Call for applications for Flexit positions in 2015

Riksbankens Jubileumsfond (RJ) invites applications for six Flexit jobs, i.e. six in-house positions at various companies or organisations ('host establishments') in Sweden.

Flexit is a project that seeks new, flexible solutions to spread research and researchers outside higher education institutions (HEIs). Its main purposes are:

  • To build bridges between humanities and social sciences (HSS) research and companies and organisations outside academia.
  • To facilitate knowledge exchange and encourage contacts so that more non-academic organisations can perceive and profit from the expertise of postdoctoral HSS specialists.

In the long term, with the Flexit initiative, RJ seeks to influence the academic merit system so that academia values experience from the business world more highly, and vice versa. We also hope, through the programme, to offer alternative career opportunities for HSS researchers.

Experience to date has been very good, both for the host establishments and for the researchers. In the new version of Flexit, we hope to enhance academic institutions' involvement in the programme and bridge-building. After an evaluation of the Flexit pilot project, RJ has now opened the programme to senior researchers as well, and split the positions so that each researcher is employed at the host establishment (a company or organisation) for two years, and then for a year at an HEI. Accordingly, applicants need to establish affiliations to their chosen academic departments at the time of application. This is done with a Letter of Intent written by the head of the department or equivalent.

The companies and organisations taking part in this call are ABB Corporate Research, the Swedish Union of Tenants, Invigos, IOGT-NTO (the Swedish branch of the International Organization of Good Templars), the Swedish Golf Federation (Svenska Golfförbundet, SGF) and Swedish Industrial Design Foundation (Stiftelsen Svensk Industridesign). Below, they describe the research fields that interest them. As a prospective Flexit researcher, your task is to transform the issues into an inspiring research plan. By all means discuss your ideas with the company contact persons.

Previous Flexit calls have resulted in 13 positions. You are welcome to contact current and former Flexit researchers, who will be glad to answer your questions.

ABB Corporate Research

Traditional industrial environments are hesitant about accepting new technologies into their work environments. However, some of the new technologies have great potential for improving the engagement, communication and cooperation of production staff. We therefore need to investigate questions such as how new concepts, services and technologies can more easily be accepted; how new concepts, services and technologies change work practices; how they affect group dynamics; and how far people accept more intelligent or proactive technologies.

Do these questions excite you? Are you ready to engage in cutting-edge research to explore the human side of technology? Are you eager to join a team that leads the way in industrial software solutions that offer great user experience? Then become a Flexit researcher located in the User Experience group at ABB Corporate Research in Västerås. In particular, we invite applications from researchers in behavioural science, psychology, art and design, but we are open to applicants from other fields. We expect you to be able to work in an English-speaking environment.

ABB Corporate Research is a global organisation delivering innovations that target power and productivity for a better world. The User Experience research group at ABB Corporate Research is responsible for analysing industrial contexts of various types, identifying the best opportunities, and applying technologies and research from other domains that provide prototypes and services with an engaging user experience. To be successful in this area we need a mix of competences, so we are looking for your research to complement us and give our innovations even more of an impact.

ABB is a global leader in power and automation technologies. Based in Zurich, Switzerland, the company employs 150,000 people and operates in approximately 100 countries. With its technology leadership, global presence, application knowledge and local expertise, ABB offers products, systems, solutions and service that enable its customers to improve their operations, whether they need to increase the reliability of a power grid, save energy or raise productivity in a factory. See www.abb.com.

Contact person: Maria Ralph, email: maria.ralph@se.abb.com, phone: +46 72 208 60 30

Swedish Union of Tenants

For a democratic, non-profit organisation and popular movement, it is important for many people to become involved. Active members and elected representatives are crucial, but the latter are tending to decline in number. We seek a better understanding of this change and of how members' involvement can be increased while also strengthening the internal democracy and the popular movement. In a parallel trend, more people with specific training are being recruited to carry out increasingly specialised work tasks. This professionalisation is a complex phenomenon that is hard to understand.

