Postdoc Speculative Design for Worker-Robot Relations

Updated: 3 months ago
Deadline: 17 Sep 2023

6 Sep 2023
Job Information

Delft University of Technology (TU Delft)
Research Field

Researcher Profile

Recognised Researcher (R2)

Application Deadline

17 Sep 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

We are looking for a postdoc trained in Design Engineering, to work with us on the BrightSky project around robot-assisted workprocesses. You will contribute to the project by investigating the design space of future human-robot collaborative work in the aviation repair&maintenance industry. The overall project address the question of how robotic assistance impacts meaningful work, and how robotic assistance can be designed to make the workplace more attractive to workers. In particular, the candidate will carry out ethnographic and speculative design research to identify situations in the current maintenance work practice that are opportunities for robotization, and use this to guide design choices (around promising work processes, robot design, human-robot interaction design), and envision strategies to promote worker engagement, long-term satisfaction and wellbeing.

You will be supervised by prof. David Abbink (3mE, Cognitive Robotics + IDE), Deborah Forster (3me, Cognitive Robotics) Maria Luce Lupetti (IDE) and Dave Murray-Rust (IDE), who work together closely with an interdisciplinary academic team, including roboticists, human factors experts, work & organizational psychologists, ethnographers, designers and philosophers. This community actively engages in transdisciplinary research practices (i.e. integrating professional and academic knowledge). Consequentially, this postdoc project will involve participatarory design (including perspectives of workers, team leaders, management as well as academics) in both assessment and interventions (e.g. introduction of new robotic assistance systems). The postdoc will conduct participatory work using a Research through Design approach, to iterate and learn from explorations of human-robot collaborative practices. Selected design interventions will be developed in interdisciplinary research settings, leading to public demonstrators that critically showcase possibilities. This will involve a robotics PhD and other researchers, with different backgrounds, from cognitive robotics to psychology, as well as workers and managers from the organization. These demonstrators of meaningful human-robot collaborative work will be tested in the field, and their development and analysis will be core material for the project.

Overall, the postdoc is expected to target communities such as human computer interaction (CHI, CSCW), human Robot Interaction (HRI) and design research (DIS, DRS). Based on these techniques you will work in a transdisciplinary team to determine what parts of the workprocess should be targeted for robotic assistance, and help assess the impact of robot prototypes and other interventions.

Specific Requirements

Requirements include

  • Experience in carrying out design research with clients from industry
  • Completed a relevant PhD degree (or with an approved draft thesis) in an applied sciences field relevant to PhD research
  • Proficiency in expressing yourself verbally and in writing in English
  • The ability to work in a team, communicate honestly, and take initiative
  • An interest in how workers and robots work together in industrial settings

The candidate should be as enthusiastic about research in design as about crossing scientific boundaries: you will work with roboticists, psychologists, ethnographers and human factors experts. Also, the ideal candidate has experience in speculative design and futuring, should be able to easily connect with maintenance workers, and is ideally emotionally aware, reflective, and able to interact with roboticists and engineers.

Additional Information

Salary and benefits are in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities Universities (salary indication: € 4.036 - € 5.090 per month gross).. 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.

This postdoc position has a fixed-term contract of 24 months.

Selection process

Are you interested in this vacancy? Please apply by 17 September 2023 via the application button and upload your motivation and CV.

A pre-employment screening can be part of the selection procedure.

You can apply online. We will not process applications sent by email and/or post.

Please do not contact us for unsolicited services.

Additional comments

For more information about this vacancy, please contact Maria Luce Lupetti ( ) or Dave Murray-Rust ( ).

Website for additional job details

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

Where to apply



Mekelweg 2
Postal Code

2628 CD

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