New Frontiers Ph.D. projects aim to expand collective intelligence and contribute to the solutions to global challenges through original research investigations. These projects often sit at the interface of art & design, digital technology, education, and science, however, this is not strictly mandatory. For example, past projects have involved learning with games, teaching through research, communication technologies, participatory science, art/design as a means to communicate science, etc.
New Frontiers Ph.D. projects aim to contribute to the solutions to global challenges through novel research investigations. They contribute to mobilizing the collective intelligence towards solutions to societal goals, such as those set forth by the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The original contribution of the work addresses questions that are relevant in a research context. The Ph.D. supervisor, Thesis Advisory Committee, dissertation reviewers, and defense jury provide the guidance and details on acceptable content and format of the dissertation.
Featured New Frontiers projects:
- art and science
- open science
- games to learn
- future of research
- learning and teaching
Definition of research projects
The research project can be described by addressing the following sets of questions. Students are expected to address these questions at the beginning of their studies and to constantly reformulate the answers as their projects develop over the three years.
On the subject matter
- What problem or challenge will this research address?
- Does the subject matter itself differ from that of traditional scientific research? If so, how?
On the knowledge sought
- What kinds of knowledge and understanding will this research uncover?
- How will this knowledge contribute to the collective intelligence and contribute to the solutions to global challenges?
- How does this knowledge relate to more conventional types of academic knowledge?
On the research method
- What research methods and techniques are appropriate to conduct this research?
- How are these methods compare to the methods and techniques in the formal sciences, natural sciences, social sciences and/or humanities?
Unlike traditional research in natural sciences, the problems addressed by New Frontiers student researchers cannot necessarily be isolated from the environment and interference it may cause. The problem is not broken down into several isolated parts and the notion of a “control” may be irrelevant. On the contrary, New Frontiers research often takes into account the context and environment in which the subject matter is situated. Accounting for context raises additional complexity that may not be addressed solely by traditional methods. Thus, student researchers create and employ the appropriate quantitative and qualitative methods (e.g. experimental, ethnographic, hermeneutic, design-based, etc.) that reveal and articulate the tacit and explicit knowledge that is situated and embodied in the research outcome and/or processes.
Documentation of research process and results
The Ph.D. research processes and outcomes should be documented and disseminated in an appropriate manner to the research community and the wider public. While the doctoral school does not require a determined number of publications to authorize the defense, it recommends that students are involved in three publications.
For students who have components of their thesis work in a discipline where peer-refereed publishing is not common (e.g. Art, Design), the doctoral school recommends that the students disseminate their work in a venue appropriate for their field. These venues may include international conferences, interactive demonstrations, exhibitions, etc. Similar to the process of peer-revision, it is expected that experts in the field will provide feedback on the research questions, methods, and outcomes through these alternative modes of dissemination, thereby reviewing and evaluating the work.
Additionally, students are expected to document their research progress in written Thesis Advisory Committee reports and present the state of their research to their TAC committee annually. The final outcomes and process are documented and presented in the final Ph.D. dissertation and defense. While other media is permitted to accompany the dissertation, a written document is mandatory for completion of the Ph.D.
Featured New Frontiers Projects
These projects often sit at the interface of art & design, digital technology, education, and science, however, this is not strictly mandatory. Past projects have involved learning with games, teaching through research, communication technologies, participatory science, art/design as a means to communicate science, etc.