PhD scholarship in AI technologies and emerging eco-systems (02378)

Updated: 10 months ago
Deadline: The position may have been removed or expired!

At the Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Business and Management, a PhD scholarship in AI technologies and emerging eco-systems is open for appointment on 15 November 2019 or as soon as possible.

Job description

The recent decade has seen an unprecedented development of machine learning (ML) techniques with artificial intelligence (AI) being its current umbrella term and culmination. More powerful hardware, the availability of Big Data as well a major leap in Deep Learning (modern neural network architectures) are often quoted as the broader reasons for this rapid evolution. Today, these rather general machine learning technologies, often merely algorithms, are quickly finding their way from research into their application in products and services.
When it comes to applied ML and AI, China has been forging ahead in the past few years and there is no indication of a slowdown. In 2017, AI was declared by the central Chinese government as one of the strategic technologies, and in July of the same year the “national AI development plan” was announced targeting a full catch-up in relevant technologies until 2025, and world leadership until 2030.
The PhD project will focus on understanding the structure and dynamics of the emerging Chinese innovation ecosystem that supports the development and application of AI technologies in a defined setting. The candidate would mainly work on meso- and macro levels, however, the project can also be complemented by case studies. 

The main methodological focus will be the application of modern statistical and broader data science methods, such as techniques for natural language processing and understanding, network analysis, and predictive modelling. This also includes the identification and use of novel data sources that allow capturing structures and processes in an emerging context. 

Examples of themes that the project could explore:

  • Role of digital incumbent firms (e.g. Baidu, Alibaba, Tencent) as platform orchestrators and beyond
  • Role of AI in transforming sectors such as education or healthcare.  
  • Business model innovation triggered by implementing AI technologies.
  • Education and skill formation to support the emerging ecosystem. 

The PhD candidate will be working with data-driven approaches to ecosystem mapping and systemic innovation to understand the impact of emerging technologies in a Chinese context. The candidate will be engaged with Chinese innovation and computer science researchers drawing on the already existing networks developed by the AAU team at Sino-Danish Center (SDC) / UCAS (University of the Chines Academy of Sciences) as well as other Asian and European research environments.

The PhD-student will be enrolled at the Doctoral School of the Faculty of Social Sciences, Aalborg University and will be anchored in the IKE-Group , Department of Business and Management. The applicant is expected to contribute to the research environment and teaching at Aalborg University in Denmark
The position is also attached to the Sino-Danish Centre (SDC) in Beijing. Aalborg University is the lead university of the SDC Innovation Management programme. It is an integral part of the PhD position to conduct studies in China, take part in the SDC activities, including teaching in China on the MSc in Innovation Management programme. The candidate is required to stay in China for 12 months with the possibility to divide the months into shorter stays over a period of three years.

Qualification requirements
The PhD scholarship has a duration of three years. Applicants to the PhD scholarship must hold a degree equivalent to a Danish Master’s degree. Applicants must have achieved the grade 10 or above in the Danish grading system (or the equivalent in a different grading system) for their Master’s Thesis/final exam. The PhD candidate may be exempted from the grade requirement, if he/she is able to provide other forms of documentation of his/her qualifications
Applicants enrolled at a Danish Master programme who expect to graduate before the date of appointment must forward statement from thesis supervisor, verified transcripts, a copy of thesis contract and documentation for the date of their final exam.

The completion of the scholarship will be in accordance with the Ministerial Order on the PhD Programme at the Universities No 1039 of 27 August 2013 (the PhD Order), and it is a prerequisite for allocation of a scholarship that enrolment as a PhD student at the Doctoral School of Social Sciences takes place. According to the PhD Order, the PhD study comprises among other requirements: Participation in active research environments, including stays at other, mainly foreign, research institutions, private research enterprises etc.

We look for a talented and ambitious candidate having the following qualifications:

  • M.Sc. degree in a relevant field (economics, sociology or computer science and related with a strong interest in social science topics etc.)
  • Interest and knowledge related to the role of AI in transforming the economy, AI applications and business models in the industry.
  • Knowledge of statistics, machine learning, and data visualization, evidenced by degree or experience.
  • Experience with programming languages such as R and/or Python.
  • Ability to work independently and collaborate cross-culturally, which requires solid communication skills 
  • Excellent English writing and speaking skills to accommodate scientific work and dissemination purposes. Promising academic records, well trained skills on applying scientific research methods

Please find information on admission requirements for PhD positions on the website of the Doctoral School .

Application requirements 

  • letter of motivation
  • project proposal (approx. 5 pages) containing the research project title, an outline of the course of study and a description of the overall problem areas
  • information on which language the PhD thesis is expected to be written in
  • curriculum vitae
  • diplomas confirming academic degrees (Master degree), including academic transcripts
  • Applicants WHO are planning to complete a doctoral thesis in English and who do not have English as a first language or WHO have not completed an English language-based Master's programme (or an equivalent educational achievement in English) shall provide documentation that they have passed one of the following official tests with the respective minimum score: IELTS (band score):7 TOEFL (paper-based): 600, TOEFL (internet-based): 100. 
  • Co-author statement. If publications that have been written in cooperation with others are submitted, a declaration from each of the authors must be enclosed. The declaration must state the extent of the applicant’s contribution to the total work and be signed by the authors.
  • Application for credit transfer if relevant.

The complete application including attachments shall be sent electronically by selecting the "apply online" function on AAU’s job-portal (not other online job portals that may have reposted the position).
Please note that zipped files are not supported by the recruitment system, please upload only Word or PDF files.
Please note that Chinese citizens including citizens from Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Macao are not eligible for the position. PhD candidates from China (including Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Macao) must be enrolled through University of Chinese Academy of Sciences (UCAS).

The assessment of the applicants will be undertaken by an expert assessment committee.
Shortlisting will be applied. This means that subsequent to the deadline for applications, the head of department supported by the chair of the assessment committee will select candidates for assessment. All applicants will be informed whether they will be assessed or not. The selected applicants will be informed of the composition of the assessment committee, and each applicant will have the opportunity to comment on the part of the assessment that applies to the applicant in question. When the employment process has been terminated, a final rejection will be sent to the applicants who are not considered.

The Faculty draws your attention to the fact that the applicant's project description may be tested for plagiarism in the IT system iThenticate.
You may obtain further information regarding the academic contents of the position from Roman Jurowetzki e-mail:
If you have questions regarding the procedure of applying for the position, please contact Anne Lone Bråten e-mail


Appointment and salary in accordance with the Ministerial Order on the Appointment of Academic Staff at Universities No 242 of 13 March 2012 and The Ministry of Higher Education and Science Circular concerning the job structure for academic staff at universities of 19 August 2015. Salary will be in accordance with the agreements in force.

Vacancy number




Apply online
View or Apply

Similar Positions