Ethics Research Fellow

Alan Turing Institute London United Kingdom Research Programmes
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Company Description

There has never been a more significant time to work in data science and AI. There is recognition of the importance of these technologies to our economic and social future: the so-called fourth industrial revolution. The technical challenge of keeping our data secure and private has grown in its urgency and importance. At the same time, voices from academia, industry, and government are coming together to debate how these technologies should be governed and managed.

The Alan Turing Institute, as the UK’s national institute for data science and artificial intelligence, plays an important part in driving forward advances in these technologies in order to change the world for the better.

The Institute is named in honour of Alan Turing, whose pioneering work in theoretical and applied mathematics, engineering and computing is considered to have laid the foundations for modern-day data science and artificial intelligence. The Institute’s goals are to undertake world-class research, apply its research to real-world problems, driving economic impact and societal good, lead the training of a new generation of scientists, and shape the public conversation around data and algorithms.

After launching in 2015 with government funding from EPSRC and five founding universities, the Institute has grown an extensive network of university partners from across the UK and launched a number of major partnerships with industry, public and third sector. Today it is home to more than 500 researchers, a rapidly growing team of in house research software engineers and data scientists and a business team.



The Public Policy research programme works alongside policy makers to explore how data-driven public service provision and policy innovation might help to solve long running societal problems. We also work hand-in-hand with public sector organisations and citizens to develop practice-based ethical standards for the responsible development and use of data science and AI. Our dynamic group has co-produced—with the Office for AI and the Government Digital Service—the UK Government’s official public sector guide for designing and implementing ethical and safe AI. We have also co-authored—with the Information Commissioner’s Office—the first guidance ever released by a UK regulator on explaining AI-assisted decisions.

In addition to our work with government and regulators, we carry out interdisciplinary academic research in the area of AI ethics and governance as well as AI and society. Our research projects rely entirely on public funding, and they include a review of the ethics of machine learning (ML) in children’s social care; an exploration of the relationship of notions of AI, human agency, privacy and trust in intercultural and global contexts; an investigation into how to build grassroots data rights charters through deliberative democracy; an examination of the role of responsible data management in criminal justice applications of AI; and an analysis of the interpretability needs of AI systems in the financial services sector.


The Public Policy programme is looking to recruit an Ethics Research Fellow to help us advance our innovative and high-profile research. As an Ethics Research Fellow, you report to the Ethics Theme Lead, and work closely with the leadership of the Public Policy programme to (1) support the programme’s important role as an advisor to public sector organisations on the responsible design and deployment of AI systems; (2) engage in original and cutting-edge academic research, which marshals an interdisciplinary vision to interrogate the social, political, economic, environmental, legal, and ethical impacts of AI and ML technologies; and (3) take a proactive role in advancing our commitment to inclusive participation in AI governance and regulation through public engagement at all levels of civil society, both nationally and internationally.

The core functions of the Ethics Research Fellow are:

  • Support the Ethics Theme Lead in achieving the goals of the Public Policy programme and in advancing a forward-looking research agenda in the fields of digital ethics and AI and society. This will involve:
  • Carrying out original and high-quality interdisciplinary research by contributing to existing funded projects and by pursuing your own research passions and interests in the fields of digital ethics or AI and society
  • Assisting the Public Policy programme in its public sector advisory capacity by forming strong relationships with government partners and by initiating values-based conversations on policy direction and innovation
  • Developing and leading on the Ethics Theme’s public engagement work with a focus on ensuring that the voices of those individuals and communities most impacted by AI and ML innovations are heard
  • Participate in knowledge exchange activities as appropriate. This may include:
  • Representing the Turing at external conferences and events
  • Working with the Institute’s Communications team to ensure that the Turing’s ethics research is effectively promoted in the mainstream media
  • Working in close coordination with other members of the Public Policy programme to maximise the programme’s influence on ongoing policy debate



  • A PhD or equivalent experience in a discipline that provides suitable theoretical tools for understanding the ethical issues raised by data science, ML, AI, and other digital technologies, as well as their social implications. This degree may either be in a discipline of the humanities and social sciences or in an academic field directly related to the technical aspects of digital innovation such as computer science, HCI, robotics, or statistics;
  • Experience in applied ethics research and/or technology policy, e.g. computing ethics, business ethics, biomedical ethics, environmental ethics, or the regulation of technology, within organisational contexts such as ethics committees, ethics review boards, governmental agencies, the third sector, academia or private industry;
  • A record of scientific publication, which may include journal articles, book chapters, and policy reports/white papers, that is suitable to career stage;
  • A proven ability to communicate research and advocate policy at multiple levels and to diverse audiences;
  • An interest in the mission of The Alan Turing Institute, and in exploring the real-world impact of cutting-edge technology.


  • Experience in a policy environment, such as an international organisation, government agency, think tank, or learned society; or experience in a tech company or consultancy;
  • Experience in setting up research collaborations involving multiple stakeholders and in grant proposal writing;
  • Experience in understanding and communicating technical aspects of digital innovation such as the machine learning lifecycle, AI interpretability, cyber-physical systems, privacy-enhancing technologies, data supply chains, edge computing, cloud platforms, and other emerging digital technologies.

Other information


If you are interested in this opportunity, please click the apply button below. You will need to register on the applicant portal and complete the application form including your CV; covering letter that outlines how you meet the job specifications; a list of publications as well as a sample piece of writing (a journal article, conference proceeding, book chapter, or equivalent); and contact details for two referees.

If you have questions about the role or would like to apply using a different format, please contact them on 020 3862 3575, or email [email protected].



This full-time post is offered on a permanent basis. The annual salary for this post is £45,000-£50,000 (dependent on skills and experience) plus excellent benefits, including flexible working and family friendly policies,

This job description is written at a specific time and is subject to change as the demands of the Institute and the role develop. The role requires flexibility and adaptability and the post holder needs to be aware that they may be asked to perform tasks and be given responsibilities not detailed in this job description.


The Alan Turing Institute is committed to creating an environment where diversity is valued and everyone is treated fairly. In accordance with the Equality Act, we welcome applications from anyone who meets the specific criteria of the post regardless of age, disability, ethnicity, gender, gender reassignment, marital and civil partnership status, pregnancy, religion or belief or sexual orientation. Reasonable adjustments to the interview process can also be made for any candidates with a disability.

Please note all offers of employment are subject to continuous eligibility to work in the UK and satisfactory pre-employment security screening which includes a DBS Check.

Full details on the pre-employment screening process can be requested from [email protected].