Tenure track position in AI literacies: Co-evolution of human competences and artificial intelligence

Updated: 4 months ago
Deadline: 20 Mar 2020

The University of Oulu is an international science university creating new knowledge, well-being and innovation for the future through multidisciplinary research and education. Close cooperation with research institutes, companies and the public sector has created an internationally significant research and innovation hub that has changed the world. Every day 2.6 billion people use technology developed in Oulu. In addition, the university’s multidisciplinary scientific structure offers unique possibilities for path-breaking research.

Generation Z and Beyond (GenZ) is a programme and hub designed to do world-class interdisciplinary research on strengthening human capabilities in the new digital era. The GenZ Hub includes researchers in the following faculties: Faculty of Education, Faculty of Humanities, Faculty of Information Technology and Electrical Engineering, Faculty of Science (Human geography) and Oulu Business School. The programme’s focus is important as new technologies and technological solutions (e.g. artificial intelligence, Internet of Things, virtual/augmented/mixed reality, robotics, 5G/6G) are becoming more intelligent, invisible and ubiquitous. New discoveries in the programme will build on interdisciplinary collaboration. They will provide transformative knowledge aiming to strengthen human skills and competences in all walks of life as digital technologies continue to develop. In this context, GenZ's mission is to 1) identify and describe human practices, processes and strategies that are natural to human beings and which technologies and machines lack, 2) create knowledge about the still unknown features of changing work-life, 3) strengthen intelligent behaviour of individuals, communities and ecosystems, and 4) renew research methods in human sciences to respond to new and rising questions in the GenZ area. The GenZ community in Oulu includes 24 PIs linked to three research areas: Co-evolution, Co-creation and Resilience (see http://www.oulu.fi/university/genz ). This advertised position is opened to strengthen the cluster and to fortify our key research areas and their interdisciplinary research approaches on how to strengthen human capabilities, anticipate future challenges and increase human resilience in the emerging digital era. This position will be based in the Faculty of Humanities at the University of Oulu and strengthen its existing strong research profile.

The tenure track position “AI literacies: Co-evolution of human competences and artificial intelligence” will strengthen GenZ research in the area Co-evolution.

Artificial intelligence (AI) refers to technological and digital solutions that are able to learn, act and make decisions and solve problems independently. As AI solutions develop, there is a need to strengthen AI literacies that help people manage and master their everyday lives and participate in societies. ‘AI literacies’ refers to for example the following human competences that are needed to empower humans in the emerging AI era: seeking information about AI; understanding the role of AI as part of everyday life; critically assessing the nature of information and knowledge provided by AI; learning, acting and interacting in environments that involve and utilise AI; and participating actively in the creation of human-centred and ethical AI solutions.

Applicants for this position are expected to have a background in humanities, for example in information studies and communication, philosophy, languages, or language learning. Applicants are not yet expected to have strong experience in AI-related research. However, they are expected to have proven theoretical and methodological expertise in the social nature of learning, interaction and/or communication practices and processes. They are also expected to have a strong vision of how their background would produce ground-breaking research on the competences and practices at the individual, group and/or community levels that people have and need to enhance literacies in the emerging AI era. Possible themes and questions include for example the following: How could new types of literacies enhance information processes in different professional and/or everyday contexts embedded with AI? What are the risks of new technologies as a means to generate inaccurate and misleading information? What forms of knowledge production are pivotal for the maintenance of social trust? What do such epistemological notions as ‘knowledge’, ‘information’ and ‘understanding’ mean in the context of contemporary digital and AI societies? How do humans interact, learn and/or communicate with and around AI technologies? Experience in research activities that cut across disciplinary boundaries is considered a strong merit.

The tenure track position is open to highly talented individuals who hold a doctoral degree and have excellent potential for a successful scientific career. Based on the experience and competence, the successful applicant will be placed either at the level of Assistant Professor or Associate Professor.

Salary and start-up package

The person appointed for the position will become a part of a major expansion of the university’s profiling area Generation Z and beyond: Co-evolution of human capabilities and intelligent technologies in the 21st century (GenZ, http://www.oulu.fi/university/genz ). They are expected to develop a rigorous, nationally and internationally recognized research program with extramural funding from agencies such as the Academy of Finland, the European Union and others.

The salary of an Assistant Professor will be based on levels 5 – 6 and of an Associate Professor on levels 6 – 7 of the requirement level chart for teaching and research personnel in the salary system of Finnish universities. In addition to the basic salary, supplementary salary will be given for personal achievement and performance, the sum rising to a maximum of 50% of the basic salary level for the post. The full salary is approximately 3,500 – 4,500 euros per month for an Assistant Professor and 4,000 – 5,200 euros per month for an Associate Professor.

The successful candidate will receive also full benefits provided by the University of Oulu to all its employees, including free time corresponding to holidays and free occupational health care services. The positions also include a start-up package for establishing a research team, which will be negotiated with the successful applicant and be dependent on the applicant’s career level.

