Subject: PhD position in computer sciences in the context of ERC project “Processing Citizenship”

Dear colleagues,

thanks for circulating this call to inspiring prospective PhD students with a computer science background.

Apologies for cross-posting.


The Department of Science, Technology, and Policy Studies (STePS)<> at the University of Twente is hiring one doctoral researcher with a background in Computer Sciences to join the ERC-funded project ‘Processing Citizenship: Digital registration of migrants as co-production of citizens, territory and Europe’ (ProcessCitizenship), with Dr. Annalisa Pelizza<> as Principal Investigator. The position is fully-funded and requires commitment to the project’s goals.

Project and work description

In the Processing Citizenship project we want to learn how data infrastructures for migration management transform the way we come to experience European (individual and institutional) identities.

As a PhD, you have a strong computer science background – notably in data analytics, knowledge representation, artificial intelligence or related fields – while at the same time you should be interested in working in an interdisciplinary team, with heterogeneous but complementary research goals. You are expected to analyse ontologies and algorithms, to compare them across different institutional information systems, to design and develop strategies to measure and enhance data quality under uncertain conditions, to increase interoperability among databases, and to develop systems to track and visualize data circulation.

The appointee will work as part of a trans-disciplinary team of six, including ethnographers, computer scientists and social scientists, under the supervision of the Principal Investigator and co-supervision by CTIT, the Institute for ICT research in Context (CTIT,


You will be presented with three main research challenges. The first challenge requires to extract and analyse data models from heterogeneous institutional sources. The second challenge will require you to design strategies for increasing data quality across not-yet-interoperable data architectures and in uncertain conditions. The third challenge will require you to engage in interdisciplinary work with non-technical team members, as required by this inter-disciplinary ERC project.

In particular, you will be expected to conduct the following activities:

- to conduct techno-social analysis of data models and algorithms (in collaboration with other team members), e.g., how are the same types of data classified in different information systems, and with which effects?;

- to design and develop strategies to measure and enhance data quality under uncertain conditions, and increase interoperability of migrant-related databases (in collaboration with CTIT’s data science group);

- to design and develop software to track and visualize data circulation (in collaboration with UT’s ITC faculty);

- to provide support to interviews with IT developers at European and national agencies level.


You have a master degree in Computer Sciences, Data Science, Information Engineering, Artificial Intelligence, Business IT or close disciplines.


· Master degree completed by the deadline

· Highly proficient in data analysis and management

· Expert understanding of database architectures, including interpreting data sets modelled in heterogeneous ways

· Proficiency in English as daily working language

· Commitment to the project’s success, willingness to collaborate in a research team, share data, write joint publications and acquire social science-related skills

· Excellent administrative and organizational skills, including the ability to plan one’s work, meet deadlines, familiarity with resource management and willingness to accept Horizon2020 administrative and ethical behaviour guidelines


· Experience as non-graduate student supervisor

· Understanding of the potential non-academic impact of the research and ways of engaging with it

· Knowledge of major sociological literature on data infrastructures

By the end of the program, even if this is not the core of your activities, you will also acquire skills in sociological analysis of information systems. A similar combination of techno-social skills is not only more and more key to access middle-high positions in engineering environments, but it is also functional to achieve a thorough understanding of the social impact of data infrastructures. You will develop cutting-edge research skills, e.g. by being able to acknowledge and tackle the methodological limitations and design constraints that software-based techniques impose on hypothesis formulation and testing.

Conditions of employment

We offer a full-time contract spanning a period of four years. The appointee is expected to take office as soon as possible in fall 2017. The monthly salary starts at € 2.222 gross per month in the first year, leading up to € 2.840 gross per month in the last year.

The terms of employment are in accordance with the Dutch Collective Labor Agreement for Universities<> (CAO).

Application procedure
You should submit your application via!/vacature/1261362 before October 1, 2017 h. 23:59 (CET).
Applications should include:

· a motivation letter describing why you would be a good fit for this interdisciplinary project, and why you wish to embark on a PhD trajectory;

· curriculum vitae, including university qualifications and grades;

· an article or other recent research output clearly showing your expertise in data management;

· email and telephone contact information for two referees (for PhD position, please notify them in advance that they might be contacted).


Science, Technology, and Policy Studies (STePS) at the University of Twente is one of the historically leading European departments in Science and Technology Studies (STS). The Faculty of Behavioural, Management and Social sciences (BMS) fosters high quality trans-disciplinary knowledge in STS, philosophy and history of science and technology, among other disciplines. The University of Twente stands for science and technology under the ‘High tech, Human touch’ motto; research and education that address grand societal challenges from a high-level scholarly perspective.

For more information, see!/vacature/1261362
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