Visualization and physicalizing of data for public sense-making in democratic circular transitions

Recruiting university

Aalborg University (AAU), Department of Architecture Design and Media Technology, Copenhagen (Denmark) and Department of Culture and Learning

Main supervisor

Dr Amalia de Götzen, Department of Architecture Design and Media Technology, AAU, Copenhagen (Denmark)


Dr Mathieu Jacomy, Department of Culture and Learning, AAU, Copenhagen (Denmark)

Other co-supervisors/mentors and organisations

Dr Carolina Giraldo (Climate-KIC, Denmark) (mentor); Dr Fiona Lambe, (Stockholm Environment Institute, Sweden) (mentor); Dr. Bori Feher (Moholy-Nagy University of Art and Design, Budapest, Hungary) (co-supervisor).


36 months

Required profile

Master’s degree in techno-anthropology, information design, service design, policy studies, sustainable management, science and technology studies, human-centred design or another related field.

Researcher’s mentality

Interest in socio-technical collaborations, mixing communication and IT with participation, open-minded, curious, enthusiastic, and accurate; proactive, capable of working independently among different organisations and research cultures, and likes to work in a team; good organisational and communication skills and a mastery of the English language in spoken and written form.

Desired skills

Being part of international and cross-disciplinary training networks, the doctoral candidate should have excellent ‘soft skills’ essential for working and facilitating interactions with stakeholders (e.g., citizens, residents, business or local government employees) as well as having or being open to developing, qualitative methodology skills and an interest in design, visualisation and materialisation of data. Because of interactions with participants, it is preferable that the candidate also speaks Danish (or other Scandinavian languages), but this is not essential.


This doctoral project focuses on increasing public participation in democratic processes that address sustainable transitions by facilitating citizen engagement with and through data.


The theoretical and methodological structure of the project will be developed in collaboration with the departments of Culture and Learning and Architecture, Design and Media Technology at Aalborg University, Copenhagen. Visualisation and materialisation of data for public participation and use imply that the candidate defines a methodological framework that includes methods/tools to analyse and represent data and methods/tools to support participation.


Climate-KIC (Denmark) (3 months) with mentor Dr Carolina Giraldo
Stockholm Environment Institute (Sweden) (6 months) with mentor Dr Fiona Lambe.

What makes this doctoral research project exciting?

While public participation in democratic processes that address sustainable transition is commonplace, it is still an open question of how that participation can be moved upstream to address issues of knowledge production. The question of citizen engagement through and with data is still unexplored. Yet, not only understanding the vast amount of data used to explain different phenomena around us but also working with it to participate in the public debate is becoming crucial for a healthy democracy as this is where important decisions are effectively taken as to which paths forward become actionable and tangible to decision makers. Therefore, this doctoral research explores this issue by experimenting with hands-on engagement with data and data visualisation with key civil society actors in sustainable transitions, e.g., institutions, communities and organisations. In doing so, the doctoral research will have a direct path to impact in the green transition and produce the necessary knowledge base for others to take similar kinds of action.

What’s special about the host department/university?

The activities of this project will be carried out across two of AAU’s research labs. The main supervisor is based at the Service Design Lab (www.ServicedesignLab.aau.dk), a welcoming and inclusive research lab dedicated to studying and applying service design as an exploratory, co-creative and empowering approach to address broad issues of societal concern. Key themes of interest are social innovation, design for policies, co-creation, urban transition, and service design for the public sector, to name just a few. The team behind the Service Design Lab has long and consolidated experience in research and innovation actions and EU-funded research. Typical areas of interventions are related to (1) design-oriented methods and tools that enable co-creation processes and stakeholders’ engagement for the definition of socio-technical ecosystems and interactions that support the generation of value in services; (2) technological aspects of service design and digital social innovation, emerging technology and ways to integrate them into service design practice, service design and the city, smart cities and urban changes, mobility and other relevant urban phenomena; (3) civic service design: service design for public administrations, for cultural events and to support migrants and disadvantaged communities. The co-supervisor is based at the Techno-Anthropology Lab (www.tantlab.aau.dk), an equally welcoming and inclusive research lab providing an additional anchorage for the doctoral candidate at Aalborg University’s campus in Copenhagen. TANTlab does research at the intersection between anthropology, STS, and computational methods, including data design and visualisation. A particular focus, not least for the main supervisor, is the cartography of techno-scientific controversies, often around green transitions, which involves offering visual ways for the public to engage with and navigate complex socio-technical debates. The TANTlab has, for example, developed formats for participatory data design through events like the data sprint.

Gross salary

We offer employment as a full-time doctoral researcher. The annual funding available to the Aalborg University for this position DC6 is 61.056,00 €. Please note: this is not the gross annual salary for the candidate. This figure refers to the total amount of funding available to the university that will hire the doctoral candidate, taking into account the living and mobility allowance funding from the EU MSCA as well as national laws. Applicants should be aware that their annual gross salary may well be significantly less than this amount, once the university has covered costs they incur such as pension and national insurance, subject to national laws. The annual gross salary the candidate receives will also be subject to tax, employment and pension deductions, depending on national employment laws.

According to the indications of the MSCA-DN program, the above amount may be increased by 660€ per month for researchers with family obligations.

This doctoral position is funded by the EU MSCA Programme.