Ph.D PhD Scholarship in Social Media and Public Communication

at Queensland University of Technology in Australia

Queensland University of Technology (QUT) are seeking a highly motivated candidate to participate in an Australian Research Council Future Fellowship project which draws on several ‘big data’ sources on Australian online public communication. This PhD project provides an unprecedented opportunity to investigate the flow of information across the Australian online public sphere at large scale and in close to real time, within a world-class research environment. With an ERA ranking of 5 (“well above world standing”), Creative Industries at QUT is the leading institution for Media and Communication research in Australia, and ARC Future Fellow Professor Axel Bruns is an international research leader in the area of Internet studies. The PhD researcher will be supervised by the ARC Future Fellow. This position will be located on the QUT Kelvin Grove campus, Brisbane, and will commence in mid-2015.

The scholarship
An annual stipend of AU$25,849 (tax exempt) will be paid fortnightly to support living expenses for a period of 3 years.

The Candidate

The successful applicant will carry out a range of tasks associated with project activities, including:

  • Use data collection and analysis methods and instruments developed for the project for a variety of purposes, including:
    1. Post hoc research into user activity patterns and information flows in the Australian online public sphere across a wide range of cases;
    2. Speedy and agile analysis of online activities in issue publics related to current events, and publication of initial analysis;
    3. Input into further development of online media tracking and analysis methods and instruments developed by the project.
  • Contribute to the development of new models of communication processes in the Australian online public sphere, by:
    1. Tracing the trajectories of intermedia information flows across the diverse datasets available to the project;
    2. Developing and testing a range of preliminary models for the conceptualisation of issue publics and other formations of public discourse in online environments;
    3. Contributing to the integration of these models into a more comprehensive framework for understanding processes of communication across the contemporary media ecology.
  • Contribute to the dissemination of research findings from the project by:
    1. Publishing preliminary analyses and findings in relevant outlets (The Conversation, project Website and other publications, etc.);
    2. Presenting project findings at relevant national and international conferences in media and communication and related fields;
    3. Publishing research outcomes from the project in sole- and collaboratively authored articles and chapters in high-profile journals and books.

The Project

This PhD project supports an ARC Future Fellowship research project investigating intermedia information flows in the Australian online public sphere. The emergence of new media forms has led to a profound transformation of the Australian media environment: mainstream, niche, and social media intersect in many ways, online and offline. Increased access to large-scale data on public communication online enables an observation of how the nation responds to the news of the day, how themes and topics unfold, and how interest publics develop and decline over time.

Expected Outcomes

This project traces how information flows across media spaces, and seeks to develop a new model of the online public sphere. It makes significant contributions to innovation in research methods in the digital humanities, and provides an important basis for policies aimed at closing digital and social divides. Research on the project commenced in April 2014.

The PhD researcher contributes to these aims by undertaking a clearly defined research project of their own. They will be supervised by Prof. Axel Bruns. The PhD researcher will be based at QUT in Brisbane, and will support the timely analysis of public communication activities which relate to current debates. The presence of this researcher will ensure the project’s agility in responding to unfolding events, and substantially enhance its ability to engage in and impact on public debate.


We’ll award the scholarship based on academic merit, research experience, and potential. You must have:

  1. First class Honours (H1), or equivalent, in Media and Communication or a closely related area;
  2. Demonstrated expertise in research on the contemporary public sphere and on information flows in online and social media;
  3. Demonstrated knowledge of, and entry-level experience with, qualitative and quantitative research which utilises innovative methods drawing on ‘big social data’ from social media and other relevant online sources;
  4. Demonstrated understanding of current themes and issues in Australian public debate, and of the contemporary Australian media environment;
  5. Effective written, interpersonal and computer-mediated communication skills;
  6. Demonstrated computing skills, including familiarity with digital research management and social media research tools.

How to Apply

To express your interest in these scholarships please send the following to Professor Axel Bruns
( by Friday 1 May 2015:

  1. your CV
  2. the names of two referees
  3. a statement addressing the eligibility criteria.

If your profile meets the eligibility requirements you’ll be asked to submit a formal application for admission to the PhD.

More information on higher degree research degrees at QUT can be found at research-degrees/phds

More information

For further information on this project please contact Professor Axel Bruns (

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Published at 22-04-2015
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