PhD position related to the research project Artificial intelligence, democracy and human dignity

Application deadline:
1 March, 2020


Uppsala University, project Artificial Intelligence, Democracy and Human Dignity

Uppsala University is a comprehensive research-intensive university with a strong international standing. Our mission is to pursue top-quality research and education and to interact constructively with society. Our most important assets are all the individuals whose curiosity and dedication make Uppsala University one of Sweden’s most exciting workplaces. Uppsala University has 44.000 students, 7.100 employees and a turnover of SEK 7 billion.

Doctoral student position at the Faculty of Law, related to the research project Artificial Intelligence, Democracy and Human Dignity.

Beginning 1 August 2020 or according to agreement.

Legal studies in the field of artificial intelligence are rapidly growing in scope and importance and new research is greatly needed. Enormous resources are devoted worldwide to develop new forms of artificial intelligence. This can be seen in medicine, transportation, decision-making, surveillance systems and crime prevention. This development also means that artificial intelligence can take over more qualified tasks in both the public and private spheres, that in turn raises questions on how artificial intelligence should be regulated. Society’s interest in regulating artificial intelligence in a secure, transparent, legitimate and accountable manner is at the focus of this call.

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 https://

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 doctoral student position is announced within the WASP-HS project Artificial Intelligence, democracy and human dignity a multidisciplinary research project involving three different faculties. The doctoral student will be placed at the Faculty of Law, Uppsala University and follow the curriculum of the doctoral studies at the Faculty of Law.

The project proposal should relate to how accountability and legitimacy for artificial intelligence can be handled and regulated. All project proposals in which legal questions related to AI are an essential and integral part of the research subject to be addressed is relevant within the scope of this application call. Project proposals connected with public law and private law are especially welcome. Nevertheless this kind of specialisation is not a requirement. Since AI law is not a subject in its own right in doctoral education, the doctoral student will be admitted in the subject that is the most appropriate in view of the proposed project.

In law typical research questions pertain to private and criminal law accountability for AI-entities’ actions. Similar questions are asked in international humanitarian law and in national welfare law. Following the development leading to artificial intelligence taking over more qualified tasks in the private as well as in the public sphere, more questions are raised about how research on artificial intelligence and the use of artificial intelligence should be regulated.

The Faculty of Law at Uppsala University invites applications to one doctoral student position. An employed doctoral student must primarily devote his or her time to his or her own doctoral research. Other duties at the faculty may be included, such as teaching students, working in teaching teams, and administration (no more than 20% of the position). A requirement for employment as a doctoral candidate is that the applicant must have been admitted to doctoral studies. The regulations governing the employment of doctoral candidates and admittance to doctoral studies are found in Chapter 5, Sections 1-7, and Chapter 7, Sections 34-41, of the Higher Education Ordinance, and in the general study plan for doctoral studies at the Faculty of Law, Uppsala University.

In order to be admitted to doctoral studies, the applicant is required to meet the following qualifications. To qualify as applicant with the Faculty of Law, the applicant must either

1) in Sweden, have completed a Master of Laws degree or completed a law programme, or

2) in Sweden or abroad, have acquired knowledge equivalent to the degrees mentioned in 1). In evaluating whether the knowledge is sufficient, consideration must be given to what is required to successfully benefit from the doctoral program in the specific subject area. Applicants must have an adequate knowledge of Swedish or English.

The overall purpose of the doctoral studies is to provide future newly qualified doctors of laws with good prospects for a successful career within or outside of higher education. This includes in-depth knowledge of the chosen subject in the field of research, a capacity for independent and critical thinking, proficiency in scientific methods and modes of working, an ability to identify interesting and researchable issues, teaching skills and the ability to express himself or herself well both orally and in writing, an ability to operate in an international context and an ability to understand and deal with ethical issues concerning research. Admission is based on an evaluation of the applicant’s capacity to successfully complete the doctoral studies. The evaluation is primarily focused on the project description as well as the scientific written material (published or not published). Analytical ability, ability to structure the material and to independently work on the proposed project, and the project’s news value, is paramount. In addition to the written material, other merits, such as grades, diplomas, completed courses etc., may also be of importance in the assessment. Further, the applicant’s capacity to cooperate in different ways, e.g. with teaching colleagues, may be taken into consideration as well as the Faculty’s needs to recruit doctoral candidates in all subject areas.

Your application including the below required attachments is to be electronically submitted.

Project description in Swedish or English (required document) The project description should include the research question(s) of the proposed research, the relationship between the research topic and the relevant area of research, research already undertaken in this field, a reflection upon material and method, a time plan, and the possible scientific value and contribution of the proposed project. The project description must comprise no more than 35,000 characters including spaces (approximately ten A4-pages).

Popular summary in Swedish or English (required document) The project summary must include a brief popular summary in Swedish or English, no longer than 2,000 characters including spaces.

CV in Swedish or English (required document)

Grade transcripts (required document) and other certificates

Written scientific work (electronic copy of books, articles, undergraduate essays, manuscripts, etc.)

A letter of recommendation or references

Application forms for admission to doctoral studies

Please click here

Decisions on admissions are made by the Research Committee at the Faculty of Law upon preparation by an evaluation committee specifically set up for this purpose. As part of the admission procedure, interviews may be held with a limited number of applicants. Only applicants who have a potential supervisor at the Faculty of Law by the time of the interview or shortly thereafter, may be offered a position as a doctoral candidate.

Local guidelines are established for setting the salary.

Decisions on employment are made by the Head of Department. A person may be employed as a doctoral student for a maximum of eight years, but no longer than the equivalent of four years of full-time doctoral research. For teaching within the employment, extension is admitted.

Starting date: August 1 2020, or according to agreement.

Further information may be obtained from Erik Svensson, Director of Studies, email:, phone: +46 18 471 26 01.

Professor Anna-Sara Lind, Project Leader Artificial intelligence, democracy and human rights,, phone +46184717650

You are welcome to submit your application, including required documents, no later than 1 March 2020, UFV-PA 2019/4444.

Only complete applications will be taken into consideration.

Please do not send offers of recruitment or advertising services. Applications must be submitted as described in this advertisement.

Placement: Department of Law

Type of employment: Full time , Temporary position longer than 6 months

Pay: Grant equal to the local guidelines established for setting the salary.

Number of positions: 1

Working hours: 100%

Town: Uppsala

County: Uppsala län

Country: Sweden

Union representative: Per Sundman, Saco-rådet 018-471 1485 Ellena Papaioannou, Seko 018-471 3315 Suzanne Borén Andersson, TCO/ST 018-471 6251

Number of reference: UFV-PA 2019/4444