TILT therefore seeks a postdoctoral researcher able to work at the intersection of data and social science. The successful candidate will either start from technical knowledge of algorithms and machine learning and possess demonstrated interest and capacity in relation to broader questions of societal fairness and justice, or will be a social scientist or philosopher with a demonstrated capacity to understand the technical questions involved in automated decisionmaking and machine learning. They will conduct research as part of a collaboration between TILT and the Data Science Centre Tilburg, and will also collaborate with the Jheronimus Academy of Data Science (JADS), a joint venture between Tilburg and Eindhoven universities situated in 's-Hertogenbosch. This research will be both conceptual and applied, and will have an international as well as a Dutch focus. A central component of this position will be interdisciplinary translation: the researcher will work and communicate within different academic communities and should have strong writing and communication skills. This position is aligned with Tilburg University’s broader work on responsibility in data science, and the researcher will also participate in research under the programme line ‘Responsible Data Science’ (https://www.vsnu.nl/files/documenten/Domeinen/Onderzoek/DigitaleSamenleving/VSNU%20Digital%20Society%20Research%20Agenda.pdf)
The successful candidate
- has a PhD in either a technical field relating to data science and algorithmic decisionmaking, or in Science and Technology Studies (STS), philosophy, law or relevant social scientific field;
- has demonstrable ability and interest in the translation and communication of research findings between the technical and social scientific/humanities communities;
- has strong communication and writing skills, including publications commensurate with the stage at which the candidate finds themself in their career but which are indicative of a strong ability to publish in the best academic journals;
- has experience with or is interested in working in an interdisciplinary environment (affinity and experience should be evident from the candidate’s education or past performance in teaching, research or publications);
- a ‘BKO qualification’ for those applicants currently working at a Dutch University is considered as an advantage;
- has perfect command of English. Knowledge of Dutch or willingness to learn within a reasonable period of time may be one of the conditions for future opportunities at Tilburg University.
Tilburg University is rated among the top of Dutch employers and has excellent terms of employment. The selected candidate will be assigned a position that is in accordance with his previous education and experience. He/she will initially be appointed for a fixed period of three years.
Depending on the candidate’s experience and development the periods preceding the evaluations, promotion to associate professor may follow during or after this period upon additional positive evaluation.
Selected candidates will be ranked in the Dutch university employment system (UFO). Depending on the candidates’ experience, the starting gross salary will vary between € 3.475,- and € 4.757,- per month (for a full-time
Assistant Professorship appointment) based on scale 11 of the Collective Labour Agreement (CAO) Dutch Universities. Foreigners (and long-term Dutch expats) can apply for tax-free allowance of 30% of their taxable salary for a maximum duration of 8 years (this increases net salary by ca. 15%).
With approximately 50 staff members the Tilburg Institute for Law, Technology, and Society (TILT) is a multidisciplinary center at Tilburg University specializing in research and education in the field of technology regulation. TILT is one of the largest and most innovative European research centers in technology regulation. It is an independent management unit within Tilburg Law School, a research-led, specialized university that is rated among the best in Europe.
TILT invites applications for a postdoctoral position in the field of algorithmic discrimination and fairness.
The increasing ubiquity of data analytics is leading to the introduction of data-driven prediction and decisionmaking across many domains, from the commercial to the governmental. This emerging role in both commercial and societal processes, and its frequent opacity to those it impacts, also creates an urgent need for the capacity to analyse the fairness of such decisionmaking from a societal as well as a computational perspective. However, this raises a problem of interdisciplinary understanding: while the technical processes of building systems and models are driven largely by technical knowledge, the analysis of those systems and models’ social impacts is largely conducted through social scientific and applied philosophical inquiry.
If we address algorithmic discrimination as emergent rather than intentional, and therefore often hard to identify and evaluate (Barocas & Selbst, 2016), understanding how to promote fairness in this domain necessitates research that can scrutinse the range of systems, data uses, practices and cultures that have the potential to generate discriminatory outcomes. Given that understanding algorithmic fairness is both a technical and a normative issue, addressing it therefore entails studying dynamics of identity, power, bias and social context as well as understanding the technical construction of analytical systems and models.
Specific information about the vacancy can be obtained from Dr. Linnet Taylor (email@example.com).
Tilburg University is an equal opportunity employer. Female candidates are particularly encouraged to apply.