Doctoral student in Dawn of the human-centric personal data market

Updated: 4 months ago
Deadline: 31 Mar 2020

The University of Oulu  is an international science university creating new knowledge, well-being and innovation for the future through multidisciplinary research and education. Close cooperation with research institutes, companies and the public sector has created an internationally significant research and innovation hub that has changed the world.

The University of Oulu’s Martti Ahtisaari Institute  is participating in an international research consortium Legitimation of Newness and Its Impact on EU Agenda for Change (LNETN).

LNETN is an EU-funded Innovative Training Network (ITN) under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions  (MSCA). It is the first ITN to combine Newness, Legitimation and Theory Building. It is designed to train a new generation of Doctoral Graduates with Inter-disciplinary, Inter-sectoral, Inter-technology, International and transferable knowledge, skills and broad vision. More information about the project can be found on .

LNETN offers 15 Early Stage Researchers (ESR)* positions to begin in September 2020 or soon thereafter. The list of all 15 ESR PhD projects is available here . The University of Oulu is hosting four positions:

  • ESR 8 position: Smart energy: challenge of newness
  • ESR 10 position: Moving beyond technology frontiers
  • ESR 12 position: Developing 21st century platform business models: human-centered approach to personal data management
  • ESR 13 position: Dawn of the human-centric personal data market

*Note1: Based on national legislation, each beneficiary might have different types of ESR, e.g., Doctoral student, PhD student, or PhD candidate. However, the definition of ESR as per below is used to define eligibility criteria

Apply now for EU funded support to undertake cutting edge research within a high level European Training Network consortium of four research intensive EU universities. You will benefit from a team approach, integrated international mobility, high level subject and transferable skills development oriented to your future employment in research and the wider economy.

This specific ESR (doctoral student) position is for ESR13: DAWN OF THE HUMAN-CENTRIC PERSONAL DATA MARKET

ESR13 will study emergence, practices, dynamics, and business models of the new market in the context of new market of human-centric personal data. Human-centric personal data and the emerging business ecosystems around it have gained increasing interest among scholars and practitioners. The changing customer needs and technology together with new regulations are a disruptive force on many, if not most, industries. The upcoming EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the opportunity of using an individual’s personal data to offer more personalized and participatory services has stemmed a need for understanding what the premise is for a successful creation of such services. Profound disruption can be seen especially for healthcare, wellness, and finance businesses. Currently, most of the new innovative companies in this new market are not EU-based. Thus, for EU to maintain its competitiveness, thorough research is required to understand traditional and new, modern institutions, opportunities, barriers, practices, and business models that can be identified the emerging ecosystems. The objective of this study is to explore this emerging market from the service providers’ point of view. The dissertation will have implications for companies, scholars, and practitioners that seek to understand the prerequisites, opportunities, barriers, and responsibilities for creating personal data based services, and for the individual consumers who will be using them. The results can help companies and other organizations to better orchestrate the knowledge, innovation and business ecosystems that operate in the emerging market. The key EU value of this research is contribution to the business knowledge on internet-based technology, which is emphasized on EU’s political agenda, as evidenced by the EU strategy document Creating a Digital Single Market.

Supervisory team: Minna Pikkarainen (UOULU, host), Niall G MacKenzie (GU), Jari Partanen (BITTIUM)

Call for applicants

You should be a passionate high achieving, early stage researcher, wishing to enrich your intellectual development and career potential through Inter-disciplinary, Inter-sectoral, Inter-technology and International mobility, coupled with high level training in research and transferable competences.

Eligibility criteria:

  • Must – at  the  date  of  recruitment – be  within  the  first  4  years  (full-time  equivalent research experience) of your research career and not have a doctoral degree**
  • Must not have resided or carried out your main activity (e.g. work, studies) in the country where you have been recruited "for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately before the recruitment date
  • Must demonstrate English proficiency (ability to communicate fluently in English, in oral and written form). This may include a sample of writing or attainment of a degree instructed in English
  • Must have a master degree or an equivalent qualification and/or experience at the equivalent level in the academic and/or non-academic environment

**Note2: For ITN projects research experience means any professional or academic research activity acquired in any research field in the public or private sector. When calculating the first four years of an ESR's research career, the time spent as full time equivalent research experience is considered and part-time research experience should be counted pro-rata, not as full-time. For example: a candidate who obtained their degree entitling them to embark on a doctorate five years ago and spent the equivalent of two years attending taught classes or working outside of any researcher field and then three years gaining research experience is still eligible as ESR: They are considered to have three years’ research experience. More information about eligibility criteria you may find here . Should you have any questions regarding your eligibility, please contact.

Application deadline

12pm (Central European Time Zone), March 31, 2020.

