PhD position on Technology-enabled design interventions to motivate consumers’ to repair their electronic products – DelftUniversityofTechnology(TUDelft) – Delft

  • Delft


The Faculty of Industrial Design Engineering at the Delft University of Technology (TU Delft) has openings for a PhD candidate as part of the NWO KIC (Dutch Consortium grant) on “Tackling Fixophobia: Improving repair practices for consumer electronics”.

In today’s linear economy, the rapid replacement of consumer electronics leads to CO2-emissions, resource scarcity, e-waste and pollution, thereby providing important environmental and societal challenges. Extending the lifetimes of consumer electronics is essential to tackle these challenges. Most consumer electronics are currently replaced because of the inability to fulfil their main function or a loss in performance. A repair economy in which all value chain actors (incl. consumers) adopt repair practices can resolve such performance issues, leading to extended product lifetimes, and a Circular Economy for consumer electronics. Yet, all value chain actors currently experience barriers that withhold them from trusting, accepting, and adopting repair practices, leading to ‘Fixophobia’.

This project aims to provide the much-needed scientific theories, societal tools, and repair system innovations to encourage a multi-actor system change and enhance trust, acceptance and adoption of repair practices for consumer electronics. To achieve societal impact, we collaborate intensely with a unique consortium, including all actors in the consumer electronics value chain: Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs), (design) consultancies, retail, repair organisations, consumer organisations, network/trade

In this KIC-project, three PhD students will work on different factors related to ‘Fixophobia’.

This particular PhD vacancy focuses on designing and testing technology-enabled design interventions that can motivate consumers to repair their electronic products. In this PhD research, the candidate will take a design perspective to uncover interventions that will either enhance consumers’ trust in repair, that will make the repair activities more pleasurable and/or that help consumers in diagnosing the cause of the failure. Specific attention will be paid to the opportunities provided by emerging technologies AI, Internet of Things). Moreover, in the final project you will intensively collaborate with the other academic partners on consumer behavior (Wageningen University), design (Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences) value chain (University of Maastricht) and law (Erasmus University) to together develop an integrated framework on repair. Interdisciplinary research is thus a valuable part of the project.

Specifically, the project will include:

– Providing an overview of the different design interventions (including product, service, system) that motivate consumers to repair their electronic products.

– Developing (virtual) prototypes in which the different interventions are implemented in different products

– Investigating how consumers respond to the created prototypes using both interviews and experimental studies.

– Develop a design tool for new motivating repair solutions.

– Integrating findings with other academics into an interdisciplinary framework on repair.

– Discussing the findings in dissemination sessions with stakeholders from industry and government to achieve societal impact.

– Writing scientific papers for academic conferences and journals

The PhD candidate should have an interest in education and in how to translate research outcomes into educational experiences. You will also be required to do a small amount (10%) of teaching in related courses and co-supervise Master graduate students. The preferred starting date for the position is September 2024.

Lees hier meer