Dr. ir. Paus-Buzink, S.N.

Sonja is a assistant professor Human-Centered Design at the department of Applied Ergonomics and Design at the Faculty of Industrial Design Engineering. She has a passion for human factors/ergonomics and usability evaluation within product design and in particular for medical device development.

Academic Background

In 2004 Sonja obtained her IDE Master's degree and worked as researcher for the Friendly Rest Room consortium at the faculty, improving usability of the toilet environment for elderly people. Within the Medisign group, Sonja obtained her PhD in 2010 on improving the patient safety during image-based procedures, a project co-funded by the Catharina Hospital in Eindhoven. Her PhD research focused on the use of advanced technology on patient safety in the operating room and improving pre-clinical surgical training in skillslabs (e.g., proper application of VR/AR simulation tools). In her research, she enjoyed working closely together with clinical researchers, engineers and cognitive psychologists from various hospitals and medical institutes and simulator companies. Sonja continued her work on safeguarding patient safety and improving quality of performance in image-based surgery as postdoc researcher at IDE and scientific coordinator of the Laparoscopic Surgical Skills programme for the European Association for Endoscopic Surgery (EAES). Next to her research, Sonja coached and supervised students in various IDE courses (MSc & BSc) in ergonomics, user-centered design, and design of products for healthcare. She also supervised students in research and graduation projects, both IDE students as well as medical students doing their (MSc or PhD) research at the Catharina Hospital.

In 2013 Sonja exchanged academic research for commercial research for a few years. As Managing Human Factors Specialist at UL-Wiklund R&D in Utrecht she worked on a broad range of human factors/usability engineering (UE) projects for a broad variety of clients, mostly medical device manufacturers. Besides managing and supporting user research, usability testing, and product critiques and (re)designing software and hardware user interfaces and learning aids (e.g., user manuals, quick reference cards), she also advised clients in the development of their UE program plans and UE reports required to comply with medical device regulations. 


  • 2015 – 2020
    Registered as European Ergonomist (Eur.Erg), CREE
  • 2010
    PhD Industrial Design Engineering, Delft University of Technology
  • 2004
    MSc Industrial Design Engineering, Delft University of Technology


  • 2017 – present
    Lecturer/assistant professor Applied Ergonomics and Design, TU Delft Faculty IDE
  • 2013 – 2016
    Managing Human Factors Specialist at UL-Wiklund R&D in Utrecht 
  • 2010 – 2016 
    Post-doctoral Researcher/Assistant Professor and Scientific coordinator of the Laparoscopic Surgical Skills programme, TU Delft Faculty IDE & Catharina Hospital Eindhoven
  • 2005 – 2010
    PhD researcher Medisign group, TU Delft Faculty IDE & Catharina Hospital Eindhoven
  • 2004 – 2005
    Researcher Friendly RestRoom (FRR) project, TU Delft Faculty IDE

Specialisation / Field of research

  • Human factors engineering
  • Ergonomics
  • Usability
  • User experience
  • User research
  • Medisign
  • Design of products for healthcare
  • Patient safety
  • Inclusive design
  • Ageing
  • Surgical simulation
  • Clinical skills
  • Healthcare at home
  • Prevention

Lectures/Coaches students on

Sonja is lecturer and/or coach in various courses of the BSc and MSc programmes at IDE on ergonomics/human factors, user-centered design, usability/user research and medical device development. She is the co-coordinator of the Ergonomics area of expertise within the course ID4170 Advanced Concept Design (ACD) also a coach/mentor for students during research and graduation projects. 

Secondary employment

Freelance specialist in usability engineering for medical devices