PhD scholarship in Digital Media and Political Contention


The Department of Communication, Faculty of Humanities, University of Copenhagen invites applications for one PhD scholarship. The scholarship is fully funded for 3 years and will be filled on 1 September 2022 or as soon as possible thereafter.

The successful applicant will become part of the project entitled “To Use or Not to Use? A Relational Approach to Information and Communication Technologies as Repertoire of Contention” (To-Use-or-Not), which is funded by Independent Research Fund Denmark - Saper Aude (2022-2025). The project examines the use and appropriation of digital media in political contention like protests, demonstrations, activism, and revolutions in Europe, the United States, and China. The successful applicant will work in close collaboration with the project leader, Associate Professor Jun Liu, as well as the other members of the To-Use-or-Not project at the University of Copenhagen and at the five other partner universities in Europe, the United States, and China. The successful applicant will also be affiliated with the Center for Tracking and Society (

Job content
Rapidly emerging technologies are playing a significant role in shaping the way in which people engage with politics and pursue social justice, as we see in the cases of Black Lives Matter, the #MeToo movement, and the Arab Spring. We know a great deal about the technologies people use in political contention and movements, as illustrated by terms like “Twitter uprising” or “Facebook revolution,” which became interchangeable with “the Arab Spring.” And yet, we know very little about why people choose some but not other technologies, and how people decide on specific political uses of certain technologies as what Tilly calls “repertoire of contention.” The To-Use-or-Not project explores the reasoning behind people’s diverse decisions on use and non-use of technology for political contention in specific contexts. A short description of the project can be found here: (English); (Danish).

In alignment with the goals of the overall project, we invite original proposals for a PhD project focusing on how people make choices regarding technology adoption and use for political contention in Europe and/or the United States. Political contention refers to the joint action of individuals who make claims that bear on someone else’s interests like protest, demonstration, and revolution. The PhD student is expected to have a strong educational background in sociology (political sociology), political science (comparative politics, American or European politics), computation and (social) data science, communication studies, or related disciplines. The ideal candidate should have an interest in digital communication and politics and be willing to acquire skills in computational and other methods (qualitative/quantitative) within the project. The position also represents a unique opportunity for close collaboration with researchers from different disciplinary backgrounds (sociology, political science, data science, and journalism) and will advance interdisciplinary skills and perspectives. Furthermore, the project offers the possibility to actively involve in international exchange and collaboration, attend international conferences and workshops, and engage in public communication and outreach.

For further information about the position, please contact Associate Professor Jun Liu (

Admission requirements
Applicants need to hold a two-year Master's degree (120 ECTS) or the equivalent.

Applicants must send pre-approval of their thesis if it’s not completed at the time of the application deadline.

Applicants with a non-Danish Master's degree will have their degree assessed by the Ministry of Higher Education and Science in order to establish that their Master's degree is equivalent to a Danish Master's degree. Please read more at the Ministry of Higher Education and Sciences website:

Qualification Requirements
The applicant’s qualifications for the scholarship are evaluated by the applicant’s general educational and academic background. Grade average, thesis grade, language competencies, publications, and other academic activities will be taken into account.

In addition, the proposed PhD project and study plan will be evaluated with regard to originality, choice of theory and method, disciplinary relevance, and prospects for completion within the required timeframe of 36 months.

Applicants are strongly encouraged to reflect on how their project relates to present research activities at the department.

Communication skills
Excellent communication skills in English are essential and applicants must speak and write academic English. The administration may ask applicants to document their proficiency in English at any time in the recruitment process, if considered necessary.

Application requirements
The application must be sent electronically via the link "Apply now" at the bottom of the page in Adobe PDF or Word format. ZIP files may not be used.

Please note that each field in the applicant form can only contain one file of max 20 Mb.

The application must include:

Project abstract
(1,200 characters with spaces)

Cover letter

Please include a complete CV including a list of publications, where relevant.  

