> Apply here (before 2021-02-14)

  • Temporary position longer than 6 months

  •  100%

  •  Umeå

The position at Umeå Institute of Design is a time-limited salaried PhD Position, four years full time within European Innovative Training Network DCODE on "Designing for contestable systems". The position is scheduled to start June 1st 2021, last day to apply is February 14th, 2021.

The European Innovative Training Network DCODE is an IDE-led Horizon 2020 Marie Sklodowska-Curie Innovative Training Network (ITN) project. The project brings together a European consortium of seven higher education institutes with T/U Delft as the coordinating institution. This consortium will train a European network of 15 PhD students in design, anthropology, media studies, science and technology studies and computer science, and equip them with the knowledge and skills needed for envisioning, designing and prototyping product service systems that are powered by Big Data, Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence. Focus of the research training will be on those steps in design where a digital transformation of society is the effect of sustained and repeated interaction with data-driven product services and the broader systems of algorithmic logic, value and governance in which they get embedded. 

Being part of the DCODE network offers unique possibilities for training: dedicated summer/winter schools for all PhD candidates in which training will be delivered by renowned academics and practitioners; participation in "prototeams", e.g., teams of PhD candidates with different disciplinary backgrounds who will engage with the real world to ethically develop and iteratively prototype future technologies, design roles and practices; exchanges abroad for training and collaboration with others partners; a wealth of resources for European training and collaboration, see also www.dcode-network.eu

Research Project

Designing alternatives for the Terms of Service (ToS)

This project focuses on what ethical frameworks may be used for supporting new types of contracts between service providers, users and third parties. Based on reviews and critiques of existing terms of service (ToS), we seek to initiate a shift from 'terms of use' to new forms of 'social contracts' that better distributes power and control, and provides a company's social license to operate. The objective will be to develop and design a negotiable and dynamic 'social contract' model, based on a critique of existing ToS.


To be admitted for studies at third-cycle level the applicant is required to have completed a second-cycle level degree, or completed course requirements of at least 240 ECTS credits, of which at least 60 ECTS credits are at second-cycle level, or have an equivalent education from overseas, or equivalent qualifications.

To fulfil the specific entry requirements to be admitted for studies at third-cycle level in industrial design, the applicant is required to have completed at least 90 ECTS credits within the field of design, of which at least 30 ECTS credits shall have been acquired at second-cycle level. Applicants who in some other system either within Sweden or abroad have acquired largely equivalent skills are also eligible.

DCODE is funded by the European Commission's Marie Skłodowska-Curie programme and to be eligible for this funding you must meet the following criteria:

  • The applicant cannot hold a PhD degree.
  • The applicant shall have less than four years of research experience since you gained the degree that qualifies you for this post. That is, a EU master's degree (MSc, MA or MFA degree) or equivalent (BA or BSc degree 1st class or 2:1 equivalent);
  • The applicant must not have resided or carried out your main activity (work, studies, etc.) in the country of the host institute for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately prior to your recruitment;
  • The applicant can be of any nationality.

Please ensure that this information is clear on your CV.


The following requirements must be met by the applicant:

  • Knowledge and skills in design and design research, especially hands-on prototyping/programming skills and experience in interaction design, human-data interaction, artificial intelligence or other for the project relevant domain;
  • Ability to conduct and deliver research both independently and as part of an interdisciplinary team;
  • A passion for improving people's lives through better design and a demonstrable interest in the role of technology in society;
  • Excellent communication skills in English, both written and spoken;

Additional requirements of merit:

  • Demonstrable people skills, including the ability to run workshops, co-design activities and to collaborate with various stakeholders are a plus, for this PhD position.

Terms of employment

The position is expected to result in a doctoral degree and is equivalent to four years full time studies provided that the expected learning outcome has been achieved. The PhD student will be enrolled in the PhD program and employed at Umeå Institute of Design. For further information about PhD positions at UID, see also: www.umu.se/en/research/doctoral-studies

The salary for PhD student is based on the Umeå University salary scale. In addition to that, the allowance will also be based on the standard Marie Skłodowska-Curie Early-Stage Researcher living and mobility allowances. For further information about Marie Skłodowska-Curie Early-Stage Researcher living and mobility allowances please see also: www.dcode-network.eu

The position is scheduled to start June 1st 2021. For inquiries on the position's start date in relation to the current COVID19 situation, contact acting Head of department Linda Bresäter. 

How to apply 

The application shall be made through the e-recruitment system Varbi (follow this link) latest February 14th, 2021. Applicants should submit: 

  • A cover letter describing the reasons for applying to the PhD position in DCODE, including how you see the PhD fitting into your career trajectory;
  • A CV, which should include details of your eligibility as specified above (degree och research experience);
  • A research statement outlining what questions would you be interested in pursuing within the scope of the PhD, and how would you go about addressing those questions (3 to 5 pages);
  • Certified diploma and transcripts of records documenting previous education;
  • Names and contact details (telephone and email) of 2 professionally qualified persons willing to act as referee on your behalf;
  • A sample of writing, e.g., master thesis, academic publications, professional or popular science writing;Other information for consideration, e.g. design portfolio, artworks, patents, professional media content (if any).

Selected candidates will be invited for interviews. Online interviews will take place in the weeks of March 1-12, 2021 (first round) and March 22-26, 2021 (second round).


For further information contact prof. Johan Redström (johan.redstrom@umu.se) or the project coordinator and co-supervisor prof. Elisa Giaccardi (E.Giaccardi@tudelft.nl) or acting Head of department Linda Bresäter (linda.bresater@umu.se).

Welcome with your application!