Three Post-doctoral Scholarships (2 years) in Design

Umeå University is dedicated to providing creative environments for learning and work. We offer a wide variety of courses and programs, world leading research, and excellent innovation and collaboration opportunities. More than 4 000 employees and 36 000 students have already chosen Umeå University. We welcome your application!

Umeå Institute of Design is a department within the Faculty of Science and Technology at Umeå University, and is one of the units at Umeå Arts Campus. We conduct education and research in the subject of Industrial Design on an artistic foundation. The degree programmes in Industrial Design are at the forefront internationally, and we have been named a Centre of Excellence in Higher Education on the basis of our strong commitment to teaching, advanced equipment, fit-for-purpose premises, an open and creative atmosphere and long-term, close cooperation with industry and the surrounding community. Our courses and programmes attract students from around the world – at present 27 countries – who, after completing their education, are in demand on the labour market and are quickly employed as industrial designers in Sweden and the world.

To this environment, we are now searching for three post-doctoral fellows, one within each of the three themes described below. This opportunity is aimed for post-doctoral research, to be performed jointly with senior researchers and PhD students, as well as with our collaboration partners. The fellowships are for a period of two years and come with a stipend from the Kempe foundations.

As a post-doctoral fellow at Umeå Institute of Design you are expected to interact closely with our teaching and researching staff members and PhD students. We are specifically seeking persons who can contribute to the development of our academic environment and who have a clear vision statement concerning how a special focus on a certain research topic might contribute to the larger body of knowledge in design. A more detailed plan of the two-year period will be decided upon arrival at Umeå Institute of Design.

The Poetics, Politics and Practice of Future Industrial Design
What are the key qualities of industrial design in the future? Since its origins in the early days of industrial production, there have been significant developments in the practice and profession of industrial design. Yet, many of the key qualities related to form, material, aesthetics and ethics searched for decades ago, still govern much of our thinking and doing. Looking into the future we may ask: Will the key qualities of design in the industrial age also be the key qualities of a post-industrial age, or are there new ones still to be discovered? By asking questions about poetics, politics and practice, we hope to understand how aesthetics and ethics, creative and critical thinking will nurture design cultures to come in areas such as:

Poetics: Futures of form and material, Dnr 223-3075-12
What new means and modes of design expression can be found through new materials and new ways of conceiving form? Form is already more than shape, as we express functions, identity and much more - but what happens as the materiality of design is opened up even further through new dynamic materials, new modes of production and consumption?

Politics: Roles of design in society, Dnr 223-3076-12
Ranging from the role of design in society, to questions of how to facilitate and navigate complex processes over time within a business, the social has always been central to design practice. As our society faces challenges such as sustainable development, changing demographics and industry becoming ever more complex and networked, what will designers do to communicate ideas and visions that can initiate change and support complex development processes?

Practice: New Tools, Methods and Approaches, Dnr 223-3077-12
New demands on designs and deliverables call for new ways of working together. New design methods become important new tools in the designer’s toolbox – and sometimes we even have to develop the toolbox as such, the design methodologies. What new (kinds of) design methods and methodologies do we need to develop now to make sure we have the right tools with us?

Admission requirements
Eligible applicants should have earned a PhD in industrial design or a related field relevant for the position, preferably not more than three years ago. The successful candidate should have the capacity to work independently in research, as well as having the ability to collaborate with others. Preference will be given to applicants with a proven research record, publications and design portfolio in the relevant areas. Applicants should be fluent in spoken and written English.

The application should include:

  • A cover letter summarizing your qualifications and motives for applying
  • A Curriculum vitae
  • A publication list
  • A portfolio
  • Transcripts of records from higher education
  • Names and contact details of 1 to 3 references

The application can be made electronically (MS Word or PDF) or in paper format.

For more information, please contact Johan Redström, Head of Research, Umeå Institute of Design,, phone +46-(0)90-786 7689, or Maria Göransdotter, Head of Department, Umeå Institute of Design,, phone +46-(0)90-786 7036

Union information is available from SACO, +46-(0)90-786 53 65, SEKO, +46-(0)90-786 52 96 and ST, +46-(0)90-786 54 31.

Your complete application, marked with the Dnr for the scholarship you apply for, should be sent to (state the reference number as subject) or to the Registrar, Umeå University, SE-901 87 Umeå, Sweden to arrive January 25th, 2013 at the latest. Should you wish to apply for more than one scholarship, separate applications need to be submitted.

We look forward to receiving your application!

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