PhD position on Implementing effects of light on humans in the lighting design process (ESR 15)

The Department of the Built Environment of Eindhoven University of Technology has one PhD position on IF and NIF effects in the lighting design process to work on theMarie Skłodowska-Curie ITN funded LIGHTCAP project.

PhD position: Implementing effects of light on humans in the lighting design process

The Building Lighting (BL) group is seeking one enthusiastic, ambitious young researcher to work in our team as PhD candidate on translating the knowledge on how light impacts visual performance, human health, behavior, and well-being into lighting design recommendations.

In this project, under the MSCA LIGHTCAP program, you will investigate how any given lighting condition can be evaluated within a quality scheme. This quality scheme depends on different static and dynamic parameters e.g. time and activity, and consider state of the art insights in both image-forming (IF) and non-image forming (NIF) effects. Key quality aspects will be validated in a real-life situation, e.g. an operational office environment. The end product will be recommendations for a holistic lighting design translated in a lighting simulation tool.

The research will be conducted under the supervision of Mariëlle Aarts and Dr. Juliëtte van Duijnhoven, in the Building Lighting Group chaired by Prof. Alexander Rosemann and embedded in TU/e’s Intelligent Lighting Institute. We have planned secondments at the Technische Universität Berlin and Zumtobel.

Your research will be conducted in the Building Lighting Group embedded in TU/e’s Intelligent Lighting Institute.

The LIGHTCAP project

The LIGHTCAP project is a European Training Network under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie actions framework. LIGHTCAP aims to provide a strong, innovative and necessary impulse to our insights in the intricate and complex relationships between light, perception, attention and cognition. Prof Yvonne de Kort of the HTI group is the coordinator of this ETN project.

Cognition, Attention and Perception (CAP) are crucial for professional success, core to educational success, and essential to productive, safe and healthy functioning. Yet cognition is hard work, attention is fragile, and perception is selective. Recent research has shown that light directly and indirectly helps to foster CAP, in particular via the activation of a recently discovered photoreceptor in the human eye. However, large-scale migration to cities, increased time spent indoors, and our 24-hour economy have impacted on our light exposure. Such aberrant, unnatural light dark cycles impact on human physiology and functioning and can result in sleep, mood and circadian rhythm disturbances, in fatigue and cognitive failure, and they even may aggravate certain cancer pathologies.

LIGHTCAP is an international, interdisciplinary, cross-sectional and translational training program. It unites experts from neurobiology, cognitive neuroscience, chronobiology, psychology and lighting technology. It will train a generation of researchers who can look beyond the borders of their discipline and understand the implications of their findings for other fields.

In LIGHTCAP, 15 early stage researchers will be trained in a joint programme between 7 academic European partners:

·the Human-Technology Interaction group and the Building Lighting group at Eindhoven University of Technology; ·the Centre for Biological Timing at the University of Manchester; ·the Lighting and Visual Perception group of the University of Sheffield; ·the GIGA-Cyclontron Research Centre-In Vivo Imaging of the University of Liège; ·the Centre for Chronobiology of the University of Basel; ·the Laboratory of Integrated Performance in Design of the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL); and ·the Lighting Technology group of the Technical University of Berlin.

These groups will be collaborating intensively with each other and with the solid consortium of industrial and medical partners through secondments (research visits), consortium meetings and a joint training programme. For the remaining LIGHTCAP positions at TU/e and in the partner universities, please see the LIGHTCAP project’s website.

Job Requirements

To be eligible for recruitment within an MSCA-ITN project,you must – at the date of recruitment:

  1. be within the first four years (full-time equivalent research experience) of your research career and not have a doctoral degree.
  2. not have resided or carried out your main activity (e.g. work, studies) in the Netherlands for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately before your start date.

Specific requirements:

  • A master’s degree or an equivalent university degree in (Building) Engineering
  • Experience with and affinity for lighting design in relation to human related aspects
  • Experience with lighting design tools like Radiance, Grasshopper, etc. is a pre

General requirements:

  • A strong interest in lighting and psychological research
  • Expertise with empirical research with humans
  • A research oriented attitude
  • Strong conceptual thinking and planning skills; you are creative and proactive
  • Ability to work in an international and interdisciplinary team and interested in collaborating with industrial partners.
  • Fluent in spoken and written English

Conditions of Employment

  • A meaningful job in a dynamic and ambitious university with the possibility to present your work at international conferences.

    A full-time employment for four years, with an intermediate evaluation after one year.

    To support you during your PhD and to prepare you for the rest of your career, you will have free access to a personal development program for PhD students (PROOF program).

    A gross monthly salary and benefits in accordance with the Collective Labor Agreement for Dutch Universities.

    Additionally, an annual holiday allowance of 8% of the yearly salary, plus a year-end allowance of 8.3% of the annual salary. Your total pay will also be in accordance with the allowances of the MSCA work programme [1].

    A broad package of fringe benefits, including an excellent technical infrastructure, moving expenses, and savings schemes.

    Family-friendly initiativesare in place, such as an international spouse program, and excellent on-campus children day care and sports facilities.

    About us

Eindhoven University of Technologyis a top-ranking Dutch university that combines scientific curiosity with a hands-on attitude. Our spirit of collaboration translates into an open culture and a number 1 position in collaborating with advanced industries. Fundamental knowledge enables us to design solutions for the highly complex problems of today and tomorrow.

Building Lighting (BL) is the lighting research group of the Building Physics and Services (BPS) unit at Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e). Research addresses daylight as well as artificial lighting, including both fundamental and applied research, and evolves around people as well as technology. Human Centric Lighting, which refers to lighting systems with some kind of intelligent behavior aiming at enhancing the quality of the built environment for the users. Application domains include work environments, public outdoor spaces and private homes.

The Intelligent Lighting Institute (ILI) is TU/e’s interdepartmental institute for innovations in lighting. It was established in 2010 and is home to multidisciplinary research around novel intelligent lighting solutions, with a special emphasis on how these new solutions might affect people. In addition, ILI aims at providing scientific evidence for the claims that go with these novel lighting solutions.

More information

Do you recognize yourself in this profile and would you like to know more? Please contact Mariëlle Aarts, m.p.j.aarts [at] or +31 40 247 2900

Please visit to find out more about working at TU/e!


The online application form is available here.

Your application should include a:

  • Cover letter in which you describe your motivation and qualifications for the position.
  • Curriculum vitae, including a list of your publications and the contact information of three references.
  • Brief description of your MSc thesis.
  • Grade list

We look forward to your application and will screen it as soon as we have received it. Screening will continue until the position has been filled.