PhD Position Designing for Food Waste Reduction (ATIO 0803)

Updated: about 1 month ago

PhD Position Designing for Food Waste Reduction

Department/faculty: Faculty Industrial Design Engineering
Level: University Graduate
Working hours: 32-40 hours weekly
Contract: 4 years
Salary: 2325 - 2972 euros monthly (full-time basis)

Faculty Industrial Design Engineering

The faculty of Industrial Design Engineering is the largest and broadest scientific design institute in the world, with over 2,000 students, 7,000 alumni and 300 staff (researchers and lecturers, including designers from industrial practice). The faculty aims to contribute to a better living environment and respond to social challenges by combining human values and desires with technological feasibility and economic viability. We are excellently placed to do so, as we ground design methods and skills in scientific knowledge from a wide range of disciplines, leading to concrete solutions.

A PhD position is offered within the department of Human-Centered Design. The department HCD is recognized as an international leader in design research and was ranked excellent by an international review panel in 2015. Our research and education focusing on topics like design for happiness, prototyping in design thinking, design aesthetics, future interactions, ergonomics and social design. The department also houses the ID-StudioLab, a unique interdisciplinary design research community that facilitates design-driven research and education. We believe that a professional designer needs scientific knowledge and the skills to use systematic methods, techniques and tools. We teach future designers to conceptualize products and services that are understandable and stimulate meaningful experiences. We develop and improve the knowledge and skills that help designers and researchers contribute to relevant societal challenges and to have an impact.

The current position is affiliated with the Delft Food & Eating Design Lab that brings together designers and researchers with stakeholders in agriculture, the food industry, the hospitality sector, health professionals and any others who try to improve people’s interactions with their daily foods (link: ).

Job description

A large proportion of food produced for human consumption ends up as waste. In this project, we use a systems approach to map the existing value-conflicts that may hamper (or push) the transition to a less wasteful food system. These value conflicts will be used as drivers for systemic change through design. After determining the relevant stakeholders and identifying their values, we aim to deal with these in the context of system transitions, for instance by trying to resolve the conflict (going beyond the building blocks of the current system), bypass the conflict (searching for other stakeholder values to be addressed), or transform the conflict (influencing stakeholder opinions by making concepts tangible). These three strategies form the basis for creating a program of interventions to reduce food waste that involves multiple stakeholders and addresses multiple stages of change. The interventions will be optimally supported by designs (tools, products, interactive guidelines) to enhance behaviours that reduce food waste. We focus primarily on interventions aimed at consumers and new retail concepts, which will be developed in cooperation with our academic partners. To present ideas in the appropriate context, the developed concepts will be presented in the form of videos that will be shown at regular stakeholder meetings with industry partners. These meetings serve to engage stakeholders in the design and to provide qualitative evaluations of the concepts. Both the reflections on the design process and the evaluations of the proposed concepts will serve as input for academic publications.  

The PhD position is part of the program “Food Waste: Transition from Excess to Enough”, which is financially supported by NWO. This project is interdisciplinary, at the interface between consumer behavior, marketing, and design. Partners in the project are Wageningen University & Research (Marketing and Consumer Behavior Group) and University of Groningen (Faculty of Economics and Business), and we collaborate with various public and private partners such as Voedingscentrum, the Foundation United Against Food Waste, Hello Fresh, and others. In the project one postdoc and three PhD projects together investigate possible systemic changes in the food system to obtain a transition from having excess to having enough. A summary of the content of the full program can be obtained by sending an email to [email protected] .

Take a look at the project's blog:


We are looking for candidates with a Master degree in social design, food design or other related fields. They should have demonstrated interest in sustainability issues, systems transformation, stakeholder involvement and should have experience with reframing methodologies and prototype creation. Candidates should be at ease in conducting interdisciplinary work at the intersection between practice, research, and education and should have excellent communication and organizational skills. Expertise in making videos is a plus.

Conditions of employment

The TU Delft offers a customisable compensation package, a discount for health insurance and sport memberships, and a monthly work costs contribution. Flexible work schedules can be arranged. Coming to Delft Service organizes diverse events for new international employees and their accompanying partners, like Partner Career Workshops and Dutch Culture Workshops. Located on campus are the International Children’s Centre and an international primary school which are subject to availability as well as several bilingual schools in the nearby surrounding. Salary and benefits are in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities.

As a PhD candidate you will be enrolled in the TU Delft Graduate School. TU Delft Graduate School provides an inspiring research environment; an excellent team of supervisors, academic staff and a mentor; and a Doctoral Education Programme aimed at developing your transferable, discipline-related and research skills.

Please visit for more information.

Information and application

For information about this vacancy, you can contact Nynke Tromp, Assistant professor, email: [email protected] , or Rick Schifferstein, Associate Professor, email: [email protected] , tel: 015 278 7896.

For information about the selection procedure, please contact A. (Amanda) Klumpers-Nieuwpoort, HR Secretaresse Human-Centered Design, email: [email protected] .   

To apply, please send a detailed CV, along with a letter of motivation, and contact information of two persons who can provide references.

Enquiries from agencies are not appreciated.

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