At a time of unprecedented challenges facing society, we need to develop strategies for collective innovation where we engage many diverse stakeholders to generate ideas, provide feedback, and co-create better, more inclusive outcomes. Design can no longer be seen as a solitary endeavor where a designer, through pure force of talent, improves a product or service, and then hands it off to a community of use.

The ProtoLab combines research in design thinking, crowdsourcing, and decision making to create novel social technologies that motivate participation and organize people around complex problems in civics, healthcare, climate change, and education. Our research investigates the underlying social and cognitive mechanisms that impact how different groups— from local communities, to classrooms of students, to online crowds — tackle complex problems creatively and collaboratively.

Technology has not only transformed how we share information, but how we collaborate to solve complex problems. As part of our research process in the ProtoLab, we observe how groups appropriate technology to serve their goals, we conceptually model collaborative processes, and we design and test novel systems that explore opportunities for how people can work together. Ultimately, our research seeks to deepen our understanding of how the creative process works, to improve design practice for teams, and to teach design more effectively to larger audiences.

How to get involved

Postdoc position available:

Prof. Steven Dow (http://spdow.ucsd.edu) seeks a postdoc to work on projects related to civics, design thinking, and social computing. Prof. Dow conducts research on civic design with the goal of developing tools, processes, and theory that change how communities solve complex problems creatively and collaboratively. We create technologies to enable different groups to explore and converge on solutions that address issues from many diverse stakeholders. These interventions also provide opportunities to study the cognitive, social, and cultural aspects of social innovation.

The Postdoctoral Fellow position requires a terminal degree appropriate to your discipline. The fellow will have access to state-of-the-art research facilities, undergraduate research assistants, and an engaging community of scholars interested in design, human-computer interaction, social computing, and crowdsourcing. The pos­ition does not have a teaching requirement, but will have opportunities to teach and mentor both undergraduate and grad students. The selected candidate will be expected to devote time towards writing grant proposals. The postdoc fellow will be viewed as a colleague, and with mentorship, will be launched to the next career stage.

Applicants should have experience conducting independent research, demonstrate a record of communicating research via publications and presentations, be excited about participating in collaborative, interdisciplinary research at UC San Diego, and willing to move to sunny San Diego. Applicants must have defended their PhD in Human-Computer Interaction, Computer Science, Information Science, or a related field by the time of employment.

Applicants should have interests in one or more of the following areas: social computing, design methods, innovation, crowdsourcing, and creativity. The ideal postdoctoral fellow will have strong technical skills, experience with both qualitative and quantitative research methods, and good design intuition.

How do I apply? Interested candidates should prepare: (1) a cover letter stating background, experience, interest in the position, and career objectives, (2) a curriculum vitae or résumé, (3) the names and contact information for three references who can write a letter on your behalf, and (4) a relevant sample of published work. Send application materials to Prof. Steven Dow (spdow@ucsd.edu) with the subject line “Design Lab postdoc application”.

How much does the position pay? The University classifies this as a Postdoctoral position. All recipients receive a salary of US $60,000/year for full-time employment as well as full benefits (http://postdoc.ucsd.edu/benefits-and-services/). Additional funds are available for equipment and professional travel. The position will be for two years with possible extension for a third year.

When can I apply? Review of applications will begin on March 1st, 2019 and will continue until the position is filled.

When does the position start? June 1st, 2019 is the preferred start date so that we can work with interns over the summer, but we can be flexible depending on other factors.

Will foreign applicants be considered? Yes. We highly encourage students from underrepresented groups to apply. UC San Diego is an Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) employer and welcomes all qualified applicants. Applicants will receive fair and impartial consideration without regard to race, sex, color, religion, national origin, age, disability, veteran status, genetic data, or other legally protected status.

For PhD Students:

Prospective PhD students should apply either to the Cognitive Science PhD program or the Computer Science and Engineering program at UC San Diego. If you would like to work with Prof. Dow, make sure to mention him in your application. If you are currently a UCSD PhD student and you would like to get involved, feel free to reach out to Prof. Dow.

For Masters and Undergraduate Students:

Specific research projects are led by phd students and postdocs. If you want to be considered for a summer research project, please apply here. Apply by March 28, 2019 for full consideration for summer 2019.