PhD Position Systems Science for Sustainable Safety

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Offer Description

At the Institute for Health Systems Science (IHSS) at the faculty of Technology, Policy and Management, a PhD position will become available dedicated to safety in healthcare systems. The IHSS is a recently established TPM initiative that has a mission to explore and promote systems science methods in Health & Care to enable safe and sustainable health & care for all. The IHSS leverages on the faculty’s long-standing record in a.o. complex systems science and safety science. The position will be based within the safety & security science section (3S). Safety science is a discipline that builds upon knowledge from a variety of disciplines including engineering, psychology, mathematics, economics, and philosophy. In 2018 healthcare became a key focus for 3S with the establishment of the Centre for Safety in Healthcare (CSH). In this PhD position, you will work with experts from different sections and departments in the faculty, as the IHSS aims to connect people involved in health & care research and education faculty wide.

It is increasingly recognized that complex challenges, such as safety and resilience, are best approached from a systems perspective. In healthcare, systems science is as yet underexplored and has significant potential to address its longstanding complex challenges. This PhD trajectory will focus on the added value of a systems perspective in the context of safety in healthcare, with a special emphasis on the professional and organisational responsibilities towards ensuring safe care. It will consider individual professional performance and professional views on safe care as related to the healthcare system design and functioning (as a sociotechnical system). In other words, how the actions of – and interaction between healthcare system (how it is organised and functions) and the care professional, can enhance or hamper safe care. The project includes an exploration into the underlying mental models of care professionals (both clinical and managerial) on properties of safe care, how they envision execution of the multitude of tasks involved, and how responsibilities are distributed. It further includes a modelling project, for which both qualitative and quantitative approaches can be used, to explore what system conditions, changes and/or incentives would be necessary to enhance sustained safer care in healthcare systems. While we are interested in these topics broadly, here we aim to zoom in on one of the following (use) cases: acute care, mental health, or cancer care.


Specific Requirements

We are looking for a PhD candidate:

  • with a background in systems engineering, clinical technology, safety science, or a related discipline;
  • knowledge of or shown interest in the health care domain;
  • preferably an additional degree or strong interest in philosophy;
  • with basic knowledge on scientific methods to study complex challenges;
  • professional proficiency in English (mandatory);
  • proficiency in Dutch language is recommended.

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.

Additional Information


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 € 2770 per month in the first year to € 3539 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 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.

Selection process

Are you interested in this vacancy? Please apply before 23 November 2023 via the application button and upload your:

  • Motivation.
  • CV.
  • Short (max 1A4) description with a motivation for a specific use case and what research methods you envision to use.


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

For more information about the application procedure, please contact Astrid Pinzger via

Additional comments

For more information about this vacancy, please contact Irene Grossmann via

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