PhD position: Designing For Additive Manufacturing

Deadline: 05.03.2022

Oslo School of Architecture and Design

The Oslo School of Architecture and Design (AHO) is an internationally leading, specialized university within the disciplines design, architecture, landscape architecture and urbanism. AHO offers a unique research-based education of international standing. Established in 1945, today it has built a solid national funding base and is prominently ranked internationally. AHO awards three Master’s degrees in Architecture, Landscape Architecture, and Design, as well as a PhD programme. The school has approximately 800 students and 155 employees.

The Institute of Design (IDE) at AHO is one of the leading Nordic design-institutions. The institute takes a broad, holistic approach to design that emphasizes the relevance and importance of design within contemporary society. Our perspective is that good design creates aesthetic and functional products, services and experiences that delight and improve the lives of people and contribute to a sustainable future.

The Institute of Design develops research and teaching within and across the fields of industrial design, interaction design, service design, and systems oriented design. IDE collaborates closely with industry, public sector and governance, and is an important actor in research- and innovation-projects. The institute has an extensive international and national network across industry and academia, covering both the growing digital sector, as well as established areas such as healthcare, maritime industry, future-studies and innovation, and service development in the public and private sector. AHO’s design alumni are found in leading design studios and consultancies, in tech-companies, in industry, in research and innovation projects, as well as in policy and governance. The Institute of Design is internationally recognized and highly ranked; projects from the institute are frequently represented in national and international design awards.

Annual PhD Call 2022

About the position

The Institute of Design, AHO offers a PhD position directed towards developments in Designing for Additive Manufacturing (DFAM) that extend early investment in expensive hardware and claims to customization and tailoring of products and artifacts to affordable and accessible practices of designing. Where DIY 3D-printing has emerged in popular and consumer culture, internationally little research has been done (outside engineering domains) into ongoing dynamics of working with artisanal expertise paths and performances into and through AM tools and platforms. Consequently, there is a dearth of design-centered studies of how these technologies may be understood in wider arguments for the transformative potential of product design in the context of post-industrial economies. This extends to related making, exchange and evaluation of what may be termed a mode of collaborative digital artisanry in the context of designing for long term sustainable futures.

This PhD will focus on Designing for Additive Manufacturing (DFAM). Currently, this is still about designing for different technologies, topology optimization and material handling. A smaller portion is about artisan work, unique artifacts and bespoke products. There is still a lack of knowledge as to how the holistic product development process might be envisaged, co-created, implemented and assessed. This PhD will therefore need to address matters of such developmental expertise in AM and Product Design and its place in the only significant model of design-based AM (AICE Model developed at AHO and circulated internationally). The applicant will need to use this model and resituate it with respect to contemporary transdisciplinary research in the context technical change with respect to the Internet of Things (IoT) and socio-technical artifact production and circulation in new models of use. The candidate is invited to critically elaborate on how research in AM can contribute to more sustainable New Product Development models and practices, with attention to key aspects of designing in AM (e.g. recyclable materials, just-in-time co creation, modes of optimization-customisation). AM will need to be situated within critical perspectives on the circular economy, drawing on literatures on critical theories of technology, post-industrial collaborative manufacturing approaches, and new material-re-use relations. The goal of the research should be an advancement of methods, tools and approaches developed both by the AHO research environment, the applicant and with regard to international inquiry into AM.

The candidate should define one or more research questions relating to their practice regarding DFAM. This should be clearly located within a developmental and professional setting in which actual and conceptual results will be delivered, assessed and shared with practice and research communities. The applicant will need to propose pragmatic cases using key research-by-design methodologies, including the AHO published approach to AM that seeks to involve practitioners in developing research in the service of their ongoing practice. The PhD will address key potentials and actual practices identified and developed collaboratively with industry partners. Together, these aspects will form a vital move to shift current models and approaches to AM towards a high value with re-use and just-in-time sustainable tailoring to need and context in collaborative future NPD development processes. The cases will inform theory, enrich practice, support design education at master’s levels and provide grist for needed policy shifts around materials and technological product consumption use and re-use for sustainable durative futures. Hence, the methodology will be based on cases from existing and possible research partners.

