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Studentship – Work, Interaction and Trustworthy AI


  King’s Business School

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 Funded PhD Programme (Students Worldwide)

About the Programme

King’s Business School have a three year, fully funded PhD studentship (fees and stipend) available to support research concerned with autonomous systems, work and interaction. The studentship is part of a large collaborative project is funded by the UKRI and involves partners from the Department of Informatics Department. Law and the Policy Institute at King’s College London and the Universities of Southampton and Nottingham (UKRI’s Trustworthy Autonomous System Hub).

The successful candidate will be expected to undertake qualitative, in-depth, studies of of organisations that are either using or seeking to use autonomous systems (i.e. artificial intelligence, machine learning or robotics). These studies could be in a range of different settings. Examples could be:

·     Examining the deployment and use of artificial intelligence decision making systems for fund management and auditing;

·     Understanding the ways in which robots transform interaction and medical practice in surgery;

·     Exploring the consequences for using image recognition systems to automatically identify incidents;

·     Analysing the interactions between robot tour guides and visitors to museums and galleries;

·     Understanding the use of AI assistants in the workplace or chatbot assistants in video-mediated communication;

·     Considering the potential for artificial intelligence systems to support the analysis of real-world interactions;

·     Developing methods for assessing the trustworthiness of interactions with prototype autonomous systems;

The successful candidate will be part of the Work, Interaction and Technology (WIT) group at King’s College and of the FinWorkFutures Research Centre in King’s Business School. The WIT Group is concerned with social interaction in organisational settings, examining the ways in which tools, technologies and artefacts feature in communication and collaboration. We would be particularly interested in candidates who will undertake naturalistic studies of work and interaction that draw on ethnographic and video-based methods. The activities of FinWorkFutures centre around the future of work in various financial spheres, e.g. cryptocurrency, audit, financial analysis, fund management. The usage of technology and the development of socio-technical systems within financial spheres are of particular interest. These phenomena tend to be interpreted from an economic sociology standpoint.

Depending on the topic and background of the PhD topic there is the possibility for the candidate will be jointly supervised by academics in King’s Business School and another faculty involved in the TAS Hub (Informatics or Law). This will provide a unique opportunity for developing a distinctive approach to the research.

The successful candidate will begin in September 2022.

Trustworthy Autonomous System Hub

The UKRI Trustworthy Autonomous Systems (TAS) Hub is concerned with the industrial and societal benefits of Autonomous Systems. They must be trustworthy by design and default, judged both through objective processes of systematic assurance and certification, and via the more subjective lens of users, industry, and the public. The Hub sits at centre of the Trustworthy Autonomous Systems programme, funded by the UKRI Strategic Priorities Fund. The role of the TAS Hub is to coordinate and work with six research nodes, and act as the “shop window” for the TAS programme nationally and internationally.

The TAS Hub consists of a team from the Universities of Southampton, Nottingham, and King’s College London. The TAS hub will establish a collaborative platform for the UK to deliver world-leading best practices for the design, regulation and operation of ‘socially beneficial’ autonomous systems which are both trustworthy in principle, and trusted in practice by individuals, society and government. The Hub adheres to a set of Guiding Principles that defines its approach to Responsible Research and Innovation and Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion.

Application Information 

Early applications are encouraged. Applicants are strongly advised to contact the supervisor Professor Paul Luff () or Professor Crawford Spence () to discuss their interest. 

Formal applications should include a brief (1-2 page) description of your proposed topic of study, mentioning the settings you would be interested in studying and how your research would relate to issues trustworthy autonomous systems. 

Application Procedure 

To be considered for the position candidates must apply via King’s Apply online application system by the 10st of January 2022.

Please indicate the supervisor and quote 'PhD studentship in Trustworthy Autonomous Systems' in your application and all correspondence.  

Please contact if you have any queries regarding the application procedure.


Funding Notes

Some or all of the PhD opportunities in this programme have funding attached. Applications for this programme are welcome from suitably qualified candidates worldwide. Funding may only be available to a limited set of nationalities and you should read the full programme details for further information.
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