Doctoral student project with social scientific focus on AI Transparency and Consumer Trust
Lund University, Faculty of Engineering, Department of Technology and Society
3 February, 2021
Lund University was founded in 1666 and is repeatedly ranked among the world’s top 100 universities. The University has 40 000 students and more than 8 000 staff based in Lund, Helsingborg and Malmö. We are united in our efforts to understand, explain and improve our world and the human condition.
LTH forms the Faculty of Engineering at Lund University, with approximately 9 000 students. The research carried out at LTH is of a high international standard and we are continuously developing our teaching methods and adapting our courses to current needs.
This PhD position is part of the Wallenberg AI, Autonomous Systems and Software Program on Humanities and Society (WASP-HS). WASP-HS aims to realize excellent research and develop competence on the consequences and challenges of artificial intelligence and autonomous systems for the individual person and society. This 10-year program is initiated and generously funded by the Marianne and Marcus Wallenberg Foundation (MMW) with 660 million SEK. In addition to this, the program receives support from collaborating industry and from participating universities.
WASP-HS includes an extensive national graduate school with up to 70 doctoral students, the creation of least ten new research groups across Sweden, support for twelve visiting professors to strengthen Swedish research and networking activities, and a number of research projects. For more information about the research and other activities conducted within WASP-HS, please visit http://wasp-hs.org/.
The WASP-HS graduate school provides foundations, perspectives, and state-of-the-art knowledge in the different disciplines taught by leading researchers in the field. Through an ambitious program with research visits, partner universities, and visiting lecturers, the graduate school actively supports forming a strong multi-disciplinary and international professional network between PhD students, researchers and practitioners in the field. It thus provides added value on top of the existing PhD programs at the partner universities, providing unique opportunities for students who are dedicated to achieving international research excellence with societal relevance.
The department of technology and society employs around 80 senior lecturers, PhD students and administrative staff. The department is currently developing a multidisciplinary research environment around the adoption of artificial intelligence (AI) in society at large, including ethical, social and legal issues. Current PhD position is one of two announced within the five-year research project AI Transparency and Consumer Trust, funded by WASP-HS.
Technology and society
Technology and society is a third-cycle subject that encompasses multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary studies of technology’s role, interplay and importance in different sectors of society.
The highly interdisciplinary project explores how AI transparency relates to consumer trust and can enable fair and accountable uses of applied AI in consumer markets. We will study i) how AI is governed in consumer markets at large; ii) the consumers’ norms and understanding of AI, especially with regards to transparency, and iii) how AI explainability can be developed in the intersection between social, legal and technical aspects in order to strengthen consumer trust.
Specifically, we are looking for a doctoral student to study issues of explainable AI and transparency from a social scientific perspective. This is located in the intersection between technical aspects of making machine learning applications explainable and what types of explanations would be required, in a legal and social context, to gain an appropriate level of consumer trust.
Methodologically, this could be pursued both through qualitative or quantitative studies. Synergies will be striven for together with other research projects with similar challenges in other domains, the WASP-HS program or the AI Lund research network. Members of the advisory board to the research project represents research expertise from computer science, the social sciences and the humanities, but also from leading international companies, as well as the Swedish Consumer Agency.
The main duties of doctoral students are to devote themselves to their research studies which includes participating in mentioned research project and third cycle courses. The work duties can also include teaching and other departmental duties (no more than 20%).
A person meets the general admission requirements for third-cycle courses and study programmes if the applicant:
- has been awarded a second-cycle qualification, or
- has satisfied the requirements for courses comprising at least 240 credits of which at least 60 credits were awarded in the second cycle, or
- has acquired substantially equivalent knowledge in some other way in Sweden or abroad.
A person meets the specific admission requirements for third cycle studies in Technology and Society if the applicant has:
- at least 30 credits awarded in the second cycle relevant to the subject area.
- Very good oral and written proficiency in English.
Selection for third-cycle studies is based on the student’s potential to profit from such studies. The assessment of potential is made primarily on the basis of academic results from the first and second cycle. Special attention is paid to the following:
- Knowledge and skills relevant to the thesis project and the subject of study.
- An assessment of ability to work independently and to formulate and tackle research problems.
- Written and oral communication skills, not least in making research-based knowledge available to a wider audience, public debate, legislators or in industrial collaborations.
- Other experience relevant to the third-cycle studies, e.g. professional experience.
Other assessment criteria:
- While we mainly look for someone with a background in the social sciences, in a broad sense, we would particularly favour candidates with a proven literacy of the technologies and methods within the AI-domain, how they play out on markets and in society, as well as the legally most relevant frameworks relating to the research focus presented above.
- It is important that the candidate can participate in joint research as well as can handle different perspectives that emerges in collaboration over disciplinary boundaries within academia as well as with industry.
Consideration will be given to good collaborative skills, drive and independence, and how the applicant, through his or her experience and skills, is deemed to have the abilities necessary for successfully completing the third cycle programme.
Terms of employment
Only those admitted to third cycle studies may be appointed to a doctoral studentship. Third cycle studies at LTH consist of full-time studies for 4 years. A doctoral studentship is a fixed-term employment of a maximum of 5 years (including 20% departmental duties). Doctoral studentships are regulated in the Higher Education Ordinance (1993:100), chapter 5, 1-7 §§.
Instructions on how to apply
Applications shall be written in English or Swedish and include a cover letter stating the reasons why you are interested in the position and in what way the research project corresponds to your interests and educational background. The application must also contain a CV, degree certificate or equivalent, and other documents you wish to be considered (grade transcripts, contact information for your references, letters of recommendation, etc.).
Lund University welcomes applicants with diverse backgrounds and experiences. We regard gender equality and diversity as a strength and an asset. We kindly decline all sales and marketing contacts.