Study with us

The Emerging Technologies Research Lab (ETLab) is seeking outstanding PhD candidates to join our growing team of social science, design and human-computer interaction scholars in 2021.

The following PhD projects are now open for expressions of interest (due 17 August 2020). Before completing the EOI form (available through each project link below), please email the relevant ETLab supervisor to discuss your interest and suitability for the specific project.

"PhD candidates join the ETLab's interdisciplinary and international community, whose research addresses the social, cultural and experiential aspects of technology and design. The Lab enjoys an extensive network of scholarly collaborators and visitors from around the world, as well as industry and public sector partners in Australia and overseas. Our students present at national and international conferences and are encouraged and mentored to develop a track record in peer-reviewed publications."
Professor Sarah Pink, Director of the Emerging Technologies Research Lab

Applicants should have an undergraduate or postgraduate degree in the social sciences or humanities (e.g. with training in anthropology, sociology, human geography or STS), design or human-computer interaction. They should have experience of ethnographic research and an interest in innovative and futures focused approaches.


Designing ethical digital voice assistants
Explore how to design more ethical and gender diverse digital voice assistants using speculative design and more-than-human methods, such as design fiction. The scope includes doing ethnographic research with conversational agents like Google Home, Alexa and Siri, and/or doing research with design fiction agents.

Primary supervisor: Associate Professor Yolande Strengers

More information 


Digital Energy Futures

Understand and forecast changing digital lifestyle trends and their impact on future household electricity demand, by employing digital ethnography and sociological theories to investigate how changing social practices will impact on electricity sector planning.

Primary supervisors: Associate Professor Yolande Strengers and Professor Sarah Pink
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Redesigning future visions for the sustainable smart home
Understand how to design smart home technologies that enable more sustainable digital lifestyles through the visions and practices they promote. The scope includes a range of potential methods, such as ethnographic research, cultural probes, human-computer interaction design experiments, and/or design fictions.

Primary supervisor: Associate Professor Yolande Strengers
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Future Regional Mobilities: imagining interspecies futures

Examine future mobilities through a focus on how regional travel and transportation (of people, animals and things) is being experienced and re-imagined in relation to climate, public health and economic crisis.

Primary supervisor: Professor Sarah Pink
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The Future of Work
Examine the Future of Work through a focus on ethical and equitable uses of automated technologies. The successful candidate will develop a design anthropology approach to investigate the future of automation, including technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Automated Decision-Making (ADM) in the workplace.

Primary supervisor: Professor Sarah Pink
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Air technologies in times of crisis

This project will examine how our future imaginaries, experiences and needs relating to air and the technologies used to manage it (sensors; predictive data analytics; air purification; filters; masks; heaters; coolers) are shifting in relation to the Australian Climate (Bushfire) and Health (COVID-19) crises.

Primary supervisor: Professor Sarah Pink
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Image credit: Melissa Cowen