How to apply

The application pack must include:

  • A motivation letter (1 page)
  • A Curriculum Vitae detailing employment and academic history with residence information at least for the past three years listing the names and contact details of your three referees; the European CV format shall be used that can be accessed here .
  • A copy of academic degree(s) and respective transcripts
  • An abstract of masters or other relevant thesis (1 page)
  • Abstracts (1 page per abstract) for any other publications, academic or non-academic, where the applicant is an author and/or co-author
  • A research proposal for selected ESR project; maximum length of a proposal is 1000 words (excluding bibliography). There is no limit on number of projects that can be applied for.
  • Three written recommendation letters attesting to the applicant’s academic standing and potential. Recommendation letters are to be send separately and directly from the referees by email to  as a PDF attachment.
  • The following guidelines or minimum requirements must be followed:

    • All files must be submitted in pdf format
    • File name: Lastname_doc#_doctitle (e.g., Smith_2_CV)
    • A page outline: A4, 25mm on all margins, single space, Times New Roman 12
    • All documents must be English. Where necessary certified (notary) copies and translations into English must be provided.
    • For MSc abstract and other publication abstracts, provide – if available – in the respective files links to the full copies of these publications
    • Recommendation letters will be from an academic supervisor, line manager, and/or company CEO; and contain referees’ contact details; File name: Lastname_doc#_doctitle_refereelastname (e.g., Smith_7_recommendation_Johnson)
    • For selected projects, you should explain in your research proposals how you would carry out the research for the projects selected. You should set out as precisely and clearly as possible what the main focus of your research will be, what your main research questions and proposed methodology will be, and what primary phenomena, texts, or materials you are aiming to examine. We are expecting candidates to place particular emphasis on Inter-disciplinary, Inter-sectoral, Inter-technology, International aspects. Please read carefully through the LNETN profile and ensure that your proposals meet our research objectives. File name: Lastname_doc#_doctitle (e.g., Smith_6_ESR1)
    • The subject line to be inserted in the e-mails: LNETN – ESR application

    Selection process

    By April 20 2020, the candidates will be shortlisted based on their applications. Informal enquiries are welcomed by the local LNETN Project Leaders  on the respective ESR projects.

    The selection committee will consist of representatives of all four Beneficiaries.

    Shortlisted candidates will be invited for an interview via Skype or other video conferencing media. The interviews will be conducted by the local LNETN teams .

    The recruitment is expected to be finalized by June 15, 2020.

    Applicants to the programme will be assessed on the basis of high academic achievement, the fit of individual projects with the LNETN Profile, and an assessment of each candidate’s potential and commitment to complete high-quality research. The consortium will also take into account principles of gender equality.

    The LNETN consortium selection committee assesses each application according to the following criteria:

    • Research proposal(s): 30%
    • Motivation letter: 25%
    • CV: 20%
    • Recommendation letters: 15%
    • Other (e.g. relevant research/professional experiences/interests): 10%

    Recruitment and employment

    LNETN consortium is committed to open, transparent, impartial and equitable recruitment and employment process and operation, including a fair gender representation and access for candidates with disabilities (all consortium members have disability units and facilities to support candidates with a disability).

    The evaluation criteria will include inter alia demonstration of excellence in academic and/or non-academic performance, scientific skills, high motivation, relevance of research experience, ability to work in international and multi-cultural settings, ability to work collaboratively in teams, credibility, and the impact of the proposed training on ESR career.

    The successful candidates will receive a 36-month, full-time employment contract as per MSCA regulations for Early Stage Researchers. More details about recruitment, employability and other related matters you may find here .

    For further information, please contact petri.ahokangas (at)

    Work locations

    All 15 ESRs will be recruited and hosted by project beneficiaries:

    Aalborg University: Aalborg Business School

    Halmstad University: School of Business, Engineering and Science

    University of Glasgow: Adam Smith Business School

    University of Oulu: Martti Ahtisaari Institute

    All 15 ESRs will be seconded for 10 months to at least three members of the Consortium .

    Bittium Wireless


    Innovation OY



    Scottish EDGE

    Softiron Limited

    The Shaftesbury Partnership

    University of Rhode Island

    FinTech Scotland


    Recruited ESRs will be supervised by a joint supervision team consisting of a main supervisor (from hosting university), co-supervisor and non-academic mentor.

    All ESRs will be seconded for 10 months (app. 30% of time) period for training and research in at least three members of the Consortium . Mentoring and seconding of ESRs by non-academic partners will follow a similar approach to European Industrial Doctorates, including strong engagement with industry and secondments at other academic and non-academic project participants.

    ESRs will be embedded in existing doctoral training structures and benefit from interactions with other researchers and faculty at hosting and seconded institutions, as well as bespoke LNETN training programme delivered by academic and non-academic experts from around the world, and the opportunity to gain teaching experience.

    Each ESR will accumulate a minimum of 30 ECTS credits, recognized and certificated by all members of the Consortium for training. Each ESR will deliver by the end of a 36-month employment period a PhD/Doctoral dissertation and at least three academic outputs to be agreed in collaboration with their supervisors.

    Appeal procedure

    All candidates will be notified of the decision of the Selection Committee by email in June. During the process applicants will be informed of the appeal process for the specific scholarship.

    About the City of Oulu

    The City of Oulu is Northern Finland’s largest and oldest city, with a population of over 200,000. Located in the Gulf of Bothnia in the Oulu River delta, the city has good access from anywhere. Oulu is a very safe and family friendly community with high quality of life. This modern city with a beautiful harbor and market area offers plenty of cultural activities as well as opportunities for exploring the northern nature. Open space and parks can be found all along the Oulu River and throughout the area and they are easily accessed by bike – the favorite mode of transport in Oulu. There is an entire range of outdoor and sports facilities to choose from, not forgetting Finland’s biggest spectator sport, ice hockey. Winter is a season that is highly celebrated and lit bike trails and bridges bring the city alive. As the world’s northernmost tech hub, Oulu has a highly educated and innovative workforce and the University has a strong role in the community. Oulu is a marvellous place to live, work and enjoy a vibrant academic community. Welcome to the home of science with Arctic Attitude!

    Updated: 27.2.2020

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