Stellenangebot: SNSF funded PHD position on research project “Interfacing the Ocean”, Zurich University of Arts, Deadline: 06.11.2023

2,100 BA and MA students make Zurich University of the Arts one of Europe’s largest arts and design universities. Our five departments pursue cutting-edge teaching and research in the fields of design, film, fine arts, music, dance, theatre, transdisciplinary studies, and art and design education.
SNSF funded PHD position on research project “Interfacing the Ocean“

We are offering a 4-year PhD position on the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) project „Interfacing the Ocean”, which seeks to initiate a sea change in design in collaboration with marine biology and anthropology. This unique project explores how creative practices in and with ocean environments support sympoietic underwater processes, foster sensitive human-marine species interactions and encourage multispecies coexistence. By integrating a number of institutional partners “Interfacing the Ocean” aims at establishing a new perspective on design in and with the ocean. Further information:

As a doctoral candidate, you will work on an individual dissertation along the objectives and methods of the research project and will participate in coordination and implementation for project activities over four years (maximum doctoral funding).

Your role will include:

  • Development of a practice-based dissertation aligned with the research goals of the ItO project and focused on immersive design research practice (e.g.  fieldwork, prototyping, artistic research methods, scuba diving).
  • Collaboration on development and coordination of workshops, exhibitions, symposia, publication and representation of the project.
  • Participation in regular meetings to coordinate team research goals and attend colloquia for graduate students.
  • Representation of the research project to the public in symposia and research contexts.


  • English language skills are mandatory (other language skills are very welcome in view of the expected field work, especially Italian and Croatian).
  • Background in design, art or architecture. Experience in marine biology, biology, life sciences, anthropology, oceanography is very welcome but not mandatory.
  • Applicants must have a Master of Arts degree (120 ECTS).
  • Preferable skills: interactive technology / sonic or haptic design / spatial installations / research methods / writing / teamwork.
  • Previous scuba diving experience is not mandatory, but motivation to obtain a certificate during the 4-year research period is very welcome.

We will provide:

  • fully-funded 4-year PhD position within an interdisciplinary practice-based research project with an exciting team of young researchers.
  • Outstanding international network including experienced PhD supervisors from Zürich University of the Arts, University of Arts Linz and project partners.
  • Access to workshops and labs at Zürich University of the Arts and University of Arts Linz
  • PhD seminars, colloquia, retreats and workshops
  • Funding for fieldwork, research activities, equipment and materials
  • Possibility of a Visa permit during the research period

Application documents:

  • Letter of Motivation (1-2 pages)
  • Curriculum vitae, including research record
  • Portfolio of artistic and/or design work
  • 2 publications (preferably showing ability to connect practice and theory)
  • BA and MA diplomas
  • Project outline of PhD-thesis including (3-4 pages):
    – Research question: What do you want to research and why?
    – Proposed methods: How do you intend to conduct your research?
    – Relevance: How is it related to the objectives of the ItO project?
    – Proposed results: What objects / interventions / experiments do you envision?
    – Timeline: What structure do you propose for your research project?

We are seeking a highly motivated candidate who possesses exceptional self-organization adaptability, and collaborative skills to succeed in an interdisciplinary research environment. We expect a strong interest in design/art research through practice and relevant ecological issues, as well as a high motivation to regularly attend meetings, organize research activities, and exchange ideas.

We will gladly accept your complete application documents until November 6, 2023 under the link “Apply” at the end of this advertisement. Interviews will be heldby the project directors and PhD supervisors on November 20, 2023. We encourage application from all underrepresented groups, and promote a diverse and inclusive work environment.

For additional information, please contact: Dr. Roman Kirschner, co-director of the ItO research project:

Zurich University of the Arts

The full offer can be found here.