The School of Information and Communication Studies at University College Dublin is inviting one fully-funded PhD scholarship under the supervision of Dr. Patrick Brodie. The PhD student will be working on the intersections of digital media/big tech companies and renewable energy development through a global framework. Specifically, the candidate will be applying qualitative research methods to understand the specific entanglements of digital infrastructure and policy with issues including global supply chains, mineral extraction, energy systems, and climate solutions. This can include research into the environmental impacts and implications of data centres and other digital infrastructures; the datafication and “smart” operation of renewable energy systems; “critical” and “tech” minerals policy and anti-extractivism; digital climate solutions and ecosystem services, for example in carbon accounting, capture/storage and hydrogen; rural development of digital and energy systems; and other similar areas addressing overlaps between digital, environmental, and energy systems.
Candidates may also be interested in the material and environmental implications of digital waste, critical data studies, digital political economy and ecology, and environmental media and communication (broadly defined). Applicants interested widely in media, communications, and energy infrastructures will be considered.
The candidate will apply qualitative communication and media studies methods including (but not limited to) interviews, on-site fieldwork, policy and planning analysis, critical discourse analysis, and stakeholder analysis. Experience or background in methodologies from earth science, environmental policy/management, and/or GIS are also welcome.
The candidate will be supervised by Dr. Brodie, and will contribute to an ongoing research project focusing on the environmental politics and material histories of digital media and energy systems. Dr. Brodie’s research is currently focused on the postcolonial and geopolitical factors of Ireland’s just transition in relation to big tech, with specific emphasis on cross-border interaction, governance, and externalities of digital and energy infrastructures.
The post-holder will preferably draw from interdisciplinary research grounded in critical media and communication studies.
Other research backgrounds may include, but are not exclusive to, geography, anthropology, science and technology studies, environmental studies or environmental humanities, information science, critical theory, and film studies.
The post-holder will be expected to write and successfully defend a PhD thesis focused on the areas listed in the description of the post and meet the degree requirements set by UCD to advance through the PhD programme. The candidate is also expected to produce research outputs in relation to their doctoral research and attend conferences to disseminate the research findings. The post-holder will be working closely with their supervisor to produce outputs on their combined research areas. The candidate will ideally produce single-, first-, and co-authored research by the end of the post.
The post-holder will be expected to contribute to the intellectual life of the School and university, and participate in research activities to the level and extent of their qualifications.
The candidate will also be expected to complete a total of 30 ECTS credits spread across the post as part of the university’s structured PhD path.
Finally, the post holder will be offered tutor and teaching training during the course of their studies.
Candidates are expected to be familiar with and/or proficient in qualitative media studies methodologies including, but not limited to, site-specific fieldwork, interviews, discourse and policy analysis, planning and stakeholder analysis, freedom of information requests, and participatory observation. Experience with and ability to leverage GIS software towards multi-sited analysis is desirable. Candidates should also be familiar with, and/or prepared to engage with, a range of intersectional theories and approaches across post- and de-colonial environmental studies, anti-extractivist movements, and critical data studies.
Strong written command of English is required. English proficiency at the C2 or C1 level of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) is advised.
Candidates are expected to hold a strong Masters degree of 2:1 and above (or equivalent GPA) in Media and Communication, Geography, Anthropology, Science and Technology Studies, Environmental Studies or Environmental Humanities, Information Science, Sociology, Film Studies, or a similar cognate discipline. The candidate should be able to demonstrate exceptional organisational experience and skills.
Preference will be given to candidates who demonstrate an ability to integrate robust theories in the humanities and social sciences with rigorous empirical analysis of industrial and scientific material surrounding the digital/energy/environment nexus.
Applications are open to students of all nationalities and backgrounds. Women and people of colour are especially encouraged to apply.
Applications need to be submitted via UCD’s application portal:- https://www.ucd.ie/registry/prospectivestudents/admissions/graduateapplicant/applying.
The candidate should apply to Programme Code W139 using the UCD Admissions online application portal (a €50 application fee applies). Please see the main ICS and UCD Graduate Studies sites for detailed application requirements:
https://www.ucd.ie/ics/study/phdresearchprogrammes/ and https://www.ucd.ie/graduatestudies/studywithus/applicationprocess/
The School of Information and Communication Studies requires PhD applicants to submit their curriculum vitae, an applicant statement (1,500-2,000 words), and a personal statement (32,000 characters). Candidates are advised to describe their research interests, explain why they believe this position fits their profile, and include a brief description of the topic they would like to explore in their PhD project. In addition to that, applicants should submit a writing sample, preferably a piece that has been published or a chapter of a thesis, as additional information. Applications will be reviewed through our system of open, transparent, and merit-based recruitment of researchers. Short-listed candidates will be invited to an interview for the position, which will be held online. Candidates will be given at least five days notice if selected to interview.