PhD Studentship Opportunity

We have an exciting new opportunity here at the Inclusionaries Lab; A fully funded 3.5 year PhD to advance knowledge in the field of human-centred design and healthcare technologies.

A Human-Centred Design Taxonomy for Healthcare Technologies; Developing criteria for assessment, improvement and communication

Problem Statement

Healthcare technologies have witnessed major acceleration in interdisciplinary interest and R&D investment. Despite the growing recognition and sustained demand for design-led practices, healthcare technologies still systematically struggle to adopt and adapt the human-centred principles, mindsets, and practices of design within their research, development, and integration phases. This is well evidenced in usability and desirability issues with new healthcare technologies leading to digital and physical exclusion, high rate of product/service abandonment, and compromised health and patient-reported outcomes. 

Despite the numerous existing human-centred healthcare design resources – primarily focused on HCD ‘methods & techniques’ – there is still not one single definition, set of constructs, and classification system for human-centred design within healthcare technologies. Hence, it is of the utmost importance to:

  • Evaluate performance of existing human-centred design resources.
  • Capture human-centred design gaps, cilos and requirements within the context of healthcare technologies.
  • Develop a classification system and maturity model of human-centred design for healthcare technologies to help scale, assess, improve, monitor and communicate its performance

Aim and scope

This PhD research aims to develop a first Taxonomy of Human-Centred Design for Healthcare Technologies. The taxonomy will act as:

  • A reference point for healthcare technologists, designers and clinicians to inform their processes and practices.
  • A classification system to help assess, improve, monitor, and communicate the application of human-centred design within healthcare technologies.


The research is led by an interdisciplinary team of Design & Clinical experts. Dr Farnaz Nickpour will lead the supervisory team, providing academic direction and insight on Design. Mr Iain Hennessey, consultant paediatric & neonatal surgeon at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital NHS Trust, and Director of Innovation Hub at Alder Hey, will act as the clinical supervisor providing direction on healthcare technologies. The PhD researcher will work alongside Inclusionaries’ dynamic team of design researchers.

Applicant Eligibility

Candidates will have, or be due to obtain, a Master’s Degree or equivalent from a reputable University in an appropriate field of Design. Exceptional candidates with a First Class Bachelor’s Degree in an appropriate field will also be considered.

Application Process

Candidates wishing to apply should complete the University of Liverpool application form applying for a PhD in Design and uploading: Degree Certificates & Transcripts, an up to date CV, a covering letter/personal statement and two academic references. 


Candidates wishing to discuss the research project should contact the primary supervisor, Dr Farnaz Nickpour: Those wishing to discuss the application process should discuss this with the School Postgraduate Office

Further information can be found here. To apply for this opportunity, please get in touch via the contact form on our home page or visit:

Funding Notes

This Scholarship is for UK students only and has a financial package including: annual stipend at the UKRI rate (currently £15,285 per annum), student fees and a research support grant (for conferences & travel, consumables etc) for 3.5 academic years. The funding has been available from the following endowments of the School of Engineering: Kitchner Fellowship, Munitions Fellowship, Mrs W M Horsman Endowment and Andrew Hamilton Endowment.