The candidate will engage in research through work in practice, using studio projects, required collaborations with the industry and through self-driven research by design activities. This work will be carried out within the AHO PhD program, with the aim to develop the candidate’s practice-based creative work through designedly approaches. The selected candidate will be supervised by a team led by a main supervisor at the Institute for Design at AHO. This team will combine practice and academic expertise, and will support the definition of the theoretical framework and demarcation of cases devised by the candidate, the domain area specialists at AHO and close collaboration with industry informants and partners.

AHO seeks a qualified practitioner who is engaged in processes and outcomes centered on creatively designing for AM to contribute to changing understandings of product-technology-use and related societal practices. The outcome will be an academic doctorate in which creative, critical and collaborative practice is prominent.

The study will be practice based in character and take the form of a thesis-by-compilation to make strategic contributions to excellence in design research internationally. The practice aspect of the connected study will inform the reappraisal of the AICE model and contribute to ongoing inquiry by senior researchers at the Institute of Design. This will entail relating value from creative practice to the giving of form to concepts and designs. Such connections will need to be situated within and contribute to critical assessments of emerging and project approaches to DFAM in contexts of societal technological applications and long-term sustainable futures. These are ones in which the ongoing negotiation of NPD is an essential, difficult and needed ‘additive’ concern for Design. This matters in relations between the contexts and emergent and changing political economies of production and consumption, through informing practices of participative reflexive uptake of applied technologies and by way of processes and policies of re-use in NPD. This PhD will contribute to the terms of novelty, via collaboration and through excellence in making with analysis, thereby aligning with AHO’s expressed strategic goals.

About the candidate

Formal requirements

  • The candidate must hold a master’s degree; In design or another relevant field that supports the proposed research.
  • Relevant practice from product development process using AM technology as production method.
  • Applicants who do not have English or a Scandinavian language as their mother tongue must submit attested documentation of their proficiency in English by the deadline of the application (TOEFL test or similar). Applicants with university studies where English comprised the major component of the studies are exempted from this requirement.

Personal characteristics

  • Ambitious, curious and highly motivated.
  • The ability to work systematically and complete tasks within given deadlines.
  • The ability to work independently as well as in teams.
  • A strong motivation to contributing to a good working and social environment.

The Application must include

  • An application letter describing relevant background, motivation, research experience and network. (Two A4 pages maximum).
  • A tentative project outline of maximum 5 pages, formulating and discussing research tasks, types of problems and methodology.
  • A portfolio of professional design work if available.
  • CV
  • Certified copies of educational certificates, transcript of records, diplomas and letters of recommendation.
  • A list of publications and/or academic work if available
  • 2 references (name, relation to candidate, e-mail address and telephone number).

Please note that all documentation must be in English or a Scandinavian language. Applications that do not comply with the formal requirements will not be considered. Attachments beyond the required documents will not be taken into consideration.

The material for the PhD application will be assessed according to the following criteria:

  • The quality of the project description (outline).
  • The applicant's suitability for the research tasks.
  • The academic competence of the applicant.

We offer

  • The PhD scholarship is fully funded and there is no tuition fee.
  • The position (SKO1017) has a pay grade of 54 with salary NOK 491 200 per year for a full position; extensive relevant experience can give a higher start salary. From the salary, there will be a mandatory deduction of 2 % as a contribution to the State Pension fund (SPK). Standard employment conditions for state employees in Norway apply for the position.
  • The PhD is a full-time 3-year position, with the possibility for negotiating a 4-year position with 25% teaching.
  • An annual sum of 20 000 NOK for literature and other necessary academic activities.
  • Attractive welfare benefits and generous pension agreement, in addition to Oslo’s family-friendly environment with its rich opportunities for culture and outdoor activities.

Formal regulations

The educational component in the AHO PhD Programme is mandatory and requires fulltime attendance. Residency in Oslo for the employment period is mandatory. Research stay at a relevant international academic institution is encouraged. The PhD fellowship will start September 1st 2022.

Information meeting

The PhD Programme at The Oslo School of Architecture and Design (AHO) will arrange an online information meeting about the AHO PhD Programme on Friday, February 4th 2022 at 14:00 CET. See www.ahophdlive.com for more information.

Contact Information:

Questions about this PhD position can be directed to:

For more information about the PhD Programme, please visit our website.

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