Fully-Funded PhD Positionsin Digital Health and Wellbeing at the University of Twente

  • Phd
  • € 2,395 per month + benefits
  • 15 December 2020

The group of Interaction Design at the University of Twente's (UT) Faculty of Engineering Technology has a vacancy for a 4-year, fully funded PhD. We are looking for a candidate to join us in studying, designing and deploying novel technologies for supporting people’s personalized and evolving health goals.
New digital devices, including wearables and mobile applications, promise opportunities for tracking and managing personal health goals more than ever before. However, people often approach these devices without knowing what goals to set and struggle in expressing their goals. This often leads to the adoption of goals which are misaligned with people’s abilities and personal interests. For example, recent studies (Gouveia et al., 2016) have found that people tend keep using the pre-default goals suggested by activity tracking devices, despite consistently failing to achieve them. Misaligned goals not only fail to motivate behaviour but can also harm self-integrity and fuel negative mindsets towards these devices.
Even when people have well-defined, achievable goals, they often face challenges when tracking and analysing resulting data (Munson et al., 2019). This can be emphasized as health datasets persist and are no longer representative of people’s current goals, abilities or identities. For example, while some activity tracker users may enjoy looking at and reflecting on how active they were before having children or their sleeping patterns before starting a new job; for others, past data can be confronting and out of touch with one’s current goals and reality.
The aim of this research is to design and evaluate functional, interactive systems that support people in setting, pursuing and transitioning between personal health goals. The initial focus will be on studying people’s existing goal-directed practices with commercially available health devices and how these practices change as people’s goals evolve. Results will lead to new design approaches for how digital devices can best support people in their goal practices.
University of Twente
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University of Twente

The University of Twente is a public research technical university located in Enschede, the Netherlands.

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  • Have a MSc degree in Human-Computer Interaction, Health Sciences, Industrial Design Engineering, Interaction Technology, Computer Science, or in the broader area of the social sciences, like Social Psychology;
  • Be proficient in spoken and written English;
  • Be able to work independently, but also work in teams, and self-regulate their work;
  • Prior demonstrated research experience will be considered an advantage;
  • Proven experience on Android and/or iOS development will be an advantage.


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  • A full time four-year position;
  • Access to a network of leading researchers and clinical partners in the field of digital health and human-computer interaction;
  • A gross monthly salary starting at €2.395, increasing yearly to a maximum of €3.061 in the fourth year;
  • A holiday allowance of 8% of the gross annual salary and an end-of-year bonus of 8.3%;
  • Minimum of 29 holidays in case of full-time employment;
  • Full status as an employee of the UT, including a pension scheme and health benefits;
  • Access to professional and personal development programs.


The application should include:
  • A motivation letter of at most a A4 page, explaining specific interests, the motivation for the application, and why you qualify for this project.
  • A detailed CV, summarizing your education, previous work experience and contact details of at least 2 referees,
  • A list of all courses attended and grades acquired during your MSc and BSc courses.

For additional information on this position, please contact Assistant Professor Rúben Gouveia at: r.h.gouveia@utwente.nl

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