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Postdoc Topological Atlas: Mapping contemporary borderscapes

Challenge: Creative digital designer and technologist Change: Critical work on border security Impact: Production of digital counter-cartographies of borders

Job description

We are seeking to appoint a researcher to help support an ERC funded project, Topological Atlas: Mapping contemporary borderscapes ( The project works across three border sites, Pakistan-Iran, Iran-Turkey and EU-UK, producing visual counter-geographies that combine digital mapping and story-telling techniques with a participative approach that attends to those who are at the margins of traditional geopolitical inquiry.

The post holder’s main responsibility will be the development and production of a digital mapping platform utilising WebGL and JavaScript technologies. As an integral part of a collaborative research team, they will produce spatial analyses of the legal, bureaucratic and security regimes of the borders under study, as well as producing visual representations of the border based on qualitative interviews conducted with migrants and refugees.

We are looking for a creative digital designer/technologist who enjoys experimenting and prototyping. Strong coding skills are required including a familiarity with JavaScript libraries such as D3 / P5.js / Node.js and a general understanding of and ability to work with JSON/GeoJSON formats. Additionally, an interest in and knowledge of security and surveillance technologies deployed at geopolitical borders will be a significant advantage.

The person appointed will join a project in its third year with an exciting research agenda and a creative and interdisciplinary team of researchers team working in close collaboration. Beyond the practical and design work of the platform, they will also be expected to identify areas of research and contribute to project publications and events.

Click here for more information on the Topological Atlas project.


To be considered for the position you will have:

  • PhD in relevant subject area or the equivalent in professional qualifications and experience in relevant research area

  • Experience of working on projects that utilise geographical or spatial analysis and visualisation techniques

  • Strong coding skills including a familiarity with WebGL and JavaScript libraries

  • Demonstrable ability to engage creatively and experimentally through coding and prototyping

Other desirable criteria:

  • Demonstrable interest in or knowledge of security and surveillance technologies deployed at geopolitical borders

Conditions of employment

Salary and benefits are in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities. The TU Delft offers a customisable compensation package, a discount on health insurance and sport memberships, and a monthly work costs contribution. Flexible work schedules can be arranged.

For international applicants we offer the Coming to Delft Service and Partner Career Advice to assist you with your relocation. An International Children's Centre offers childcare and there is an international primary school.

TU Delft (Delft University of Technology)

Delft University of Technology is built on strong foundations. As creators of the world-famous Dutch waterworks and pioneers in biotech, TU Delft is a top international university combining science, engineering and design. It delivers world class results in education, research and innovation to address challenges in the areas of energy, climate, mobility, health and digital society. For generations, our engineers have proven to be entrepreneurial problem-solvers, both in business and in a social context. At TU Delft we embrace diversity and aim to be as inclusive as possible (see our Code of Conduct). Together, we imagine, invent and create solutions using technology to have a positive impact on a global scale.

Challenge. Change. Impact!

Faculty Architecture & the Built Environment

The Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment has a leading role in education and research worldwide. The driving force behind the faculty’s success is its robust research profile combined with the energy and creativity of its student body and academic community. It is buzzing with energy from early in the morning until late at night, with four thousand people studying, working, designing, conducting research and acquiring and disseminating knowledge. Our faculty has a strong focus on 'design-oriented research’, which has given it a top position in world rankings. Staff and students are working to improve the built environment with the help of a broad set of disciplines, including architectural design, urban planning, building technology, social sciences, process management, and geo-information science. The faculty works closely with other faculties, universities, private parties, and the public sector, and has an extensive network in the Netherlands as well as internationally.

Click here to go to the website of the Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment.

Department of Architecture This department provides education and conducts research at an internationally competitive level of excellence in the fields of architecture and architectural design. Education and research are closely interconnected by the perspective of social relevance. Around 100 employees are involved in research and education. A number of academics with a renowned design practice are also linked to the department.

Additional information

For information about this vacancy, you can contact Dr. Nishat Awan, Principal Investigator, Topological Atlas, email:

For information about the selection procedure, please contact Caro Coemans, HR advisor, email:

Application procedure

Are you interested in this vacancy? Please apply no later than 5 March 2021 via the application button.

To apply, please send a detailed CV including your portfolio of design work and list of publications, along with a short motivation letter addressing your interests and describing how you fit in the advertised position, name and contact details of two references and an proof of language skills (if applicable).

Please note:

  • You can only apply online. We will not process applications sent by email and/or post.

  • Incomplete applications will not be processed.

  • A pre-Employment screening can be part of the selection procedure.

  • Acquisition in response to this vacancy is not appreciated.

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