Central questions in this context might include the following. What do representation and diversity mean in a non-profit organisation and how can these aspects be tackled in relation to employees, volunteers, legitimacy, democracy and internal leadership? How can professionalisation in today's non-profit organisations be understood and problematised? How can tensions and conflicts, if any, in their wake be interpreted and managed? What are its main consequences for individuals and organisations, and what does this mean for the balance in the division of power, and the relationship, between employees and elected representatives?

Are you curious about this reform work or its key issues? Would you like to build bridges between academia and the civil sector? If so, you should apply for a position at the Swedish Union of Tenants, within the framework of Riksbankens Jubileumsfond's Flexit initiative. In your application, we would like you to write a research plan describing how you want to address the above questions. As an applicant, you can have a PhD in ethnology, cultural anthropology, sociology, business economics or any other relevant subject. As part of this position, located at our head office in Stockholm, we also want you to play an active part in our organisation's strategic development. We also hope you will take this chance of joining in our long term collaboration with civil society researchers at Ersta Sköndal University College.

The Union of Tenants is a democratic member organisation for tenants. For nearly a century, we have worked for the universal right to a good home at reasonable cost. More than half a million households belong to the Union and we are represented throughout Sweden. We negotiate rents, provide member services such as legal advice and support in contact with landlords, engage in extensive opinion formation and influence, and run activities in housing areas. Read more at www.hyresgastforeningen.se/In_English/Sidor/default.aspx.

Contact person: Anna Åberg, Organisation Development Manager, email: anna.aberg@hyresgastforeningen.se, phone: +46 70 218 82 42

Invigos

Would you like to carry out research on learning and motivation in a digital environment? Within the framework of Riksbankens Jubileumsfond's Flexit initiative, we seek a committed researcher to address one or more of the following questions. Can school students' learning and motivation be measured and evaluated in a digital environment? Can learning and motivation be concretised and visualised for students and teachers? What types of educational methods, tools and specialist pedagogics can boost learning and motivation in a digital environment?

Are you the right person to research this subject? Do you want to build bridges between academia and the business sector? It so, you should apply for a position at Invigos, within the framework of Riksbankens Jubileumsfond's Flexit initiative. In the application, we would like you to write a research plan describing how you want to address the above questions. We envisage you as a PhD graduate in, for example, language studies or linguistics, psychology or pedagogics, but we are also open to applicants in other subjects. You are cooperatively inclined and proficient at English. Knowledge of mathematical modelling, learning analytics, youth education and specialist pedagogics would be extra qualifications.

Stockholm-based Invigos was founded to radically improve digital writing tools and the teaching of writing and writing skills in schools. The company was an initiator of the 'Everyone Can Write' project (www.alla-kan-skriva.se), which includes a large number of new educational methods and tackles digital writing comprehensively. The project assembles people with needs: pupils, expert educationalists, schools and disability organisations. Their needs are met by innovative entrepreneurs who, in turn, are supported by knowledgeable experts in the areas of disability, genre instruction, cognition science and linguistic technology.

In Invigos's writing tools, the writing process is digitised and integrated with the learning process and formative assessment. In this work towards the impact objectives of the project, continuous feedback on learning and motivation (exemplified in writing ability, literacy, metacognition, belief in one's own ability, and learning rate) for tool developers, teachers and pupils are of the utmost importance.

Contact person: Martin Tiberg, Business Architect, Invigos, email: martin.tiberg@invigos.se, phone: +46 72 539 8030, .

IOGT-NTO (the Swedish branch of the International Organization of Good Templars)

In recent years, notions like 'charity' and 'philanthropy' have resumed their place in Swedish society. In this trend, the idea of popular movements may not be self-evident. IOGT-NTO has long influenced development in society and we would like to maintain this influence. Changed circumstances have now obliged us to find new ways in which we can strengthen our financial basis. We shall therefore broaden our financing to include collection and fundraising activities.

Examples of questions that interest us are as follows. How can today's 'new charity' be interpreted? How do members and elected representatives see their organisation in a new social contract? How does an organisation establish itself as a fundraiser? In doing so, what relevant obstacles and opportunities does it encounter? What role can organisations like IOGT-NTO play in a context characterised by philanthropy, charity and long-established organisations? How does the form of funding affect the view of one's own organisation? How does the form of financing affect people's views of their own organisation? How are organisations changed internally when they engage in collection and fundraising? What difference does this change make to an organisation's aims, internal structures and culture?

