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Post Doc Position in The Future of Humanitarian Design (HUD) at the Department of Political Science, University of Copenhagen



Øster Farimagsgade 5, 1353 København K, Danmark

ID: 2567452
Indrykket for 40 dage siden
The Department of Political Science, University of Copenhagen, is hiring a postdoctoral researcher as part of the project “The Future of Humanitarian Design (HUD)”, led by Associate Professor Jonathan Luke Austin. The expected starting date is 1 September 2024 or as soon as possible thereafter. The selected candidate will be hired for 2.5 years. The postdoctoral position is expected to form part of the daily academic environment at the Department of Political Science.

Job description
We invite applications for a postdoctoral researcher to join the research project ‘The Future of Humanitarian Design (HUD)’. HUD is a four-year Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) funded project focused on the contemporary humanitarian challenges: war, refugee flows, forced displacement, etc. Such humanitarian challenges are rapidly worsening: contemporary conflicts are more frequent and protracted, refugee flows are rapidly destabilizing geopolitical structures, and humanitarian actors are under growing threat. In light of these dilemmas, HUD explores how emerging technologies, processes of aesthetic design, and engineering insights can be combined with knowledge from international relations to tackle the crisis facing humanitarianism. Our goal is to 1) explore how we might better integrate ‘high theoretical’ and ‘critical’ social scientific concepts and theories into the world of practice (humanitarian and beyond), 2) to see how social science can be more closely ‘bridged’ with engineering, architectural, and design practice and knowledge, and 3) therein, take up the urgent task – especially in the light of recent geopolitical events – of working collaboratively across the sciences to improve the conditions of some of the most vulnerable populations in the world.

HUD is a collaboration between the University of Copenhagen, the Geneva Graduate Institute, the Art and Design School in Geneva, and the EssentialTech Lab at EPFL Lausanne. It also integrates high-level humanitarian and policy practitioners as project partners based at organizations including Médecins sans frontières (Doctors Without Borders), Terre des hommes, and the International Committee of the Red Cross, alongside partnerships with research institutions in Colombia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

As part of the project, the recruited postdoctoral researchers will join this interdisciplinary and transvocational team, having the opportunity to travel and work in relevant field sites (Colombia, DRC). They will work on core project research collaboratively with the entire team, as well as pursue independent research related to the project themes and their own interest.

More info about the project can be found here www.humanitarian.design.

Your qualifications
The candidate must have obtained or is about to obtain a PhD degree in political science, international relations, science and technology studies, anthropology, sociology, or related fields. Beyond this, we are seeking to recruit a researcher with excellent interdisciplinary competencies that cut across one or more of the following core areas;

  • Science and technology studies
  • The political/social theory of technology
  • Design (theory, materiality, aesthetics, arts)
  • Humanitarian Action, and related fields of practice, broadly conceived.
In addition, expertise and experience working in the following areas is desirable:

  • An area studies or anthropological interest in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and/or Colombia
  • Political violence and/or violence prevention from a global perspective.
In addition to these areas of specialization, the following skills and qualifications are expected/desired:

  • An excellent doctoral degree within a discipline related to the above foci, broadly conceived (required)
  • A strong interest and experience in interdisciplinary and/or transdisciplinary research (required)
  • Excellent English-language writing and speaking skills (required)
  • A willingness to take on independent responsibilities and tasks (required)
  • Proficient communication skills and an ability to work independently as well as in teams (required)
  • A willingness to travel to relevant field sites and other locations as part of the project (valued)
  • Experience with participatory action research and co-design methodologies (valued)
  • Proficiency in one or more of French, Spanish, Swahili, Lingala (valued).
Your tasks
The successful candidate will both collaborate closely with the project team of 3 Principal Investigators, 3 PhDs, 3 Postdocs, 1 Senior Researcher, and project coordinators on core research activities and develop their own independent research project/agenda connected to HUD’s overall themes. Specifically, tasks will include the following:

  • Conducting primary and secondary research on the relationship(s) between humanitarianism, design, and technology
  • Analysing collected data and working to conceptualize novel forms of humanitarian intervention within HUD’s scope
  • Co-authoring publications as appropriate with the project team
  • Assistance with the organization of – and participation in – workshops and leading international conferences
  • Communication with key stakeholders, including sharing key insights from the project
  • Opportunity to engage in educational activities linked to the project.
Your opportunities
The position offers a range of attractive opportunities for the candidate, including:

  • Being part of a vibrant and ambitious international and transdisciplinary team of researchers
  • The opportunity to develop an independent research agenda within the overall project
  • Being part of a leading political science department and its daily activities
  • Engaging with international researchers, practitioners, and others as part of the project
  • Conducting fieldwork and working with local partners in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and/or Colombia
  • Funding for conferences, additional training etc.
The Department of Political Science
The Department is a top-ranked European Political Science department, which offers a vibrant,collegial, and pluralist academic working environment for ambitious scholars.

The pluralism of Political Science in Copenhagen is evidenced in the various epistemological and

methodological approaches as well as subfields adopted by faculty, and in a wide range of core

subjects in the MSc programme. The Department’s International Relations (IR) group and the Future of Advanced Security and Technology Research Hub (FASTER) will be especially relevant for interested candidates.

The Department consists of some 75 faculty members, which currently includes more than 10

tenure-track assistant professors, as well as some 25 PhD students, organized in four main research

groups and a few centres. For more on the Department, please consult our webpage:


Terms of Employment

The recruitment process
Further information on the recruitment process at University of Copenhagen can be found here: https://employment.ku.dk/faculty/recruitment-process/

An Equal Opportunity Workplace
The University of Copenhagen is committed in its pursuit of academic excellence to equality of opportunity and to creating an inclusive working environment and therefore encourages all qualified candidates to apply, regardless of personal background, gender, sexual orientation, age, disability, ethnicity etc. For more on the diverse working place environment at the University and the University’s participation in the HRS4R HR Excellence in Research, see https://employment.ku.dk/working-at-ucph/eu-charter-for-researchers/

The Code of Conduct of the Department of Political Science is available here: https://politicalscience.ku.dk/about/news/2022/code-of-conduct-announced/Plakat_8T_uncoated.pdf

International applicant?
The University of Copenhagen offers a broad variety of services for international researchers and accompanying families, including support before and during your relocation and career counselling to expat partners. Please find more information about the services of International Staff Mobility (ISM) as well as information on entering and working in Denmark here: https://ism.ku.dk/

Contact information
Information about the recruitment process is available from HR, e-mail: [email protected]. Please refer to ID number: 211-1787/24-2I #1.

Additional information about the position can be obtained from Associate Professor Jonathan Luke Austin [email protected].

How to apply
Submit a complete application at our online portal. Click on the “Apply now” icon at the bottom of the page to apply. The documents must be in Adobe PDF or Word.

Your application must be written in English and include the following documents:

  • A motivation letter, detailing your interest in the project, its research, and the department;
  • A short (2-5 pages) description of an independent research project the candidate would be interested in pursuing, and its relevant to the overall research agenda of the Future of Humanitarian Design;
  • A full curriculum vitae, including list of publications if available;
  • Up to three publications, working papers, or dissertation chapters if available;
  • Relevant diplomas (PhD, Master, and Bachelor).
Should any material submitted consist of work with named co-authors, or work that is otherwise the result of collective academic endeavors, the extent of the applicant’s contribution to the work must be clearly stipulated. The faculty may ask for a signed statement from the co-authors stipulating the extent and nature of each individual’s contribution.

The closing date for applications is 15 May 2024, 23:59 CEST.

Applications or enclosures received thereafter will not be considered.

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