One or more PhD stipends in digital social relations for young people with cognitive disabilities (20-18006)

At the Technical Faculty of IT and Design, Department of Planning, one or more PhD stipends are available within the general study programme "Development and Planning". The stipends are open for appointment from 1 May 2018 or soon hereafter. The Department of Planning conducts research and teaching on development and planning in a broad sense, including social science aspects as well as more technical aspects of development. The stipends will be integrated in the research group for ‘Techno-Anthropology and Participation’ at the Department of Planning and related to the Techno-Anthropology study program. This research group conduct socio-technical research focused on participation of key actors who are affected by technology.

Job description

A large research project, funded by the Velux Foundation, will investigate how digital technology is and can be used as an arena for social relations among young people with cognitive disabilities? This project (in short called DiSC) will be funding one PhD study, one postdoc study, and an ambitious 4 year research and development collaboration between senior and junior researchers at Aalborg University, young people with cognitive disabilities, careers and professionals in institutions for young people with special needs.

Digital technology is widespread and also presented as arenas that can support young people with cognitive disabilities in developing and maintaining social relations. However, despite the good intensions, knowledge about how these young people understand and experience digital social relations is scarce. Additionally, it is a challenge for carers and professionals to support these young people in their digital lives. Consequently, there is a need for knowledge, theory and strategies for supporting the target group in handling the opportunities and challenges related to digital interaction. The DiSC project strives to develop theory and strategies for digital social relations for this target group.

The research is conducted in close collaboration with a special school for children with autism (age 13-17 years old), a youth education programme for young adults with special needs including autism, adhd, learning disabilities, brain injuries and physical disabilities (age 16-25) and a residential accommodation for young adults with learning disabilities (age 17-29 years). The research approach is qualitative and participatory. Video will be used as the primary medium for data collection to facilitate the participation of the target group, their carers and professionals in the participating institutions.

The purpose of the PhD study is to research the meaning that digital technology has for social relations among young people with cognitive disabilities and develop digital strategies on this basis. Empirically this study includes (1) conducting video interviews with the participating young people about their digital social relations, (2) facilitating the participants in making video diaries about digital social relations in their institutions and at home and (3) facilitate workshops for participatory analysis of video material and co-development of digital strategies with the young people, their carers and professionals in the participating institutions. The successful applicant will collaborate closely with the DiSC research team and project partners.

The candidates must demonstrate experience in conducting qualitative empirical research. Experience with video as a medium for data collection and experience with the target group or a related field is an advantage. All data are collected and analysed in Danish and all communication with project partners is in Danish. Understanding of Danish or another Scandinavian language is therefore mandatory. A high proficiency in oral and written English is required. Good dissemination skills are important. 

The application can be submitted in Danish or English. We prioritize applicants who, additional to a motivation letter, diplomas and curriculum vitae, submit a "project proposal" (i.e. a project description which is not regarded as final but a proposal). The project proposal must be max 5 pages (not including references). The project proposal must include

1) a research motivation,

2) a short presentation of theories to be included, i.e. how the applicant theoretically will approach the research question ‘how digital technology can be used as an arena for social relations among young people with intellectual disabilities’,

3) a short presentation of methods to be used, i.e. how the applicant methodologically will collect and collaborate on video data with the target group, carers and professionals in the institutions.

4) an indication of the study’s potential contribution to scientific development of existing research,

5) a work plan describing the main phases of the study.

For further information about the DiSC project contact Professor Anne Marie Kanstrup, phone (+45) 9940 3170.

PhD stipends are allocated to individuals who hold a Masters degree. PhD stipends are normally for a period of 3 years. It is a prerequisite for allocation of the stipend that the candidate will be enrolled as a PhD student at the Doctoral School of the Technical Faculty of IT and Design, in accordance with the regulations of Ministerial Order No. 1039 of August 27, 2013 on the PhD Programme at the Universities and Certain Higher Artistic Educational Institutions. According to the Ministerial Order, the progress of the PhD student shall be assessed every six months. It is a prerequisite for continuation of salary payment that the previous progress is approved at the time of the evaluation.

An assessment committee will assess the qualifications of the applicants. On the basis of the recommendation of the assessment committee, the Dean of the Technical Faculty of IT and Design will make a decision for allocating the stipend.

The Faculty draws your attention to the fact that the applicant's project description may be tested for plagiarism.

For further information about stipends and salary as well as practical issues concerning the application procedure contact Bettina Wedde by mail or phone (+45) 9940 9909.

The faculty have a research school, The Technical Doctoral School of IT and Design: and a PhD association and network for PhD students at AAU

The application is only to be submitted online by using the "Apply online" button below.

We wish to reflect the diversity of society and welcome applications from all qualified candidates regardless of personal background


Appointment and salary as a PhD fellow are according to the Ministry of Finance Circular of November 10, 2015 on the Collective Agreement for Academics in Denmark, Appendix 5, regarding PhD fellows, and with the Ministry of Finance current circular on the employment structure at Danish Universities.

Vacancy number



Thu Mar 01 00:00:00 CET 2018

Apply online

Online ansøgning - gode råd

Online ansøgning - gode råd

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