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Blindern og Urbygningen (Foto: Wikimedia og Colourbox)
Blindern og Urbygningen (Foto: Wikimedia og Colourbox)

PhD Fellow in Artificial Intelligence and Society: Science and Technology Studies

Deadline: 01.11.2021

Universitetet i Oslo

The University of Oslo is Norway’s oldest and highest ranked educational and research institution, with 28 000 students and 7000 employees. With its broad range of academic disciplines and internationally recognised research communities, UiO is an important contributor to society.


TIK Centre for Technology, Innovation and Culture is a cross disciplinary unit at the Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of Oslo. TIK is home to 40 staff members working in research, education and research communication in innovation and science and technology studies (STS). A major part of TIK’s activity is externally funded research. TIK also offers postgraduate education; a PhD-programme and two Master programmes. The Centre also hosts OSIRIS - Oslo Institute for Research on the Impact of Science.

Artificial Intelligence in Society: NorwAI – Norwegian Center for Artificial Intelligence Innovation

Job description

TIK Centre for Technology, Innovation and Culture, University of Oslo has a vacant three years position as PhD research fellow (SKO 1017) affiliated with the research area “Artificial Intelligence and Society”. The project is part of the Norwegian Centre for Artificial Intelligence Innovation (NorwAI), funded by the Research Council of Norway and led by prof. Susanne Bauer.The candidate will be part of NorwAI’s research area “Artificial Intelligence and Society”, involving TIK and center coordination at NTNU Trondheim as well as a larger network of partners. The candidate will be enrolled in the PhD program of the Faculty of Social Sciences and the TIK-Centre’s research training program. The purpose of the position is to complete a dissertation within the field of Science and Technology Studies (STS) that qualifies for the Ph.D. degree at the University of Oslo during the hiring period. The candidate will be part of TIK’s research group in Science, Technology and Culture (VTK) and is expected to contribute actively and productively to the research area “Artificial Intelligence in Society” as well as the broader academic and social environment at TIK. Residence in or close to Oslo during the duration of the project is thus expected.

The PhD project is linked to the part of the research area that will undertake research into the social shaping of AI and interact with partners in the innovation areas within NorwAI. The PhD candidate will be conducting research on networks of actors and digital devices and practices. In terms of methods, this may include ethnography (both on-site and digital), interviews, document analysis as well as participatory methods and public engagement.

The specific design of the PhD project, such as the choice of case, methods and theoretical framework, will depend on the candidate’s academic background and project proposal, and will be developed together with the project leader. The project may include international mobility. The position might include teaching, grading etc. at TIK in which case the project will be extended accordingly up until a maximum of 4 years.

About the project

The objective of the work package ‘AI in Society’ is to provide a better understanding of the sociomaterial transformations with the development, prototyping and implementation of AI technologies in various sectors, including transportation and media. The project will examine the formation of AI issues and knowledges, devices and procedures (such as predictive modeling, digital twins, automation), the social shaping of AI technologies, and related infrastructures. This will be done through selected case studies of AI technologies and by studying ongoing standardization processes of Standard Norge, EU, and OECD.

Qualification requirements

  • Applicants must hold a two-year Master’s degree (or equivalent qualifications) and meet the formal requirements for admittance to the Faculty’s PhD program.
  • The Master’s degree must be of high quality and within a specialization of relevance to STS research on AI. The project’s interdisciplinary approach makes a variety of academic backgrounds potentially interesting, including Science and Technology Studies (STS), Social Studies of Computing, Big Data and AI SystemsComputer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW), Innovation Studies, Social Anthropology and other interdisciplinary combinations across the Humanities and Social Sciences.
  • Applicants must document experience with and/or a well-described interest in the field of STS. In addition, applicants must document experience with a minimum of one of the following research methods: ethnography, document analysis, interviews. Experience with praxeographic fieldwork is an advantage as well as knowledge of social studies of computing, or computational anthropology.

Assessment criteria

In the assessment of applications, we will emphasize the following:

  • The project proposal’s academic quality, methodological competence, and relevance for the project.
  • The applicants’ relevance with regards to the criteria described under ‘Qualifications’ above.
  • The applicants’ academic and personal potential for fulfilling the project within the given timeframe.
  • The applicants’ skills in communication, including their sense of text and language. Personal skills: curiosity and good cooperative skills.

We offer

  • Salary NOK 491 200 – 534 400 per year, - depending on qualifications.
  • An academically stimulating working environment.
  • The possibility of undertaking a prolonged international mobility stay.
  • Attractive welfare benefits including excellent benefits for families (kindergarten, paid paternal/maternal leave etc) and a generous pension agreement. In addition, Oslo offers a family-friendly environment with its rich opportunities for culture and outdoor activities in its immediate surroundings.

How to apply

The application must include

  • Letter of application describing motivation and experience of relevance to STS research on Artificial Intelligence (max. 2 pages)
  • Project proposal (in English) describing how the applicant intends to develop a PhD project within the frame of the research area AI in Society (cf. Faculty guidelines)
  • CV
  • A copy of the master thesis and a list of other scientific publications.
  • 2-3 references (including contact information and described relation to the applicant)
  • Copy of education diploma (including explanation of degree system for education outside Scandinavia)

The application with attachments must be delivered in our electronic recruiting system, please follow the link “Apply for this job”. International applicants are advised to attach an explanation of their University's grading system. Please note that all documents should be in English (or a Scandinavian language).

Applicants may be called in for an interview.

Formal regulations

Please see the guidelines and regulations for appointments to Research Fellowships at the University of Oslo.

No one can be appointed for more than one PhD Research Fellowship period at the University of Oslo.

According to the Norwegian Freedom of Information Act (Offentleglova) information about the applicant may be included in the public applicant list, also in cases where the applicant has requested non-disclosure.

The appointment may be shortened/given a more limited scope within the framework of the applicable guidelines on account of any previous employment in academic positions.

The University of Oslo has an agreement for all employees, aiming to secure rights to research results etc.

Inclusion and diversity are a strength. The University of Oslo has a personnel policy objective of achieving a balanced gender composition. We also want to have employees with diverse expertise, combinations of subjects, life experience and perspectives. We will make adjustments for employees who require this.

If there are qualified applicants with special needs, gaps in their CVs or immigrant backgrounds, we will invite at least one applicant in each of these groups to an interview.

Contact information

Apply for this job

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