PhD Student in Co-design and Service Innovation at IT University of Copenhagen

The IT University of Copenhagen invites applications for a PhD student position in Co-design and Service Innovation starting 1 October 2020 or soon thereafter.

The position is fully funded by the interdisciplinary Nordic project CAPE – Civic Agency in Public E-service innovation, with partners in Denmark, Sweden and Finland. The CAPE project addresses issues in the digital transformation of the public sector, in particular the lack of user involvement in development of public e-services. This problem is related to a digital divide regarding use of current e-services, where marginalised user groups lack digital skills, and it also blocks the potential in developing future services based on the emerging availability of open public data.

The successful candidate will be involved in the development and implementation of Civic Innovation Centres (CICs), a novel innovation facility, where citizens, policy makers, researchers, service providers and developers engage in two main activities: (1) co-design of improvements to existing public e-services, and (2) co-design of new service innovations, based on open public data. The CICs will be hosted in public libraries, as an integrated part of their existing facilities for citizen engagement, in order to tap into the immense resource of active library visitors. Given the current corona situation, the project will be prepared to temporarily take project activities online during the course of the project.

It is expected that the successful candidate has a background in co-design, service design, or another design field focusing on designing technology with people. The project will be action research oriented. Consequently, setting up and running CICs will include the development and use of methods and techniques for Co-design and Service Design, training library employees in using these methods, and exploring Service Design and innovation in a number of design cases in close collaboration with user groups. The successful candidate should therefore be prepared to engage in ethnographic fieldwork including observations and interviews, interacting with project partners, and organising and running design workshops. Social skills are therefore important.

The successful candidate should have an interest in developing and carrying out a PhD-project overlapping with two or more of the following research areas

  • Developing methods and techniques within Co-design and Service Design
  • Community Participatory Design and interaction with the public sector
  • Commons sensitive design approaches
  • Design work with impact at wider societal level, in collaboration with actors from the public sector and civil society

Additionally, the candidate should preferably have an interest in open data and how it can be used as a design material.

Qualification Requirements

  • You must either: (a) hold a MSc in a discipline related to co-design, service design, or another design field focusing on designing technology with people; or (b) have an expected MSc award date (with evidence) in a similar discipline before 1st of September 2020, with all MSc documents submitted before 1st of October 2020
  • Excellent written and spoken English language skills are required


  • A cover letter;
  • A statement of purpose, which provides evidence of independent thinking, novelty and originality, and a state of the art grasp of the targeted research field matching the project description above;
  • Documentation of academic degree(s); grade transcripts that documents outstanding academic achievement;
  • A full CV, including name, address, phone number, e-mail, previous and present employment, academic background and which must include two professional/academic references;
  • Applications may also include a relevant scientific publication written by the applicant, or the applicant's master thesis. Letters of recommendation can also be included in the application.

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