PhD Position Human-Centred AI for Crisis Management – TU Delft – Delft

  • Delft

TU Delft

Job description

A major challenge in crises is the combination of complexity, time pressure and moral decisions. AI has the potential to support first responders in their crowd crises decisions, yet the increasing use of AI has led to a debate about its legal and ethical implications. In this PhD project, we specifically focus on the cognitive and behavioural aspects of first responders’ decision making in human agent collectives. This PhD is part of the NWO-funded AI-COMPASS project.

Research on decision processes of first responders has shown that human decision-makers rely on a stream of information that is structured, processed, and turned into actionable insight. However, it is often not clear which information is most valuable to different decision-makers, or how information changes decision performance in groups and decentralized teams, especially under the time pressure and high stakes of a crisis.

In this PhD, you will work on analysing the impact of information provided by an AI on human decision-making in groups of professional emergency responders. You will then translate these empirical insights on human-AI interaction into formal models for crowd safety decision-making. Starting from theory-building work, you will first develop a framework on human-AI information acquisition and decision-making to formulate a range of hypotheses that we will test empirically. From there, we will develop a serious game to understand how human decision-makers acquire and share information under time pressure from an AI. Subsequently, the game will be used in experimental sessions with various stakeholders from practice to understand feedback in decision sequences, interaction and group think, and echo chambers in human-AI collectives. The results will be formalized into a new theory on the value of information as well as concrete guidelines for context-sensitive information provision strategies that allow an AI to cater for the specific cognitive and behavioural needs of a user.

The position is a part of the AI-COMPASS team of three PhD researchers that will collectively research crowd crisis management at the TU Delft. This position is embedded at the Faculty of Technology, Policy & Management (TPM), and will be jointly supervised with the faculty of Civil Engineering. As such, the candidate will be joining a vibrant and growing community. You will be supervised by Prof. Tina Comes, Dr. Natalie van der Wal, and Prof. Serge Hoogendoorn, and you will closely collaborate with Dr. Sascha Hoogendoorn-Lanser. This embedding ensures access to a broad network of partners in research, policy and practice. You may also gain experience in supervising MSc students and engage in teaching and training. Via our network and tailored mentoring, we will create opportunities for you to develop your career through support for conferences, collaborations and training possibilities.


You are a highly motivated and enthusiastic researcher with the ambition to conduct high-quality interdisciplinary research that pushes the boundaries of human-centred AI research in crises.

  • You have an MSc degree in Decision Sciences/Cognitive Science, Information Science, Transportation, Human-Centred Artificial Intelligence, or a related field.
  • You are keen to combine your analytical and conceptual skills that allow you to formalize complex phenomena with your experience in setting up behavioural experiments and serious games for empirical data collection.
  • You have excellent study results and excellent command of English. Dutch language skills are a plus.
  • You have knowledge in the field of crisis / disaster management or resilience, or you are eager to develop your expertise in this area.
  • You look forward to collaborating with various project partners and to translate your insights into practice and policy.
  • You thrive in a collaborative and multi-disciplinary environment .

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 .

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 €   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.

T he 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   . 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    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  and we actively  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 Technology, Policy and Management

The Faculty of TPM provides an important contribution to solving complex technical-social issues, such as energy transition, mobility, digitalisation, water management and (cyber) security. TPM does this with its excellent education and research at the intersection of technology, society and policy. We combine insights from both engineering and social sciences as well as the humanities. TPM develops robust models and designs, is internationally oriented and has an extensive network of knowledge institutions, companies, social organisations and governments.

Click  to go to the website of the Faculty of Technology, Policy and Management.

Lees hier meer