PhD Position Designing Intelligence - Tracking Multimodal Processes in Design Activity (TUD00291)

Updated: 29 days ago

PhD Position Designing Intelligence - Tracking Multimodal Processes in Design Activity

Department/faculty: Faculty Industrial Design Engineering
Level: University Graduate
Working hours: 32-38 hours weekly
Contract: 5 years
Salary: to be agreed upon

Faculty Industrial Design Engineering

Matching the evolution of people with the speed of the revolution of technology. This is the focus of the Faculty of Industrial Design Engineering (IDE) . Delft designers act as a bridge between advances in technology and the needs of people, organisations and society to create products, services and systems with purpose.

IDE is a leader in design research across the application areas of mobility, sustainability and health, as well as its development of design tools and methods. A 350-strong research team and over 2,000 students work together in our inspiring hall, labs and studios.

In close cooperation with industry, the public sector and NGOs we rehearse possible futures in research and education to design for a complex future.

The Designing Intelligence Lab is a TU Delft Artificial Intelligence Lab. Artificial intelligence, data and digitalisation are becoming increasingly important when looking for answers to major scientific and societal challenges. In a DAI-lab, experts in ‘the fundamentals of AI technology’ along with experts in ‘AI challenges’ run a shared lab. As a PhD, you will work with at least two academic members of staff and three other PhD candidates. In total, TU Delft will establish 24 DAI-Labs where 48 Tenure Trackers and 96 PhD candidates will have the opportunity to push the boundaries of science by using AI. Each team is driven by research questions which arise from scientific and societal challenges and contribute to the development and execution of domain specific education. Instead of the usual 4-year contract, you will receive a 5-year contract. Approximately a fifth of your time will be allocated to developing ground-breaking learning materials and educating students in these new subjects. The experience you will gain by teaching will be invaluable for future career prospects. All team members have many opportunities for self-development. You will be a member of the thriving DAI-Lab community that fosters cross-fertilization between talents with different expertise and disciplines.

Job description

The potential for new technologies to represent and enhance the process of design is considerable. These four exciting and linked PhD positions offer the possibility of exploring how AI and machine learning can be used in collaborative design settings to increase computational agency in design processes. The definition of design that is taken is broad and covers practices of design in non-design disciplines as well as in more traditional disciplines of design.

The new Designing Intelligence Lab aims to design the methods and tools for human and artificial intelligence to work together creatively over extended periods of time, developing new multimodal techniques to study how designers collaborate in creative processes through language, gaze, gesture, and prototype-oriented dialogue. 

Using these insights, we will train social robots to explore different types of creative processes and problems in collaborating with human designers. The goal of the Lab is to move the idea of design thinking closer to that of artificial intelligence, developing new types of design methods to help design professionals and others engaged in multi-stakeholder, complex, design processes in many areas of application.

The Designing Intelligence Lab has 4 PhD positions available in the following areas:

  • Multimodal processes in design activity (Design Faculty)
    Track audio, video, and sensor data in real-time during processes of designing. Behavioural patterns will train new machine learning algorithms and set a baseline for automated interventions. Any of the following skills would be of benefit: information visualization, design theory and methodology.

  • Hybrid intelligence and social robots in design (Computer Science Faculty)
    Explores how data generated in multi-modal design processes can be used for modelling design dialogue and aid the development of behaviour generation for social robots. Any of the following skills would be of benefit: programming, machine learning.

  • Modalities of creative agency in design processes (Computer Science Faculty)
    Using novel big data sources (e.g. crowd services and people analytics) to build models correlating design expertise with creative agency. This data-driven method will allow experimentation with artificial agency during creative processes. Any of the following skills would be of benefit: machine learning, a background in speech technology would be an advantage.

  • Next generation AI design methods (Design Faculty)
    Identifying which components and phases of the design process are amenable to AI input, and exploring the form and use of new design methods to address systemic design problems. Beta versions tested in educational contexts. Any of the following skills would be of benefit: design theory and methodology, machine learning.

  • Requirements

    • A relevant Master’s degree

    • Expertise in any discipline area, but especially those with an appreciation of design, AI, speech technology and social signal processing.

    • A general level of technical proficiency that might include programming ability or an understanding of data science and interactive visualisation.

    • Willingness to teach and guide students.

    • The ability to learn fast, to communicate well, and to be willing to experiment with new research practices and methods.

    • Proficiency in expressing yourself verbally and in writing in English.

    • The ability to work in a team, take initiative, be results oriented and systematic.

    Conditions of employment

    TU Delft offers DAI-Lab PhD-candidates a 5-year contract (as opposed to the normal 4-years), with an official go/no go progress assessment after one year. Approximately a fifth of your time will be allocated to developing ground breaking learning materials and educating students in these new subjects.
    Salary and benefits are in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities, increasing from € 2395 per month in the first year to € 3217 in the fifth year. As a PhD candidate you will be enrolled in the TU Delft Graduate School. The TU Delft Graduate School provides an inspiring research environment with an excellent team of supervisors, academic staff and a mentor. The Doctoral Education Programme is aimed at developing your transferable, discipline-related and research skills. The TU Delft offers a customisable compensation package, discounts on health insurance and sport memberships, and a monthly work costs contribution. Flexible work schedules can be arranged. For international applicants we offer the Coming to Delft Service and Partner Career Advice to assist you with your relocation.

    Information and application

    For further information please contact Peter Lloyd ( ) in the Design Faculty.

    To apply, please submit the following in two pdf files by 14th August 2020:

    • 1-page Motivation letter and CV;

    • Your Master’s thesis, a part of your Master’s thesis, or a paper that you have written, in which you demonstrate your writing skills.

    Please highlight in your motivation letter and/or CV examples of projects and achievements that demonstrate your relevant competences.

    Please note that applications will be periodically reviewed before the application deadline so suitable candidates may be approached before the position is formally closed. When applying for this position, please refer to vacancy number TUD00291. Please email your application to .

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

    Enquiries from agencies are not appreciated.

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