[Air-L] postdoc in Copenhagen -- IT and climate change
imgershon at gmail.com
Sat Apr 22 06:41:04 PDT 2023
PhD/Postdoc call DecouplingIT
/The IT University of Copenhagen invites highly motivated individuals to
apply for 2 fully funded PhD/postdoctoral positions starting 1 September
2023 or soon thereafter. PhD stipends are of a 3-year duration, whereas
a postdoctoral position will be for 2 years./
We invite applicants who want to contribute to the IT University’s
vision of creating and sharing knowledge that is profound and leads to
groundbreaking information technology and services for the benefit of
humanity; and to contribute to the Business IT Department's research
The applicants are expected to have a solid background in qualitative
social science such as anthropology, science and technology studies
(STS), geography, sociology or other relevant disciplines. Experience
with ethnographic fieldwork is a prerequisite.
The selected candidates will be part ofthe Technologies in Practice
(TiP) research group, and employed in the ITUʼs Dept. of BusinessIT.
There they will work as part of the research project DecouplingIT funded
by a Consolidator Grant from the European Research Council.
The DecouplingIT project consists of a committed team of researchers
working to ethnographically explore how (economic) growth is decoupled
from climate impacts within various IT enterprises around the world. The
project approaches this by exploring the practicesof IT enterprises
andprofessionals who articulate climate change as a problem in need of
IT-generated innovations, and inparticular how they practically deploy
IT with the climate in mind. Theoretically, the project willexplore how
sociocultural change is generated in the spaces between IT, climate
The DecouplingIT works with pre-defined regions where the studies must
The two PhDs/postdocs are expected to conduct independent ethnographic
studies in either a European or an African climate/tech hub. That is, in
ethnographic sites where climate and IT are in some form of interesting
and/or problematic relationship.The ethnographic focus should be centred
on how the climate becomes an object of attention and/or value within
the world of IT organizations – broadly conceived as software developers
or engineers, IT entrepreneurs, and so on. As an industry, IT is tasked
with both reducing its own climate impacts while generating and
facilitating ‘solutions’ for other industries. As such, the conjunction
of climate and IT should be the central focus of the research proposal.
The purpose of these sub-projects is tocontribute to anunderstanding of
how IT organizations and IT professionals in European or African
countries mediate the complex set of relationships that arise at the
nexus of climate and environmental concerns, narratives of
entrepreneurial agency, and aspirations towards decoupled growth.
Possible examples include studying relations to environmental impacts
and energy use within the Icelandic data and cryptocurrency industries
fuelled by the extraction of cheap fossil free energy, or working in the
Kenyan tech eco-system nick-named Silicon Savannah, which is an East
African hub for innovation in IT solutions and digital entrepreneurship.
An Icelandic case could addressthe conflicts and ambiguities produced
within the Icelandic data and cryptocurrency industries as they grow
their operations and extract value from digital landscapes through the
extraction of cheap fossil free energy from Icelandic geothermal
landscapes.A Kenyan case could focus on IT-based responses to local
climate effects such as the drilling of ‘digital wells’ as a solution to
water scarcity from frequent droughts, or the recent use of Internet of
Things (IoT) concepts to reduce emissions and support circular economy
approaches in handling different types of waste collection and
management in Nairobi. The study could favourably be anchored in local
incubator institutions, which are hailed as successful by development
donors in driving local technological solutions to climate change, and
in this way also approach how Kenya in relation to climate mitigation is
implicated in a variety of North-South relationships.
As part of the application, the applicant must provide a brief (max 3
pages) research proposal indicating where they will do fieldwork, how
they will do so, and how the site chosen can address the overall theme
of decoupling. This proposal should present the specific literature the
applicant is using to ground their project as well as how they imagine
their study can be carried out and concretized with due attention to its
analytical framework, methodology, language barriers, ethics, etc.
The successful candidates are expected to conduct independent
ethnographic subprojects, while at the same time contributing to the
general project’s overall purpose and aims. They must work within the
practice- and process-oriented social science framework presented by the
project while considering a series of cross-project research questions:
* how do actors within the IT sector think about their work in light
of the climate crisis?
* how do these actors perceive or value ‘the climate’ or ‘the
environment within their daily routines and practices?
* what role does growth play in such work, and how (if at all) is it
articulated as an overarching value?
The core assessment criteria are the coherence and plausibility of the
proposal’s key ideas, assumptions, and approach, how well the candidate
demonstrates methodological, analytical, and theoretical capability, and
how well the candidate is qualified to carry out the study they propose.
Candidates are welcome to take inspiration from the above to develop
alternative subproject ideas under the overall academic approach and
within the regions specified by the DecouplingIT project.
*About the department/BIT*
Business IT is organized in three interdisciplinary research groups
Technologies in Practice, Information Systems and Digital Innovation and
REFLACT. The groups share an interest in the socio-technical fabric of
digitalization and digital transformation and comprise more than 30
assistant, associate and full professors. Research at Business IT
provides basis for reflecting on how digital technologies may be used
mindfully and beneficially in the private and public sector. Business IT
offers a BSc inGlobal BusinessInformatics, aMSc in Digital Innovation &
Management, and a professional part-time masterprogramme in IT
management. It hosts three research centers Center for Digital Welfare,
Center for Climate IT and European Blockchain Centerin addition to two
academic labs ETHOS lab and BUILD lab
The IT University of Copenhagen (ITU) is a teaching and research-based
tertiary institution concerned with information technology (IT) and the
opportunities it offers. The IT University has more than 160 full-time
Faculty members. Research and teaching in information technology span
all academic activities which involve computers including computer
science, information and media sciences, humanities and social sciences,
business impact and the commercialization of IT.
The TiP research group is an internationally leading hub for
ethnographically oriented STS-research. The group currently houses 16
research faculty, 3 postdocs and 9 PhD students. The members of
contribute to 3 interdisciplinary degree programmes at the ITU – BSc in
Global Business Informatics, MSc in Digital Innovation Management and a
professional masters in IT Leadership.
The following qualifications are required:
* PhD candidates must hold a two-year MA/MSc-degree (or equivalent) in
a discipline such as those mentioned above.
* Postdoctoral candidates must hold a PhD degree (or equivalent) in a
discipline such as those mentioned above.
* Documented competence with qualitative social science methods
* Fluency in academic English.
Highly Desired Qualifications:
* Familiarity with practice- and process-oriented social science
theories and analysis
* Familiarity with social science discussions on climate change.
* Familiarity with social science studies of digital technologies and
* Familiarity with regional literature pertaining to the fieldsite
they wish to study.
* Familiarity with the language(s) spoken at the fieldsite they wish
More information about the Air-L