PhD scholarship in digital volunteering at the Department of Sociology, University of Copenhagen

Copenhagen University
April 07, 2024
Offerd Salary:Negotiation
Working address:N/A
Contract Type:Other
Working Time:Full time
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Applications are invited for a PhD scholarship at the Department of Sociology within the subfield of digital volunteering. Enrolment will be at the Faculty of Social Sciences under Copenhagen Graduate School of Social Sciences.

The position starting date is on 1 July 2024 or as soon as possible thereafter.

The PhD programme provides PhD students with strong research training which opens up a window of opportunity to a variety of careers within the private and public sectors. The programme includes the drafting of a PhD thesis, active participation in research networks, PhD courses, teaching, and other forms of knowledge dissemination. The PhD programme can be undertaken as a three year full-time study within the framework of the 5+3 study programme, or as a four year full-time study programme within the framework of the 4+4 study programme.

SoMeVolunteer: Social Media Enabled Informal Volunteering in Times of Crisis This scholarship offers a rare opportunity to be member of a research team investigating how society's members organize informally on social media in order to help others during a crisis. In the last couple of decades, social media has created new avenues for organizing civic life facilitating protest, volunteering and help in everyday life and in crisis situations. Social media volunteering is generally organized informally which in contrast to formal volunteering leaves the assessment of who deserves to be helped at the discretion of the individual helper influenced by the context of social media group norms as well as wider societal discourses. Hence, for informal online volunteering, practices of deservingness is crucial to distribution of help and resources. Funded by the Velux Foundation, the SoMeVolunteer research project focuses on how deservingness is practiced at the levels of 1) general societal discourse, 2) social media group culture, and 3) individual level interaction between volunteers and needy. These practices are studied in relation to three crisis situations concerning a) Syrian refugees in 2015, b) COVID-19 victims in 2020 and c) Ukrainian refugees in 2022. The project aims to compare how different deservingness practices are of consequence to i) from what segments of the population volunteers are mobilized, ii) the distribution of help, and iii) evaluations of moral and political responsibilities.

The PhD student will become part of a team consisting of a postdoc, a student research assistant and the project's two PIs, Jonas Toubøl and Hjalmar Bang Carlsen. The project combines data on 1) deservingness attitudes and accounts of participation from survey- and in-depth interviews, 2) observed volunteering and helping practices on social media, and 3) public opinions and constructs of deservingness from news media. To utilize this rich collection of data sources the project combines statistical analyses, machine learning, ethnography, survey experiments and discourse analysis in order to infer deservingness practices and their consequences.

The PhD student will work closely together with the other members of the research team and in particular on developing and executing mixed methods studies of deservingness practices related to social media enabled volunteering. While the bulk of data has been secured the PhD student must conduct qualitative interviews and collect other supplementary data.

The PhD student will be enrolled in a collaborative work environment and will be expected to be an active member of the research team. This also entails taking active part in the academic life of the department and the research group Knowledge, Organization and Politics (KOP).

Your Competencies and Opportunities

  • Applicants for the 5+3 programme should hold a master's degree (120 ECTS) or expect to obtain a master's degree in sociology or related fields (e.g. political science, anthropology) before the positions start date.
  • Applicants for the 4+4 programme should hold a bachelor's degree and have completed 60 ECTS at master level in sociology or related fields (e.g. political science, anthropology) before the positions start date.
  • The applicant must be fluent in written and spoken Danish to be able to analyze the contents of the project's various empirical sources.
  • Experience from conducting data analysis in both the qualitative and quantitative tradition is an advantage, but not a requirement.
  • The applicant must be motivated to take full advantage of the opportunities to expand the methodological toolbox offered by this project. This said, we do not expect applicants to have experience working with the full array of data types included in this project but will make sure that the all necessary competencies are present among the members of the research team as well as allocate resources to acquire additional competencies through self-study and course work.
  • Duties and Responsibilities Further information about the PhD study programme is available on the website of Copenhagen Graduate School of Social Sciences: https: // skolen/english/

    Under "Legal basis" on the website you will find information about the rules and guidelines for the PhD programme and the Danish Ministerial Order on the PhD programme at the Universities.

    Information about the PhD study programme is also available on the PhD website of the Department of Sociology: https: // www.

    Applicants should familiarize themselves with the research strategy and the ongoing research at the Department before submitting their application. Further information can be found: https: // www.


