University West, Department of Economy and IT

Work Integrated Learning (WIL) is University West’s overarching profile and basic principle applied to learning, the exchange of ideas, and educational development. The government has assigned the distinguished task of developing WIL to University West. Work integrated learning in education and research develops new, relevant and advanced knowledge both within the academy and among its partners, which also benefits society in general. University West offers a wide variety of study programs, has a good number of applicants and the students show a high entry rate on the labor market. The main research environments at University West are Production technology, Learning in and for the new working life and Child and youth studies and is conducted in collaboration with the surrounding society. Campus is centrally located in Trollhättan with about 13,000 students and 700 employees.

PhD studentship in Work Integrated Learning – with focus on Artificial Intelligence for emerging Virtual/Mixed/Augmented Reality platforms

The university is actively aiming towards equality and an inclusive work environment where diversity is seen as an asset. In our mission to strengthen existing expertise in Artificial Intelligence on emerging interaction platforms for Industrial Work Integrated Learning (I-WIL) applications, University West offers a fully funded PhD student position in this domain.

The scientific work in the project

The PhD student’s scientific work will consist of exploring and developing knowledge about how to design, develop and situate Artificial Intelligence(AI)-powered Mixed Reality platforms (spanning Virtual and Augmented Reality) to best support work-integrated learning (WIL) processes in complex industrial settings. This includes developing and testing interactive prototypes in both controlled lab settings and naturalistic settings at partner organization sites. Important open questions regard for instance, how AI best can be used for improving knowledge sharing vertically and horizontally within organisations, including both novices and experts, in particular for aspects of tasks that demand flexible manual craftsmanship, long-term practical experience, “bigger picture” intuition, or other kinds of tacit knowledge.

The PhD project will likely relate to strands of research currently investigated at the University West Open Lab such as:

  • Knowledge representation: Representation of (tacit) human knowledge for facilitating vertical cross-work role knowledge sharing (e.g. between machine maintenance experts and operators; medical doctors and nurses) or horizontal within-work role knowledge sharing (e.g. experts teaching novices). Focus is on representation of knowledge and skills hard to formalise into static text/pictorial instructions, with the purpose of facilitating Machine Learning-based clustering and mapping.
  • Augmented human: Combining AI and human capabilities by, e.g., integrating AI for semantic scene understanding with intuitive spatial and embodied user interaction, targeting control and efficient work in complex industrial environments and direct access to relevant knowledge. Explore how AI can aid in deliberately mixing the real and the virtual and making the flexibility of VR/AR accessible when adapting to specific work situations, in particular to make work in/with VR/AR more sustainable.
  • Prescriptive knowledge: Design principles for adaptable AI-driven VR solutions for existing workplace training programs in industrial settings. Theory for how to design AI-driven VR solutions that enable cross boundary knowledge sharing among companies in the industrial sector; frameworks for understanding the wicked situation of safety training in physical settings and how design principles for sustainable VR training can tackle the situation.

The PhD project is expected to contribute with socio-technical solutions that are innovative, practical, and relevant for Work-Integrated Learning as well as for the fields of Computer Science, Information Systems, and Human-Computer Interaction.

Scientific domain: Work-Integrated Learning (WIL)

Work-Integrated Learning is an interdisciplinary, postgraduate subject with a connection to social science and humanities. The subject is defined by issues focused on the relation between work life and meaningful learning. Work life is broadly defined and includes other forms of work than traditional work-pay relationships. The concept of meaningful learning can be understood through change and socialization processes connected to knowledge and competence. Attention is given to learning conditions, organization, processes, content, forms, and consequences of digitalization for the practices. Research within this subject includes but are not limited to: work in change due to technology intervention, relation between technology, education and work, and social conditions for learning at the workplace. The focus of the studies can be individuals, groups, organizations, mechanisms, structures, in relation to technology and digitalization.

Research center: The PhD project will be conducted in close collaboration with other doctoral students and researchers in the Work-Integrated Learning research environment at University West, Högskolan Väst - Arbetsintegrerat lärande ( In particular, the PhD student will collaborate with existing doctoral students working on VR and AR-related projects associated with OpenLab, a place and a cross-disciplinary group of researchers prototyping and critically analyzing the potential use of emerging immersive media platforms such as Virtual Reality (VR), Mixed Reality (MR), and Augmented Reality (AR) for different purposes including sustainable industrial production and work integrated learning (WIL). Many of the projects involve external industrial and academic partners.

