There is growing academic interest in adopting new technologies to address societal challenges. Although promising, integrating these technologies into design research and practice requires careful consideration of methodological, ethical and practical implications. This PhD position examines the impact of new technologies on Systemic Design by adopting new technological tools to improve our capacity to challenge outdated systems and contribute to more sustainable and equitable futures.
In the context of this research, systems can be described as a way of designing (i.e., systemic, a holistic approach to thinking about reality) and an object of design (i.e., socio-technical systems, interconnected elements that serve a specific purpose). Investigating the way we design systems focuses on critically reviewing and expanding systemic design methods by exploring how emerging technologies can be integrated into the design process. When we look at systems as the outcomes of the design process, our research aims to apply new technologies in socio-technical interventions to address complex societal problems in different domains, for example, healthcare systems (e.g., planetary health), production systems (e.g., circular and distributed), and social systems (e.g., equality and social innovation).
As a PhD candidate, you will first investigate how the academic community has responded to using emerging technologies to generate knowledge addressing complex societal problems. You will then analyse the broader implications of these technologies within the framework of systems thinking approaches (see da Costa Junior et al., 2019). Furthermore, you will collaborate with multiple actors, such as private-public partnerships, non-profit organisations and companies, to identify leverage points, develop solutions to address significant societal challenges and test novel methods, frameworks, and tools.
The ideal PhD candidate should be able to navigate engineering and social science fields and collaborate with a multidisciplinary team within the Interaction Design group, which is part of the Department of Design, Production and Management (DPM) of the Faculty of Engineering Sciences (ET).
The PhD candidate will:
- Conduct research on adopting emerging technologies to better understand, visualise and handle complex systems.
- Explore the implications of adopting emerging technologies in systemic design research and practice.
- Establish collaborations with actors from different sectors, including public services, organisations, industries, and citizens, to conduct transdisciplinary research.
- Present research results at national and international conferences, workshops and in journals.