PhD student in Critical Analysis of Drones: Aesthetics, Ethics & Movements

KTH Royal Institute of Technology
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Phd candidate

Royal Institute of Technology,


KTH is one of Europe's leading technical universities and an important arena for knowledge development. As Sweden's largest university for technical research and education, we bring together students, researchers and faculty from all over the world. Our research and education covers both science and all branches of technology as well as architecture, industrial economics, social planning, history and philosophy.


project Description

Postgraduate education subject: Mediated communication; Human-Computer Interaction

Autonomous systems play an increasingly important role in people's everyday lives - they automate processes or support work in the professional world; they are used for monitoring; to create artistic expressions, in games and games. In this project we ask ourselves how ethics are shaped in the relationship between autonomous systems and people. We have a special focus (though not exclusively) on drones. When we interact with drones, we get, in some sense, superpowers: we become cyborgs or centaurs and our abilities are supplemented by or even expanded with the abilities of the drones.

The PhD student position is placed in the research group Soma Design at KTH within a project funded by the Marianne and Marcus Wallenberg FoundationIn addition to participating in postgraduate education in Mediated Communication with a focus on MDI at KTH, the doctoral student will be part of the national research school WASP-HS that focuses on the effects of artificial intelligence on society. The Soma Design group at KTH is an interdisciplinary design-oriented research group. We design systems with the aim of improving experiences, feelings, subjective understanding and values ​​that arise when users encounter interactive systems. Soma design is often about body rhythm, touch, body awareness and playfulness, and how interaction that encourages such experiences can in turn deepen our ability to aesthetically appreciate through all our minds.   

The doctoral student will work on empirical research that illustrates the social practices that arise around autonomous systems, especially drones, through a combination of methods such as ethnography, interaction analysis, micro-phenomenology and autoethnography.

Supervision: The doctoral student will be placed at the Royal Institute of Technology and will be supervised by Professor Kristina Höök and University Lecturer Airi Lampinen at Stockholm University. 

We offer

  • The opportunity to doctorate in a dynamic, international research environment in collaboration with industry and prominent universities around the world.
  • A mandatory individual study plan to support your development in your area of ​​interest.
  • A workplace with many employment benefits and monthly salary according to KTH's doctoral student agreement .
  • Postgraduate education at a higher education institution that is active and supportive in issues related to, for example working conditions, gender equality and diversity as well as the study environment.
  • Work and study in Stockholm, one of Europe's fastest growing capitals, while also being close to nature and the sea.
  • Research work in the front of the interaction design area, in an internationally renowned research group. 

Admission eligibility

To be admitted to postgraduate education (Chapter 7, Section 39 of the Higher Education Ordinance), the applicant must have basic qualifications:

  • graduated at the advanced level,
  • completed course requirements of at least 240 higher education credits, of which at least 60 higher education credits, or
  • acquired in other ways in or outside the country, essentially equivalent knowledge.

Special eligibility for postgraduate education in human-computer interaction requires an academic degree in the subject or a four-year university education with a general field relevant to the MDI subject, for example, behavioral science, humanities, cognition science or communication science.


To succeed with your doctoral studies at KTH, you need to be goal oriented and persistent in your work. When selecting applicants, the ability to:

  • independently push their work forward,
  • be able to collaborate with others,
  • have a professional approach and
  • analyze and work on complex issues, 
  • good ability to express themselves in both speech and writing in English. 

Applicants should have an MSc degree in social sciences, humanities, human-computer interaction or the like and have a strong interest in ethics, aesthetics & design. An additional credit is previous experience in ethnogafic field work: observations, video data, interviews.

Following the eligibility requirements, great emphasis will be placed on personal characteristics and personal fitness.

Target exam: Doctorate

Information on admission and employment 

Only those admitted to postgraduate education may be employed as doctoral students. The total period of employment must not exceed the equivalent of full-time postgraduate education for four years. An employee doctoral student can perform to a limited extent (a maximum of 20%) certain tasks within eg. education and administration. A new employment as a doctoral student applies for a maximum of one year, and the employment may thereafter be renewed for a maximum of two years at a time.

Trade union representatives

You will find contact information for union representatives on KTH's website .

Doctoral Student Section (Technical College Student Union)

You will find contact information for the PhD student section on the section's website .


You apply through KTH's recruitment system. As an applicant, you have the primary responsibility for your application being complete when it is submitted.

The application must be submitted to KTH no later than the last application date at midnight, CET / CEST (Central European Time / Central European Summer Time). 

The application must have the following content

  • CV with relevant professional experience and knowledge.
  • Application letter with a brief account of why you want to pursue research studies, about your academic interests and how they relate to your past studies and future goals. (Max 2 pages)
  • Graduation transcript, copies of diplomas and grades from previous university studies. Translations into English or Swedish if the original document is not issued in one of these languages.
  • Representative publications or technical reports. For longer documents, please attach an abstract and a web link to the full text


Gender equality, diversity and distance from all forms of discrimination are both a quality issue and an obvious part of KTH's core values.

For information on processing personal data in connection with recruitment, read more here.

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More Information

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Phd candidate


Stockholm , Sweden