PhD Candidate, Inclusion and Exclusion in Smart, Sustainable Buildings

Trondheim, Norway
23 Nov 2021
End of advertisement period
07 Jan 2022
Academic Discipline
Social Sciences, Geography, Sociology
Contract Type
Full Time

Research Collaboration in Sustainability

In 2015, the 2030 agenda with the 17 sustainability goals was adopted by all UN member states. The sustainability goals see the environment, economy and social development in context. The time horizon for necessary changes is short, and it is challenging to combine different considerations without conflicts of objectives and unintended consequences of measures. 

NTNU is now announcing 43 individual PhD positions that will contribute to a greater understanding of system effects, societal changes and conflicts of interest related to the sustainability challenges. These positions are divided into 9 interdisciplinary projects with mainly 4-7 PhD positions in each project. 

About the project

We are looking for a PhD candidate interested in doing research at the intersection between the three major themes that define our times: digitalisation, sustainability, and equality.

In this PhD project, we aim to study qualitatively transformation processes motivated by environmental concerns and facilitated by digitalisation. Our focus is on equality and inclusion.

The empirical field explored in this PhD project is the built environment. Buildings, neighbourhoods, and cities are expected to contribute considerably to current efforts to mitigate and adapt to climate change. Considered a laggard in terms of digitalisation for a long time, construction and urban planning have more recently become the target of extensive digitalisation activities. Digital platforms, algorithmic governance, and Internet of Things promise new possibilities for a better quality of life for all, frictionless democratic participation and efficient ressource use. But they also create new divisions and affect participation in the design of the built environment and how it is used.

While there exist rich bodies of research on exclusion mechanisms within digitalisation (e.g. digital divide, algorithmic exclusion) and sustainability (e.g. environmental justice) respectively, here, we are looking at the intersection between both transformations in the built environment and how they relate to inequality, gender and diversity (i.e race, ethnicity, class, ability).

Examples for possible research questions addressed in this PhD project are:

  • What are the benefits and challenges related to conducting participation in and public exchange about urban planning within digital platforms?
  • How is the experience and use of buildings, neighbourhoods or cities affected when they are governed by sensor based, advanced algorithms?
  • What are potential, inclusive alternatives to the sustainable digital transformation of buildings, neighbourhoods or cities?

About the position

This PhD project is part of a larger, interdisciplinary umbrella project on the sustainable, digital transformation of welfare services, healthcare, and the built environment, studying the effects of digital platforms, algorithmic governance, and Internet of Things. The PhD student will be part of a group of five PhD students that will be hired at the same time.

In addition, the successful applicant will be invited to fully participate in the young and dynamic environment at NTNUs Centre for Technology and Society ( and Centre for Gender Research ( Furthermore, the PhD student will be associated with The Norwegian Research Centre on Zero Emission Neighbourhoods in Smart Cities (, which through its pilot areas will provide privileged field access.

Duties of the position

The successful candidate must

  • Conduct empirical data collection through qualitative methods such as interviews, focus groups, document analysis, or participatory observation.
  • Analyse the collected data through theories and concepts from science and technology studies (STS) or related frameworks
  • Complete the obligatory coursework in the PhD program for Interdisciplinary Studies of Culture
  • Produce a PhD thesis, either a monograph or based on 3-4 peer-reviewed articles published in key international journals
  • Disseminate results in scholarly journals and at national and international venues
  • Be an active participant in the day-to-day activities at the Department of Interdisciplinary Studies of Culture, the Centre for Technology and Society, in relevant research groups at the department, and in activities of the umbrella project.
  • Show clear interest in and dedication to interdisciplinary research

Required selection criteria

  • Experience with qualitative, empirical research, which is documented in accessible research outputs
  • A background in science and technology studies (STS), gender studies, social anthropology, sociology, urban planning or related disciplines
  • The readiness and ability to enroll in the PhD program in Interdisciplinary Studies of Culture at NTNU (for the requirements, see, particularly: Your education must correspond to a five-year Norwegian degree programme, where 120 credits are obtained at master's level. You are required to have achieved at least a master’s degree that was graded with what corresponds to “B” on the Norwegian grading scale (A-F, where A is best)
  • Excellent oral and written English skills
  • Your application will not be considered if you do not meet all of these criteria.

