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PhD Studentship Opportunity: Philosophy – University of Exeter

About the award


Primary Supervisor – Professor Luna Dolezal, Associate Professor in Philosophy and Medical Humanities

Secondary Supervisor – Dr Joel Krueger, Senior Lecturer in Philosophy

Applications are invited for a PhD studentship in Philosophy as part of the Wellcome-Trust funded Imagining Technologies for Disability Futures Project (itDf).

This fully funded studentship, beginning in April 2021, will be based at the University of Exeter in the Wellcome Centre for Cultures and Environments of Health.

The itDf project is an interdisciplinary research project involving researchers from literary studies, cultural studies, engineering, robotics, product design and philosophy.

The project spans the Universities of Leeds, Exeter, Sheffield and Dundee. itDf explores how we imagine future encounters between disability and technology. The main aims of the project are to investigate the ideas of body and personhood that are arising through contemporary developments in assistive technology design and production, for example: prosthetic limbs, care robots, telepresence robots, assistive communication devices.

Please visit the project website for more information: https://itdfproject.org

The PhD studentship will be part of Work Package 1 “Imagining/Experiencing Disbaility, Care and Embodiment” of the ITDF project.

The proposed PhD project should engage a phenomenological methodology (in the tradition of Husserl, Merleau-Ponty, Sartre, etc.) to investigate experiences related to the use, engagement or incorporation of assistive technology/technologies in the context of disability.

The prospective student will propose a research project which fits into the overall aims of the itDf project and the “Imagining/Experienceing Disability, Care and Embodiment” theme.

The overall aim of this PhD research is to provide rich descriptive analyses of experiences of health, care, embodiment and relationality in the context of (dis)ability and technological engagement. There is a particular emphasis on considering intersectional aspects of experience not only in relation to ability and disability, but also in relation to characteristics such as race, class, ethnicity, gender, etc.

The student should have expertise in phenomenology and be familiar with, or willing to engage with, feminist, critical race, disability and posthumanist paradigms, among others. A familiarity with, or willingness to train in, feminist phenomenology or critical phenomenology approaches is desirable. As is an interest in undertaking a training to conduct ‘phenomenological interviews’ in order to engage with first-person accounts and narratives of participants from other aspects of the itDf project.

The student will be based in the Wellcome Centre for Cultures and Environments of Health, which has a thriving postgraduate community. They will also be part of a cohort of PhD students on the itDf project (the other PhDs will be based at Leeds, Sheffield and Dundee) and will benefit from regular engagement with this cohort. Ample training and career development opportunities will be available through the Univeristy of Exeter and the Wellcome Trust.

This studentship, including full tuition fees and maintenance allowance, is available to UK/EU candidates. 

International students can apply and pay the difference in tuition fees.

The studentship is for 3 years full-time and will cover University tuition fees at UK/EU rates, with a stipend of £19,919 for year 1, £21,542 for year 2 and £23,298 for year 3.

There will be funds available to cover any travel costs to attend project events and meetings.

For more information about the project and informal enquiries, please contact the primary supervisor, Professor Luna Dolezal

Entry requirements

You should have or expect to achieve at least a 2:1 Honours degree, or equivalent, in Philosophy.  An MA in Philosophy and experience in phenomenology is desirable.

If English is not your first language you will need to meet the English language requirements and provide proof of proficiency. Click here for more information and a list of acceptable alternative tests.

Please note that this studentship is only open to applicants who will start their studies in April 2021, not those who have already started.

PhD Candidate Specifications:

• BA or equivalent in Philosophy
• Desirable: MA in Philosophy (with expertise in Phenomenology)
• Excellent communication skills, including a high standard of written and spoken English
• Willingness to be part of an interdisciplinary team and to engage intellectually with other disciplinary approaches and concerns
• Willingness to travel (when/if this becomes possible) to attend itDf meetings and events.

The prospective candidate should submit a PhD proposal (1500-2500 words) which gives an accurate overview of their proposed area of research.  (Please visit Exeter’s Postgraduate Study Page for detailed instructions on how to put together a PhD Research Proposal).  Projects which engage with technologies such as care robots, telepresence robots, prosthetics or assistive communication devices are particularly welcome. As are those which take a feminist phenomenology or critical phenomenology approach.  You will be asked to submit some personal details and upload a full CV, covering letter and details of two academic referees, and if relevant, proof of your English language proficiency, by 15 January 2021.

How to apply

To apply, please complete the online form.

Your covering letter should outline your academic interests, prior research experience and reasons for wishing to undertake this project.

You will be asked to upload verified transcripts of your most recent academic qualification.

All application documents must be submitted in English. Certified translated copies of academic qualifications must also be provided.

Please also submit:

1. A PhD research proposal (1500-2500 words) which gives an accurate overview of their proposed area of research.  (Please visit Exeter’s Postgraduate Study Page for detailed instructions on how to put together a PhD Research Proposal).

2. A writing sample (up to 5000 words) which demonstrates your academic writing and research skills in philosophy. Please include this in the same document as your research proposal.

You must ensure that your referees email their references to:  hass-pgradmissions@exeter.ac.uk  by 15 January 2021.  Please note, that we will not be contacting referees to request references, you must arrange for them to be submitted to us by the deadline. References should be submitted by your referees to us directly in the form of a letter. Referees must email their references to us from their institutional email accounts. We cannot accept references from personal/private email accounts, unless it is a scanned document on institutional headed paper and signed by the referee.

Interviews will be held at Streatham Campus (or online if social distancing does not permit face-to-face interviews) in the week commencing  8 February 2021.

Please quote reference 4064 on your application and in any correspondence about this studentship.