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PhD Research Programmes

PhD Research Programme

The UCD School of Information and Communication Studies doctoral programme provides an environment that enables creative, energetic, and motivated students to complete original research that makes a substantial contribution to knowledge in information, communication, media and library science. Our PhD students work with research active supervisors in a variety of fields and have the opportunity to join and collaborate with research groups in the school and across the university.
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Ongoing PhD Opportunities

The staff of ICS work in a wide variety of research areas encompassing many aspects of information and communications studies. Please take a look at staff profiles to see if your project would fit with our staff interests and expertise. To be considered for admission to the School, you will need to have the support of at least one of our staff who are willing to supervise your thesis project. Staff will want to see a CV and a draft of your proposed project before agreeing to supervise so please contact staff before applying. It is the applicant's responsibility to find an appropriate supervisor; the PhD coordinator will not be able to do so.

Amber Cushing
Benjamin Cowan
Claire McGuinness
Crystal Fulton
Eugenia Siapera
Elizabeth Farries
Judith Wusteman
Kalpana Shankar
Marguerite Barry
Marco Bastos
Páraic Kerrigan
Susan Leavy

**Two Ad Astra PhD Scholarships available - details and how to apply, below, in Scholarships. Deadline 1 May 2023**

PhD students applicants should have an academic background necessary to support doctoral level research. A potential supervisor may be able to advise on the knowledge they expect their potential students to have gained before applying for entry to the programme. We welcome students from a wide variety of academic and professional backgrounds.
Since the PhD programme includes 30 credits of classwork, you will have the opportunity to learn some of the skills and knowledge you will need to complete your thesis.

1. Check admission requirements.

a. A minimum 2.1 primary degree (GPA greater than 3.08) in any field of study*; OR
b. A minimum 2.1 (GPA greater than 3.08) master’s degree in information science, library science, communication studies or a related field.
For non-native English speakers, an English language certificate is required: IELTS overall score of 6.5, with a minimum of 6.0 in each section.
*If an applicant does not hold a master’s degree, they will be required to enter the PhD programme via the MLitt programme and will be provided the option of advancing to stage two of the PhD programme after successful completion of a Transfer Assessment Panel (TAP). Only applicants who meet the master’s degree requirement will be considered for funding.

2. The online application system opens in February each year.

Although you may submit at any time, applications are not reviewed until after the May 1st deadline (if you are applying for the UCD China Scholarship Scheme or other schemes the deadlines are usually much earlier- please contact the PhD Coordinator or UCD Graduate studies). We will attempt to notify you about the outcome of your application as soon as possible. After your application is reviewed, you may be asked to complete an online interview to provide the application committee with more information.

If you have further questions please contact the PhD coordinator: kalpana.shankar@ucd.ie

PhD scholarships.


1. Ad Astra PhD Scholarship in the School of Information and Communication Studies at

University College Dublin:


University: University College Dublin
School: Information and Communications Studies
Supervisor: Dr. James Steinhoff (james.steinhoff@ucd.ie)
Starting date: 1 September 2023
Deadline for application: 1 May 2023
Interviews with short-listed candidates: 15-16 May 2023
Position: 100%, full-time position, tuition fees waived by the School
Remuneration: PhD studentship renewable for up to four years and consisting of:
   - PhD student stipend of €18k per annum (tax free)
   - €4k per annum towards research costs of the PhD student
Eligibility: EU and non-EU students are equally eligible for studentships under this award
Requirement: Students accepted under this scheme must meet the university entry standards.

Description of the Post:
The School of Information and Communication Studies at University College Dublin is inviting one fully-funded PhD scholarship under the supervision of Dr. James Steinhoff. The candidate will be interested in critically investigating how digital technologies, labour, politics, science and culture are materially intertwined in contemporary capitalism. The candidate will complete a research project of their own design on a topic pertaining to political, social or economic aspects of digital media including artificial intelligence/machine learning, algorithms, virtual reality, blockchain, robotics, autonomous vehicles, drones and automation technologies, broadly. Possible research topics include, but are not limited to: the production, deployment and theory of artificial intelligence and/or data (especially emerging techniques like: foundation models, synthetic data, automated machine learning, low-data machine learning), change and continuity in high-technology capitalism, digital
labour (including data science, platform labour and algorithmic management), digital media and class, gender and race, ethical/responsible/socially-beneficial artificial intelligence, digital infrastructures (networks, clouds, platforms). In sum, applicants interested broadly in digital, especially algorithmic, media will be considered.

