PhD in The Digital Society and Trust with Focus on Trust in Online Service Providers

The Department of Communication and Arts (DCA), Roskilde University, invites applications for a salaried PhD position studying trust in digital service providers from 1 February 2024. The position as PhD fellow is limited to 3 years of full-time employment with DCA as the daily workplace.

Department of Communication and Arts
Your daily workplace will be Departement of Communication and Arts at Roskilde University. DCA covers RUC’s Communication programs (Communication, Journalism, and Performance Design) and Art programs (Danish, Philosophy, History, and Cultural Encounters).

We conduct excellent, interdisciplinary research in the intersection between Communication, Cultural Studies, Social Science, and Humanities, and offer an innovative and interdisciplinary university environment, characterized by diversity with respect to theory, method, and area of study in research and education. Our research is characterized by double impact, i.e., by the highest academic quality, and by direct interaction with public, private, and civil actors in society. We have strong research networks and partnerships with local, regional, national, and international partners with the goal of ensuring the highest quality in all our research-based activities.

Description of the PhD project
The PhD position is part of the research project Digital Society and Trust (DIS-TRUST) funded by the Velux Foundations. The PhD position is located at Roskilde University, and the successful applicant will be associated with the research group Science Studies and Centre for Digital Citizenship. The successful applicant will work closely with the project leader, Associate Professor Esther Oluffa Pedersen, and other members of the DIS-TRUST project at Roskilde University.

The DIS-TRUST project investigates how conditions for interpersonal trust and trust in institutions change in the digital society, how new forms of trust are formed, and what challenges digitalization poses to trust. The project originates in philosophy’s conceptual work with trust and digitalization. The constant digital transformations of social life worlds are studied conceptually and by confronting the conceptual analyses with concrete context embedded case studies. Consequently, DIS-TRUST advances and matures its analyses of trust oscillating within the poles of qualitative empirical research and philosophical conceptual theories. A brief description of the project can be found here:

In alignment with the goals of overall project, we invite original research proposals for a PhD project focusing on how users experience trust in service providers on the Internet. The project has two strains. Firstly, the question what are necessary and sufficient requirements for internet service providers to be trustworthy? For the success of this part, it is crucial to gain context-sensitive insights into how trustworthiness is established in digital environments. Secondly, the PhD project also questions how users (as consumers and citizens) experience trust to providers of services? Do users of internet services differentiate between trust in the service, trust in national and international legislation, and the manner their data trails are handled? And ought they differentiate for their trust to be reasonable? The conceptual analysis of trust from a user perspective should be supplemented by gathering relevant qualitative empirical data.

Within the project, the successful applicant will have the opportunity for close collaboration with the interdisciplinary core group of researchers including collective writing projects, public communication, and outreach. The project engages with international researchers and practitioners and offers occasions to participate in international and national semestrial research seminars focusing on the ongoing research of DIS-TRUST as well as opportunities to present research at international conferences. The project includes possibilities for international research exchange and the successful applicant is expected to complete a stay as visiting scholar, optional at the institution of one of the international researchers connected to the project.

The Doctoral School
You will be enrolled as a PhD student at The Doctoral School of Communication and Arts, Roskilde University.

The Doctoral School for Communication and Arts (ARTS-PHD) offers a doctoral program in Communication and Arts in an active, dynamic, and cross-disciplinary research environment. 

The PhD program in Communication and Arts offers a number of activities from international PhD courses and master classes with researchers from around the world to writing retreats, frequent work-in-progress seminars as well as informal activities. We expect you to be actively involved in all PhD activities and that you will contribute to a dynamic and inspiring PhD environment.

Read more here

Responsibilities and tasks
The PhD position is an educational position and the main tasks are in accordance with chapter 3, Ministerial Order on the PhD Program at the Universities and Certain Higher Artistic Educational Institutions (

Applicants are expected to have a strong educational background and have a completed master’s degree (or equivalent) from the humanities for instance Philosophy, Information Science, Media and Communication Studies.

The ideal candidate has an interest in the social philosophy of trust and will preferable have worked within the philosophy of digitalization and will be willing to combine conceptual analysis with qualitative research.

Applicants are asked to submit a PhD project description (max. 5 pages of 12,000 characters, incl. spaces). The project description should outline the project proposed by the applicant and specify how the project relates to the research objectives of the overall project. The project description should also specify how the proposed PhD project can be accomplished theoretically, methodologically, and empirically.

The PhD candidate is expected to:

  • Complete an article-based, PhD dissertation within the three-year project period. This will require producing international journal articles and/or book chapter publications, of which some may be written with other members of the project team, including the project supervisor.
  • Participate actively in the DIS-TRUST-project and relevant research activities at the DCA.
  • Participate actively in PhD activities at the doctoral school.

In addition, the PhD candidate is expected to demonstrate:

  • Good command of English (oral and written) is necessary, and experience with writing academically in English is considered an asset.
  • Good command of Danish is a clear asset.
  • Excellent academic record (as shown by a list of master level grades and timely completion of master level education and, potentially, academic work experience or academic publications).
  • Ability to work independently and in collaboration with other members of the project team.
  • Interest in being part of an international research community.

The successful candidate should possess good communication skills and be a visible, involved participant in the department’s daily activities, in addition to being willing to engage in disciplinary and interdisciplinary collaboration.

In the assessment of the candidates, consideration will be given to:

Find guidelines for PhD applications here:

We expect job interviews to be held in week 50, 2023 and PhD enrollment seminars to be held in week 5, 2024.

For further information about the PhD and the overall project, please contact project leader associate professor Esther Oluffa Pedersen on e-mail:

Terms of employment
The employment is on full time, 37 hours per week and you will refer to Dean Ida Willig,

The position will be filled according to the Agreement between the Danish Ministry of Finance and the Danish Confederation of Professional Associations (AC) and Job Structure for Academic Staff at Universities. 

Application procedure 
After the deadline for applications the Dean will shortlist applicants for assessment with assistance from the recruitment committee including the chairperson of the assessment committee.

Shortly after the application deadline all applicants will be notified whether or not their application has been selected for assessment.

The shortlisted applicants will be informed about the composition of the assessment committee, and each applicant will be given the opportunity to comment on the composition of the committee and – later on – their assessment.

Once the recruitment process is completed, all applicants will be informed of the outcome of their application.

To apply for the position go to

Only applications in English are accepted. 

Applications must include: 

1. Cover letter 

2. CV 

3. Documentation of education including grades from Master’s programme or equivalent 

4. Your description of the PhD project 

5. Your time schedule of the PhD project 

6. If applicable: Documentation for any research experience, work experience or publications. 

Please submit your application no later than 20. October 2023. 

Material received after this date will not be taken into consideration. 

Roskilde University wishes to reflect the diversity of society and welcomes applications from all qualified candidates regardless of personal background.

Roskilde Universitets fornemmeste opgave er eksperimenterende, nyskabende former for læring, forskning og problemløsning, som flytter samfundet fremad. Vi uddanner kompetente tværfaglige kandidater og skaber videnskabelige resultater af højeste kvalitet gennem åbenhed, involvering og videndeling.
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