Netherlands:PhD in Social & Affective Ubiquitous Computing at Delft University of Technology

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Job description

We are offering a 4-year PhD position on social and affective signal processing for Ubiquitous Computing. The aim of the project is to devise novel methods of automatically measuring the mood of large, dense crowds of people in a social setting using wearable sensing devices. The challenge of developing such methods is that dense crowds are difficult to monitor because of significant background noise and faulty wireless communication due to physical density. As a result, many sensor modalities fail.
This project will focus on the use of a worn accelerometer as a means of estimating someone’s activity and social behaviour in a privacy-preserving manner. The addition of other sensors such as proximity, audio or video modalities may also be considered. The project will involve an investigation of the problem domain of estimating socially relevant behaviour and affective responses at an individual, group, and crowd level. Findings from social and behavioural psychology will be used to inspire novel methods for solving this problem.
The position is jointly funded by Delft University of Technology (via the Delft Technology Fellowship) and the VU University of Amsterdam (via the COMMIT/EWiDS project, see It will involve regular contact and collaboration with the distributed systems group at the VU University of Amsterdam (Prof. Maarten van Steen), and we expect the student to be effectively co-located in Delft and Amsterdam.


We are looking for students who have recently completed or expect very soon to have completed an MSc or equivalent degree in computer science, electrical/electronic engineering, applied mathematics, applied physics, or a related discipline. Experience in some or all of the following or related fields is preferred: signal processing, image processing, computer vision, embedded sensing, machine learning, and pattern recognition. An affinity for behavioural and social psychology is a bonus.

The successful applicant will have:
• good programming skills;
• curiosity and analytical skills;
• the ability to work in a multi-disciplinary team;
• motivation to meet deadlines;
• an affinity for the relevant social science research;
• good oral and written communication skills;
• an interest in communicating their research results to a wider audience;
• proficiency in English.

Conditions of employment

TU Delft offers an attractive benefits package, including a flexible work week, free high-speed Internet access from home (with a contract of two years or longer), and the option of assembling a customised compensation and benefits package (the ‘IKA’). 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.

For more information about this position, please contact Hayley Hung, phone: +31 (0)15-2785697, e-mail: Interested applicants should send an up-to-date curriculum vitae, letter of application, and the names and contact information (telephone number and e-mail address) of two references to Dr. Hayley Hung with the subject heading ‘[MACRO PhD]’.
The letter of application should summarise (1) why the applicant wants to earn a PhD, (2) why the project is of interest to the applicant, (3) evidence of suitability for the job, and (4) what the applicant hopes to gain from the position. Please e-mail your application by 5 January 2014 to Dr. Hung,
When applying for this position, please refer to vacancy number EWI2013-38.

Contract type: Temporary, 4 years


Delft University of Technology

Delft University of Technology (TU Delft) is a multifaceted institution offering education and carrying out research in the technical sciences at an internationally recognised level. Education, research and design are strongly oriented towards applicability. TU Delft develops technologies for future generations, focusing on sustainability, safety and economic vitality. At TU Delft you will work in an environment where technical sciences and society converge. TU Delft comprises eight faculties, unique laboratories, research institutes and schools.


Electrical Engineering, Mathematics & Computer Science

The successful candidate will be embedded within the Intelligent Systems Department at Delft University of Technology. The department works on the development of artificially intelligent systems that can sense, perceive, learn, reason, elicit and adapt observations about the world. The department has over 30 staff members and more than 80 post-docs and PhD students. It obtained a near-perfect score for its research in the last national evaluations.

The Pattern Recognition and Bioinformatics Group is one of five groups in the department, consisting of seven faculty members and over 20 post-docs and PhD students. Within this group, research is carried out in three core subjects: pattern recognition, computer vision, and bioinformatics. One of the main focuses of the group is on developing tools and theories, and gaining knowledge and understanding applicable to a broad range of general problems but typically involving sensory data, e.g. times signals, images, video streams, or other physical measurement data.

Additional information

Hayley Hung
+31 (0)15-2785697

Technische Universiteit Delft

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