PhD Scholarship in Informatics at University of Gothenburg

University of Gothenburg, Sweden is inviting excellent students to apply for a PhD position in artificial intelligence. This position is available for four years. The deadline to apply is January 29, 2020.

We invite applications for one PhD student placement in Informatics to work on the project "Trust and Competence in the Age of Artificial Intelligence". The position will be located at the Department of Applied Information Technology, IT Faculty. Informatics is a design-oriented subject in the area between technology and social science. The research within the subject is aimed at developing theories and concepts to describe, understand and develop IT use, but also to design innovative applications in different areas. Topics in informatics focus on aspects of design, organization and use of IT at both an individual, organizational, and social level.

At the Department of Applied Information Technology development of the individual's knowledge and ability to analyze, understand and handle the digitalization of society, different aspects of IT,interaction between people and interaction between people and technology areat focus.

Our research and postgraduate education is conducted in a wide area linked to the digitalization of society, which ranges from Artificial Intelligence, blockchain, and digital innovation via Internet of Things, mobile communication and robots to IT in schools and teaching.

Our researchers are successfully in receiving research funding and has many different national and international research projects ongoing.

We have approximately 30 doctoral students in the areas of informatics, IT and learning, cognitive science and communication. The doctoral program is affiliated to the research school in educational science at the University of Gothenburg (CUL) and the national research school in Management and IT (MIT). Each year, an internal two-day doctoral conference is held. The department is located at the knowledge-intensive Lindholmen, and has a well-developed collaboration with both business and public sector as well as the civil society.

The Division of Informatics consists of approximately thirty researchers who work specifically on issues related to digital innovation, open innovation, digital platforms and digitalization of the public sector. The researchers are regularly published in international top journals.

All teaching at the division’s program, Master in Digital Leadership and the Bachelor’s programme System Science reflect the strong research environment. In both research and education, the division has a long tradition of working closely with industry and the public sector. The division hosts the Swedish Center for Digital Innovation, SCDI, and also offers contract teaching. The PhD placement is attached to the Wallenberg Foundation funded project Professional Trust and Autonomous Systems. The aim of this project is to generate insights in to how trust in machine learning is accomplished through social learning by documenting how issues of accountability are identified and managed, and whether/how trust is re-established among professionals situated in the medical domain. The project to be completed during the period of the PhD position connects to this theme by studying the topic of professional trust broadly through the theoretical lens of ethnomethodology.

The sociologist Harold Garfinkel outlined how trust and reciprocity should be understood as requirements of concerted action. From this perspective, mutual 'trust' is a distinguishing feature of interaction. The focus of this project lies in understanding specific work practices as they involve machine learning (ML) technologies. Where new technical applications come into conflict with situated practices and/or their trust requirements, problems may ensue. This opens up for several new questions about what happens in the situation of modern-day technological advancements in ML and autonomous systems. As the constituent parts and training data comprising many ML systems are often opaque to its users, professionals will face new challengesnew embedded assumptions may be imported through ML applications which in turn may challenge professional competences. How will such alterations in underlying assumptions affect the professional's situated understandings of how work should proceed as an accountable and intelligible matter? And how are issues of anomalies and artefacts identified and resolved?

The above issues point to the need for a deepened understanding of the concrete conditions of these challenges as practical and situated matters. The first aim of the PhD project is to follow and document practices where ML algorithms are developed and/or implemented. In the tradition of social studies of science, and more specifically laboratory and hybrid studies, the project will account for the practices sociologically and ethnographically. This will involve an examination that requires a deep familiarity with the details of the techniques and practices involved. The second aim of the PhD project is to develop an analytical perspective on the socio-technical materials of machine-learning-in-practice and to contribute with theoretical advances. In line with notions such as human-algorithm reconfigurations, this will involve revisiting concepts theorizing the agentive functions of ML technologies in relation to professional competence and trust.

As a PhD Candidate, the successful applicant will contribute to the overall project while taking responsibility for series of sub-studies published in international venues that will form their dissertation.

The successful applicant will apply for admission to a third cycle education in informatics culminating in a PhD exam. This education runs for four years of full-time studies equivalent to 240 HEC, comprised of thesis work and academic education i.e. course work and literature studies. The individual research work that results in a written PhD thesis is expected to demonstrate an advance of scientific knowledge within the field of study.

The PhD student will perform their study under the supervision of a principal supervisor and one or more co-supervisors with the aim of developing the PhD student's methodological competency, analytical skills, and theoretical depth and width. The results of the study will be communicated in the form of scientific articles, conference presentations and a PhD thesis. To obtain a Degree of Doctor of Philosophy, doctoral candidates must have written and verbally defended a doctoral thesis that has been passed at a public defence (disputation), and they must also have passed the courses and examinations that are included in the study plan.

This PhD placement 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 partners 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

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.

Selection between applicants who meet the requirements will be based on an assessment of an applicant's ability to successfully complete the doctoral programme. We are looking for a strongly motivated person who can work independently, but who is also well equipped for collaboration in this multidisciplinary project. Given the project aims,its meritorious to have demonstrated interests in both the social sciences and computer science/data science.Furthermore its meritorious with qualifications in social studies of science and technology, ethnomethodology and conversation analysis, and data science.

Only individuals who have been admitted to doctoral studies can be employed as a PhD student.

Regulations regarding employment as a PhD student can be found in the ordinance SFS 1993:100. Initial employment as a PhD student may have a maximum length of one year. The employment may then be extended for maximum of two years a time. A person may be employed as a PhD student for a maximum of eight years in total. The total time of employment may not exceed what is equivalent to four years of fulltime doctoral studies.

In addition to undertaking doctoral education, the PhD student may be required to fulfil duties relating to education, research and administrative work, in accordance with the regulations of the Higher Education Ordinance. Such work cannot, before a Degree of Doctor of Philosophy has been conferred, exceed 20% of a fulltime position.

The university applies the local agreement on salaries for PhD students when setting salaries.

The placement of the admitted and employed PhD studentwill be at The Department of Applied Information Technology.

The scope of the employment of PhD students is 100 % of fulltime. The planned start date for the position is August 1st 2020 or according to agreement.

The selection, interview and assessment will be undertaken by a local recruiting group.

Those candidates that will be invited to an interview will also be asked to read a scientific article and then write a critical appraisal in English that relates the article to the project goals. This text will also be considered in the admission process.

Applications are evaluated by an admissions panel with the admission decision made by the head of department. This decision cannot be appealed.

- Regarding the PhD placement please contact Jonas Ivarsson, Senior Lecturer: +46766182473,

– Regarding the appointment procedure, please contact Emil Fgerwall dman, Human Resources Officer, +46 31 786 29 04 Union representatives at the University of Gothenburg:

In order to apply for a position at the University of Gothenburg, you have to register an account in our online recruitment system. It is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure that the application is complete in accordance with the instructions in the job advertisement, and that it is submitted before the deadline. The selection of candidates is made on the basis of the qualifications registered in the application.

The University of Gothenburg promotes equal opportunities, equality and diversity.

Applications will be destroyed or returned (upon request) two years after the decision of employment has become final. Applications from the employed and from those who appeal the decision will not be returned.


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