MAKE THE MOST OF YOUR TALENTS AT FRAUNHOFER FIT IN SANKT AUGUSTIN. JOIN OUR HUMAN CENTERED ENGINEERING AND DESIGN DEPARTMENT AND work within The EU FUNDED GECKO PhD Training network in an interdisciplinary consortium of European academic and industrial institutions.WE HAVE following OPENINGS:
Two PhD candidates in Inform. Systems, HCI or related fields

Offer Starting Date: 1. September 2021

The Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Information Technology FIT is an excellent partner for the human-centered design of our digital future. Being a driver of innovation, we provide guidance and shape the digital transformation of industry, environment, and society. We work in an independent, scientifically informed, and creative way.

This PhD position is funded as part of an EU PhD training network called GECKO – see Throughout a 36-month program, the successful applicant will be an integral member of a 15 strong cohort of Early-Stage Researchers in GECKO working towards their PhDs. The full cohort will benefit from a range of joint training and supervision from senior Faculty members in 9 academic, research and industrial institutions which make up the GECKO network.

Smart technology is everywhere – in our homes, pockets, and networks. Is smarter use of energy essential for low-carbon energy systems of the future? Or is smartness just a buzzword for new gadgets that require ever-more energy and worsen the digital divide? Smart technology is a mass of hopes, fears, and contradictions.

This PhD offers a unique opportunity to untangle relations between smart energy, technologies, and people, supported by a major new EU-wide PhD training network. This interdisciplinary GECKO network connects leading social, computer and data scientists working on smart technology, artificial intelligence, human-computer interaction, energy, climate change, and responsible innovation.

FIT invites applications regarding the following PhD topics and research questions:

  • Intelligent Personal Assistants (IPA) for energy-related routines (ESR 12).
    Research questions: How can Intelligent Personal Assistants be used to support reflection of energy-related routines in the home? How can digital nudges be designed in ways that motivate users to lasting changes of their behavior?
  • Explainable AI (XAI) for smart, domestic technologies (ESR 13).
    Research questions: How can human-centered AI be used to reduce energy usage in smart domestic environments? How can we make AI systems more transparent and explainable to the users?

The supervisors welcome discussions around these and related themes, so the successful applicant can shape their PhD research in line with their own interests, while maximizing the benefit of the training and skills-development opportunities of the GECKO network.

What we expect from you

  • All applicants should have a good Master’s degree (or equivalent) in Information Systems, Computer Science, or related fields.
  • Solid knowledge in the fields of Human Computer Interaction / Computer Supported Collaborative Work as well as Data Science (esp. Python skills) are required.
  • Applicants should be motivated to make scientific contributions in the abovementioned research areas, be open to qualitative research methods, and be interested to engage in co-design processes with users in the real world.
  • Applicants must agree that they will perform secondments to other institutions as per the secondment plan described in the Grant Agreement (GA)
  • Applicants must be in the first 4 years from the award from their MSc (or similar) degree and be willing to enroll in a PhD program under shared supervision between Fraunhofer FIT and the University of Siegen.
  • At the time of recruitment, researchers must not have resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc.) in Germany for more than 12 months in the 3 years prior to the recruitment date.

What you can expect from us

The successful applicants will benefit from a wealth of training opportunities in the GECKO network, from secondments to intensive summer schools, as part of a cohort of 15 PhDs networked across Europe. The successful applicants will also have access to a substantial research budget as well as generous living and mobility allowances and family allowance. This cohort will form the next generation of applied scientists helping to advance knowledge on pressing policy and technology development issues in the rapidly changing field of smart technology, energy and people.

  • You will work in an internationally leading institute for applied research in Human-Centered Engineering and Design, embedded into a network of high-ranking cooperation partners in business and science.
  • We will support your individual development through tailored soft skills trainings and a broad range of offers for professionally developing your personality and expertise.
  • We offer an environment in which you can work with the latest methods, tools, and technologies, push your own research ideas and bring them to application, and shape the future of data management and digitalization.
  • In our institute, diversity is an important strategic goal: we actively advocate equal opportunities and diversity.
  • We practice a family-friendly culture: we know that sometimes family life takes precedence. We provide emergency care, life coaching, holiday care and consulting services for home and eldercare.
  • We support a healthy work-life balance by flexible working hours.
Terms of contract according to European Commission's Marie Curie fellowship scheme.
The position is limited for 36 month.
In case of identical qualifications preference will be given to severely disabled candidates.
We would like to point out that the chosen job title also includes the third gender.
The Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft emphasises gender-independent professional equality.
Privacy Notice: The Horizon 2020 ITN program requires Fraunhofer FIT to keep records of the recruitment and selection process in case these are requested in a future audit. These records include your personal data and will be stored for 5 years after the end of the project.

Fraunhofer is Europe’s largest application-oriented research organization. Our research efforts are geared entirely to people’s needs: health, security, communication, energy and the environment. As a result, the work undertaken by our researchers and developers has a significant impact on people’s lives. We are creative. We shape technology. We design products. We improve methods and techniques. We open up new vistas.

Please contact for further information:

Prof. Dr. Alexander Boden (
Dr. Britta Essing (

Please use only the link (button) below to apply , we can't accept applications via email.

Job Reference: FIT-2021-6 Closing Date: 16.04.2021