Selection criteria and procedure

A person appointed to the tenure track position must have a doctoral degree, high-level scientific competence and an ability to provide high-level research-based teaching. In addition to this, depending on the applicant’s career stage, attention will be given to the successful applicant’s experience in leading scientific research, supervising theses, participate in international co-operation projects in his/her field of expertise.

Candidates will be evaluated according to their career stage taking into consideration:

a)      Their potential to establish or currently have a vigorous externally funded research program,

b)      Highly visible scientific publications or other merits with scientific value,

c)      Demonstrated international collaboration and activeness of the applicant in the international scientific community,

d)      Demonstration of interdisciplinary research projects and capabilities,

e)      A demonstrated capacity for thinking broadly across disciplines, ability and experience in mentoring and supervising undergraduate, graduate (MA, M.Ed., M.Sc. & Ph.D.) and postdoctoral scientists, and

f)       Teaching experience and pedagogic training, ability to produce teaching material, other merits as a teacher and teaching demonstrations.

The selection procedure will be carried out by a Recruitment Committee according to the University of Oulu Tenure Track guidelines. Shortlisted candidates will be evaluated by other academic experts outside the University of Oulu.

The selection criteria for the two career levels are detailed as follows:

Assistant Professor: The position of an Assistant Professor is initially a fixed-term position for five years. The position is available for applicants who have finished their doctoral dissertation less than ten years ago and are advancing towards a professional research career. The selection criteria for an assistant professor are the following:

  • Research potential and merit applicable to the position to date (publications, especially internationally refereed publications; participating in acquiring external funding/funding granted; connections with the international community in the field);
  • Experience of working in different institutions including international professional experience;
  • Demonstrable development of skills is the prerequisite for a continuation period.

Associate Professor: The position of an Associate Professor is initially a fixed-term position for five years with potential for extension after an evaluation. The selection criteria for an associate professor are the following:

  • Publications on an international level: dissemination, quality of the publication forums, references to the publications;
  • Active role in research training;
  • Acquisition of external funding;
  • Working in more than one research facility during one’s career (in most fields represented at the University of Oulu this signifies working abroad);
  • An active role in the international scientific community;
  • Acknowledgements and awards.

How to apply

Please submit your application and relevant enclosures through our online recruitment system latest on 20 March 2020. The application should be written in English and include the following documents:

1)      a letter of application (motivation letter)  with contact information, stating the career level on which the person would like to be evaluated at

2)      Curriculum vitae following the guidelines of the Finnish Advisory Board on Research Integrity: http://www.tenk.fi/en/template-researchers-curriculum-vitae

3)      a list of publications following the guidelines of the Academy of Finland (https://www.aka.fi/en/funding/apply-for-funding/az-index-of-application-guidelines/list-of-publications/ ) with the ten most important ones marked

4)      a brief account of research merits (max. 1 page)

5)      a brief account of teaching merits or a teaching portfolio (max. 2 pages)

6)      details regarding the acquisition of research funds

7)      a brief research and action plan (max. 3 pages)

8)      contact details of 3 persons from whom recommendations would be available

The employment will begin in the autumn of 2020 or as agreed. A six-month trial period will be applied in the positions.

For further information:

Questions concerning the project’s research focus and its activities, please contact the project’s director, Prof. Pentti Haddington, Faculty of Humanities, Languages and Literature Research Unit, pentti.haddington(at)oulu.fi, phone: +358 (0)50 341 0347 or Dean Paula Rossi, Faculty of Humanities, Language and Literature Research Unit, paula.rossi(at)oulu.fi, phone: +358 (0)29 448 3403.

Questions concerning the application process and its schedule, please contact the project’s coordinator Lotta Haukipuro, lotta.haukipuro(at)oulu.fi, phone: +358 (0)29 448 3279.

About the City of Oulu

The City of Oulu is Northern Finland’s largest and oldest city, with a population of over 200,000. Located in the Gulf of Bothnia in the Oulu River delta, the city has good access from anywhere. Oulu is a very safe and family friendly community with one of the highest qualities of life in all of Scandinavia. This modern city with a beautiful harbor and market area offers plenty of cultural activities as well as opportunities for exploring the northern nature. Open space and parks can be found all along the Oulu River and throughout the area and they are easily accessed by bike – the favorite mode of transport in Oulu. There is an entire range of outdoor and sports facilities to choose from, not forgetting Finland’s biggest spectator sport, ice hockey. Winter is a season that is highly celebrated and lit bike trails and bridges bring the city alive. As the world’s northernmost tech hub, Oulu has a highly educated and innovative workforce and the University has a strong role in the community. Oulu is a marvelous place to live, work and enjoy a vibrant academic community. Welcome to the home of science with Arctic Attitude!

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