Funded Doctoral Opportunities in GIScience, Open Data, Mobile Technology

Two Funded Doctoral Opportunities:

Citizen/government interactions mediated by mobile devices

Open Data as a contributor to Open Government

The Department of Geography and Environmental Management, University of Waterloo, is pleased to announce two funded opportunities to pursue Doctoral Studies in Geographic Information Science, with project themes of Citizen/government interactions mediated by mobile devices and Open Data as a contributor to Open Government.

Under the supervision of Dr. Peter Johnson (, you will carry out doctoral studies in one of the two themes.

  1. The first theme, Citizen/government interactions mediated by mobile devices, will explore how a location-enabled society generates data that can be integrated into government decision-making, through processes such as crowdsourcing. This project is supported by the SSHRC-funded Geothink partnership grant:, and infrastructure funding from the Canadian Foundation for Innovation.
  2. The second theme, Open Data as a contributor to Open Government, will involve developing metrics of the value of Open Data in government, tracing benefits derived to distinct data user communities. This research is funded by SSHRC.

The Department of Geography and Environmental Management is ‘twinned’ at the graduate level with Wilfrid Laurier University, and the resulting Waterloo-Laurier Joint Program in Geography (WL-JPIG) is one of the largest Geography concentrations in North America with over 55 faculty members. Doctoral coursework and committee members can be drawn from either campus – the two campuses are walking distance from each other.

Doctoral Applications should be submitted via the process outlined at these two links:


Funding: How it Works

The Faculty of Environment aims to attract and support the next generation of outstanding researchers. Many sources of funding are available to support doctoral students: scholarships, research assistantships, teaching assistantships, etc.  We want to overcome the financial uncertainty that students sometimes face by guaranteeing $90,000 over four years ($22,000, $22,300, $22,700, $23,000). This is the minimum. The actual funding package you receive will comprise a mix of Scholarships, Teaching Assistantships and Research Assistantships.

Scholarships: We encourage students to apply for major external scholarships (NSERC, SSHRC, CIHR, OGS, etc.) and note that successful students will also be awarded the President’s scholarship ($5,000 scholarship and $6,800 TA for an additional $11,800).

Research Assistantships: Many research topics can attract research funding from research councils (NSERC, SSHRC, CIHR), provincial agencies or private partners. We encourage these sources to be used to support students and to focus energies on the research.

Teaching assistantships/Sessional teaching: Graduate students often work as teaching assistants in a variety of roles (tutorial presenters / facilitators, markers, etc.) to help deliver our undergraduate programs. Senior doctoral students (year 3 or 4) often have an opportunity to teach a course to help build their teaching skills and portfolio. The amount of teaching-related activity that a doctoral student performs will depend on the combination of resources acquired from scholarships and research funding to ensure that they earn at least the $90k minimum guarantee over four years.

Note: scholarships, research studentships (a form of RA for research related to your dissertation), and graduate experience awards (given in association with teaching assistantships) are typically not taxed as income.

For more information about these two Doctoral opportunities, please contact Dr. Peter Johnson at


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