Ledig stilling på Universitetet i Oslo

Blindern og Urbygningen (Foto: Wikimedia og Colourbox)
Blindern og Urbygningen (Foto: Wikimedia og Colourbox)

PhD Research Fellow in Design of Information Systems

Deadline: 28.02.2023

Universitetet i Oslo

The University of Oslo is Norway’s oldest and highest rated institution of research and education with 28 000 students and 7000 employees. Its broad range of academic disciplines and internationally esteemed research communities make UiO an important contributor to society.

The Department of Informatics (IFI) is one of nine departments belonging to the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences. IFI is Norway’s largest university department for general education and research in Computer Science and related topics.

The Department has more than 1800 students on bachelor level, 600 master students, and over 240 PhDs and postdocs. The overall staff of the Department is close to 370 employees, about 280 of these in full time positions. The full time tenured academic staff is 75, mostly Full/Associate Professors.

Job description

Position as PhD Research Fellow in Design of Information Systems available at the Department of Informatics.

No one can be appointed for more than one PhD Research Fellowship period at the University of Oslo. Starting date no later than October 1, 2023.

The fellowship period is three (3) years.A fourth year may be considered with a workload of 25 % that may consist of teaching, supervision duties, and/or research assistance. This is dependent upon the qualification of the applicant and the current needs of the department.

More about the position

The PhD research will contribute towards advancing the DESIGN group’s research agenda on improving people’s everyday lives with the help of digital technologies. The research will have a special focus on the conceptualisation and design of technologies for work-life balance. It will be situated in the intersection of human-computer interaction (HCI), computer-supported cooperative work (CSCW) and practice-centred computing.

Following on from the rise and popularisation of new forms of work, flexible working policies, and the design and development of digital technologies supporting and facilitating them, the engagement in mobile and nomadic work practices has become more and more common in contemporary society. Starting from the accomplishment of work in locations traditionally associated with non-work activities – e.g., home, parks, and cafés – and the shared use of devices and applications for personal and professional matters – e.g., smartphones, tablets, and laptops – the boundaries between work and non-work dimensions of people’s lives have increasingly become blurred, getting almost completely dissolved in some situations. Furthermore, events such as the COVID-19 pandemic, which forced a shift of working patterns into the home, and the creeping increase of workload and demands for productivity have been continuously contributing to work-life imbalances, affecting people’s physical and psychological health and well-being and, as a consequence, their quality of life. Many and various recent studies have been calling for measures to counteract these effects, so that people can live sustainable lives.

While much can be found in the literature about how digital technologies have been contributing to the blurring of work-life boundaries, less can be found on how they can be designed to support people to negotiate and draw these boundaries. There is also a lack of understanding of the extent to what digital resources – e.g., call blockers, non-disturb modes, and shields for the access of information and other work resources – have (not) been used to negotiate and draw boundaries for better work-life balance.

This PhD research will respond to these gaps in the literature, by investigating current technology-mediated boundary work practices, identifying design opportunities and conceptualising potential solutions to foster practices that can facilitate the achievement of a proper work-life balance through boundary work. It will draw on boundary theory and practice-centred approaches to seek answers to questions concerning the sort of tools and mechanisms currently available to people engaged in mobile and nomadic work practices to manage work-life boundaries; how they have been using an appropriating these tools; the extent to what these tools have been supporting them effectively, and how we can design to better support them. As such, it will address issues of communication, coordination, and cooperation, which have traditionally been studied within CSCW.

In order to achieve the research goals, the candidate is expected to engage in empirical investigations to inform the design of innovative technological solutions for the research problem, as for example, through ethnographic studies. It is also expected that the candidate will work closely with people experiencing such issues and seeking for solutions to them, so that they can actively participate in the conceptualisation of those solutions. The candidate should, therefore, have experience with or interest in working with qualitative research and participatory design approaches.

The DESIGN group is known for applying participatory design approaches to design of technologies and interaction mechanisms. We emphasize design that enhances the users’ embodied capabilities. Our aim is to strengthen people’s autonomy based on empirical explorations and constructive collaboration. Our conceptual and theoretical foundations are mainly rooted in phenomenology. The group research includes both conceptual and technical explorations of HCI, interaction design and user experience.

