Visiting Senior Researcher – Gender & AI (Ada Lovelace Institute)

Nuffield Foundation

  • Team: Ada Lovelace Institute
  • Salary: Starting from £43,000 - £47,000 pa based on experience. Full time (35 hours), reduced hours considered. 24 month contract.
  • Location: Our offices are in London (Farringdon), with the ability to work from home for part of the week
  • Closing: 9:00am, 9th May 2022 BST

Job Description

The Ada Lovelace Institute (Ada) is hiring a Visiting Senior Researcher to lead a research project exploring the impacts of AI systems on gender representation, categorisation and discrimination in the UK public sector. This project will explore the literature on the discriminatory impacts that AI systems can have, with a particular focus on how these impacts can manifest in the development and implementation of algorithmic systems in the public sector.

This project fits within our programme of work around Public Sector Use of Data & Algorithms and will explore how public-sector organisations and private-sector practitioners can evaluate and assess potential discriminatory impacts of algorithmic systems.

The role

An increasing number of public-sector organisations are turning to algorithmic and data-driven systems to provide public services, recruit and hire staff, and analyse data to develop new policies. Under the UK’s Equality Act of 2010, public-sector organisations have an obligation to have ‘due regard’ to the need to: 

  • eliminate unlawful discrimination, harassment and victimisation 

  • advance equality of opportunity between different groups 

  • foster good relations between different groups. 

Enforcement of the Public Sector Equality Duty is the responsibility of the Equality and Human Rights Commission in the UK, who are developing forthcoming guidance on how this duty applies to algorithmic systems. However, there remains a critical need for more evidence-based research exploring the ways in which gender and intersectional bias discrimination may manifest in various parts of the lifecycle of an algorithmic system in the public sector. 

The role of Visiting Senior Researcher, Gender and AI, provides an excellent opportunity for a mid-career researcher to craft and execute a research project in a dynamic and energetic policy and practice-facing organisation. This is a new position created as part of our 2021-2024 strategy, which organises Ada’s research under five programmatic priorities: the Future of Regulation; Ethics & Accountability in Practice; Public Sector Use of Data & Algorithms; Biometrics; and Health Data and COVID-19 Technologies.  

To date, our Public Sector Use of Data & Algorithms programme has focused on exploring the practices of local authorities in the UK who are seeking to implement predictive analytics systems. This role will be expected to expand the focus of this work to develop and test methods, tools and practices for evaluating the impacts of public-sector algorithms on gender. 

This project is made possible by a grant from the Generation Foundation. 

For further information about the role (including details of the outputs this role will deliver, and what a typical day could look like for you), please click here to download the full job description.

About you

You are an experienced researcher or professional who may have a background researching for an academic organisation, policy department or a regulator, a tech company, research institute or charity. You are curious and passionate about the issues that arise at the intersection of technology and society, and are committed to bringing an interdisciplinary and intersectional lens to understanding them. Importantly, you’ll be comfortable taking initiative, working independently and to short deadlines at times. 

You’ll enjoy working in a team environment, willing to jump into projects and keen to explore areas of policy, technology and practice that you don’t already understand. You’ll appreciate the importance of exceptionally high standards of rigour in research, but also want to think creatively about communicating and influencing in novel ways.  

How to apply 

The closing date for applications is 09:00AM BST on Monday 9th May 2022, with interviews expected to take place in the week of 23rd May 2022. 

The online application process will ask that you complete 4 questions (no more than 250-word answers for each) relating to your background, skills, and interest in this role, as well as requiring you to upload an up-to-date copy of your CV.  The Applied platform lets you save an application and resume it ahead of submitting before the application deadline.

After the deadline closes, we will shortlist candidates and update you on whether your application was successful. Applicants moved to the interview stage should expect: 

  • We aim to give you at least a week's notice of an interview, which may involve preparing a presentation or completing a writing exercise.  

  • To participate in an hour long interview (with a panel made up of Ada staff and often an external partner), with the potential for a follow-up/second round of interviews.  

We strongly encourage applicants from backgrounds that are underrepresented in the research, policy and technology sectors (for example those from a marginalised community, those who did not go to university or had free school meals as a child). We are committed to tackling societal injustice and inequality through our work, and believe that all kinds of experiences and backgrounds can contribute to this mission. 

The Ada Lovelace Institute 

The Ada Lovelace Institute is an independent research institute funded and incubated by the Nuffield Foundation since 2018. Our mission is to ensure data and artificial intelligence work for people and society. We do this by building evidence and fostering rigorous debate on how data and AI affect people and society.  We recognise the power asymmetries that exist in ethical and legal debates around the development of data-driven technologies and seek to level those asymmetries by convening diverse voices and creating a shared understanding of the ethical issues arising from data and AI. Finally, we seek to define and inform good practice in the design and deployment of AI technologies.   

The Institute has emerged as a leading independent voice on the ethical and societal impacts of data and AI. We have built relationships in the public, private and civil society sectors in the UK and internationally. Please find details of our work here

Our research takes an interconnected approach to issues such as power, social justice, distributional impact and climate change (read our strategy to find out more), and our team have a wide range of expertise that cuts across policy, technology, academia, industry, law and human rights.  We value diversity in background, skills, perspectives, and life experiences. As part of the Nuffield Foundation, we are a small team with the practical support of an established organisation that cares for its employees.    

Removing bias from the hiring process

  • Your application will be anonymously reviewed by our hiring team to ensure fairness
  • You’ll need a CV/résumé, but it’ll only be considered if you score well on the anonymous review

Applications closed Mon 9th May 2022

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Removing bias from the hiring process

  • Your application will be anonymously reviewed by our hiring team to ensure fairness
  • You’ll need a CV/résumé, but it’ll only be considered if you score well on the anonymous review

Start your de-biased application