Call for a PhD student

The Ragnar Nurkse School of Innovation and Governance, TalTech (Tallinn University of Technology), Estonia, is offering a doctoral position in the scope of the ERC Starting Grant “COSMOLOCALISM – Design Global, Manufacture Local”  led by Heteropolitics partner Prof. Vasilis Kostakis.

The successful applicant is expected to work individually but also jointly with the project members. The applicant will be part of a multidisciplinary research team, have access to state-of-the-art equipment and facilities, and enjoy collaboration opportunities with the project’s international academic and activist partners.

Project Description
COSMOLOCALISM will document, analyze, test, evaluate, and create awareness of an emerging mode of production, based on the confluence of the digital commons (e.g., open knowledge and design) with local manufacturing and automation technologies (from 3D printing and CNC machines to low-tech tools and crafts). This convergence could catalyze the transition to new inclusive and circular production models, such as the “design global, manufacture local” (DGML) model. DGML describes the processes through which design is developed as a global digital commons, whereas the manufacturing takes place locally, through shared infrastructures and with local biophysical conditions in check. COSMOLOCALISM is a pilot-driven investigation of the DGML phenomenon that seeks to understand relevant organizational models, their evolution, and their broader political economy/ecology and policy implications. Through the lens of diverse case studies and participatory action research, the conditions under which the DGML model thrives will be explored.

COSMOLOCALISM has three concurrent streams: democratization; innovation; and sustainability. First, DGML governance practices will be studied, patterns will be recognized, and their form, function, cultural values, and structure will be determined. Second, the relevant open innovation ecosystems and their potential to reorient design and manufacturing practices will be examined. Third, selected DGML products will be evaluated from an environmental sustainability perspective, involving both qualitative and quantitative methods. The interdisciplinary nature of COSMOLOCALISM will explore new horizons to improve our understanding of how to create sustainable economies through the commons.

Candidate Profile
The candidate is expected to focus on the sustainability stream of the COSMOLOCALISM project. The objective is to assess the environmental sustainability of DGML artifacts empirically. What is the ecological footprint of a product (e.g., a 3D printer, a digitally fabricated beehive) that has been globally designed and locally manufactured? How well does it fit into the existing natural and cultural environment of its application?

The candidate will conduct life-cycle assessments (LCA) of at least two DGML technological solutions. The candidate should have a strong background in the field of LCA with relevant technical skills and practical knowledge. Master students with practical experience in LCA will also be considered. The position is an excellent opportunity for engineers looking to expand their expertise in social science research given the interdisciplinary nature of the project. Feel free to contact Prof. Vasilis Kostakis for any inquiries: vasileios.kostakis at taltech.ee.

The ultimate goal is to contribute to sustainable transitions research, formulating a groundbreaking research and action agenda which will identify techno-economic opportunities and challenges that are often fundamentally different from any our society has experienced before. COSMOLOCALISM attempts to advance our understanding of the political ecology of alternative technological trajectories; and of the future of the organization in the age of automation and beyond.

Key Responsibilities
The primary responsibility of the doctoral candidate is to conduct an LCA of at least two technological solutions that have been globally designed and locally manufactured, vis-a-vis similar products of conventional industrial production. This also includes primary data gathering and analysis, as well as involvement in the respective scientific publications and reports.

Salary and Benefits
The successful candidate will receive a three-year contract, renewable for six months after positive evaluation (so 3,5 years in total). Depending on qualifications and previous experience, the net salary will range between 1,100 to 1,300 euros per month (including Ph.D. scholarship and salary). Thus, a Ph.D. from TalTech will be acquired, for which residency in Estonia would be required.

Application
The position will only be filled when a potential candidate fully meets the project’s requirements, but not later than 1 June 2019. The application procedure can be found here. Should you have any question, feel free to contact Prof. Kostakis before application.

 

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