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PhD stipend: Design for long-life ICT enabled Products (7-20081)

At the Technical Faculty of IT and Design, Department of Architecture, Design and Media Technology, Aalborg University, a 3-year PhD stipend is available within the study program of Media, Architecture & Design. The PhD Stipend will be situated at Aalborg University. The position is available from January 1, 2021 or soonest thereafter. The Department of Architecture, Design and Media Technology has as its goal the development of an innovative cluster of engineering-based environments for education and research which integrates creativity, engineering and technology within the disciplines of architecture, urban design, industrial design, digital design and interactive media. The department is a leading research and educational environment in Denmark that addresses the challenge of the interplay between creativity and technology and develops new areas in research and education directed towards the end-user.

Job description

We consume products in an ever-faster pace and a lot of this pace is driven by two main factors: new technologies provide new opportunities and secondly companies try to stay relevant by updating their product portfolio on a regular basis. This rate of consumption is not sustainable, as resources are diminishing and the request for recycling materials and minimising energy consumption is increasing. We need to keep using our products for a longer period before they are recycled, to reduce each products impact.

This is especially challenging for the fast ageing of ICT enabled products - product where a large component of the products intrinsic value lies in its connectivity, intelligence or otherwise software-based digital features. We therefore need to investigate the challenges and opportunities to lengthen the lifespan of ICT enabled products.

Several potential directions and many different strategies for prolonging the life exist already: refurbishing (e.g. Apple Refurbished), repurposing or upcycling of the products (e.g. Samsung’s Galaxy Upcycling Project), modularisation to allow updating parts (e.g. the Fairphone), adding and retrofitting novel technology to old products to bring new life and features to them (e.g. the HiFiBerry), just to name few. But these strategies are a way of dealing with products that are not designed for a prolonged life.

How can new ICT enabled products be designed to have a longer lifespan? How can a product with today’s technology be designed to be upgraded with tomorrows yet unknown technology? Can the combination and recombination of the different layers of industrial design, digital components and end-user interaction be a way to enable successful long-lasting ICT enabled products? And what new strategies and challenges arises from this vision?

This PhD project is the quest for understanding these opportunities and challenges in specific and concrete domains and product categories to derive new design and construction principles to increase the lifespan of ICT enabled products. This can be done in collaboration with companies and organisations that provide context and technology for experimentation and investigation. The goal is to demonstrate the applicability and potential of the developed design guidelines on concrete products.

The PhD candidate is expected to outline his/her proposal specific challenges and possible companies, product categories or otherwise contextual boundaries. These can be derived from personal interests, prior work experiences or similar. The candidate is also expected to work inter-disciplinary (Industrial Design, Interaction Design etc.) and combine knowledge from different communities (e.g. Maker culture).

Applicants who wants to discuss potential proposals and subjects or obtain further information concerning the scientific aspects of the stipend are more than welcome to contact Christian Tollestrup, Associate Professor Industrial Design (cht@create.aau.dk) and Markus Löcthefeld, Associate Professor Media Technology (mloc@create.aau.dk)

PhD stipends are allocated to individuals who hold a Master's 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 Technical Doctoral School 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.

The qualifications of the applicant will be assessed by an assessment committee. 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.

For further information about stipends and salary as well as practical issues concerning the application procedure contact Ms. Vigdis Skomager-Bohnfeldt, The Technical Faculty of IT and Design, email: vkns@adm.aau.dk, phone: +45 9940 7408.

For more information of The Technical Doctoral School of IT and Design: www.phd.tech.aau.dk

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

AAU wishes to reflect the diversity of society and welcomes applications from all qualified candidates regardless of personal background or belief.


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



Fri Dec 11 00:00:00 CET 2020

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