(FILLED) Paid PhD Position on Neurodiversity in Software Engineering

Brains, Designed by macrovector_official / Freepik

I currently looking for a PhD student working, broadly speaking, on neurodiversity in software engineering.

Information about the research topic
Neurodiversity is an umbrella term that describes variation in brain function among individuals, including conditions such as autism spectrum disorder  (ASD), attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), or dyslexia. Neurodivergent individuals (NDI) can face substantial barriers in society due to their conditions, e.g., due to difficulties or differences in communication, reading or writing difficulties, or reduced attention span. While these difficulties have often been the focus of inclusion efforts and research, NDI often exhibit strengths compared to neurotypical individuals, such as high attention to detail or increased creativity.

A better inclusion of NDI in higher education and industry is desirable from economic, talent, and ethical standpoints, but struggles to succeed are well-documented. For example, NDI are often faced with discrimination or unfavourable situations, such as a focus on time-limited, written exams in higher education or stress due to electronic conference calls. While computer-related jobs are often raised as fitting NDI or matching their interest profiles, there is only initial understanding of the experiences NDI have in the software engineering (SE) industry. Therefore, this project aims to investigate the obstacles and strengths of NDI in SE, and to propose and evaluate according accommodations.

Over the project period, we will work in close collaboration with several national and international partners, conducting a series of empirical studies. We will follow a participatory research approach, i.e., we will involve NDI at all stages in the research to understand their perceptions, opinions, and beliefs, to design potential artefacts or interventions, and to evaluate those. To achieve this, we will collaborate with societal groups connected to neurodiversity and recruit neurodivergent students at our institution.

Information about the university
You will join me in the Center for Research on Engineering Software Systems (CRESS, https://cress.ru.is) at the Department of Computer Science, Reykjavik University. The research centre currently consists of 20 motivated individuals, 10 faculty (professors) and 10 PhD students. We are rather diverse in terms of gender (9 men, 11 women) and nationality (11 nationalities).

Reykjavik University is a private university located in Reykjavik, Iceland. The university currently hosts approximately 3500 students. All of Reykjavik University is located in a single building in one of the most beautiful areas of Reykjavik.

Qualification requirements
To be eligible for this position, you should have/be about to obtain an MSc degree. With a degree in Software Engineering or Computer Science, your expertise would be most closely related to the topic. However, if you are a strong candidate with a background in other empirical sciences you are very much encouraged to apply as well. In fact, having a solid empirical background could be advantageous to a background in Software Engineering/Computer Science. Neurodivergent applicants are, of course, very welcome to apply.

Position summary
Full-time temporary employment (currently paid 412.000 ISK per month before taxes, just under 3000 USD at the current exchange rate). You are expected to finish your PhD within three to four years’ time.

Application procedure
Interested applicants should send the following documents (in PDF format) directly to me via mail (grischal@ru.is):

  • CV
  • Two people I can contact for a reference (e.g., from academic supervisors, former bosses)
  • A 1 to 3-page personal letter where you introduce yourself and present your qualifications/experience/interests
  • Attested copies of education certificates, including grade reports
  • Bachelor and/or Master thesis.
  • Research publications, if existent
  • Links to software repositories with relevant projects, if existent

We will start reviewing applications as soon as they arrive and will continue to accept applications until the position is filled. We strongly encourage interested applicants to send their applications as soon as possible.

If you have any questions, want more details on the position, or just check before sending in your application, please do not hesitate to contact me beforehand!

Grischa Liebel
Assistant Professor | School of Technology, Reykjavik University