Vacancies - University of Twente

PhD position in the area of telepresence

The Department of Human Media Interaction at the University of Twente is currently seeking a PhD student in the area of telepresence. The University of Twente and The Netherlands Organisation of Applied Scientific Research (TNO) initiated a collaboration in the field of interaction-robotics (i-Botics). Despite advancements in autonomous systems, many tele-operation applications require direct control by a human. The i-Botics collaboration chooses a telepresence approach that will transport a human’s sense, actions, and presence to a remote location in real time. This approach would allow the operator to be present at any location and interact with the environment and other people as if actually being there.

Job description

Robotics is a booming field of research, with the potential to transform our society. The interaction between users and remote environments is often restricted to vision and audition, also in a telepresence approach. Adding the sense of touch to this interaction is a young and promising field, and offers an exciting, radically different approach to increase the sense of presence and performance of the operator through haptic and tactile feedback and tapping into neurocognitive mechanisms of for instance body ownership. Our ambition is to expand our knowledge in this field and get grip on the boundary conditions of touch, telepresence, embodiment, and body ownership on teleoperation.

You will be embedded in a research group with a long track record in virtual agents and human robot interaction. This project is carried out in cooperation with the Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research (TNO) and includes regular presence at the joint i-Botics laboratories in Enschede and Soesterberg, both in The Netherlands. You will have the opportunity to carry out your research using the excellent facilities of both organisations. In addition, you will contribute to the organization of the EuroHaptics conference 2020 in Leiden, The Netherlands. EuroHaptics is a major international conference on haptics and touch enabled computer applications, and the primary European meeting for researchers in this field. The position offers prospective candidates excellent opportunities to extend their network with academic and societal partners.

Your profile


  • You have a master degree in Computer Science, Cognitive Psychology or any other topic related to Human Robot Interaction, relevant expertise in the area of touch, and experience with human participants experiments.
  • You are a good collaborator who is able to combine and extend current knowledge and know-how.
  • You have interest in and experience with organizing scientific events like workshops and conferences.
  • You have an excellent command of English.


For more information please contact Prof. Dr. Dirk Heylen,, or Prof. Dr. Jan van Erp,

Applications, including a CV, a statement of your interest and vision, and contact information for two or more references, should be uploaded through the link below. The deadline for application is February 27, 2019.

Our offer

We offer a very challenging fulltime position for four years in an inspiring multidisciplinary and international environment. In accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities (CAO NU) the gross monthly salary ranges from € 2325,- in the first year to € 2972,- in the fourth year. Additionally, the University of Twente provides excellent facilities for professional and personal development, a holiday allowance and an end-of-year bonus, and a number of additional benefits. 

The organization

The University of Twente. We stand for life sciences and technology. High tech and human touch. Education and research that matter. New technology which leads change, innovation and progress in society. The University of Twente is the only campus university of the Netherlands; divided over five faculties we provide more than fifty educational programmes. We have a strong focus on personal development and talented researchers are given scope for carrying out groundbreaking research.

We are an equal opportunity employer and value diversity at our company. We do not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, color, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, age, marital status or disability status. Because of our diversity values we do particularly support women to apply.

The faculty of Electrical Engineering, Mathematics and Computer Science (EEMCS) comprises three disciplines that shape Information and Communication Technology. ICT is more than communication. In almost every product we use mathematics, electronics and computer technology and ICT now contributes to all of societies' activities. The faculty works together intensively with industrial partners and researchers in the Netherlands and abroad and conducts extensive research for external commissioning parties and funders. The research which enjoys a high profile both at home and internationally, has been accommodated in the multidisciplinary research institutes: Mesa+ Institute, TechMed Centra and Digital Society Institute.

PhD position in the area of telepresence
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