The candidate will be skilled in qualitative research methods and theoretical analysis based on political economy, media theory, science and technology studies, cultural studies and/or philosophy of technology. The candidate will also contribute to Dr. Steinhoff’s ongoing research project focusing on contemporary changes in the technological infrastructure of data-intensive capitalism and the socioeconomic implications of a shift towards a post-
surveillance data economy. The candidate will be allocated a work desk in a shared PhD student room.

Research Area
The post-holder will draw from interdisciplinary research grounded in critical media and communication studies, science and technology studies, political economy, cultural studies and/or philosophy of technology. Other research backgrounds may include, but are not exclusive to: sociology, information science and critical theory.

Responsibilities
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 candidate is expected to take part in seminars, workshops, and events organised within the School and across University College Dublin that are relevant to the project. 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 candidate will engage in teaching and tutor training in the course of their studies.

Role profile
Candidates are expected to be familiar with and/or proficient in qualitative methodologies including, but not limited to, interviews, frame analysis, discourse and policy analysis, planning and stakeholder analysis, field work and participatory observation in industry-related events. Candidates should be prepared to engage with a range of critical theories and approaches.

Post Requirements
Strong command of English is essential. English proficiency at the C2 or C1 level of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) is required.
Candidates are expected to hold a Master’s Degree in Media and Communication, Science and Technology Studies or a related field.
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 on digital technologies.
Applications are open to students of all nationalities and backgrounds. Women and people of colour are especially encouraged to apply.

How to Apply
Applications must be submitted via UCD’s application portal (a €50 application fee applies):
https://www.ucd.ie/registry/prospectivestudents/admissions/graduateapplicants/applying/

The candidate should apply to Programme Code W139.

The School of Information and Communication Studies requires PhD applicants to submit their curriculum vitae, an applicant statement, and a personal statement. 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. Online interviews will be conducted with shortlisted candidates shortly after the closing date. Applications will be reviewed through our system of open, transparent, and merit-based recruitment of researchers.

For any questions related to this post please contact James Steinhoff at james.steinhoff@ucd.ie

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2. Ad Astra PhD Scholarship in the School of Information and Communication Studies at University College Dublin:


University: University College Dublin
School: Information and Communications Studies (ICS)
Supervisor: Dr. Patrick Brodie (Patrick.brodie@ucd.ie)
Application deadline: 1 May 2023
Interview dates: 15-16 May 2023
Starting date: 1 September 2023
Position: 100%, full-time position, tuition fees waived by the School
Remuneration: PhD studentship renewable for up to four years and consisting of:
   - PhD student stipend of €18k per annum (tax free)
   - €4k per annum towards research costs of the PhD student (including conferences)
Eligibility: EU and non-EU students are equally eligible for studentships under this award
Requirement: Students accepted under this scheme must meet the university entry standards (see below).

Description of the Post
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.

Research Area
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.

Responsibilities
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.

Role profile
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.

Post Requirements
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.

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.

For questions related to this post please contact Patrick Brodie at patrick.brodie@ucd.ie.

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Other sources of funding:

Irish Research Council

Fulbright

Mitchell

UCD/China 

Please note that our PhD programme is face to face, especially during the early years when students will need to take taught modules. Other responsibilities will include attending supervisory sessions and Research Studies Panels. UCD School of Information and Communication Studies (ICS) and other units at UCD offer numerous research events, training in research skills, and opportunities for enriching your education, and expanding your networks.

Further Information

Further information regarding the application process, scholarships and questions, can be found on the Graduate Studies website

UCD ICS hosts visiting PhD scholars for less than 6 months or less than 12 months. As a visiting PhD student scholar you will be provided a desk to complete your work, library access, and be invited to participate in School and university events.

Application process

1. Check eligibility requirements

Currently enrolled in an accredited PhD Programme in information science, library science, communication studies or a related discipline.

Be in good financial standing with your home university

For non-native English speakers, an English language certificate is required: IELTS overall score of 6.5, with a minimum of 6.0 in each section.

2. Conduct research on School staff areas of expertise.

Search the UCD staff profiles and search published literature on Google scholar to get an idea about staff research expertise.

3. Contact a school staff member and ask if they would be willing to supervise you for a temporary proposed project. You will not be considered for a place in the programme if a staff member has not agreed to supervise you. While the PhD Coordinator may be able to offer advice, it is expected that exceptional applicants will locate their own supervisor.

4. Apply to the PhD Programme Coodinator using the application form below.
If applying for the UCD China Scholarship Scheme, please see this page for details as the application process and timeline differs (https://www.ucd.ie/graduatestudies/studywithus/feesfundingscholarships/chinascholarshipscheme/)

Applications must include all necessary documents to be considered.

UCD School of Information and Communication Studies

Newman Building, University College Dublin, Belfield, Dublin 4, Ireland.
T: +353 1 716 8360