The PhD fellow is expected to contribute to the ongoing research and teaching in the group. Our current research focuses on how digitalization changes everyday activities. Our research aims at the design of alternative IT solutions that contribute towards making the world a better place. Some of the domains explored in the group includes, but are not constrained to health care, work life, equality and participation, societal institutions, and democracy.

Qualification requirements

The Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences has a strategic ambition to be among Europe’s leading communities for research, education and innovation. Candidates for this fellowship will be selected in accordance with this, and expected to be in the upper segment of their class with respect to academic credentials.

Required qualifications:

  • Master’s degree or equivalent in informatics, computer science, HCI or interaction design with a specialization in participatory design, practice-centred computing or CSCW
  • Foreign completed degree (M.Sc.-level) corresponding to a minimum of four years in the Norwegian educational system

Desired qualifications:

  • Knowledge of qualitative research methods
  • Experience with the design and implementation of interaction mechanisms
  • Technical experience with prototyping
  • Theoretical interest in human perception – e.g., phenomenology – and practices – e.g., praxeology
  • Experience from teaching at university level

Candidates without a Master’s degree have until 30 June, 2023 to complete the final exam.

Grade requirements:

The norm is as follows:

  • the average grade point for courses included in the Bachelor’s degree must be C or better in the Norwegian educational system
  • the average grade point for courses included in the Master’s degree must be B or better in the Norwegian educational system
  • the Master’s thesis must have the grade B or better in the Norwegian educational system
  • Fluent oral and written communication skills in English

English requirements for applicants from outside of EU/ EEA countries and exemptions from the requirements:

The purpose of the fellowship is research training leading to the successful completion of a PhD degree.

The fellowship requires admission to the PhD programme at the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences. The application to the PhD programme must be submitted to the department no later than two months after taking up the position. For more information see:

Personal skills

  • Self-discipline
  • Responsibility
  • Engagement
  • Motivation
  • Oral and written communication
  • Teamwork
  • Analytical thinking
  • Critical and reflexive thinking

We offer

  • Salary NOK 501 200 – 544 400 per year depending on qualifications and seniority as PhD Research Fellow (position code 1017)
  • Attractive welfare benefits and a generous pension agreement
  • Vibrant international academic environment
  • Career development programmes
  • Oslo’s family-friendly surroundings with their rich opportunities for culture and outdoor activities

How to apply

The application must include:

  • Cover letter - statement of motivation and research interests
  • Short research proposal (3 pages max, excluding references), making it clear how the applicant interprets and plans to address the announced area of research
  • CV (summarizing education, positions, and academic work - scientific publications)
  • Copies of the original Bachelor and Master’s degree diploma, transcripts of records and
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Documentation of English proficiency
  • List of publications and academic work that the applicant wishes to be considered by the evaluation committee
  • Names and contact details of 2-3 references (name, relation to candidate, e-mail, and telephone number)

The application with attachments must be delivered in our electronic recruiting system (please follow the link “Apply for this job”). Foreign applicants are advised to attach an explanation of their University's grading system. Please note that all documents should be in English or a Scandinavian language. In case translated documents are submitted, a certified translation is required.

Applicants will be called in for an interview.

Formal regulations

Please see the guidelines and regulations for appointments to Research Fellowships at the University of Oslo.

No one can be appointed for more than one PhD Research Fellowship period at the University of Oslo.

According to the Norwegian Freedom of Information Act (Offentleglova) information about the applicant may be included in the public applicant list, also in cases where the applicant has requested non-disclosure.

The University of Oslo has an agreement for all employees, aiming to secure rights to research results etc.

Inclusion and diversity are a strength. The University of Oslo has a personnel policy objective of achieving a balanced gender composition. Furthermore, we want employees with diverse professional expertise, life experience and perspectives.

If there are qualified applicants with disabilities, employment gaps or immigrant background, we will invite at least one applicant from each of these categories to an interview.

Contact information

For further information please contact:

For questions regarding Jobbnorge, please contact HR Adviser Therese Ringvold, e-mail: therese.ringvold@mn.uio.no.

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