Two Doctoral Students in Information Studies

Updated: 1 day ago
Deadline: 22 Nov 2020

The Faculty of Humanities, University of Oulu opens two (2) Doctoral Student positions in Information Studies in the area of AI literacies: co-evolution of human competencies and artificial intelligence.

The University of Oulu is an international science community that promotes skills of the future, wellbeing and culture through multidisciplinary research and education. Renewal, responsibility and a culture of collaboration provide a solid foundation for all our operations. There are approximately 15,000 students and 3,000 employees at our University. We offer a working environment where individuals can cultivate their skills, do meaningful work, and develop professionally. The strengths of the University of Oulu include its broad multidisciplinarity and modern study and research environment, as well as its close collaboration with international research and education institutes.

The hired doctoral students will work within the Research Unit for History, Culture and Communication Studies at the Faculty of Humanities and will become members of the Institutions and Practices of New Literacies research community (INSPIRES, ). Moreover, they will become a part of a major expansion of the university’s profiling area Generation Z and beyond: Co-evolution of human capabilities and intelligent technologies in the 21st century (GenZ, ). GenZ builds on interdisciplinary collaboration between researchers from the Faculty of Humanities, Faculty of Education, Faculty of Information Technology and Electrical Engineering, and Faculty of Science (Human Geography) and Oulu Business School and is designed to do world-class interdisciplinary research on strengthening human capabilities in the new digital era.

Subject field and description

Artificial intelligence (AI) refers to technological and digital solutions that are designed to learn, act and make decisions and solve problems independently. There is a need to increase our understanding on the competences needed to empower people in the emerging AI era and to allow a positive co-evolution of humans and emerging technologies. AI literacies refer to these competencies, including understanding the role of AI as part of everyday life; critically assessing the nature of information provided by AI; learning, acting and interacting in environments that involve and utilise AI; and participating actively in the creation of human-centred and ethical AI solutions. As AI-powered technologies have already become part of our everyday lives, these competencies are important already at a young age.

The hired doctoral students will take a qualitative approach to examining the ways AI-powered tools are shaping the information worlds and practices of young people. Moreover, they will study the key competenciesrequired from young people to be able to recognize and make use of AI in their everyday environments and for their benefit. Possible themes and questions include the following: What kind of AI-powered technologies do young people use in their everyday lives? In what ways these technologies modify the information flow experienced by young people?  What kind of affordances and constraints for thought and action does AI bring about in the everyday lives of young people? What key competencies young people need to develop to gain the benefits afforded by AI and mitigate possible risks associated with its use in their everyday lives?

Duties, eligibility and evaluation criteria

The hired doctoral students will carry out their doctoral studies within the University of Oulu Graduate School (UniOGS) and must meet the requirements to receive doctoral study rights as defined in: .

The applicants must have completed their master’s degree (MA) in information studies or other relevant field by the time of the appointment. Proficiency in Finnish is considered a merit and the applicants must acquire at least a moderate proficiency in Finnish within two years of the appointment. However, due to the nature of the planned research, at least one of the hired doctoral students is required to have native-speaker proficiency in Finnish. The applicants are expected to have at least intermediate level proficiency in written and spoken English.

We expect the applicants to have an interest in increasing the understanding of young people’s information practices and related competencies, specifically in everyday life settings and including social media. The applicants will have a solid background in qualitative, interpretive and/or participatory research traditions or interest in conducting such research. Previous background or interest in AI ethics, critical algorithm studies and/or information literacy is considered a merit. Additionally, previous work or research experience among young people or on social media environments are considered as advantages.

The hired doctoral students will be responsible for conducting research and completing a doctoral degree in the described area. The hired doctoral students are expected to conduct high-quality research that has the potential to make national and international impact. They are also expected to take part in teaching and supervision (max. 5% of working time). The hired doctoral students will work in close collaboration with each other, as well as with the Assistant Professor focusing on AI literacies, who will also supervise their dissertations.


The salary of a doctoral student will be based on levels 1-4 of the requirement level chart for teaching and research personnel in the salary system of Finnish universities. In addition to the basic salary, supplementary salary will be given for personal achievement and performance, the sum rising to a maximum of 50% of the basic salary level for the post. The salary is paid for 12 months in a year. The successful candidate will receive also full benefits provided by the University of Oulu to all its employees, including free time corresponding to holidays and free occupational health care services. The position includes also some teaching duties. The duration of the contract is 4 years. A six-month trial period will be applied in the position.

How to apply

Apply online latest on Sunday, 22nd November 2020, 23:59 (Finnish local time). Please include the following attachments in your application (in English or Finnish):

1. A cover letter (max. 1 page) including: a brief statement of the applicant’s motivation to work as a doctoral student in the described research area; a short biography explaining the applicant’s experience and knowledge of the research field; an account of the applicant’s language skills and proficiency. 

2. A general research plan (max. 2 pages). Since the general theme of the doctoral project is given, the applicant is asked to provide an outline addressing the following questions: How would the applicant study the role of AI in young people’s everyday lives (method)? What key issues would the applicant specifically concentrate on (focus)? What would be the most important implications and impact of the applicant’s approach (contribution)?

3. A brief curriculum vitae formatted according to the template of the Finnish Advisory Board on Research Integrity ( ).

4. Contact information of a person or two persons, who may be asked to give a statement on the candidate.

The position is filled as of 1 January 2021 or as soon as possible thereafter. Top candidates will be invited to an interview.

More information:

Noora Hirvonen

Associate Professor

Information Studies

Research Unit for

Faculty of Humanities

P.O. Box 1000
FI-90014 University of Oulu
Tel. +358503227851

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 one of the highest qualities of life in all of Scandinavia. This modern city with a beautiful harbour 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 favourite 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!

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