PhD Scholarship in Media, Technology and Surveillance

Monash University

PhD Scholarship in Media, Technology and Surveillance: Understanding Public Attitudes Toward The Use of Facial Recognition Systems in Australia

Job No.: 608694

Location: Caulfield campus

Employment Type: Full-time

Duration: 3-year and 3-month fixed-term appointment

Remuneration: The successful applicant will receive a Faculty of Arts Research Living Allowance, at current value of $29,000 per annum 2020 full-time rate (tax-free stipend), indexed plus allowances as per RTP stipend scholarship conditions at Faculty will provide the tuition fee scholarship.

The Opportunity

Monash University Arts Graduate Research is funding a PhD scholarship on the topic of Australians’ attitudes toward the use of facial recognition technology in a range of contexts, including schools, retail outlets, downtown areas, and the workplace. The scholarship is funded by Monash University as part of a Discovery Project that includes an interdisciplinary team that brings together researchers in Media Studies, Sociology, and Education. The research will draw on surveys, document research, interviews, and observation to produce findings that inform public discussion and policy debates about the use of the technology in Australia. We are in the early stages of the development and deployment of the technology for a range of uses, including retail payments, public safety, and student and employee monitoring. As the Australian government prepares a nation-wide facial recognition database and private companies develop apps that can match cell phone photos with pictures downloaded from the Internet we face a changing climate for privacy and anonymity in public places. It will be important to ensure that this technology is used in ways that are compatible with the protection of human and civil right (and that uses which violate these are restricted). The PhD scholarship provides an opportunity for a student who is interested in these issues to approach them from a perspective informed by social theory and empirical evidence in order to engage big-picture questions about privacy, power, and control that are raised by the use of the technology.

The successful applicant will work with the research team on a topic that explores an aspect of the development, use, deployment and regulation of facial recognition technology in Australia. Within this broad area, the student will devise their own topic and develop it in consultation with the research team, which includes leading scholars in their fields. The student will be a member of the research team and will contribute to the development of research tools, and where relevant, to public presentations and published outputs. The details of the PhD research are flexible and responsive to the successful applicant’s expertise
and interests.

Undertaking a PhD as part of a larger project has several advantages. First, the successful candidate will be integrated into an already successful research agenda on an issue of public significance that has been funded by the Australian Research Council and will have access to funding to support fieldwork and conference attendance. Second, the candidate will benefit from expert supervision from research leaders in their respective fields. The candidate will also benefit from having their work featured in outcomes from the research, which could include co-authored publications (where the candidate’s contributions will be recognized through co-authorship) and professional and public presentations.

Monash University is the largest university in Australia and regularly ranks in the top 100 universities worldwide. It has six globally networked campuses and international alliances in Europe and Asia. The applicant will be based at the Caulfield campus in Melbourne. For more information about the university and the school of MFJ please refer to the following link:

Please note: applicants who already hold a PhD will not be considered.

Candidate Requirements

The successful applicant will have an excellent academic track record in Media Studies or another relevant discipline. The successful candidate will have experience of research methods in one or more of the following area: qualitative research, survey research, document-based research, digital research techniques.

Applicants will be considered provided that they fulfil the criteria for PhD admission at Monash University. Details of eligibility requirements to undertake a PhD in the Faculty of Arts are available at

Candidates will be required to meet Monash admission requirements which include English-language proficiency skills. Scholarship holders must be enrolled full time and on campus.

Successful applicants will be expected to enrol by 16 October 2020. However, there may be some flexibility as to the date of commencement.


Professor Mark Andrejevic:

Submit an Expression of Interest

EOIs shall comprise:

  • A cover letter that includes a brief statement of the applicant’s suitability
  • A brief research proposal not exceeding 750 words in length that fits within the broad project aims
    and objectives, and demonstrates some understanding of the area of research
  • A curriculum vitae, including a list of any published works, conference presentations and relevant
    work experience
  • A full statement of academic record, supported by scanned copies of relevant certified
  • Contact details of two academic referees

It is important that you contact lead CI Mark Andrejevic prior to submission of the EOI to discuss the project.

EOIs must be sent, in the form of a single pdf attachment to an email to Kinda Say, Senior Graduate Research Administrator, Faculty of Arts, at the following e-mail address State “EOI [your name] - PhD Scholarship in Media, Technology and Surveillance” in the subject heading of the email.

Shortlisted candidates will be interviewed (by video call if necessary). The interviews will be conducted in English.

Closing Date

Friday 17th July, 2020, 11:55 pm AEST