PhD candidate sought for research on the smart home and Internet of Things

Are you interested in understanding how smart homes, automated devices and the Internet of (household) things are changing ways of life? We are seeking a PhD candidate to join an Australian Research Council social science research project on Automating the Smart Home at RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia. The project is based in the school of Global Urban and Social Studies. Applicants with a background in social science disciplines are encouraged to apply.

Prospective candidates are invited to address or adapt one or more of the following research questions in their proposal:

  •  How are new smart home applications (on smart phones/ devices etc.) changing household practices and expectations?
  • How is the Internet of Things changing the spatial and temporal configuration of home/ work/ leisure practices?
  • The Internet of Things has been described as the next technology ‘revolution’? How does it compare to the mid-20th Century industrial revolution of the home?
  • How are expectations of comfort, convenience, cleanliness, entertainment or security changing in relation to new smart home technologies?
  • How do the smart home visions imagine and promote future lifestyles? Are these sustainable/ unsustainable?
  • (How) are smart home technologies gendered, and what does this mean for the visions and practices that emerge through their development?

Applicants can focus on the smart home as a broad category, or on a specific smart home appliance/ devices, such as automated vacuum cleaners, air-conditioners, smart home ‘control centres’ or lighting systems. Applications that incorporate international or cross-cultural comparisons are also welcome. There is scope for applicants to develop a project that aligns closely with their interests.

The successful candidate will work alongside Yolande Strengers and Larissa Nicholls in the Beyond Behaviour Change Research Program (, Centre for Urban Research, School of Global Urban and Social Studies. Applicants are strongly encouraged to discuss their application with Yolande (  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:
International students: URL:

Interested applicants will need to submit their application to RMIT University by 30 October 2015 (


Talk to us about your experiences living in a smart home or using automated appliances!

Do you live in a ‘smart’ home or use automated/ smart home appliances? Want to talk about your experience?

We are conducting a project about smart homes and automated appliances (e.g. smart thermostat, automated lighting, smart fridge, robotic vacuum cleaners etc.)

We are looking for householders across Australia for our social study of smart homes. We are interested in talking with you about how your household uses automated appliances, and/or what it’s like to live in a smart house.

We would like to visit to your home where we will ask you to show us around and demonstrate any smart technologies. We will ask you about your experiences with smart appliances/ homes, and take some photos. The visit will take up to 2 hours and can involve as many household members as possible. All data can be anonymised to ensure privacy if you wish.

Each household will receive a $50 Coles/ Myer gift voucher to thank them for their participation in the project.

If you think you might be interested in participating we encourage you to get in touch. Please contact Yolande ( or  Larissa (