Funded PhD Position in Biosurveillance and Urban Governance

Dr. Carolyn Prouse (Queen’s University) and Dr. Rafi Arefin (University of British Columbia) have a PhD position available for the SSHRC-funded project Tracking the Virus Hunters: The Power-Laden Geographies of Biosurveillance Economies. The position will be held at Queen’s University (Canada) under the co-supervision of Dr. Prouse and Dr. Arefin. It will start September 2023.  

The position has a minimum funding package of $25,000 CAD per year for four years, with additional funding for conference travel and ethnographic research. 

The successful applicant will contribute to the supervisors’ funded research project on wastewater, genomic, and blood tissue surveillance. The candidate will also pursue related doctoral ethnographic research at a site in the Middle East, South Asia, Southeast Asia, Africa, or South America, depending on the area of expertise and lived experience of the candidate.  

The overarching research project investigates the new modes of governance instituted through heightened disease surveillance, and the landscapes of valuation that underpin new biotech and pharmaceutical surveillance ventures. The doctoral student ethnography will involve interviews, focus groups, and participant observation with an aim to understanding the lives behind new biological data reservoirs and community-level negotiations of privacy, livelihoods, surveillance, and data justice. You can find out more about the project here: 

The successful applicant will have a:

  • Commitment to an anti-colonial and spatial justice research praxis 
  • Demonstrable interest in urban governance, tissue economies, surveillance studies, political economy, and/or feminist science and technology studies 
  • Experience in qualitative data methods 
  • A background in human geography, science and technology studies, environmental studies, global development studies, urban studies, sociology or related field 

Note: the position is open to both international and domestic (Canadian) students.

A complete application file will include a cover letter explaining the candidate’s interest in the topic, relevant training and expertise, and connection to the Middle East, South Asia, Southeast Asia, Africa, or South America. The cover letter should be accompanied by a CV and contact information for two referees. 

Please submit applications to Dr. Carolyn Prouse ([email protected] ) and Dr. Rafi Arefin ([email protected]) by December 10, 2022. The successful applicant will be expected to apply to the Geography Program at Queen’s in January 2023. 

Please be in touch if you have any questions about this opportunity!