Postdoctoral Researcher in Digital Lifestyle Coaching

Updated: about 2 months ago
Job Type: FullTime
Deadline: 11 Jul 2021

ETH Zurich is one of the leading universities of the world with a strong focus on science and engineering. In 2010 it established the Singapore-ETH Centre (SEC) in collaboration with the National Research Foundation (NRF) to do interdisciplinary research on pressing problems.

In collaboration with the National University of Singapore (NUS), the Nanyang Technological University (NTU), Duke - NUS, the National Health Group (NHG), National University Health System (NUHS), and SingHealth, SEC is undertaking a research program on "Future Health Technologies FHT". It addresses some immanent health challenges by developing a future-oriented Mobile Digital Health Concept that tackles the increase in patients suffering from chronic diseases such as diabetes, obesity and stroke, as a consequence of a rapidly ageing population with mobile digital technologies, covering the value chain from acute care to patient's private homes. Within this framework we are announcing the following job opening.

Project background

Healthcare systems around the world are facing challenges arising from the increase of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) such as type 2 diabetes and mental disorders, their related risk factors, and their associated economic costs. A holistic intervention paradigm that focuses on increasing self-efficacy, emotional regulation, and health-promoting behaviour in our everyday lives is needed for the effective prevention and management of NCDs. However, current health-promoting lifestyle interventions are limited in their scalability and do not provide personalized lifestyle coaching in the everyday life of vulnerable individuals. The Mobile Health Interventions module of the FHT program therefore investigates how mobile chatbot technology can be leveraged to assist vulnerable individuals in preventing NCDs such as type 2 diabetes and depression. Accordingly, chatbots can act as scalable lifestyle coaches that guide vulnerable individuals through a personalized digital health intervention that is grounded in behavioural medicine and health psychology theories.

Job description

As a Postdoctoral Researcher you will conduct a series of digital health intervention studies, applying different methodologies (e.g., quantitative and qualitative), to help identify the best smartphone-based and chatbot-delivered intervention components that aim to prevent type 2 diabetes and depression in vulnerable individuals. You will closely collaborate with our research partners from the Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health (SSHSPH) and the Physical Activity and Nutrition Determinants (PANDA) research program at the National University of Singapore (NUS) and the National University Health System (NUHS), while working with vulnerable individuals in a public health context, to develop an effective digital lifestyle coaching intervention.

Together with a team of doctoral students and research staff (with a background in clinical psychology, public health, behavioural medicine and technology management), study nurses and software engineers, you will contribute to the development of the chatbot intervention and you will design and conduct a series of micro-randomised optimization trials. All trials must consider key findings from implementation science so that the resulting digital coaching can be easily adopted by the Singaporean healthcare system (e.g., Health Promotion Board, National Parks Board, hospitals and polyclinics, health insurer, digital health start-ups) and other (business) organizations (e.g. universities).

You will also undertake promotional activities to increase community awareness of the coaching service through conferences, workshops, seminars, and social media engagement, while also undertaking evaluations and preparing study protocols and written publications for high-quality, peer-reviewed journals. 

Your profile

You will have:

  • A PhD in behavioural science or related fields
  • Expertise in digital/mobile health interventions 
  • Experience with public health interventions, clinical trials, computer science
  • Familarity with ethical, legal and health-political challenges of medical research
  • Positive experiences with interdisciplinary collaborations
  • Strong verbal and written communication skills in English
  • Scientific curiosity and motivation to perform scientifically rigorous experimental work

The following competence will be advantageous:

Experience conducting micro-randomised trials

ETH Zurich

ETH Zurich is one of the world’s leading universities specialising in science and technology. We are renowned for our excellent education, cutting-edge fundamental research and direct transfer of new knowledge into society. Over 30,000 people from more than 120 countries find our university to be a place that promotes independent thinking and an environment that inspires excellence. Located in the heart of Europe, yet forging connections all over the world, we work together to develop solutions for the global challenges of today and tomorrow.


We look forward to receiving your online application including the following documents:

  • Cover letter outlining your motivation and experience in the field
  • CV including certificates (e.g. PhD diploma and Master's and/or Bachelor's degree)
  • List of publications (including "under review" and "forthcoming" manuscripts)
  • Transcript of records

For further information about our research and projects, please visit . More information about the Mobile Health Intervention Module of the FHT programme is available here: . Questions regarding the position should be directed to Dr. Jacqueline Mair at (no applications).

Please note that we exclusively accept applications submitted through our online application portal. Applications via email or postal services will not be considered.

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