Doc­toral Stu­dent, Hu­man Mo­bil­ity and So­cial In­ter­ac­tion

Helsinki, Finland
22 Dec 2020
End of advertisement period
31 Jan 2021
Academic Discipline
Social Sciences, Geography, Sociology
Contract Type
Fixed Term
Full Time

The University of Helsinki is a multidisciplinary research university that ranks among the best in the world and the top 1% of the European universities. The university has an international academic community of 40,000 students and staff members. The Department of Geosciences and Geography at the Faculty of Science is the leading research and education unit in its field in Finland by producing internationally recognized research. The Faculty of Science invites applications for


with the background in quantitative human geography, geoinformatics, computational social science, data science or a related field starting from March 2021 or as agreed with the selected applicant. The employment contract is for four years with a six-month trial period.

The PhD student will join the interdisciplinary research group Digital Geography Lab and work in the Academy of Finland-funded project "Tracing Interactions and Mobilities Beyond State Borders: Towards New Transnational Spaces (BORDERSPACE)"
led by Academy Research Fellow Olle Järv :

This interdisciplinary research project combines big data analytics and transdisciplinary theorizations to study the socio-spatial phenomenon of transnationalism through bordering practices of people. By considering big data from mobile devices as a proxy for people’s activities, the project examines how big data analytics allows revealing cross-border mobilities and social interactions of people. With a particular focus on the people who cross state borders to perform their daily life practices, it seeks to obtain new knowledge about transnational people and functional cross-border regions in Europe.

The doctoral project has three objectives. First, to develop methodologies for quantifying human mobility and activity spaces across country borders based on social media data (Twitter). Second, to develop quantitative methodologies for uncovering activity practices of social media users and their feeling of belonging based on the content of their social media posts. Third, to conduct critical research on dynamic cross-border mobility flows derived from big data, integration of transnational people through their cross-border mobilities and social interactions, and how these are influenced by external factors such as the COVID-19 pandemic. The specific focus of the project will be agreed with the candidate.

We are looking for an enthusiastic, innovative, and strongly motivated doctoral student with strong technical knowledge and skills to join our multidisciplinary research team. The successful applicant is expected to have strong fluency in programming (Python or R), experience in advanced spatial analytics and/or social media content analysis using machine learning, and has worked with big data sources such as mobile phone, smart card and social media data. Prior experience in publishing research in academic journals, participating in research community and having a network of international scholars is an asset.

Appointees should be eligible to pursue doctoral studies at the University of Helsinki, please see:

The starting salary of the doctoral student will be ca. 2400–2700 euros/month, depending on the appointees’ qualifications and experience. Furthermore, the University of Helsinki offers comprehensive services to its employees, including occupational health care and health insurance, sports facilities, and opportunities for professional development. The International Staff Services office assists employees from abroad with their transition to work and life in Finland ( A six-month trial period will be applied.

Your application should include a two-page motivation letter and a CV, including a list of publications in a single pdf-file. A motivation letter should introduce your skills, experience and motivation to conduct critical big data research on transnationalism, and briefly propose potential avenues to carry out the research. Submit the application using the electronic recruitment system of the University of Helsinki via the link “Apply for the position”. Applicants who are employees of the University of Helsinki are requested to leave their application via the SAP HR portal.

The deadline is January 31st 2021.

For further information, please contact Academy Research Fellow Olle Järv, olle.jarv(at)

Due date

31.01.2021 23:59 EET