Diploma and transcript of records
Applicants must upload the following documentation:

  • A copy of master's degree diploma (if not available before the application deadline, a pre-approval must be submitted) 
  • A copy of master’s degree transcript of records (an official description of the grading scale must be included) 
  • A copy of bachelor’s degree diploma 
  • A copy of bachelor’s degree transcript of records (an official description of the grading scale must be included) 

If the master diploma and/or examination records are in another language than English, German, French, Spanish, Danish, Norwegian or Swedish, please include a translation into either of these languages in your application.

The translation of diplomas/certificates and transcripts must be made or approved by a state-authorized translator and interpreter or at the embassy/a Danish consulate/ or consulate of the country where the original document was issued or where the translation was made. 

The administration encourages applicants from within the EU to enclose a Diploma Supplement. The Diploma Supplement is part of a common European framework for transparency of competencies and qualifications – the EuroPass framework. Find more information at this page:

Chinese applicants are required to enclose a CADGEEC (The China Academic degrees and Graduate Education Evaluation Committee) certificate. Read more at this page:

Please read about admission requirements and application requirements at this page:   

Applicants can amend their application after submission up until the application deadline.

Project description
Project descriptions should outline the overall objectives, method and design of the project, as well as a schedule for its implementation.

The project proposal must not exceed 6 standard pages, corresponding to approx. 12,000 characters (including curriculum, title, punctuation, figures, footnotes and references, but excluding bibliography / bibliography). A substantial breach of this will result in the application being excluded from consideration.

Please adhere to the guidelines at this page:

Other relevant material
Statements of consent can be submitted with the application. For example, agreement of access to special archives, agreement of exchange at an international university, or a statement of consent from a potential supervisor/ co-supervisor etc. Do not upload or submit recommendations, publications or your Master thesis.

The recruitment process
After the deadline for applications, applicants are selected for assessment on the advice of the Appointment Committee. All applicants will be notified whether they are shortlisted for assessment or not. An Assessment Committee is appointed and the selected applicants are notified of the composition of this committee. Each applicant has the opportunity to comment on the part of the assessment which relates to their own application. The assessments are expected to be complete at week 21.

Afterwards, a selection of qualified candidates will be invited for an interview. The interviews will be held in week 22. Please be advised that a positive assessment does not necessarily mean that you will be invited for an interview.

For further information on the recruitment process, please see University of Copenhagen’s website:

As a PhD scholar at The Faculty of Humanities, University of Copenhagen, you will be supervised for approximately 180 hours distributed over 6 semesters. In addition to this, you must complete PhD courses of a total approximating 30 ECTS. On completion of the PhD program, you must submit a PhD thesis.  

Read more about the structure of the PhD program and what it means to be enrolled as a PhD scholar at the Faculty of Humanities via this link:

For more information about the PhD School read more at this page:  

Terms of employment
PhD scholars at the Faculty of Humanities are appointed under the terms and conditions of the collective agreement between the Danish Ministry of Finance and the Danish Confederation of Professional Associations.

According to the agreement, PhD scholars are obliged – without any additional remuneration – to perform tasks assigned to them corresponding to 840 working hours over the three years. These tasks will primarily be in the form of teaching, dissemination, research or other related academic areas.

Please note that it is normally a precondition for employment that the applicant in question does not already have a PhD degree. Applicants who have already obtained a PhD degree will, as a main rule, be dismissed.   

As an equal opportunity employer the university invites applications from all interested candidates regardless of gender, age, ethnic origin or religion.

Contact information
For any further questions regarding the recruitment process please contact HR employee Maritxell Abrahamsson, e-mail:, please refer to ID number 211-1013/22-2H.

Application deadline
Applicants must submit the application electronically no later than 19 April 2022 at 23.59 (11.59 pm) (CEST).  


Part of the International Alliance of Research Universities (IARU), and among Europe’s top-ranking universities, the University of Copenhagen promotes research and teaching of the highest international standard. Rich in tradition and modern in outlook, the University gives students and staff the opportunity to cultivate their talent in an ambitious and informal environment. An effective organisation – with good working conditions and a collaborative work culture – creates the ideal framework for a successful academic career.


Application deadline: 19-04-2022
Employment start: 01-09-2022
Department/Location: Institut for Kommunikation

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