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 PROGRAMME
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.
ETHICS OF DIGITAL TECHNOLOGIES IN THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM
Digital technologies, data science, and artificial intelligence have diverse and far-reaching implications for the lives of individuals and the functioning of communities and societies. These technologies promise myriad benefits, and public authorities are beginning to take notice. Faced with increasing budget cuts, rising service demands, and the novel challenges created by the Covid-19 pandemic, public authorities are looking to algorithmic systems to help them deliver what they see as more objective, efficient, and accessible services.
One of the most controversial domains for the application of such technologies is the criminal justice system. By now, the ethical issues and challenges associated with the use of data-driven technologies in criminal justice are well known (e.g. algorithmic decision support systems for sentencing or probation decisions; facial recognition technology). As governments begin to grapple with these challenges and explore the full scale of such technologies in practice, the Public Policy programme of The Alan Turing Institute is helping to build secure and inclusive ethical foundations while investigating the limitations of using algorithmic systems in a criminal justice context.
In order to help public authorities benefit from the growing range of data-driven technologies, the Public Policy programme is carrying out a range of research projects to assess the modernisation of the criminal justice system and the ethical challenges and requirements that arise. The primary aim of the research project is to generate new actionable insights and recommendations that promote a culture of responsible research and innovation within the criminal justice system.
The Alan Turing Institute is recruiting a full-time postdoctoral researcher to work as part of the Public Policy programme.
Depending on her or his academic training, the researcher will focus either on (1) researching the social and ethical implications of the design, development, and deployment of data-driven technologies in the criminal justice system (e.g. developing tools, practices, and frameworks for responsible research and innovation), or (2) researching the technical dimensions of the responsible design and development of algorithmic systems in the criminal justice system (e.g. developing tools and practices for fairness-aware model design or explainable and interpretable algorithmic models).
The researcher will work with the Public Policy programme, using multidisciplinary research methods to investigate key questions, such as:
Research should translate into concrete frameworks, actionable policy proposals, recommendations for regulation, policy measures, and guidelines for best practice aimed at ensuring an ethically sound use of algorithmic systems in the criminal justice sector.
The successful candidate will play an important role in shaping and conducting the Public Policy programme’s research into digital ethics in the criminal justice sector, working closely with academics and policy-makers in an interdisciplinary, dynamic and collaborative environment.
DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES
The core responsibilities of the Research Associate are as follows:
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
CLOSING DATE FOR APPLICATIONS: 19 July 2020
TERMS AND CONDITIONS
This full-time post is offered on a fixed-term basis for a period of two years. The annual salary for this post is £35,000 to £41,000 (dependent on skills and experience) plus excellent benefits, including flexible working and family friendly policies, https://www.turing.ac.uk/work-turing/why-work-turing/employee-benefits
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.
EQUALITY, DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION
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 HR@turing.ac.uk.