2016 University of Westminster International Research Fellowship in UK

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The Westminster Institute for Advanced Studies (WIAS) (www.westminster.ac.uk/wias) is a newly created academic space at the University of Westminster in London for independent critical thinking beyond borders. Prof Christian Fuchs is its Director. The WIAS’ aim is to foster and disseminate advanced studies that generate insights into the complex realities and possibilities of the contemporary world. It is a space for the development, discussion and dissemination of critical, innovative and creative research that contributes to understanding the challenges and problems society, culture, nature, art and technology face today.

One of the WIAS’ key features is the Research Fellowship Programme that attracts and brings together current and future academic leaders who engage in independent critical thinking beyond borders. We invite applications for international junior and senior research fellows who conduct fellowship research projects in the realm of Critical Social & Digital Media Research for the duration of 3 months in 2016.

Critical Digital & Social Media is a research theme and focus of the Westminster Institute for Advanced Studies. Digital & Social Media Research at the WIAS uses and develops critical theories, is profoundly theoretical, and discusses the political relevance and implications of the studied topics. Social media such as social networks (eg Facebook, LinkedIn, Renren, WeChat), blogs (eg Blogspot, WordPress, Tumblr), content sharing sites (eg YouTube, Vimeo, Instagram, Pinterest, Youku), microblogs (eg Twitter, Weibo), or wikis (eg Wikipedia) have in recent years had profound impacts on society. There are also other new trends in the world of computing such as big data, the Internet of things, cloud computing, the digital commons, the online sharing economy, mobile digital communication, etc. And besides these new phenomena, there are established forms of digital media such as e-mail, search engines, online discussion, online communities, online publishing, online journalism, content sharing platforms, etc. All the digital phenomena that make up the world of digital media are subjects of Critical Digital & Social Media Research. The WIAS aims to contribute to bringing about a paradigm shift from big data analytics to critical digital & social media research methods.

The WIAS’ Fellowship Programme is aimed at current and future research leaders, who engage in independent thinking that is interdisciplinary, critical and shares a global outlook. It enables them to undertake independent and collaborative research on original topics in a stimulating academic environment in London. It enables the Fellows to undertake such work beyond the boundaries, obligations, limits, compartmentalisations and pressures set by ordinary academic life in teaching, administration and the traditional organisation of research. During their stay, Fellows undertake, develop, disseminate and present original, independent and critical individual research. Priority will be given to well-defined projects that result in published research outputs and demonstrate benefits for the applicant, her/his university and the University of Westminster’s research interests.

The regular scholarship duration is 3 months (with a start on May 1, 2016; earlier and later start dates are possible; the latest possible start for this call is June 20, 2016). Exceptions may be possible based on individual arrangements and circumstances (e.g. a longer stay that includes a self-funded period) upon agreement with WIAS-Director Prof Christian Fuchs.

Funded scholarships are only awarded as a result of open calls. The WIAS invites both junior and senior fellows. Junior fellows are researchers who hold a PhD that has been awarded not more than 5 years before the date of the call publication. Senior fellows are researchers who hold a PhD that has been awarded more than 5 years before the call is published.

WIAS Research Fellows enjoy the following benefits:

– A scholarship of £7,500 for a period of a three months stay at the WIAS for covering visa costs, accommodation and subsistence in London.
– The opportunity for independent, critical research in an inspiring academic environment.
– Collaboration with other Research Fellows, researchers at the University of Westminster and beyond.
– The WIAS Colloquium allows Research Fellows to present their work to the academic and extra-academic public.
– The opportunity for the Fellows to together organise a workshop on a jointly defined topic, to which they give inputs.
– Each WIAS International Research Fellow produces and publishes as part of his/her fellowship project one paper in the WIAS Research Paper Series “Westminster Advanced Studies” (see http://www.westminster.ac.uk/wias/publications) in order to disseminate new knowledge.
– Publishing at least one paper in a peer-reviewed academic journal as a result of research undertaken during the fellowship.
– Airfare to and from London paid by WIAS.
Office space, and access to the university’s library and IT services.
– For applicants whose nationality is from outside of the EEA as a UK University we will need to establish your right to be able to reside and undertake your research with us in the UK. If you need sponsorship for a UK visa we will look at whether this is possible on a case-by-case basis once the assessment process is underway.

Please complete a fellowship application form and submit it together with your full CV, your full publication list, and a digital version of what you consider your one best and most relevant academic publication that stands in the context of the suggested fellowship project (in the case of monographs, please include the introduction and select what you consider to be the book’s most important chapter).

Submit to: wias-news@westminster.ac.uk

Application deadline: February 29, 2016, 17:00 BST

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