Postdoc position – Service-oriented software platform for urban-scale social activism

Supervisors: Valérie Issarny, Nikolaos Georgantas

Place of Work: MIMOVE team, Inria Paris

Context of work:

The increased adoption of mobile devices and social networking reignites citizen engagement in the monitoring of their living environment, which ultimately prompts action at the government level. The study of socially-grounded software systems toward inclusive smarter cities is specifically the focus of the International Inria Project Lab CityLab@Inria (, whose research includes close collaboration with its partners of the Inria@SiliconValley program (

In the above context, mobile social networking appears as a significant tool to support social activism within our cities. However, the exploitation of latest Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) for the development of applications oriented toward social activism is still in its infancy, i.e., ranging from the use of emails for internal communication to the use of third-party Web and social media for mass communication. In terms of integrated platforms, there have been a few initial offerings such as Google Apps for Non Profits (see However, Google Apps is a generic platform for organizations, and requires significant effort to be customized for the needs of social activists. At the same time, initiatives like the Social Apps Lab (see at CITRIS clearly show the potential of mobile devices to generate an active, critical, and direct engagement of citizens in social issues, which may allow for broader impact of social activism.

It is our vision that the penetration of ICTs within social activism crucially depends on the provision of adequate software tools so that activists can easily assemble applications matching their needs. From a software engineering perspective, architectural principles like service-orientation together with latest advances in distributed computing appear as relevant base building blocks. From the social science perspective, social activism relies on a number of key functionalities that may conveniently be leveraged and re-used across applications, provided the elicitation of associated system abstractions.


The objective of this post-doctoral grant is to contribute to the development of the AppCivist service-oriented software platform for which an initial prototype focused on enabling participatory budgeting has been implemented.

Starting from the initial prototype, the work is concerned with investigating two complementary issues:

  1. Customizing the AppCivist platform so as to enable the composition of relevant third party services in the realization of software assemblies oriented toward social activism, which will be achieved by leveraging interoperability solutions focused on mediator synthesis.
  2. Customizing the realization of software assemblies so as to actually enable large urban-scale citizen assemblies to collaborate toward the elaboration of project proposals as encountered in participatory budgeting campaigns. Solutions will in particular build upon relevant protocols elaborated in the context of peer assessment for massive open online courses.

Conditions for application:

The candidate should have a PhD in computer science with expertise in the following topics, including experience in the implementation of related software prototypes:

  • Service-oriented computing and architecture
  • Distributed systems
  • Middleware architectures and systems
  • Social Networking
  • Mobile Systems


Gross salary per month : from 2600 to 2900€ depending on experience and qualification.

Place of work

Inria Paris site, 2 rue Simone Iff, Paris 12

The work takes place in the context of the AppCivist collaborative project and related EIT Digital CivicBudget Innovation activity. As a result, the position involves travel to California and in Europe. Also, the candidate should be highly interested in experimenting with solutions at the city-scale.

Start date and duration

The position is for 12 months to be started as soon as possible

How to apply:

Applicants should send the following (PDF files only) to

  • Detailed CV including full publication record
  • Letter of motivation
  • 3 references

Application may be submitted till the position is filled.

For any information, feel free to contact 

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