Open PhD Competition in Extreme Citizen Science

Duration– 3 years
FundingThe scholarship covers UCL tuition fees and provides a stipend of £15,590 per annum tax free. Travel expenses and research equipment will be provided to the successful candidate
Funding BodyEPSRC
Vacancy Information
This is an open call for a prospective PhD student to propose a novel and exciting project to develop new methods in Extreme Citizen Science, or which addresses a particularly interesting or unusual problem.
The Extreme Citizen Science (ExCiteS) group at UCL is a collaborative and interdisciplinary research team, with the vision to challenge the way we do traditional science and engineering. While existing Citizen Science practices assume that educated citizens can participate in scientific data collection, but not in formulating research questions and/or in the analysis of results, we believe that the greatest future impacts of science are likely to be gained when almost everyone is empowered to participate in research and use scientific tools to improve their environment locally and share the knowledge globally.
Extreme Citizen Science is essentially science by citizens, where people take real ownership of the issues that concern them. Regardless of their level of literacy or education people can collect scientifically valid data to evidence, illustrate and frame the issue, then visualise and analyse the results to subsequently develop strategies in order to address it. Our team is working together to develop tools and methodologies that facilitate this process in which anyone (from individuals to groups and communities) can start their own scientific investigation. ExCiteS tools are developed and expanded directly with people in their communities allowing for co-created knowledge to be shared and used in a process of empowerment and action. In a technical sense, in ExCiteS we engage in a process of creating new languages which we technologically facilitate and which enable communities that are not in conversation to engage in a conversation, which has results and changes what is happening in that particular context – whether it is the airplanes flying over Isleworth or the activities of Eco-guards in Congo.
To find more about us you can visit our website http://www.ucl.ac.uk/excites/ , read our blog http://uclexcites.wordpress.com/category/articles/ and look at presentations by our directors, Muki Haklay (seehttps://povesham.wordpress.com/tag/citizen-science/ ) and Jerome Lewis (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BXPfryZxUs0 ).
Studentship Description
We are looking for applicants who have research proposals that fall within and complement our aims and objectives. You should be able to provide a clear research idea that will contribute to or extend ExCiteS activities, but which will be theoretically sophisticated and methodologically novel. Your research proposal needs to explain what your contribution will be, the methods that you will use, an estimation of further support (beyond the studentship) that you will need to complete your studies, a timeline of key activities and also show how your work could complement our vision and other activities of the group.
Person Specification
Applicants should possess an honours degree (1st Class or 2:1 minimum), and a Masters degree in any discipline that contributes to the development of ExCiteS methods and theories. Currently the ExCiteS group consists of several PhD students and researchers from a multiplicity of backgrounds and skills: artists, planners, anthropologists, computer scientists, and geographers with knowledge in community development, electronic engineering, and conservation. Your application will not be limited to a specific discipline. Non-academic experience that relates to or contributes to your research is an asset but not a requirement. You will also need to demonstrate experience in project management and demonstrate that you can set yourself long term goals and achieve them, and be able to work with the diverse, multidisciplinary group that ExCiteS is. Language skills beyond English are desirable.
Eligibility
Applications are invited from UK and EU citizenship holders. Unfortunately, we will not be able to cover the difference in tuition fee costs for people from outside the EU, though you are welcome to apply if you are non-EU if you can self-fund the difference in tuition fees.
Start Date
The PhD studies will commence between February 2013 and October 2013, at time that is suitable to the candidate.
Application Procedure
Applicants should send a cover letter, 4 pages research proposal, examples of academic writing (e.g. Masters dissertation), outputs from past work, 2 reference letters and CV to Gail Austen-Price (g.austen-price@ucl.ac.uk ). The cover letter should include a personal statement explaining your interest in citizen science, why you are interested in our project and how you would see your work integrated into ExCiteS vision and activities. You are welcome to contact Gail, Muki, Jerome and other members of the group with queries about your research proposal or if you would like to have an informal call about it.
Closing Date
26 January 2013
Muki Haklay: Professor of GIScience
Extreme Citizen Science (ExCiteS) research group
Department of Civil, Environmental & Geomatic Engineering
University College London (UCL)
Gower St. London WC1E 6BT
Mapping for Change – www.mappingforchange.org.uk

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