings from the research-transfer demonstrator model, what can we learn about possible future project models and supply chain configurations required to best deliver digitally-fabricated projects?

This research will be done in close collaboration with the National Centre of Competence in Research (NCCR) on Digital Fabrication, funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) and headed at ETH Zurich, Switzerland. The NCCR Digital Fabrication in Architecture aims to revolutionise architecture through the seamless combination of digital technologies and physical building processes.

The NCCR research focus topic Digital Collaboration seeks to identify and develop methodologies for collaboration in digital fabrication research and practice from both perspectives of reflective action and new praxis. This will be done in consideration of a socio-technical approach to digital fabrication in AEC, interdisciplinary collaboration ("Team Science"), and holistic and networked business models and processes. Environmental responsibility and circular economy also act as key guiding principles. The short-term goal is to transfer and integrate DFAB research, innovation, knowledge, and experiences into current praxis (following standards, tools, methodologies, regulations, etc. used in industry). The long-term outlook is to provide the foundations of a new collaborative model that can enable state-of-the-art digital fabrication technologies as central and standard across AEC industry practice.

Specific Requirements

You should be able to:

  • Conduct original research at the intersection of digital fabrication technology development, innovation studies, and project organization studies.
  • Author/co-author high-quality, high-impact publications;
  • Contribute to writing follow-up research proposals;
  • Participate in the general intellectual life of the Design and Construction Management Section in the Department of Management in the Built Environment.

The expected outcomes of the research will likely include:

  • Formalization of a “Demonstrator Implementation Method” (DIM) that describes how the research-transfer model of Demonstrators represents a new transdisciplinary methodology within AEC research.
  • Analysis of how the characteristics of demonstrators can be adapted into new industry project delivery models to best deliver fully- computational workflows for digital fabrication and robotics, from design to fabrication.
  • Propose novel incentive and financial systems, legal and regulatory guidance (e.g. regulatory requirements for on-site robotics implementation), and management practices to increase industry adoption of digital fabrication in architecture.

Additional research tasks may include:

  • Review of existing project delivery models in AEC, and comparison of best practice from other international forms of project delivery models such as Integrated Project Delivery and Work Alliancing that may be useful to implement digital fabrication.
  • Collaborate with the chair of Work and Organizational Psychology ( ) at ETH Zurich and the centre for Building Technologies and Processes at Zurich University of Applied Sciences ( ) to understand how research teams in digital AEC (and beyond) shape interdisciplinary collaboration and create socio-technically integrated design solutions.
  • Contribute in a supporting role to research on human-robot and robot-robot interaction research. Help establish standards for human-technology interaction on construction sites in combination with educational and training requirements.

You will likely:

  • Hold a PhD degree in the area of construction management, civil engineering, architecture, innovation studies, industrial design, project management studies and/or organizational design, although researchers from other backgrounds are also encouraged to apply.
  • Hold background experience and knowledge of digital fabrication and robotics, digital work processes, collaborative construction project delivery models, and/or institutional theory applied to the AEC industry.
  • Demonstrate strong methodological rigour and the ability to critically reflect on the foundations of research methods and research methodology.
  • Be willing to travel to Switzerland on occasion for project research and/or short-term exchanges.
  • Communicate well with fluent written and presentation skills in English.

The starting date can begin in December 2023 or later upon mutual agreement. The position will be appointed for a duration of two years. Applicants are encouraged to apply, even if they do not meet all the above criteria.

Additional Information

Salary and benefits are in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities (based on scale 10: € 3.226,00 - € 5.090,00). The position is advertised at the scale 10 for early-career postdocs, but appointment at scale 11 (€ 4.332,00 - € 5.929,00) may be possible for more experienced candidates. The employment contract is offered for 1 year and the position is open for 32-38 hours per week. The TU Delft offers a customisable compensation package, a discount on health insurance and sport memberships, and a monthly work costs contribution. Flexible work schedules can be arranged.

For international applicants, TU Delft has the Coming to Delft Service . This service provides information for new international employees to help you prepare the relocation and to settle in the Netherlands. The Coming to Delft Service offers a Dual Career Programme for partners and they organise events to expand your (social) network.

Selection process

Are you interested in this vacancy? Please apply before 22 October 2023 via the application button and upload your motivation and CV.

  • CV.
  • A cover letter (one-page maximum) and a 1500-word-maximum (excluding references).
  • Position paper that answers the question: how would you address the key deliverables in the project?

Please note:

  • You can apply online. We will not process applications sent by email and/or post.
  • A pre-Employment screening can be part of the selection procedure.
  • Please do not contact us for unsolicited services.

Additional comments

For more information about this vacancy, please contact Daniel Hall ( ). Review of applications and invitations to interview will begin on 25 October, 2023. Interviews will be scheduled from 31 October - 3 November 2023.

For information about the application procedure, please contact Julia Kreuwel, .

Website for additional job details

Work Location(s)
Number of offers available
Delft University of Technology
Postal Code
2628 CD
Mekelweg 2

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Mekelweg 2
Postal Code

2628 CD

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