PhD position
in industrial design

Umeå Institute of Design is looking for a PhD student in industrial design, to join us. As a PhD student, you are employed for the duration of the 5 years (80% PhD education, 20% teaching) of your education. Application is closed.

Description of position

The primary objective of our research is to develop the design discipline by extending its existing practices and forming its future foundations. We aim to be at the forefront of addressing how design can, and needs to, evolve in response to changes in our social, technical and ecological contexts.

This PhD position is part of this effort, and as we value diverse perspectives it is thematically open with respect to what issues and areas to engage with. Considering contemporary and historical challenges of design research, however, some issues emerge: the need for a more sustainable development calls for addressing how design practices can be redirected; post-industrial changes to patterns of production and consumption call for a change in design from being oriented towards use and user, towards instead addressing the social in a much broader sense; networked and computational technologies altering the ways things are made and shared, even becoming new infrastructures for design. And because of the many challenges and changes, design will also need to evolve its ways of dealing with complexity. Just to name a few challenges to design.

And most of all, we want to engage in research on what could become, working with practices of making and design experimentation that can give material form to imaginative, hopeful speculations on diverse design futures.

With this position we also aim to strengthen the critical dimension in teaching in the Bachelor's and Master's programmes, and thus part of this position is also dedicated to participating in teaching in our programmes and courses at UID. We believe that critical and inclusive perspectives are necessary components in the development of the conceptual foundations and future practices of industrial design. This PhD position is part of our ongoing efforts to contribute to furthering the development of such perspectives.

Competence requirements

To be admitted for studies at third-cycle level the applicant is required to have completed a second-cycle level degree, or completed course requirements of at least 240 ECTS credits, of which at least 60 ECTS credits are at second-cycle level, or have an equivalent education from abroad or equivalent qualifications.

To fulfil the specific entry requirements to be admitted for studies at third-cycle level in industrial design, the applicant is required to have completed at least 90 ECTS credits within the field of design, of which at least 30 ECTS credits shall have been acquired at second-cycle level. Applicants who in some other system either within Sweden or abroad have acquired largely equivalent skills are also eligible.

We are looking for someone who believe that you have to be in dialogue with the world around us to make a difference that matters - and who has the ability to interact with the society in order to increase visibility and understanding of research in industrial design. You are very good in expressing yourself in English - both spoken and written language.

Type of position/Salary

 The position as a PhD student (doktorandanställning) is a four-year full time employment, which requires teaching or other departmental work up to 20%, which will lengthen the overall duration of the position to five years. Salary level and incremental increases in salary will occur according to a stipulated scale for PhD students at Umeå University. The PhD student will be enrolled in the PhD program and employed at Umeå Institute of Design. 


The procedure for recruitment for the positions is in accordance with the Higher Education Ordinance (chapter 12, 2 §) and the decision regarding the position cannot be appealed. See:


The position is scheduled to start during the autumn term 2017. The starting date can be discussed. For further information about the PhD position and Umeå Institute of Design, contact Director of PhD Studies at Umeå Institute of Design, Heather Wiltse, +46 90-786 88 39, or Vice Rector Maria Göransdotter, +46 90 786 7036, Union information is available from SACO, +46-(0)90-786 53 65, SEKO, +46-(0)90-786 52 96 and ST, +46-(0)90-786 54 31.

The application shall be made through the e-recruitment system MyNetwork Pro (follow this link) latest September 15, 2017, and must include:

  1. A cover letter that states your personal motivation for the PhD position
  2. Your Curriculum Vitae
  3. Validated transcripts of records or degree certificates
  4. A research sketch outlining a proposed theme for your research, including its connection to design research. This is not expected to be highly detailed or definite, but it should indicate the core research area and questions/problematics, as well as the general approach you think would be appropriate for addressing them. The purpose of this research plan is to engage in a conversation with theme and topic, and the final research plan, should you be accepted, is likely to differ substantially from this first sketch.
  5. Names and contact details (telephone and email) of at least two suitably qualified persons willing to act as referee on your behalf
  6. Your design portfolio
  7. Your master thesis
  8. Any other documents supporting your competence and suitability for the position

Please observe that incomplete applications will not be processed.

More about Umeå Institute of Design

Umeå Institute of Design is ranked as one of the best design educations in the world. We do research and education in industrial design, with courses and programmes on both basic, advanced and PhD level. The education at Umeå Institute of Design has an artistic foundation, and our courses are often structured as projects together with external partners. In these projects the students at Umeå Institute of Design have a possibility to go deeper in a subject area, where design methods and design processes are used to create concepts and solutions for new products, services and experiences. The students develop and evaluate their ideas in close collaboration with users, and actively reflect about their future role in working life, always with the help of experienced tutors. Umeå Institute of Design has a creative and international environment, with a flat organization and a close interaction between students and employees.

Umeå University is dedicated to providing creative environments for learning and work. We offer a wide variety of courses and programmes, world leading research, and excellent innovation and collaboration opportunities. More than 4 300 employees and 31 500 students have already chosen Umeå University. We welcome your application!