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Research assistant on designing for energy efficient and sufficient domestic consumption practices

Bereich: Fakultät III - Wirtschaftswissenschaften, Wirtschaftsinformatik, Wirtschaftsrecht  | Stellenumfang: Vollzeit  | Beschäftigungsdauer: befristet  | Ausschreibungs-ID: 1242



The University of Siegen is a modern university with an international orientation and a focus on interdisciplinary research. It currently has around 18,000 students and covers a range of research fields from the humanities, social and economic sciences to natural sciences, engineering and life sciences. With over 2,000 employees, the university is one of the largest employers in the region and offers a unique environment for teaching, study, research and knowledge transfer.

We are looking for a full time research assistant to start 01/09/2021.The applicant will be part of the growing, diverse and interdisciplinary research group on consumer informatics with several PhDs and PostDocs headed by Prof. Dr. Gunnar Stevens at the School of Economic Disciplines. The group is conducting methodologically guided investigations and designs of information and communication technologies to support the household economies and everyday practices of consumers as well as their appropriation and social embedding. Typical fields of research in the area of consumer informatics cover classic consumer fields such as mobility, food and energy, but also e.g. data protection and sustainable lifestyles as cross-cutting issues.


The Project

This PhD is funded as part of an EU PhD training network called ‘GECKO’ – see GECKO’s aim is to explore the use of responsible and inclusive artificial intelligence (AI) systems to address urgent environmental problems that require a deep understanding of how people interact with technology as part of their daily lives. The successful applicant will be an integral member of a 15 strong cohort of Early Stage Researchers in GECKO working towards their PhDs. The full cohort will benefit from a range of joint training and supervision from senior Faculty members in all 9 academic research institutions as well as industry organizations which make up the GECKO network.

Smart technology is everywhere – in our homes, pockets, and networks. Is smarter use of energy essential for low-carbon energy systems of the future? Or is smartness just a buzzword for new gadgets that require ever-more energy and worsen the digital divide? Smart technology is a mass of hopes, fears, and contradictions.

This PhD offers a unique opportunity to untangle relations between smart energy, technologies and people, supported by a major new EU-wide PhD training network. This interdisciplinary ‘GECKO’ network connects leading social, computer and data scientists working on smart technology, artificial intelligence, human-computer interaction, energy, climate change, and responsible innovation.


Research Agenda

The successful applicant will tackle on the research question: How to conduct explorative design research and design ART AI to steer sustainable technology appropriation?
The objectives of this PhD project are:

  1. Identification of consumption practices and domestic routines that have a significant CO2 footprint
  2. Identification of opportunities to embed smart technologies that foster and become integral parts of future energy efficient and sufficient routines;
  3. Drive a sustainable interaction design approach to script CHT fostering low-energy outcomes and supporting energy efficient and sufficient consumption practices;
  4. Participatory development of domestic rearrangements and tools for eco-routinization;
  5. Conducting appropriation studies and investigating spill-over and rebound effects and
  6. Continuous validation of the findings on living lab participants and virtual lab data including load comparison with the UN’s sustainability development goals 2030 agenda.


The supervisors welcome discussions around these and related themes, so the successful applicant can shape their PhD research in line with their own interests, while maximizing the benefit of the training and skills-development opportunities of the GECKO network.

Your tasks

  • Make scientific contributions in the abovementioned research areas,
  • Plan, conduct and evaluate qualitative research,
  • Engage in co-design processes with users in the real world,
  • Perform secondments to other institutions (National Technical University Athens, Aalborg University and Intracom SA Telecom Solutions),
  • Active communication and dissemination of work and experience as an ESR via official GECKO media channels.

Your profile

  • All applicants should have a good Master’s degree (or equivalent) in Information Systems, HCI, Computer Science, or related fields.
  • Applicants should have experience in user research and user experience design.
  • Applicants must be in the first 4 years from the award from their MSc (or similar) degree and be willing to enroll in a PhD program under supervision of University of Siegen.
  • At the time of recruitment, researchers must not have resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc.) in Germany for more than 12 months in the 3 years prior to the recruitment date.


Our offer

The successful applicant will benefit from:

  • 3 years full time employment at university of Siegen.
  • Employers gross salary of Living Allowance (3.171,90 Euro), Mobility Allowance (600,- Euro), Family Allowance (500,- Euro, if applicable).
  • A wealth of training opportunities.
  • National and international secondments.
  • Intensive summer/winter schools.
  • Being part of a cohort of 15 PhDs networked across Europe.
  • Having access to a substantial research budget to fund fieldwork, training, data collection, software licences, conference attendance, publications, tuition fees and other research expenses.
  • Being part of a young, excellent team of researchers.
  • Academic supervision by Prof. Dr. Gunnar Stevens and Prof. Dr. Volker Wulf.


Please also note

  • For the University of Siegen, diversity is an important strategic goal: we actively advocate equal opportunities and diversity.
  • We practice a family-friendly culture: we know that sometimes family life takes precedence. We provide emergency care, life coaching, holiday care and consulting services for home and eldercare.
  • We support a healthy work-life balance by flexible working hours.

In case of identical qualifications preference will be given to severely disabled candidates.
We would like to point out that the chosen job title also includes the third gender.
The University emphasises gender-independent professional equality.

We look forward to receiving your application by 16/04/2021. Applications can only be accepted via the official portal We are sorry to inform you that we cannot accept applications sent via email.



Prof. Dr. Gunnar Stevens


Prof. Dr. Volker Wulf


Dr. Christina Pakusch


Dr. Timo Jakobi 



GECKO has received funding as an Innovative Training Network from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie actions (Grant Agreement No 955422).

The University of Siegen is an equal opportunity employer. The call for applications is explicitly aimed at people of all genders (m/f/d); applications from women are given preference in accordance with the North Rhine-Westphalian Equal Opportunities Act (Landesgleichstellungsgesetz). We also welcome applications from people with different personal, social and cultural backgrounds, people with severe disabilities and people of equal status.