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[Commlist] Ad Astra PhD Scholarship in the School of Information and Communications Studies, University College Dublin

Tue Apr 21 10:12:37 GMT 2020

Ad Astra PhD Scholarship in the School of Information and Communications Studies, University College Dublin

(Click on Ad Astra PhD Scholarship)

School: Information and Communications Studies

Supervisor: Marco Bastos (marco.bastos /at/

Starting date: 1st Sept 2020 (likely later, when academic activities resume post-COVID-19)

Position: 100%, full-time position, tuition fees waived by the School

Remuneration: PhD studentship renewable for up to four years and consisting of:

  - PhD student stipend of €18k per annum (tax free)

  - €4k per annum towards research costs of the PhD student.

Eligibility: EU and non-EU students are equally eligible for studentships under this award

Requirement: Students accepted under this scheme must meet the university entry standards.

Description of the post:

The School of Information and Communications Studies at University College Dublin is offering one fully funded PhD scholarship under the supervision of Dr Marco Bastos.

The PhD student will work on quantifying offline phenomena through online data and/or new theories, methods, and objectives to the study of problematic content and misinformation online.

We also welcome candidates interested in the social implications of technology, including the dynamics of social influence and contagion, computational communication science, ethics of computational research on human behaviour, and the forecasting of social phenomena with digital trace data.

The candidate will explore computational models of social phenomena, including behaviour modelling, social network analysis and modelling, mining of large-scale social data,

algorithms and protocols driving information diffusion on social platforms, and data mining of social media platforms.

The candidate will be provided a desk in the School’s dedicated PhD office and a dedicated budget for research expenses is included with the Scholarship. The School of Information and Communications Studies has a healthy cohort of 10+ PhD students.

Substantive research area:

The post holder will be supervised by Dr Bastos, whose research addresses the cross-effects between online and offline social networks, including the association between geography and network formation, the direction of homophily, and the elapsed effects of online activity on physical groups.

The substantive research question explored by the candidate may draw from communication and information studies, sociology, political communication, geographic information systems, and social network analysis or related areas.


The post holder will be expected to write and successfully defend a PhD thesis focused on the areas listed in the description of the post and meet the degree requirements set by UCD to advance through the PhD programme.

The candidate is also expected to produce research outputs in relation to their doctoral research and attend conferences to disseminate the research findings.

Conferences of interest to the post holder include the Association of Internet Researchers, the International Conference on Social Media & Society, the International Communication Association, the International Conference on Social Informatics, and the International Conference on Web and Social Media.

The candidate is expected to assist in the organisation of project meetings, workshops, and activities within the scope of this research area.

The candidate should take part in seminars, workshops, and events organised within the School and across University College Dublin that are relevant to the project.

Finally, the development of teaching skills and teaching activities will be considered at a later stage of the PhD in discussion with the candidate and the supervisors.

Role profile:

Candidates are expected to be familiar with or interested in developing skills in computational methods. Familiarity with leveraging digital media to the study of social phenomena is highly desirable. Other key skills include familiarity with data mining, text-as-data, network analysis, spatial statistics, machine-learning, and natural language processing.


Strong command of English is required. English proficiency at the C2 or C1 level of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) is advised. UCD Graduate Studies TOEFL and IELTS score requirements can be viewed here.

Candidates are expected to hold a Master’s Degree in Media and Communication, Information Sciences, Geography, Political Science, Sociology, Digital Methods or comparable Master’s Degree in the Social Sciences, preferably a research master/Mlitt.

Organisational experience and skills.

Preference will be given to candidates who can demonstrate experience and expertise in quantitative methods, including network analysis and modelling, spatial statistics, automated text analysis, and machine-learning in application material. Affinity for data-driven research, preferably as evidenced by your Master’s dissertation, publications, and research project.

Proven experience with R, Python, MATLAB, Julia, Ruby, JavaScript, TypeScript or equivalent object-oriented programming language is highly desirable.

Experience with the analysis of social media data is desirable.

Applications are open to students of all nationalities and backgrounds.


Applications need to be submitted via UCD’s application portal. The candidate should apply to Programme Code W139 using the UCD Admissions online application portal (a €50 application fee applies).

The School of Information and Communication Studies requires PhD applicants to submit their curriculum vitae, an applicant statement, and a personal statement. Candidates are advised to describe their research interests, explain why they believe this position fits their profile, and include a brief description of the topic they would like to explore in their PhD project. In addition to that, applicants should submit a writing sample, preferably a piece that has been published, as additional information.

Applications will be reviewed through our system of open, transparent, and merit-based recruitment of researchers.

For questions related to this post please contact Marco Bastos at (marco.bastos /at/

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