The appointment is to be made in accordance with the regulations in force concerning State Employees and Civil Servants and Regulations concerning the degrees of Philosophiae Doctor (PhD) and Philosodophiae Doctor (PhD) in artistic research national guidelines for appointment as PhD, post doctor and research assistant  

Preferred selection criteria

If you have at least one of the following characteristics your chance to be invited to an interview will increase significantly:

  • Experience with interdisciplinary research
  • Experience from collaboration or engagement with municipal or urban actors
  • Good working knowledge of a Scandinavian language

We offer

About the application

The application and supporting documentation to be used as the basis for the assessment must be written in English.

Please note that applications are only evaluated based on the information available on the application deadline. You should ensure that your application shows clearly how your skills and experience meet the criteria which are set out above. 

The application must include:

  • a project proposal and research plan (3-5 pages)
  • a complete CV and list of publications and talks
  • transcripts and diplomas for bachelor's and master's degrees. If you have not completed the master's degree, you must submit a confirmation that the master's thesis has been submitted.
  • a copy of the master's thesis. If you recently have submitted your master's thesis, you can attach a draft of the thesis. Documentation of a completed master's degree must be presented before taking up the position. We are able to assess theses written in a Scandinavian language, English, and German.
  • names and contact details of two (former) colleagues that we can contact to inquire about you

If all, or parts, of your education has been taken abroad, we also ask you to attach documentation of the scope and quality of your entire education, both bachelor's and master's education, in addition to other higher education. Description of the documentation required can be found here. If you already have a statement from NOKUT, please attach this as well.

Joint works will be considered. If it is difficult to identify your contribution to joint works, you must attach a brief description of your participation.

In the evaluation of which candidate is best qualified, emphasis will be placed on education, experience and personal and interpersonal qualities. Motivation, ambitions, and potential will also count in the assessment of the candidates. 

NTNU is committed to following evaluation criteria for research quality according to The San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment - DORA.

Salary and conditions

PhD candidates are remunerated in code 1017, and are normally remunerated at gross from NOK 491 200 per annum before tax, depending on qualifications and seniority. From the salary, 2% is deducted as a contribution to the Norwegian Public Service Pension Fund.

The period of employment is 3 years.

Appointment to a PhD position requires that you are admitted to the PhD programme in [subject area] (Link to website, if applicable) within three months of employment, and that you participate in an organized PhD programme during the employment period.

The engagement is to be made in accordance with the regulations in force concerning State Employees and Civil Servants, and the acts relating to Control of the Export of Strategic Goods, Services and Technology. Candidates who by assessment of the application and attachment are seen to conflict with the criteria in the latter law will be prohibited from recruitment to NTNU. After the appointment you must assume that there may be changes in the area of work.

It is a prerequisite you can be present at and accessible to the institution daily.

General information

Working at NTNU

A good work environment is characterized by diversity. We encourage qualified candidates to apply, regardless of their gender, functional capacity or cultural background. 

The city of Trondheim is a modern European city with a rich cultural scene. Trondheim is the innovation capital of Norway with a population of 200,000. The Norwegian welfare state, including healthcare, schools, kindergartens and overall equality, is probably the best of its kind in the world. Professional subsidized day-care for children is easily available. Furthermore, Trondheim offers great opportunities for education (including international schools) and possibilities to enjoy nature, culture and family life and has low crime rates and clean air quality.

As an employee at NTNU, you must at all times adhere to the changes that the development in the subject entails and the organizational changes that are adopted.

In accordance with The Public Information Act (Offentleglova), your name, age, position and municipality may be made public even if you have requested not to have your name entered on the list of applicants.

If you have any questions about the position, please contact Thomas Berker, email: If you have any questions about the recruitment process, please contact Åse Marit Skarholt, email:

Please submit your application electronically via with your CV, diplomas and certificates. Applications submitted elsewhere will not be considered. Diploma Supplement is required to attach for European Master Diplomas outside Norway. Chinese applicants are required to provide confirmation of Master Diploma from China Credentials Verification (CHSI).

If you are invited for interview you must include certified copies of transcripts and reference letters. 

Application deadline: 07.01.202

NTNU - knowledge for a better world

The Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) creates knowledge for a better world and solutions that can change everyday life.

Department of Interdisciplinary Studies of Culture

We conduct research and teaching in two subject areas: equality and diversity, and science and technology studies. The Department has an active research environment with a high proportion of external funding. The Department of Interdisciplinary Studies of Culture is one of six departments in the Faculty of Humanities.

Deadline 7th January 2022
Employer NTNU - Norwegian University of Science and Technology
Municipality Trondheim
Scope Fulltime
Duration Temporary
Place of service NTNU Dragvoll