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

Sonja Paus-Buzink is lecturer at the Faculty of Industrial Design Engineering.

Academic Background

Sonja is a part-time lecturer at the department of Applied Ergonomics and Design. She also is a freelance specialist in usability engineering for medical devices. Both roles enable her to share her expertise and passion for human factors/ergonomics in medical device development which she obtained by her work for the faculty's Medisign group and at UL Wiklund R&D.

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 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 postdoctoral 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, design of products for healthcare, and usability research. She also supervised students in research and graduation projects, IDE students as well as medical students doing (PhD) research at the Catharina Hospital.

In 2013 Sonja made a leap to industry and worked for three years as Managing Human Factors Specialist at UL-Wiklund R&D in Utrecht. At UL-Wiklund, she managed and supported a broad range of human factors/usability engineering activities (UE) 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 by the FDA and ISO-IEC62366. 


  • 2015
    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 Applied Ergonomics and Design, TU Delft Faculty IDE
  • 2017 – present
    Freelance specialist human factors/usability engineering for medical devices
  • 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 testing
  • User research
  • Design of products for healthcare
  • Patient safety
  • Inclusive design
  • Surgical simulation

Lectures/Coaches students on

Sonja is lecturer and/or coach in various courses of the BSc and MSc programmes at IDE and a course coordinator for the course IO3880-13 Medical Design, part of the TU Delft MedTech-Based Entrepreneurship minor and co-coordinator of the Applied Ergonomics Exploration (AEE) area of expertise within the course ID4170 Advanced Concept Design (ACD). She is also a coach/mentor for students during research and graduation projects. 

At IDE, Sonja is involved in general design education and courses focusing on ergonomics/human factors, user-centered design, usability/user research and medical device development, such as IO1020 Mens & Product, IO1051 PO2, ID42656 UXAD, ID4265 DfI Research Methodology, ID5752 Rules & Regulations for Medical Devices.

Secondary employment

Freelance specialist in usability engineering for medical devices