Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology

Umeå University is one of Sweden’s largest higher education institutions with over 37,000 students and about 4,700 employees. The University offers a diversity of high-quality education and world-leading research in several fields. Notably, the groundbreaking discovery of the CRISPR-Cas9 gene-editing tool, which was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry, was made here. At Umeå University, everything is close. Our cohesive campuses make it easy to meet, work together and exchange knowledge, which promotes a dynamic and open culture.

The ongoing societal transformation and large green investments in northern Sweden create enormous opportunities and complex challenges. For Umeå University, conducting research about – and in the middle of – a society in transition is key. We also take pride in delivering education to enable regions to expand quickly and sustainably. In fact, the future is made here.

Are you interested in learning more? Read about Umeå university as a workplace

Umeå Institute of Design (UID) as a workplace is characterised by inclusion, curiosity, creativity and collaboration. A flow of international students and staff creates a unique atmosphere defined by togetherness and a common purpose. The organisation of UID is characterised by democratic processes and transparent leadership. Here students and staff are encouraged to challenge the boundaries of issues of sustainability and diversity. At UID, design is not only about solving problems, itis also about challenging the status quo and opening up new perspectives. Together we want to be involved in creating a better tomorrow. 
We are now looking for a PhD student in industrial design, with a focus on embodying shared cultures, to join us for a time-limited position of 4 years full time research education, which can be extended to 5 years with 20% teaching. 
About the position  
The PhD student will join a vibrant educational environment, characterised by combinations of collaborative and individual research and a supervisory team supporting them throughout the program.  
In many human cultures, people use their hands to prepare food, knead dough, wipe the bowl, lick their fingers, pass ingredients, and otherwise share and consume food. This embodied engagement with the materiality of food not only nourishes our bodies, but it nurtures and transmits culture(s) and shapes who we are. It also adds taste and entangles people’s microbiomes. Such cultural practices are rich and have been part of human identity since time immemorial. However, their impact on what it might mean to be human in a time of climate instability and loss, and the great work of societal transition that stands before us, remains under explored. This PhD will undertake design-led research at the intersection of food, embodiment, design and cultures – both human and non-human. It will investigate the roles that food might play in strengthening the bonds between human cultures and the rest of nature. 
The position is supervised by Professor Danielle Wilde and will be co-supervised by a secondary supervisor; associate professor Maria Göransdotter.  
With this position, we also want to strengthen the critical dimension of teaching in the bachelor's and master's programmes, and thus part of this employment may include participation in teaching on our programmes and courses at Umeå Institute of Design. We consider sustainability a fundamental component in the development of the conceptual foundations and future practices of industrial design.  
To be admitted for studies at third cycle level the applicant is required to have completed a second cycle degree or course requirements of at least 240 higher education credits, of which at least 60 credits are at second cycle level or have an equivalent education from abroad or equivalent qualifications. 
To be admitted for studies at third cycle level in industrial design the applicant is required to have completed at least 90 higher education credits within the field of design, of which at least 30 credits have been acquired at second cycle level. Applicants who in some other system within Sweden or abroad have acquired largely equivalent skills are also eligible. 
We are looking for someone who believes that they need to be in dialogue with the world around them to make a difference that matters, who has the ability to interact with society in order to increase visibility and understanding of research in industrial design and who is very good in expressing themself in both spoken and written English. 
The PhD student we seek is a keen observer of emerging design issues and practices and a creative thinker to imagine and materialise, with critical thinking and often in collaboration with others, what could be. Documented experience with sustainability topics relevant for design and excellent communication skills is a requirement. 
Employment conditions 
The position as a PhD student is a four-year full-time employment. The position may include teaching or other departmental work up to 20%, which will lengthen the overall duration of the employment to a maximum of five years. The employment period can be extended if there are special reasons, such as parental leave or sick leave. In the first stage, the employment has a one-year duration, after which it is renewed for a maximum of two years at a time, provided that the PhD student follows their individual study plan. 
Salary level and incremental increases in salary will occur according to a stipulated scale for PhD students at Umeå University. The PhD student will be enrolled in the PhD programme and employed at Umeå Institute of Design. 
The doctoral programme is an on-site programme, which requires that the PhD student is based in Umeå. The PhD student is expected to participate and contribute actively to the research environment at Umeå Institute of Design.  
Expected start date is in the autumn term 2023. 
Other Information  
For further information about the content and direction of the position contact professor Danielle Wilde: 

For further information about PhD studies at Umeå Institute of Design contact director of PhD studies Maria Göransdotter, +46 90-786 70 36,  

For further information about terms of employment contact head of department Demian Horst, +46 90-786 97 82, 
Your application must include the following documents:  

  • A cover letter describing the reasons to apply for the position and outlining your experience with, competence in, and approach to sustainability (you can refer to information in the other application materials).  
  • A curriculum vitae. 
  • A research statement outlining what questions you would be interested in pursuing within the scope of the PhD, and how you would go about addressing those questions (3 to 5 pages). 
  • Certified diploma and transcripts of records documenting previous education.  
  • A portfolio. 
  • Names and contact details (telephone and email) of 2 professionally qualified persons willing to act as referee on your behalf. 
  • A sample of writing, e.g., master thesis, academic publications, professional or popular science writing. 
  • Other information for consideration, e.g. artworks, patents, professional media content (if any). 

Please observe that incomplete applications will not be processed and according to the Swedish Higher Education Ordinance (Chapter 12, Section 2), the decision on employment as a doctoral student cannot be appealed. 
Welcome with your application, which you submit electronically using the e-recruitment system of Umeå University. Last day to apply is April 15.  

Type of employment Temporary position
Contract type Full time
First day of employment Enligt överenskommelse
Salary Månadslön
Number of positions 1
Full-time equivalent 100%
City Umeå
County Västerbottens län
Country Sweden
Reference number AN 2.2.1-331-23
  • Demian Horst, +4690-7869782
  • Maria Göransdotter , +4690-7867036
  • Danielle Wilde, 
Union representative
  • SACO, 090-7865365
  • SEKO, 090-7865296
  • ST, 090-7865431
Published 21.Feb.2023
Last application date 15.Apr.2023 11:59 PM CEST

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