PHD POSITION in Design and Communication Science - Digital services for resilience after a disaster

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    Professions and applied sciences
    Social sciences
    First Stage Researcher (R1) (Up to the point of PhD)

PhD Opportunity in Design and Communication Science


We are looking for exceptional candidates for a PhD scholarship who are keen on exploring several research questions about the design, development and evaluation of digital services for crisis and disaster situations.

The candidate will be hosted by ELLIADD Lab, University of Franche-Comté, in Montbéliard, France.


Crisis communication: digital services to support resilience in the aftermath of a disaster


During and after the outbreak of a disaster (such as nuclear in Fukushima Daiichi in March 2011, and the current one caused by COVID-19), people are worried by urgent questions about the on-going situation, the rules to follow for body protection and food products, any details about the health impacts and other relevant information.

Governmental and scientific authorities broadcast information in a vertical way (Grabowski, 2010) and also struggle to limit the negative impact of fake news (Chan & al., 2017). To allow people to get the correct information, a "conversational space" (Denning, 2006) must be established by both authorities and citizens, following specific rules to ensure communication between decision-makers and disaster victims.

By means of digital services, such as social media and mobile apps, any user becomes a prosumer, that is a relevant source of information in the decision-making process useful to build the resilience inside the community. Resilience is the ability to prepare, plan, recover and adapt successfully to the consequences of an unexpected disaster. It is an active process in which victims contribute to rebuilding their communities (Berke & Campanella, 2006).


These observations suggest that we need to understand how to design specific communication affordances in digital services for crisis situations and how connected people can be involved and actively contribute to building the resilience process. However, releasing a mobile application does not solve all the problems (Segault, Tajariol & Roxin, 2016). In fact, the use of a digital service depends on several factors, including its usability, utility and acceptability (Bobillier-Chaumon & Dubois, 2009). The issue of the resilience and the commitment of people by means of digital service during a disaster is one of the thorniest problems in the specific scientific community, especially the International Association for Information Systems for Crisis Response and Management (ISCRAM).


Skills of the candidate

To tackle these design and usage issues, the candidate should have a background in interaction design or communication science, psychology and human-computer interaction or related areas. Knowledge and skills in computer science will very useful to develop a POC (Proof of Concept) to be tested.

Moreover, the candidate must keen on the design and the use of digital services and social media, and an interest in the communication process for crisis and disasters.

The PhD application process is quite competitive, so we are looking for highly motivated and capable students from any country.


Practical Details

To obtain further information, please contact federico.tajariol@univ-fcomte.fr


Application Deadline and Process: ASAP and before June 4th at these address:

Doctoral School of Literature, Communication, Languages and Arts.


Then click on “Candidater”, chose English language and sign-up.

Studentship period : 3 years (01.09.2020 – 31.08.2023)

Academic Requirement: Master degree (or equivalent) in an appropriate field (e.g. Communication Science, Design, Cognitive science, Human-Computer Interaction, Computer Science)

Stipends: The net monthly wage is about 1 400 euros for the duration of the PhD. A paid teaching activity is possible during this period.


Mehr Information


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