Evaluating the impact of prototyping, visualisation and materialisation in mediating social conflicts in transitions to carbon neutrality

Recruiting university

Institute of Social Sciences, SWPS University, Warsaw (Poland)

Main supervisor

Professor Mikołaj Cześnik, Faculty of Social Sciences, SWPS University, Warsaw (Poland)


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

Other co-supervisors/mentors and organisations

Dr Carolina Giraldo (Climate–KIC, Denmark) (mentor); Joanna Heyda (Warsaw City Council, Poland) (mentor); Prof Lucy Kimbell (University of the Arts London, UK) (co-supervisor)


36 months

Required profile

Master’s degree in policy studies, political science, social sciences, sustainable management, service design, human-centred 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 embedded nature of this project, the doctoral candidate should have excellent soft skills essential for working with stakeholders (e.g., citizens, residents, business or local government employees) as well as having developed or being open to developing qualitative methodology skills and an interest in design (prototyping and creativity). Because of interactions with participants, it is preferable that the candidate also speaks Polish, but this is not required.


The purpose of the research is to address two questions: 1. How can we credibly evaluate the effectiveness of material, public interventions in achieving the consensus of diverse local communities regarding climate change adaptation in Warsaw's urban context? 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 will be grounded in the program evaluation literature, which offers an established spectrum of research designs and research methods that allow for establishing and assessing the causal link between public intervention and expected positive change. 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.


Climate-KIC (Denmark) (3 months) with mentor Dr Carolina Giraldo as well as interactions with City of Warsaw to produce initial analysis of the potential and limitations for using design approaches to mediate social conflicts relating to transitions.
City Council of Warsaw (Poland) (6 months) with a mentor to conduct data-gathering and analysis of potential and limitations for using design approaches to mediate social conflicts relating to transitions.

What makes this doctoral research project exciting?

Three things make this project unique.

Practical Nature. The doctoral candidate will address real-life policy problems brought by stakeholders, in this case, the City of Warsaw. They will use applied research to translate abstract concepts of climate adaptation, design and policy into validation of real-life impact.
Collaboration. The doctoral candidate will be paired with a second doctoral candidate with a background in design, also part of the CoDesign4Transitions Network and based in Warsaw at SWPS University. 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 practises fully comply with Open, Transparent, and Merit-Based Recruitment (OTM-R) principles and the HRS4R Strategy.

Gross salary

We offer employment as a full-time doctoral researcher. The annual funding available to the SWPS University for this position DC8 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.