PhD on safe circular product design


Do you want to contribute to safe and circular products by design? Then this fully funded PhD position is for you. 

Job description

Negative effects on human health and ecosystem health, caused by the production, use and end-of life of many products and the materials used in them, pose a serious societal problem. When closing loops in a circular economy, the problems associated with potential hazardous substances are aggravated. A product design approach is needed that combines demands for functionality, performance, economics, usability, circularity, sustainability, and health and safety.

We are seeking a highly motivated PhD candidate to join our Design for Sustainability group to work on an exciting project on the design of safe products that fit the circular economy. You will be part of an ambitious NWO funded project, together with the faculty of Technology, Policy and Management in Delft and the University of Leiden as well as various partners from practice.

The aim of the project is to develop, test and implement a method towards the design of safe products for the circular economy. The project will study four specific product cases. The PhD candidate at our group will work on the development of the safe-by-design method, iteratively and in close collaboration with the partners from practice. A method will be developed based on the 4 case study products and tested in the field. The method will include an ethical framework, risk assessment, and LCA, which will be developed by the other academic partners. You will be working closely together. 


We are looking for a highly motivated and enthusiastic candidate. Preferably with a background in design and affinity with the circular economy, values and materials.

– Master’s in Industrial Design, Industrial Ecology, or related field

– Experience working with and developing design methods

– Understanding of materials, their role in design, and impact on the environment

– Affinity with the circular economy and LCA approaches

– Affinity with ethical considerations and value tensions

– Experience in working with design agencies is a bonus

– Excellent (scientific) writing and communication skills

Doing a PhD at TU Delft requires English proficiency at a certain level to ensure that the candidate is able to communicate and interact well, participate in English-taught Doctoral Education courses, and write scientific articles and a final thesis. For more details please check the Graduate Schools Admission Requirements.

Conditions of employment

Doctoral candidates will be offered a 4-year period of employment in principle, but in the form of 2 employment contracts. An initial 1,5 year contract with an official go/no go progress assessment within 15 months. Followed by an additional contract for the remaining 2,5 years assuming everything goes well and performance requirements are met.

Salary and benefits are in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities, increasing from € 2541 per month in the first year to € 3247 in the fourth 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, TU Delft has the Coming to Delft Service. This service provides information for new international employees to help you prepare the relocation and to settle in the Netherlands. The Coming to Delft Service offers a Dual Career Programme for partners and they organise events to expand your (social) network.

TU Delft (Delft University of Technology)

Delft University of Technology is built on strong foundations. As creators of the world-famous Dutch waterworks and pioneers in biotech, TU Delft is a top international university combining science, engineering and design. It delivers world class results in education, research and innovation to address challenges in the areas of energy, climate, mobility, health and digital society. For generations, our engineers have proven to be entrepreneurial problem-solvers, both in business and in a social context.

At TU Delft we embrace diversity as one of our core values and we actively engage to be a university where you feel at home and can flourish. We value different perspectives and qualities. We believe this makes our work more innovative, the TU Delft community more vibrant and the world more just. Together, we imagine, invent and create solutions using technology to have a positive impact on a global scale. That is why we invite you to apply. Your application will receive fair consideration.

Challenge. Change. Impact!

Faculty Industrial Design Engineering

atching 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.

Click here to go to the website of the Faculty of Industrial Design Engineering.

Application procedure

Are you interested in this vacancy? Please apply before June 11, 2023 via the application button.

Applicants should send their CV, a cover letter outlining motivations and qualifications, and an example of their writing. The closing date for the vacancy is June 1st 2023. For information about the application procedure, please contact Jotte de Koning (

  • You can apply online. We will not process applications sent by email and/or post.
  • A pre-Employment screening can be part of the selection procedure.
  • Please do not contact us for unsolicited services.


  • FACULTY/DEPARTMENT- Faculty of Industrial Design Engineering
  • SCIENTIFIC FIELD- Engineering
  • HOURS PER WEEK- 36-40
  • SALARY- € 2.541,00 – € 3.247,00
  • DESIRED LEVEL OF EDUCATION- University graduate