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Message posted on 06/05/2020

5 fully-funded PhD studentships on the Ethics of Data and Artificial Intelligence at the University of Edinburgh Deadline 12 noon, 15th May 2020

Dear cooleagues

you may be intersted in this opportunity to apply for one of five, fully-funded PhD studentships focused on the Ethics of Data and Artificial Intelligence at the University of Edinburgh

Deadline for all applications is 12 noon, 15th May 2020

The PhD studentships will support research into the ethical challenges posed by the growing use of data and artificial intelligence. Funded by global investment firm Baillie Gifford, each post offers a stipend, tuition fees and an annual research budget. Exceptional applicants from all countries are welcome.

Studentships are with Schools and researchers in different disciplines across the University. Each student will be co-supervised by an interdisciplinary team within one or more Schools while also benefiting from collaborative activities in the Edinburgh Futures Institute’s Baillie Gifford programme in the Ethics of Data and Artificial Intelligence, headed by Professor Shannon Vallor. This programme aims to cultivate multi-disciplinary skills and knowledge in the application of ethical values to data-driven technologies.

For more information, including a detailed description of the five projects and how to apply, please follow the links below.

Data Ethics Framework for Agriculture
The agricultural data sector is growing at an accelerating speed. With the encroaching use of machine learning algorithms we are moving towards an interconnected and automated farming and food data ecosystem. This PhD will develop a framework for the ethical regulation of agricultural data based on legal and ethical grounds.

Find out more here

Ethical and Social Futures of Data-Driven Education
Explore higher education as a site of data-driven innovation and ethical debate. It will be informed by three key research questions: what does the data-driven university look like? How are AI and data futures being proposed for the university, and by whom? What messages about AI, datafication, and ethics are being communicated to students, and what difference do these make to their experiences during and after university?
Find out more here

Artificial Intelligence and Ethical Decision Making in a Resource-Limited Health Care Environment
The overall aim of this PhD is to examine the role of AI in healthcare resource allocation and to produce an ethical framework, developed from empirical work, which can be broadly applied.
Find out more here

Sex Robots Among Us: Ethical and Feminist issues
Public and policy debates about sex robots and their futures are growing. However, there remains little scholarly examination of their design and innovation, human-technology interactions and regulatory futures. This PhD will build on scholarship from philosophy and science and technology studies (STS) to explore the intersections of technologies, sex, race, class and gender.
Find out more here

* Fair and Ethical Credit Decisions
Credit is an important way of improving prosperity, economic opportunity and inclusion. While data and machine learning is increasingly used at scale we will examine how we can ensure ethics are not compromised.
Find out more here

Prospective students should review the list of potential project proposals which will be advertised from week beginning Monday 6th April. Queries regarding project-specific eligibility should be directed to the relevant project lead supervisor.

General enquiries can be directed to Iwona Soppa via email:, Baillie Gifford Data & AI Ethics Programme Support Administrator.

Professor Robin Williams
Director, Institute for the Study of Science, Technology and Innovation
Science, Technology and Innovation Studies Subject Group,
School of Social and Political Sciences
The University of Edinburgh
Old Surgeon's Hall
Edinburgh EH1 1LZ
Tel: +44 131 650 6387
Fax: +44-131-650-6399
Mobile: 07925-372184
NEW BOOK: Neil Pollock and Robin Williams
How Industry Analysts Shape the Digital Future​
Published by Oxford University Press

The University of Edinburgh is a charitable body, registered in Scotland, with registration number SC005336.
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