An outstanding PhD candidate is sought to join an Australian Research Council social science research project on ‘automating the smart home’ based at RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia. The successful candidate will work alongside Dr Yolande Strengers in the Beyond Behaviour Change Research Program, based in the Centre for Urban Research and the School of Global Urban and Social Studies.
The project aims to understand how home automation technologies are being incorporated into household practices, what expectations they are promoting, sustaining or transforming, and how these will likely support or undermine electricity demand reduction ambitions. The findings will inform theories of social practices, materiality and socio-technical change, and provide internationally-significant insights to energy services stakeholders.
Prospective candidates are invited to address or adapt one or more of the following research questions in their proposal:
- How do different home automation/ smart home companies imagine the future and how are they shaping ways of life in intended and unintended ways?
- How are new smart home applications (on smart phones/ devices) changing household practices and expectations of comfort, cleanliness, security, entertainment and/or ambience?
- (How) are smart home technologies gendered, and what does this mean for the visions and practices that emerge through their development?
- How can we theorise home automation in everyday life?
Applicants can focus on the smart home as a broad category, or on specific smart home appliances/ devices, such as automated vacuum cleaners, air-conditioners, smart home ‘control centres’ or lighting systems.
There is scope for applicants to develop a project that aligns closely with their interests.
Applicants are strongly encouraged to discuss their application with Yolande Strengers (yolande.strengersATrmit.edu.au) prior to submission through the RMIT application process.
Applicants must hold an undergraduate degree with First Class Honours or equivalent in Sociology, Geography or a related humanities/ social science discipline.
For more information on how to apply and the conditions of the scholarships see:
Local students: URL: http://www1.rmit.edu.au/scholarships/rps
International students: URL: http://www1.rmit.edu.au/scholarships/rpis
Applications close on 1 May 2015.