PhD position: Visual perception and the art of material depiction Delft University of Technology, Faculty Industrial Design Engineering Netherlands

PhD position: Visual perception and the art of material depiction

Department/faculty: Faculty Industrial Design Engineering

Level: University Graduate

Working hours: 36-40 hours weekly

Contract: <empty>

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, more than 6,000 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 4-year PhD position is offered within the department of Industrial Design (ID). The department ID 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.


Job description
Understanding the perceptual expertise of artists can generate novel scientific insights about visual perception. Vice verse, perceptual analysis of art can contribute to new art historical insights. This is the starting point for our project where we specifically focus on how artists depict material properties. The rendering of material properties is of interest throughout art history but also has contemporary relevance, ranging from computer animation to (online) product photography.

In this project we use psychophysical methods to relate perceptual responses to image content. Most of our experiments will take place online which means you will program in HTML and JavaScript. Typical data analysis requires knowledge of linear algebra and statistics.

The project mostly relates to visual perception of material properties, but is also related to art history. Furthermore, it is related to the field of visual communication design, as we are also studying (and designing) novel ways of communicating material properties (e.g. for online shopping purposes).

The (fully funded) PhD position is linked to the NWO-Vidi project ‘Visual communication of material properties’ lead by Maarten Wijntjes.


Applicants should have a recent MSc degree in (experimental) physics, experimental psychology, computer science, industrial design, or a similar field. The candidate has proven ability for doing quantitative research and scientific writing. Furthermore, the candidate has some experience in programming, or can convince the committee that she or he is able to pick this up smoothly. Experience with software such as R, Matlab or Mathematica is a pre. Since studying material perception often involves some understanding of light and matter, basic understanding of optics (or physics in general) would be a pre.

The goal of any PhD project is to become an independent scientist, so the candidate should be able to show independence potential. Furthermore, a perseverant and goal directed attitude is required, yet at the same time should be a team player fitting well in our team of PhD students.


Conditions of employment
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. An International Children’s Centre offers childcare and an international primary school. Dual Career Services offers support to accompanying partners. 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
Please do not hesitate to send informal questions about the position and project to dr. Maarten Wijntjes, email:, tel: +31614382500. Applications will be reviewed at the end of Februari, 2019, yet applications will be accepted until position is filled.

For information about the selection procedure, please contact Amanda Klumpers-Nieuwpoort, HR Secretary, email:

To apply, send a letter of application, a detailed CV, one recent academic publication (or master's thesis), a statement of research interests (concerning this project) and the affiliations and contact info of two people who could furnish a letter of reference.   

If you apply for this position please say you saw it on Engineeroxy


All Jobs


Harvard University Academic Positions

Kuwait University Current Faculty Openings

Osaka University Academic Opportunities

Purdue University Job Postings for Faculty Positions

Texas Tech University Faculty Openings

Tsinghua University Job Postings

University of Cambridge Job Openings

University of Geneva Faculty Opportunities

University of New South Wales Job Openings

University of Nottingham Research Positions

University of Oslo Academic Jobs

University of Saskatchewan Faculty Positions

University of Southampton Research Vacancies

University of Tokyo Current Academic Vacancies

University of Toronto Open Faculty Positions

University of Zurich Job Postings