PhD Scholarship in Social Science - Social Media Analysis of Diaspora Humanitarians

Updated: 23 days ago
Location: Melbourne, VICTORIA
Deadline: 12 Nov 2021

PhD Scholarship in Social Science - Social Media Analysis of Diaspora Humanitarians  

Job No: 626409

Location: Clayton campus

Employment Type: Full-time

Duration: 3-year and 3-month fixed-term appointment

Remuneration: The successful applicant will receive a Research Living Allowance, at current value of $29,500AUD per annum 2021 full-time rate (tax-free stipend), indexed plus allowances as per RTP stipend scholarship conditions at: .  A tuition fee scholarship and Single Overseas Health Cover (OSHC) will be provided for a successful international awardee.

The Opportunity

This PhD scholarship is funded as an important part of an ARC funded project Diaspora Humanitarians:How Australia-based migrants help in crises abroad. The project is led by Alan Gamlen (Associate Professor of Geography at Monash University). Other project investigators are Bina Fernandez (Associate Professor of Development Studies at University of Melbourne), and Phil Connors (Associate Professor and Co-Director of the Centre for Humanitarian Leadership at Deakin University). Project partners include the Australian Civil and Military Centre (which coordinates the Australian Government’s overseas humanitarian efforts), the United Nations Migration Agency, Diaspora Action Australia, Refugee Council of Australia, Settlement Services International, Oxfam International, and Australian Red Cross. 

The successful candidate will be expected to develop and implement a PhD project that contributes to this wider program of research. In particular, the successful candidate will be responsible for investigating how diaspora groups use social media platforms - such as social networking and crowd-funding sites - to organise and respond to overseas humanitarian crises. The candidate will be responsible for identifying and collecting data from the main public social media sites used by diaspora humanitarians, to generate a reservoir of structured data on diaspora behaviour, experiences, preferences, and choices concerning diaspora engagement in responses to humanitarian crises. The candidate will be expected to apply various social media data analytics to explore the content of social media posts (e.g. topic modelling, community detection, time-series analysis and classification by deep learning). They will be expected to develop interactive and intuitive visualisation tools to communicate granular insights from multiple perspectives.

The successful candidate will join a growing interdisciplinary research team which is funded by the Australian Research Council. They will have access to funding to support fieldwork, transcription, travel, and conference attendance. The candidate will be integrated into research groups within both the School of Social Science and the Department of Human-Centred Computing at Monash University. They will contribute to project outcomes including co-authored publications, funded symposia, university engagement exercises, and future grant applications. The candidate will be directly supervised by Associate Professor Alan Gamlen (Monash Social Sciences), Dr Pari Delir Haghighi (Monash Department of Human Centred Computing), and Dr Sarah Goodwin (Monash Department of Human Centred Computing).

Monash University is the largest university in Australia and regularly ranks in the top 100 universities worldwide. Monash has six globally networked campuses and international alliances in Europe and Asia. The applicant will be based at the Clayton campus in Melbourne. Social Science at Monash is diverse and vibrant, including research expertise in geography, sociology, politics and sustainability transitions. We have a strong and supportive research culture, led by internationally recognised scholars successful in attracting national and international competitive funding. The Department of Human-Centred Computing, Monash Faculty of Information Technology is amongst the top 10 in the world for human computer interaction research according to CSRankings. The Data Visualisation and Immersive Analytics research group is internationally renowned for its research into information visualisation, accessibility and responsive document layout. It has a vibrant, collaborative research culture including fortnightly group meetings, informal and formal seminars and social events, and strong links with local and international industry.

Candidate Requirements

We invite applicants with a strong background in computational social sciences, digital humanities and/or data science.

Essential Criteria

  • A first-class Honours or Master’s degree in a Social Science discipline
  • Demonstrated technical skills in data analysis and computer programming

Desirable Criteria

  • Competence in both quantitative and qualitative research methods
  • Social media analysis skills (e.g. Natural Language Processing (NLP) or text mining)
  • Data visualisation skills

It may be advantageous to have skills in related areas such as: content analysis, corpus linguistics, humanitarian data analysis, population analytics, econometrics, social informatics, big data analysis, geospatial analysis, immersive analytics, interaction design, API programming, or machine learning / deep learning.

In its assessment, the selection committee will prioritise applicants who hold an Australian (or equivalent international) Honour’s or Master’s degree (both in a relevant field), with a significant research component and with first-class honours/H1 awarded.

Details of eligibility requirements, including English-language proficiency skills, to undertake a PhD in the Faculty of Arts are available at .  Applicants should ensure they familiarise themselves with these requirements before deciding whether they should apply.

Scholarship holders must be enrolled full-time and on campus. Please note: applicants who already hold a PhD will not be considered.

The successful applicant will be expected to enrol by no later than 30 June 2022.  However, there may be some flexibility as to the date of commencement.


Associate Professor Alan Gamlen, School of Social Sciences,

Submit an Expression of Interest (EOI)

EOIs shall comprise:

  • A cover letter that includes a brief statement of the applicant’s suitability and motivation for applying
  • A brief research proposal not exceeding 750 words in length that fits within the broad project aims and objectives, and demonstrates some understanding of the area of research
  • A curriculum vitae, including a list of any published works, conference presentations, relevant work experience, and links to any online examples of written and technical work
  • A full statement of academic record, supported by scanned copies of relevant certified documentation
  • Contact details of two academic referees
  • Copy of your current passport (if available)

It is important that you contact Associate Professor Alan Gamlen, School of Social Sciences, ( ) prior to submission of the EOI to discuss the project.

Once you have discussed your EOI with Associate Professor Gamlen, EOIs should be sent, preferably in the form of a single attachment to an email, to Ms Kinda Say, Senior Graduate Research Administrator, Faculty of Arts, at the following email address: .  State “EOI [your name] - PhD Scholarship in Social Science – Diaspora Humanitarians” in the subject heading of the email.

Shortlisted candidates will be interviewed. The interviews will be conducted in English.

Closing Date

Friday 12 November 2021, 11:55pm AEDT


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