Materialising, visualising and prototyping opportunities and dilemmas to address social conflicts around climate transitions

Recruiting university

Institute of Design, SWPS University, Warsaw (Poland)

Main supervisor

Professor Karol Murlak, Faculty of Design, SWPS University, Warsaw (Poland)


Prof Mariusz Wszołek, Faculty of Law and Communication, SWPS University, Wrocław, (Poland); Prof Karol Olejniczak, Faculty of Social Science, SWPS University, Warsaw (Poland)

Other co-supervisors/mentors and organisations

Prof Lucy Kimbell (University of the Arts London, UK) (mentor); Joanna Heyda (Warsaw City Council, Poland) (mentor); Prof Nicola Morelli (Aalborg University, Denmark) (co-supervisor).


36 months

Required profile

Master’s degree in service design, human-centred design, industrial design, product design, spatial design, interior design, communication design or another related field. Research mindset: Open-minded, curious, enthusiastic and accurate; proactive, capable of working independently and a team player; good organizational and communication skills and a mastery of the English language in spoken and written form.

Desired skills

Because of the hands-on nature of this project, the doctoral candidate should have excellent creative and fabrication skills and soft skills essential for working with stakeholders (e.g., citizens, residents, businesses or local government employees). The candidate should also be open to developing qualitative methodology skills. Because of interactions with participants, it is preferable that the candidate also speaks Polish, but this is not required.


This research addresses two questions: 1. How can material, public interventions help achieve consensus in diverse local communities to enhance adaptation to climate change in the urban context of Warsaw? 2. What are the characteristics of an effective interdisciplinary approach for enhancing democratic participation in climate change adaptation through urban interventions?


The methodology for the first question is constructive design research. This approach offers a structured system for deriving social, cultural and material sensitivities from design practice, especially making, testing and modifying prototypes. In this method, prototypes play the role of research tools, allowing to conclude of both practical and theoretical nature. The methodology for the second question is a case study of the process of making the intervention designed and tested in Warsaw. The methods are based on practitioner concepts, combining ethnographic notes, field notes from the design and evaluation process, designers-evaluators discussion sessions and workshops.


University of the Arts London (UK) (3 months) to develop and test creative design approaches in the context of local government activity to engage citizens in addressing climate transitions.
City Council of Warsaw (Poland) (6 months) with a mentor to share, test and validate visual or media prototypes developed through practice research within a citizen engagement project activity as part of the city’s transitions related activities.

What makes this doctoral research project exciting?

Three things make this project unique.

Practical Nature. The doctoral candidate will address real-life design problems brought by stakeholders. They will use applied research to translate abstract concepts of climate adaptation, design and policy into material public intervention with real-life impact.

Collaboration. The doctoral candidate will be paired with another doctoral candidate part of the CoDesign4Transitions Network based at SWPS University in Warsaw with a background in social science. We created an architecture for the project that nudges researchers to go beyond their discipline and search for solutions that effectively promote social change.

Interdisciplinarity. At the theoretical level the project attempts to establish synergies between two distinct disciplinary fields. Ultimately, we aim to develop an interdisciplinary, integrated approach to designing and evaluating public interventions that enable climate transitions.

What’s special about the host department/university?

SWPS University is the first private university in Poland. It has campuses in six major cities throughout Poland and a well-established reputation as a leading research institution in social science, humanities, art and design. SWPS University excels in exploring the human mind and applying its expertise to addressing the practical challenges of today and tomorrow. We believe we can learn to thrive in the world of new technologies and dynamic social change through a better understanding of human intelligence. SWPS University holds an HR Excellence in Research Award. All our recruitment processes and practices fully comply with Open, Transparent, and Merit-Based Recruitment (OTM-R) principles and the HRS4R Strategy. The Institute of Design brings together artists and designers at SWPS University, using creative methods, techniques and materials to create solutions for culture, society and the economy.

Gross salary

We offer employment as a full-time doctoral researcher. The annual funding available to the SWPS University for this position DC7 is 35.964,00 €. 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.