User-centred interaction technologies 

The four-year structured PhD programme in Human-centred Interaction Technologies is an internationally oriented programme. A PhD programme at the University of Twente can be started throughout the year. Read more about the related Master's programmes in Computer Science, Communication Studies, Human Media Interaction, Philosophy of Science, Technology and Society, or Psychology if you have yet to start a Master of Science programme. 

The subject of the Twente Graduate School programme in Human-centred Interaction Technologies is the interaction between humans and ICT. It considers both the interaction of humans with the system and the interaction between humans through the technology. The rapidly grown availability and use of ICT in all aspects of the personal, organizational and societal life sphere during work, learning or free time, calls for a multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary approach of the subject, in which computer science and other engineering disciplines team up with social sciences and the humanities. This is fully reflected in this programme. Human-centred Interaction Technologies considers the technological, psychological, sociological and philosophical dimensions of human-media interaction.

Programme overview

Prof. dr. Dirk Heylen
1 year - 2 years
4 years

Core research

The core research concerns the design of intelligent interactive systems that improve the quality of the user experience as part of a human-centred development process. Besides the technological perspective this will thus involve considering the human in the loop. Therefore, also the assumptions underlying design and development (as they relate to ethical considerations for instance), the acceptance and use and the impact and implications of the technology on the direct interaction of humans with the system and the impact on a societal level are considered.

Technical and engineering programme components

The technical and engineering programmes involved in this Twente Graduate School programme have an interest in building more and more involved computational models of users and user context for interpreting signals and processes that are considered meaningful for humans and for artificial intelligent interactive systems in some particular practice. A considerable research effort is spent attempting to interpret a user’s state of mind (by interpreting natural language text and speech, body language or brain signals, for instance) and acting upon this appropriately. To build such computational models, systems also resort more and more to the analysis of gigantic repositories of user interactions, such as user clicks logs, query logs, etc.

Psychological and communicative perspectives

From the psychological and communicative perspective, the Graduate Programme brings challenging questions to the fore about how meaning (embodied in the interface, content, actions, etc) is created, transferred and adapted in ICT-mediated environments, including questions of causal relations between technological or representational design decisions on the one hand and effects and affective impact on the other hand. From a cognitive-ergonomic point of view it is important to understand the neuro-cognitive possibilities and limitations of humans as they interact with conspecifics and technology. A firm grasp on cognitive strength and weaknesses of humans will allow for the design of interactive systems that act when humans cannot and efficiently support humans in areas where they already excel.

Professional Doctorate in Engineering in Robotics

The Professional Doctorate in Engineering (PDEng) trainee follows a two-year post-Master’s designer programme at the University of Twente. In consultation with the organisation, this tailor made programme will be designed to educate trainees who are able to design high level, creative and renewing designs for complex issues with a multidisciplinary character.

The technological designer in Robotics creates innovative robot technical solutions for medical, industrial and security applications. This includes surgical or rehabilitation robots, welding robots for inspection in the metal industry, and independently operating robots. In order to design these robots, the programme meets a multidisciplinary approach with mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, information technology and control engineering.