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Social studies of predictive algorithms in public administration (5+3), 2021-18

PhD fellowship in the field of Social studies of predictive algorithms in public administration (5+3)

The Graduate School at Arts, Faculty of Arts, Aarhus University, in collaboration with the foundations Villum Fonden and Velux Fonden, invites applications for a fully funded PhD fellowship in Social studies of predictive algorithms in public administration provided the necessary funding is available. This PhD fellowship is available as of 1 January 2022 for a period of up to three years (5+3). The candidate who is awarded the fellowship must commence his/her PhD degree programme on 1 January 2022. 

The PhD fellowship will be financed by the 3 parties.

The PhD fellowship is part of the interdisciplinary research project “Algorithms, Data and Democracy” (https://algorithms.ghost.io) and contributes to the part investigating how predictive algorithms in the Danish public sector change the relationship between the State and citizens.  Within this thematic frame, the PhD sub-project is focused on conducting an ethnographic study of one or more relevant public sectors (e.g. employment, taxes, social services, education).

Research foci relevant to the position include but are not limited to: 

  • How the development of predictive algorithms reconfigures the State’s knowledge of and relationship to citizens
  • How predictive algorithms reconfigure knowledge and decision-making practices in the public administration
  • The situated emergence and negotiation of data-ethics in relation to predictive algorithms

We are ideally looking for a candidate with a background in anthropology, science and technology studies, sociology or related fields. Knowledge about digitalization and datafication are considered an asset, as is experience with qualitative research methods.


Enrolment and place of work
The PhD student must complete the studies in accordance with the valid regulations for the PhD degree programme, currently the Ministerial Order of 27 August 2013 on the PhD degree programme at the universities: http://phd.arts.au.dk/applicants/thephddegreeprogramme/

Description of the graduate school’s PhD degree programme: http://phd.arts.au.dk/applicants/phdstudystructure/

Rules and regulations for the PhD degree programme at the Graduate School at Arts: http://phd.arts.au.dk/applicants/thephddegreeprogramme/  

The PhD fellow will be enrolled as a PhD student at the Graduate School at Arts, Faculty of Arts, Aarhus University, with the aim of completing a PhD degree at the Danish School of Education, Aarhus University.

The PhD student will be affiliated with the PhD programme Learning and Education.

The PhD student’s place of work will be the Danish School of Education, Aarhus University, Copenhagen/Emdrup. In general, the student is expected to be present at the school on an everyday basis.

The PhD degree programme is expected to include a lengthy research stay at a foreign institution, cf. Description of the graduate school’s PhD degree programme.

Danish School of Education’s research programme:

5+3 programme
When you apply for a 3-year PhD fellowship (5+3), you must have completed your two year Master’s degree (120 ECTS) no later than 31 December 2021.

The PhD fellow will be employed as a PhD student at the Faculty of Arts, Aarhus University. The terms of employment are in accordance with the agreement between the Danish Ministry of Finance and the Danish Confederation of Professional Associations (see section 6.1.4), as well as with the protocol to the agreement covering staff with university degrees in the state sector (see enclosure 5). The agreement and the protocol including amendments are available online: http://phd.arts.au.dk/applicants/thephddegreeprogramme/

Salary: http://phd.arts.au.dk/financing/salary-and-employment/salary-5-3/


If you require professional guidance regarding your application for the PhD fellowship please contact the PhD programme director at Learning and Education:  http://phd.arts.au.dk/about-us/contact/

For further information, please contact Associate Professor Helene Friis Ratner, Danish School of Education, helr@edu.au.dk, Phone + 45 30 82 60 19.

The application must be submitted in English.

All applicants must document English language qualifications comparable to an 'English B level' in the Danish upper secondary school ('gymnasium'). Please see this page for further information: http://phd.arts.au.dk/applicants/english-test/  

Applications for the PhD fellowship and enrolment in the PhD degree programme can only be submitted via Aarhus University’s web-based facility.

Guidelines for the application facility: http://phd.arts.au.dk/applicants/how-to-apply/


Deadline for applications: 1 October 2021 at 23.59 Danish time (CET/CETS).
Reference number: 2021-18

During the assessments, Aarhus University can conduct interviews with selected applicants.