Posted on: 8 May, 2019
Application deadline: June 15, 2019

4-year PhD position on Social Datafication and Spatial Mobility, Tallinn University of Technology, Estonia

Doctoral Researcher: SOCIAL DATAFICATION AND SPATIAL MOBILITY – Tallinn University of Technology

Interviewing starts June 15 2019. Priority will be given to applications received on or before June 15 2019.

Ragnar Nurkse Department of Innovation and Governance (RND) is one of the largest, most internationalized and leading social science research centres in Estonia. As part of Tallinn University of Technology (TalTech) and its School of Business and Governance, RND functions at the intersection of technological and social science research.

The emergence of big data era has led to serious discussions about social datafication – i.e. the socio-cultural consequences of big data on societies, individual lives, and governmental organizations. Positive consequences like control of spatial mobilities through algorithms and negative consequences like discrimination through datafied decisions are central in these discussions. Estonian society with its contradictions – a highly digitalized environment, moderate use of open data, low awareness of algorithmic control and privacy concerns – offers a highly attractive environment for studying the societal consequences of big data, algorithms, and AI.

Key tasks:

  • The main task of the doctoral researcher is to carry out research in data studies in the field of spatial mobilities (e.g. refugees, highly skilled immigrants, e-residents, ‘data rich’ and ‘data poor’ mobile groups).
  • Participation in the research activities in the domains of

(1) data justice – how to avoid discrimination through data, automatized inequalities, racial bias, and movement towards more just data practices;

(2) awareness of algorithmic control (the perspectives of data subjects from the Global South, data rich and data poor ethnic / mobile groups),

(3) data governance (use of social scoring, AI, machine learning methods in governmental institutions for controlling mobility).

  • Participation in the teaching activities of the research group, including supervision of students;
  • Participation in the administrative functions of the research group;

Qualification requirements:

  • MA or equivalent in social sciences (in the fields of sociology, public administration, media and communication, human geography, or a related discipline);
  • Excellent knowledge of research methods, including quantitative (survey, mobility tracking, basic and advanced statistics, social networks analysis) or qualitative methods (interviewing, textual analysis, visual analysis methods). Knowledge of digital or computational research methods are advantageous.

Specifics & Benefits:

We offer the chance to do high-level research in an internationally recognized research team; opportunities for conference visits; networking with leading universities in the field of data studies; publishing in high-level journals in the field.

  • The position is fixed-term (4 years)

Start date: 1 September 2019 (or as soon as possible).

  • The position is financed from the state scholarship and from the projects, which in total provides monthly income up to 1200 EUR net (including 20% national income tax, Estonian national health, social security and pension payments).

Application requirements:

  • Cover letter
  • Curriculum vitae
  • Research proposal (5 pages)
  • When applying for the 1st time for a position in TalTech, duplicate of the required diploma (MA) or other document providing evidence of the necessary qualification.

For more information on TalTech, see www.taltech.ee

For more information on RND, see www.taltech.ee/nurkse

For more details on the position, please contact:

Dr. Anu Masso, Associate Professor in Big Data in Social Sciences, Ragnar Nurkse Department of Innovation and Governance, anu.masso@taltech.ee