PhD position: The Influence Of Over-Competitiveness On Research

The University of Canterbury (Christchurch, New Zealand) has the following vacancy for a PhD student:

The Influence Of Over-Competitiveness On Research

Project Description:

In a world of increasingly scarce resources, researchers compete for funding, people, infrastructure, promotions and publications. The acceptance rates of funding proposals often fall below the 10% mark and conference proclaim a low acceptance rate as an indicator for the quality of the event. Researchers suffer from constant rejections while at the same time being measured against high expectations for their promotions. The review systems in place to judge the proposals or publications create an enormous overhead. Senior researchers often spend more time writing funding proposals and reviewing papers than actually doing research. Young researchers suffer from the lack of funding and career opportunities.

This project tries to gain insight into the consequences that a highly competitive research environment has on the conduct of research. More specifically, we aim to understand what the influence the competitiveness has on the productivity of researchers and the quality of their work.

The project will use social simulation to model the research environment and important factors in it. We will review and extend the Peer-Group-Assessed-Grant-Based-Funding-System to take all the relevant factors into account. We will then run several simulations to examine the influence of competitiveness on the research performed. Next, we will use real world data to verify the model. Last, we will use the model to explore alternative strategies to structure the conduct of science in order to find a stable state in which the true innovative power of science is maximized.

Your skills:

You should be familiar with social simulation software packages (VisSim, Simio, OpenModelica, GameMaker, etc.) and have the ability to model complex systems. A background in information systems or computer science would be beneficial. Strong oral and written communication skills will be given preference.

The HIT Lab NZ:

The Human Interface Technology Laboratory New Zealand (HIT Lab NZ) is world leading research institutions developing and commercializing technology that improves human computer interaction. The HIT Lab NZ has over 50 staff and students and has extensive experience in Human Computer Interaction and Science & Technology Studies. The HIT Lab NZ is located at the University of Canterbury in Christchurch, New Zealand. The University of Canterbury has the top Engineering School in New Zealand, including a highly ranked Department of Computer Science. For more information about the HIT Lab NZ see

Christchurch is the second largest city in New Zealand and offers an exciting and easy lifestyle for students. It is the most affordable major city to live in. It easy to get around whether you are biking, walking, driving or using the excellent public transport system. Christchurch also offers outstanding opportunities for outdoor activities, and is close to both surf beaches and ski-fields.

Appointment and Scholarship Support:

The appointment is full time for a duration of three years. As a student at the University of Canterbury, you will be eligible for a scholarship that will pay for the tuition fees and will provide additional support for accommodation, living expenses and travel. Scholarships are available for domestic and interactional students and are subject to a highly competitive selection procedure. Assistance for finding accommodation can be given. The research in this project must be concluded with writing a PhD thesis within the Human Interface Technology PhD program of the HIT Lab NZ. For more information about the PhD program in Human Interface Technology, please see


International applicants will be required to arrange for their NZ student visa after an offer of a place. Please check for information about what type of visa might be most suitable and the process of acquiring it. The university has various types of accommodation available on campus. Please check for information about the options and prices. International students should also consult the International Student website at to learn about the cost of living, fees, and insurances.

Further Information and Application:

Further information can be obtained by contacting Christoph Bartneck ( or Kevin Voges ( Information about the HIT Lab NZ is available at: Please upload your application as one PDF file at Your application must include a letter explaining your specific interest in the project, an extensive curriculum vitae, your academic records, and a list of two references. Applications will be accepted until September 17th, 2012 or until position is filled.

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