If this sounds tempting and you are also interested in establishing links between research and the organisations of civil society, we urge you to apply for this Flexit appointment, located at our head office in Stockholm. We want you, in your application, to write a research plan describing how you would like to address one of the above questions. We see you as a PhD graduate in, for example, an economics subject, ethnology or the history of ideas, but we are also open to applicants in other subjects. We also wish you, in this position, to make an active contribution to the development of our organisation. Our hope is that, on the basis of our cooperation of many years' standing with Ersta Sköndal University College and its research on civil society, you will collaborate in various ways with this research environment during your period of employment.

IOGT-NTO has 31,000 members and more than 500 branch associations nationwide in Sweden. We work actively on alcohol policy, social welfare, creation of alcohol-free environments and sober fellowship at all levels of society. IOGT-NTO, as a movement, may be regarded as a worldwide popular and educational movement whose fundamental principles emphasise people's equal worth and rights. Read more at www.bistand.iogt.se/en/About-us.

Contact person: Erik Wagner, Head of Strategic Development, email: erik.wagner@iogt.se,
phone: +46 8 672 60 21.

Swedish Golf Federation

The Federation has recently embarked on a major reform programme aimed at increasing the proportion of women both among its members and in leading positions in all the various parts of the Federation. This long-term endeavour to pursue gender equality active in the sport of golf is known as 'Vision 50/50'. While there is relatively extensive knowledge of efforts to achieve gender equality, and of women's and men's situation, in the business and public sectors, corresponding knowledge is still largely lacking in the non-profit sector. One important element in this reform is therefore developing and using new, research-based knowledge of gender-equality efforts, and women's and men's situation, in non-profit organisations in particular. Interesting issues here are as follows, for example. Do certain organisational structures and practices promote or discourage gender equality? Are there special aspects or processes that strengthen or weaken male power structures or gender-specific norms, and how can these be changed? Is sport unique compared with other non-profit activities in terms of women's and men's conditions and the pursuit of gender equality?

If these questions interest you and you find the prospect of joining in the quest for new and, it is hoped, groundbreaking knowledge in an area that is both topical and highly important, while also contributing to SGF's reform efforts, we urge you to apply for this position. In your application, we want you to formulate a research plan that describes how you would like to address the work described above. Please also describe your vision of the potential connection between academia and practice, and how it would work in this context. As an applicant, you may have a PhD in anthropology, ethnology, a subject in linguistics or languages, gender or some other relevant subject. Within the framework of the part of the position funded by SGF, there is an expectation that the researcher appointed will actively contribute expert knowledge to SGF's reform work and collaborate with the long-established programme of research on civil society at Ersta Sköndal University College.

Golf, the third-largest sport in Sweden in terms of player numbers, is an important part of the Swedish sports movement. SGF has an overall responsibility for the sport of golf in Sweden and its international contacts. Our office is in Danderyd just outside central Stockholm.
Read more (in Swedish) at www.golf.se/SGF/.

Contact person: Gunnar Håkansson, General Secretary,
email: gunnar.hakansson@golf.se, phone: +46 70 3172400.

Swedish Industrial Design Foundation (SVID)

Since 1989, the Swedish Industrial Design Foundation (SVID) has worked to spread knowledge of design as a force in development and means of competition. Almost all companies and organisations want to create an attractive offering for their customers, users or clients, but many lack methods of doing so. Design is a work process for engaging in development — whether of goods, services, processes, messages or environments — based on the actual needs of people who use the organisation's services. SVID works for design to be used in all innovation and reform efforts.

Swedish society faces massive rises in the costs of healthcare and other welfare services, coupled with a shrinking working-age population. How should we tackle these challenges? One option may be to change these systems so as to base them on the users' perspectives and lives. How, for example, can we adjust existing systems, work procedures and routines to enable them to be improved and, to a higher degree, generate true value for users? How can we sift out processes that do not create such value? Which systems work best both from the users' and from society's point of view?
Another option is, based on the perspective and experience of citizens or customers, to create radical innovations, independent from organisations, that develop the whole ecosystem of interlinked services and processes surrounding the citizens or customers. But how can scope for radical innovations be provided at the requisite speed, and without excessive costs? Are there specific incentives and reward models for innovation that are based on the citizen's knowledge and experience? Are there corresponding models that can tap the power we, as customers and citizens, possess to meet challenges described?