Job description: The research program includes, in addition to participation in third-cycle courses and other activities, implementation of an independent thesis work. Doctoral students shall primarily devote themselves to their own education. A doctoral student may, however, be engaged to a limited extent in education, research and administration, mainly within the department where the student is accepted. Such duties, before a doctorate has been conferred, may not occupy more than 20 percent of full-time working hours. (Higher Education Ordinance (SFS 1993:100) Chapter 5 section 2). The applicant will be associated with School of Business, Economics, and IT.

Qualification requirements:
The basic eligibility requirements for doctoral programs as set out in the Higher Education Ordinance are as follows:

  • A degree at master’s level (one year).
  • Completed courses totaling at least 240 university credits of which a minimum of 60 at master’s level or, substantially equivalent knowledge gained in some other way whether in Sweden or abroad.

The research and education board can for a specific applicant grant an exception from the basic eligibility requirement if special conditions are met, in line with the Higher Education Ordinance chapter 7 §39.

To fulfil the special eligibility requirements for a doctoral degree in Work Integrated Learning, a student must have acquired 90 university credits in a subject relevant Work Integrated Learning or have acquired corresponding knowledge in other contexts and a degree project of at least 15 university credits at master’s level or other written work of corresponding character and scope. The eligibility requirements may be fulfilled by studies in Sweden or abroad.

For more information, please read 3.1 and 3.2 in General syllabus for third cycle studies in work integrated learning Daybook nr U 2021/159

Selection: The basic factor for selection from among qualified applicants is the ability to profit from such a program. For more information please read 3.3 in General syllabus for third cycle studies in work integrated learning, Daybook nr U 2021/159

Qualifications of merit for this position

To be successful in this project the applicant should in general be highly motivated, possess a structured way of working, have good collaborative skills, as well as good communicative skills in English language. The applicant should be knowledgeable in Artificial Intelligence (AI), e.g. by having taken AI specialization courses on a MSc program in Computer Science. Other meriting knowledge for this position includes:

  • Experience from designing and developing AI and Machine Learning (ML) solutions, Human-Computer Interaction, computer graphics/3D, VR, AR.
  • Experience from running iterative user-centered co-development processes including software prototyping/development, quantitative/qualitative evaluation methods.
  • Experience from learning theory, pedagogy.

Duration and terms of employment: 

The Doctoral student employment includes four years of full time studies and ends with a doctoral degree. However, the employment can stretch over the span of 5 years but that includes 20% employment within the institution, for example teaching assignments or administrative tasks. The starting date will be in March or other agreement. For the employment to be accepted required decisions are made. The salary for the doctoral employment follows the respective university fixed salary chart for doctoral students.

Employment as a doctoral student shall be on an open-ended basis but not for longer than to a specific point in time and never for a period extending more than one year after receiving the doctoral degree. The initial appointment must not be for more than one year. The appointment may be renewed for no more than two years at a time. A person may be employed as a research student for a total of not more than eight years. The total period of employment, however, may not exceed the equivalent of four years of full-time study at the third level of higher education. (Higher Education Ordinance (SFS 1993:100) Chapter 5 section 7).

Applications are to be submitted electronically through the University West web-based recruitment tool Varbi. Visit our website for more information.

The application must include:

  • CV/Personal qualifications
  • Personal letter containing:
    Interest in the research topic
    Previous experience regarding the research topic and its research methods and scientific theories
    Motive to pursue doctoral studies

  • Research proposal (including a general sketch of a research plan within the given doctoral project that is of interest of the applicant) 
  • Degree project of second level of higher education
  • Degree certificate of first and second level of higher education
  • Other documents which the applicant wishes to invoke

Approved written languages regarding papers, diplomas, grades and other relevant documents are the Scandinavian languages and English, or translations into those languages. Attach the original when submitting translated documents.

The application should reach University West no later than 2022-04-30

If you would like to submit documents that cannot be sent digitally, please contact HR-representative for further instructions.

Welcome with your application!

Type of employment Temporary position
Contract type Full time
First day of employment By agreement
Salary Monthly pay
Number of positions 1
Full-time equivalent 100%
City Trollhättan
County Västra Götalands län
Country Sweden
Reference number 2022/62
  • Thomas Winman, 0520-223943,
  • Linnéa Carlsson, 0520-223559,
  • Sofie Stenqvist (HR),
Union representative
  • Tobias Arvemo, SACO, +46520-223505
  • Magnus Andersson, OFR, 0520-223193
Published 28.Mar.2022
Last application date 30.Apr.2022 11:59 PM CEST

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