Job posting: Fully-funded PhD position at DTU on Designing Systems Visualisations for Decision Support

Job posting: Fully-funded PhD position at DTU on Designing Systems Visualisations for Decision Support

DTU, The Technical University of Denmark, Department of Management Engineering invites applicants for a 3-year PhD position on “Designing Systems Visualisations for Decision Support” starting ideally on January 15th, 2018 or as close as possible thereafter in 2018. This PhD is part of a larger project. We are also looking for another PhD candidate starting at the same time on “Systems Architecting for Decision Support”. The project will be based in the Engineering Systems Division and supervised by Head of Division Professor Anja Maier.

The Engineering Systems Division is growing fast and is characterised by a vibrant and supportive research environment with engaged staff and strong research collaborations with leading universities and industry worldwide. Our research focuses on understanding and improving the ways in which engineering systems are designed, managed, and operated throughout their life cycles. Our research spans the boundaries of 1. interdisciplinary engineering design (e.g. product design and development; systems engineering), 2. engineering project, programme and portfolio management, and 3. related policy, public engagement and strategic processes.

This PhD will be part of the EURITO project, a three-year European Union Horizon 2020 research and innovation action starting in 2018, with Nesta (UK) as co-ordinator and with DTU (Denmark), FOKUS Fraunhofer (Germany), and Cotec (Spain) as project partners. EURITO´s overall objective is to enhance the design of research and innovation policies in Europe. This is to be achieved by modelling large-scale systems, developing a new set of timely, trusted, and open system-level indicators for innovation and research activities as well as analytics and visualisations based on open data sources and novel methods. In the overall EURITO project, data sources mined may include official and unofficial industry registries, company websites, data traces within social networking and community websites (e.g. and Twitter) generated by emergent communities of practice and other non-traditional bottom-up data sources. Methods applied may include the use of network and content analysis and interactive data visualisation.

DTU’s role in the consortium is centred on mapping, understanding and supporting the underlying system architecture(s) connected to research and innovation in Europe. We will focus on research on systems architecture and systems visualisation, with data collection and analysis both at Danish and international levels.

The main objective of this PhD project is the conceptualisation, co-creation, design, development, and testing of new system-level visualisations for data-driven decision support. The target users for the developed decision making support are policy makers and other stakeholders designing complex socio-technical systems.

During the first stage of the PhD project, most of the work will be conducted in the context of pilot cases and data generated in Denmark within relevant industry sectors, e.g. R&D and production including cleantech or med-/healthtech. Those cases will serve to prototype (interactive, digital) visualisations, and the visualisations will be iteratively validated with policy makers and other decision makers. In later stages, the results of the pilots in Denmark should be integrated and scaled up; also making use of and contributing to the results produced by the project partners in their respective pilots across Europe.

More generally, the PhD project will be looking at what an engineering systems perspective can offer to develop new data-driven insights for the design of regional and national research and innovation policies. This includes better integration of new empirical evidence (e.g. open datasets) in the form of visualisations within the policy making process. The emphasis is on visualisations that reflect the systemic nature of the challenges that policy makers and other stakeholders face when designing policies and instruments aimed at supporting industrial ecosystems.

If your passion is system design and (data or information) visualisations applied to large societal challenges, this position is for you.

Responsibilities and tasks
The project is situated at the intersection of design, visualisations, complex systems, and policy making. It will be carried out in collaboration with the above-mentioned partners across Europe.

The PhD candidate will in particular be responsible for conceptualising, developing, and testing new data-driven visualisations. The objective of the designed visualisations is to support decision makers in challenges such as the development of policies, e.g. in industry sectors including cleantech or med-/healthtech research ecosystems at regional or national scales (cases will be defined during the project). The scientific focus will especially be on visualising systems and on the study and validation of systemic (interactive) information visualisation solutions that reflect the complexity of the systems under study and that improve the data-driven support currently provided to decision makers.

The research will primarily consist of literature review, requirement elicitation and validation through interviews, sketching, the application of data visualisation methods for iterative system exploration, and dashboard prototyping. Surveys, experimental methods, and user studies to explore the impact of the designed visualisations on human behavioural decision-making might also be applied, either individually or in combination.

You will work in close collaboration with other EURITO project members in the Engineering Systems Division and abroad. Within DTU, this includes a PhD candidate on System Architecting for Decision Support, a Post-Doc on Complex Innovation System Architecture, and the research lead. More team members may join. We also expect you to work in collaboration with the EURITO research partners across Europe, and we are looking forward to facilitating opportunities for you to experience an external research stay also outside Denmark.

Candidates should have a master's degree preferably in Systems Design, Design and Innovation, Data Science, Data Visualisation, Information Visualisation, Graphic Design, Interaction Design, Industrial and Systems Engineering, or a similar degree with an academic level equivalent to the master's degree. Familiarity with data visualisation methods and tools is a plus, but not a requirement. Training opportunities will be available during the PhD. Useful skills include sketching, knowledge of D3.js, information design, visualisation- and dashboarding tools such as Tableau or Zeppelin, or HTML/CSS/JS.

Approval and Enrolment
The scholarship for the PhD degree is subject to academic approval, and the candidate will be enrolled in the DTU Management Engineering PhD School Programme. For information about the general requirements for enrolment and the general planning of the scholarship studies at DTU, please see the DTU PhD Guide.

The assessment of applicants will be made by Professor Anja Maier.

We offer
DTU is a leading technical university globally recognized for the excellence of its research, education, innovation and scientific advice. We offer a rewarding and challenging job in an international environment. We strive for academic excellence in an environment characterized by collegial respect and an academic freedom tempered by responsibility.

Salary and appointment terms
The salary and appointment terms are consistent with the current rules for PhD degree students. The period of employment is 3 years.

The position will be based in the Engineering Systems Division at DTU Management Engineering in Lyngby, just outside Copenhagen, Denmark.

Further information
Further information may be obtained from Post-Doc Pedro Parraguez, or Professor Anja Maier, or tel.: +45 4525 6045.

You can read more about the Engineering Systems Division here:

Please submit your online application no later than 30 October 2017 (Local time). We may conduct interviews prior to the deadline.
Application link to be found here:

Applications must be submitted as one pdf file containing all materials to be given consideration. To apply, please open the link "Apply online," fill in the online application form, and attach all your materials in English in one pdf file. The file must include:

A letter motivating the application, including your research activities and ideas for the research project (cover letter, max 3 pages)
Curriculum vitae
Grade transcripts and copies of your original BSc/MSc diploma, certificates, and lists of subjects with your results as well as their official translation into English
Excel sheet with translation of grades to the Danish grading system (see guidelines and excel spreadsheet here)
Two reference contacts who may be contacted by the assessment committee
Candidates may apply prior to obtaining their master's degree, but cannot begin before having received it.

All interested candidates irrespective of age, gender, race, disability, religion or ethnic background are encouraged to apply.

DTU Management Engineering contributes actively to the development of management tools and optimisation of processes by using and re-thinking theoretical engineering perspectives, models and methods. Through our research and teaching, we ensure an innovative, competitive and sustainable organisation and use of technologies within areas such as energy and climate, transportation, production and health, both domestic and abroad. DTU Management Engineering has 340 employees; including an academic staff of 190 and more than 70 PhD students. More than 20 % of our employees are from abroad and in all 38 different nationalities are represented at the Department.

DTU is a technical university providing internationally leading research, education, innovation and scientific advice. Our staff of 5,800 advance science and technology to create innovative solutions that meet the demands of society; and our 11,000 students are being educated to address the technological challenges of the future. DTU is an independent academic university collaborating globally with business, industry, government, and public agencies.