  • The University of Copenhagen wishes to reflect the surrounding society, and invites all qualified applicants, regardless of personal background, to apply for the positions.
  • In order to be awarded a PhD scholarship the applicant has to enroll as a PhD student at the Faculty of Social Sciences, cf. the rules of the Danish Ministerial order No 1039 of 27 August 2013.
  • Please note that normally there is strong competition for these scholarships, and only a few can be awarded each term.
  • Scholarship in the 5+3 or in the 4+4 PhD study programme The 5+3 PhD study programme In order to be eligible for a scholarship in the 5+3 PhD study programme the applicant must have completed a two year MSc degree programme, or have earned 120 ECTS credits at an equivalent academic level before starting his or her employment. Applicants should check the study programmes for more detailed descriptions of the entry requirements. PhD students are paid a salary in accordance with the agreement between the Ministry of Finance and the Danish Confederation of Professional Associations (AC). The PhD student has a work obligation of up to 840 hours over the 3 year period of time without additional pay. The work obligation can include for instance teaching.

    The 4+4 PhD study programme Students who have completed a BSc plus 60 ECTS of an MSc degree programme would enroll as PhD students simultaneously with their enrolment in the MSc degree programme. Applicants should check the study programmes for more detailed descriptions of the entry requirements. Until an MSc degree is obtained, the grant is paid partly in the form of up to 48 state education grant portions (in Danish: SU-klip). More specifically the PhD student will be paid two grant portions per month plus salary for work (teaching, presentations etc.) which totals a workload of at least 280 hours. Payment and conditions of employment are carried out in accordance with the agreement between the Ministry of Finance and the Danish Confederation of Professional Associations (AC). Upon completion of the MSc degree the student is transferred to the salary-earning part of the PhD studies.

    How to apply Submit a complete application at our online portal. Click on the “Apply now” icon at the bottom of the page to apply. The documents must be in Adobe PDF or Word.

  • Cover Letter (detailing your motivation and background)
  • Outline of research project (1-2 pages)
  • Curriculum Vitae
  • Diploma and transcripts of records (BSc and MSc)
  • 1-2 showcases of the applicant's methodological skills, e.g. publications, working papers, BA- or MA thesis or exam papers.
  • Time schedule
  • Other information for consideration, e.g. list of publications.
  • Please note that it is only possible to upload one document per attachment category. If more than one document has to be uploaded in the same category, please make sure that they are scanned and collected into one file.

    Application process On the website of Copenhagen Graduate School of Social Sciences you will find information about the application process, and enclosures to include with your electronic application: https: // skolen/english/applicants/application/currentadvertisement/

    The recruitment process Further information on the recruitment process at University of Copenhagen can be found here: https: //

    The following criteria are used when shortlisting candidates for assessment:

    1. Research qualifications as reflected in the project proposal.

    2. Quality and feasibility of the project.

    3. Qualifications and knowledge in relevant sociology disciplines.

    4. Performance (grades obtained) in graduate and post-graduate studies.

    5. Department of Sociology can offer adequate supervision for the research topic in question.

    Selected applicants are notified of the composition of the assessment committee, and each applicant has the opportunity to comment on the part of the assessment that relates to the applicant him/herself.

    An Equal Opportunity Workplace The University of Copenhagen is committed in its pursuit of academic excellence to equality of opportunity and to creating an inclusive working environment and therefore encourages all qualified candidates to apply, regardless of personal background, gender, sexual orientation, age, disability, ethnicity etc. For more on the diverse working place environment at the University and the University's participation in the HRS4R HR Excellence in Research, please see: https: // ucph/eu-charter-for-researchers/

    International applicant? The University of Copenhagen offers a broad variety of services for international researchers and accompanying families, including support before and during your relocation and career counselling to expat partners. Please find more information about these services as well as information on entering and working in Denmark here: https: //

    Contact information Additional information about the position and more details on the SoMeVolunteer projec can be obtained from Associate Professor Jonas Toubøl, e-mail: [email protected], phone +45 3532 3268.

    Information about the recruitment process is available from Dorthea Andersen, HR, e-mail: [email protected]. Please refer to ID number: 211-1730/24-2H #1.

    The closing date for applications is 7 April 2024 at 23:59 CEST .

    Applications or material received after the deadline will not be taken into account.

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