PhD scholarship in automated decision-making (ADM) and Chinese society

Interested in a PhD, or know someone who is? A scholarship is available for an interdisciplinary project to explore the social implications of automated decision-making (ADM) technologies and systems in the Chinese context.

The PhD research project will be located in the School of Media and Communication and the ARC Centre of Excellence for ADM+S Centre. The candidate will be supervised by ARC Future Fellow, Professor Haiqing Yu. The research project will examine new (or renewed), emerging, or hidden dynamics and politics of the Chinese society as they respond to, live with, or resist such ADM technologies and systems in their everyday life.

  • a stipend of $32,841 per annum pro rata (full-time study), with a possible extension of six months.
  • international candidates in receipt of this scholarship are also awarded an RTP International Tuition Fee Offset Scholarship (RIFOS) or an RMIT Research International Tuition Fee Scholarship (RRITFS).
  • all local candidates, Australian and New Zealand citizens or permanent residents of Australia are provided with an RTP Fee Offset scholarship. Applicants in receipt of an RTP Fee Offset scholarship are not required to pay tuition fees for the maximum duration of their candidature.
  • paid sick, maternity and parenting leave (within the limits of the Scholarship Terms and Conditions).

One (1) scholarship is available.

To be eligible for this scholarship you must:

  • Have a first-class Honours degree (or equivalent) in a relevant discipline (e.g., information science, sociology, digital humanities, digital health, computer science, information systems, user experience design)
  • Have strong social research (quantitative/qualitative) AND/OR humanities research skills
  • Provide evidence of strong oral and written communication skills
  • Demonstrate an ability to work as part of an interdisciplinary research team
  • Meet RMIT University’s entry requirements for the Higher Degree by Research programs
  • The scholarship is open to both domestic and international applicants, but the applicant must be living in Australia upon commencement of the PhD

To apply, please submit the following documents to Prof Haiqing Yu (

  • A cover letter
  • A research statement of 1-2 pages, outlining the research problem and research questions to be studied, proposed methodology/methods, and brief reference list
  • A copy of electronic academic transcripts
  • A CV that includes any publications/awards and the contact details of two referees
  • Thesis (MA or Honours) and/or research publications

For international applicants, evidence of English proficiency may be required.

Once approved, prospective candidates will be required to submit an application for admission to an appropriate PhD program.

Scholarship applications will only be successful if prospective candidates are provided with an offer for admission.

Applications are now open.


Applications will close once candidates are appointed with intention to start.

Most research on the ADM in China has taken a top-down angle at the national level from legal and public policy studies perspectives. Although recognising the macro-level, policy-making perspective, and “one size fits all” approach to defining ADM systems in China does not address real concerns and particular contexts, researchers still have a lot to do to bring the local and bottom-up perspective to the discussion on ADM and China.  Potential project could examine any of the following topics: 

  1. Local responses and lived experiences of Chinese individuals, families and communities as they grapple with and negotiate with the social credit system and its various localised variations and experimentations in everyday life.
  2. Data or algorithmic activism and resistance in surveillance authoritarianism, that is citizenship practices vs surveillance authoritarianism.
  3. Scoring, rating, and ranking mechanisms by public and private actors and their impact on private and social lives. 4. The geographic or demographic diversity in people’s responses to social engineering systems facilitated by ADM technologies

Prof. Haiqing Yu (

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Acknowledgement of Country

RMIT University acknowledges the people of the Woi wurrung and Boon wurrung language groups of the eastern Kulin Nation on whose unceded lands we conduct the business of the University. RMIT University respectfully acknowledges their Ancestors and Elders, past and present. RMIT also acknowledges the Traditional Custodians and their Ancestors of the lands and waters across Australia where we conduct our business - Artwork 'Luwaytini' by Mark Cleaver, Palawa.