The Faculty of Science is looking for a:
PhD candidate - Quantum & society: the role of hype in public engagement with quantum science and technology
Vacancy number: 14223
Quantum is often framed as ‘spooky’ or ‘enigmatic’ and developments in quantum technology are sometimes narrowly described, while the technology is already envisioned to be ‘disruptive‘ to society. Quantum technologies are an emerging field that promise a wide range of technological advancements and applications. They are currently worldwide subject of speculation and investment. The current communication on the technology is sensitive to hype, to generate excitement about potential new developments and to increase support and trust in society. But hyped communication can be problematic, for example there can be public deception when promises are not met. This PhD project aims at a deeper understanding of the role of hype in public engagement with quantum science and technology.This project is supervised by the PI Julia Cramer, and co-supervised by the promotor Ionica Smeets.
You start the project by a literature review on hype and it’s role on public engagement on emerging technologies such as AI and nanotechnology. You will follow-up with a content analysis determining the amount and form of hype in different forms of popularization of quantum science and technology. Finally, you will develop a real-world experiment measuring the effect of hype on the public acceptance, knowledge and attitude towards quantum science and technology. This work will add to the theoretical knowledge of the role of hype in popularization of emerging technologies and will offer practical advice to the increasing ecosystem of Quantum Delta NL.
This position is funded by the Growth Fund of Quantum Delta NL, a Dutch collaboration that is creating a national ecosystem for excellence in quantum innovation, for highly talented professionals to bring quantum computers, quantum networks and quantum sensors to the market. One of the action lines focusses on the Ethical, Legal and Societal aspects of quantum technology. We are part of this action line, focusing on the societal impact.
The research group ‘Quantum and Society’, led by Julia Cramer, studies the societal impact of quantum technology from a science communication perspective. We are an interdisciplinary group affiliated with the Faculty of Science, connected to quantum physics (LION) and Science Communication and Society (IBL), using methods from the social sciences.
Our research group focuses on studying the boundary between quantum technology and society via:
In this PhD, you will study the role of hype on public engagement with quantum technology on various aspects as described above. You will publish academic papers on your findings, present your work at academic conferences and partake in outreach. You will spend 20% of your time on the Center for Quantum and Society. You will build your own network and work in and on a new and interdisciplinary research field. You will assist with student supervision and teaching and complete a PhD thesis in four years.
Research Master, MSc or similar in (quantum) physics, engineering or computer science, with a specialization or elective courses in science & technology studies, innovation studies, communication research, science communication or other relevant directions;
Leiden University is one of Europe’s leading international research universities. Thanks to its committed and inspired employees, the university enjoys a leading role in academic research and education. Leiden also scores very well every year in prominent rankings. This means that, to maintain our position, the bar is set very high. Regardless of the work you do at our university, you are always encouraged to broaden your horizons, develop your talents and reach your full potential.
Research at our faculty of Science
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The research carried out at the Faculty of Science is very diverse, ranging from mathematics, information science, astronomy, physics, chemistry and bio-pharmaceutical sciences to biology and environmental sciences. The research activities are organised in eight institutes. These institutes offer eight bachelor’s and twelve master’s programmes. The faculty has grown strongly in recent years and now has more than 2,500 staff and almost 6,000 students. We are located at the heart of Leiden’s Bio Science Park, one of Europe’s biggest science parks, where university and business life come together.
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Terms and conditions
The starting date of the PhD program is ideally in the first quarter of 2023.
We offer a full-time, one year term position, with the possibility of renewal for an additional maximum of three years based on performance. The salary ranges from €2.770,- to € 3.539,- gross per month, increasing yearly (pay scale P).
Leiden University offers an attractive benefits package with additional holiday (8%) and end-of-year bonuses (8.3 %), training and career development and sabbatical leave. Our individual choices model gives you some freedom to assemble your own set of terms and conditions. Candidates from outside the Netherlands may be eligible for a substantial tax break.
To apply for this vacancy, please send an email to Sanne Romp (firstname.lastname@example.org), with ‘Application PhD Hype in Quantum & Society’ in the subject line. Please ensure that you attach the following:
The closing date for applications is December 5 2023.