Are you curious? Do you want to build bridges between the university world and the public and business sectors? If so, you should apply for a position at SVID, within the framework of Riksbanken Jubileumsfond's Flexit initiative. We want you, in your application, to write a research plan that describes how you would like to address the above questions. You should also describe your ideas about turning research results into practical benefits. Our expectation is that you have a PhD in, for example, design, a subject in behavioural science or perhaps business administration and economics, but we are also open to other subjects.

Read more at: www.svid.se/en

Contact person: Jonas Gumbel, Jonas.Gumbel@svid.se.

Structure of Flexit positions

The positions are for a maximum of three years, and consist of 75% research and 25% service, first at the host establishment and thereafter at the HEI department. RJ will fund salary costs and other expenses relating to the research (75% during all three years), while the host establishment pays salary for the remainder of the position and bears the costs of office workspace, the customary office infrastructure and use of various benefits at the workplace. The host establishment is the employer, and appoints a contact person for the researcher, who works on the premises as an in-house researcher but is also expected to retain and develop contacts with academia. From the third year of the project, the researcher is based at an HEI department, continues to carry out the research and maintains contacts with the host establishment. During the third year of the project, when the researcher is based at the HEI department, RJ's usual contributions for indirect costs and costs of premises are payable.

Who is eligible to apply?

The applicant must have obtained a doctoral degree in a subject in humanities or social sciences (HSS). The applicant should have good social skills and good networks both inside and outside the research community. Every researcher must also submit a Letter of Intent from an HEI department. This Letter, bearing the signature of the head of department or equivalent, must reach RJ not later than the deadline, i.e. 11 February 2015.

The Letter of Intent should contain information about what the affiliation includes during the first two years of the Flexit project (a maximum grant of SEK 30,000 a year is payable for administrative costs of affiliation during the first two years of the project). Affiliation should include access to library services, copying facilities and some administrative assistance. The letter from the department guarantees its interest in the collaboration and in employing the researcher during the third year of the project.

After an expert review, organised by RJ, interviews will be conducted during April and May. The contact persons at the host establishments (companies and organisations) will invite applicants to interviews, and any allowance for travel expenses will be paid by RJ. The positions will then be filled between 1 July 2015 and 31 December 2015.

The application must reach RJ by 4:00 pm on 11 February 2015.

The application can be submitted only through RJ's online application system. Specify the host establishment for your position in the heading and the personal application letter (statement). Further instructions on how to apply online, i.e. technical instructions on how to use the system, may be found if you click on the 'Make an application' link to the right. However, note that for Flexit positions we would like you, under the heading 'Sammanfattning' ('Summary'), to insert a personal statement. Under the heading 'Publikationer' ('Publications'), we want a CV (listing the researcher's qualifications, including connection with a Swedish HEI), names of referees and a list of publications. Note that the maximum number of characters, including spaces, for the personal statement is 5,000. Specify Riksbankens Jubileumsfond as 'Anslagsförvaltare' (the 'Grant Administrator'). For every budget year, give 50% as the employer's social-insurance contribution top-up rate (LKP ). The application system is open from 9 January 2015.

Besides the personal statement and the CV, the application must contain a research plan with particulars of the research the applicant wishes to conduct, starting with the research area defined by the host establishment (under the heading 'Projektbeskrivning', i.e. 'Project Description'). The plan must contain details of the purpose, organisation, theory and method, implementation and how the project relates to the international research frontline. It must also make clear how the researcher plans to strengthen ties and facilitate exchange of knowledge between academia and the business sector. The research plan may contain up to a maximum of 20,000 characters including spaces. The salary shall be based the applicantäs current salary. Remember to make sure that your research is compatible with the ethical rules laid down by the Swedish Research Council.

If you have any questions about the positions, contact Maria Wikse, email: maria.wikse@rj.se, phone: +46 8 50 62 64 10, but by all means contact the host establishment concerned and its contact person as well.

 

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