PhD Research Fellow in digitalisation of the public sector

Updated: 4 months ago
Job Type: FullTime
Deadline: 30 Sep 2021

The University of Agder, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Information Systems, invites applications for one full-time PhD Research Fellow in Information Systems for a period of three years, alternatively four years with 25% of the time assigned to tasks at the Faculty’s discretion. The position is located in Kristiansand, Norway.

This position is linked to the AI4Users project which is funded by the Research Council of Norway (see more information below), focusing on the responsible use of Artificial Intelligence in the public sector. The project is led by the University of Agder in partnership with the University of Oslo and the Norwegian University of Science and Technology.  

The Department of Information Systems provides teaching and research at the intersection of technology, organisation and business administration. With around 45 employees (Professors, Associate Professors, Post-docs, Research Fellows and administrative staff), the department is one of the largest information systems research groups in Norway and highly regarded in the AIS community. The Department activities include work related to eHealth, Integrated Emergency Management and Digital Transformation. The candidate will be involved with activities in the Centre for Digital Transformation (CeDiT).


The candidate will participate in the research team of the AI4Users project together with other researchers from the University of Agder, the University of Oslo and the Norwegian University of Science and Technology. The project’s full title is: “AI4Users: Responsible Use of Artificial Intelligence through Design for Accountability and Intelligibility”. The AI4Users project addresses the “black box” problem and aims at contributing to the responsible use of AI in public sector services. The project takes a human-centred perspective addressing the needs of different groups, including citizens, case handlers at the operational level, middle managers and policymakers. Specifically, the project includes a) design, prototyping and assessing tools enabling different categories of non-experts to maintain insight into AI applications, b) formalisation of design knowledge generated in actionable design principles, c) empirical studies into the needs and challenges of responsible AI specific to the public sector and capacity building through collaborations between academia and the public sector nationally and internationally. The methodological approach employed is Action Design Research (ADR). ADR specifies an iterative and adaptive research process closely linked to practice. Researchers will perform observations and interviews with individuals from the different target groups to gain insights into their needs and experiences. The University of Agder team focuses particularly on the needs of Case Handlers. The aim is to perform research on tools that enable case handlers without a technical background to understand, appropriately trust, and effectively handle AI solutions. The other two partners in the project focus on the needs of citizens (Norwegian University of Science and Technology) and managers and policymakers (University of Oslo).

We are looking for a highly motivated candidate who takes an interest in developing research on responsible AI from an Information Systems perspective. We ask applicants to provide a proposal aligned with AI4Users´ overall scope and design. More information about the project is available upon request. Interested candidates are encouraged to check also the project´s website. 

Required qualifications

Further provisions relating to the position as PhD Research Fellow can be found in the Regulations Concerning Terms and Conditions of Employment for the post of Post-Doctoral Research Fellow, Research Fellow, Research Assistant and Resident.

The applicants must qualify for admission to the faculty PhD Programme in the Faculty of Social Sciences, with a specialisation within Information Systems , and must hold a master’s degree or equivalent in a relevant area of study, with an average grade of B or better. Applicants who are in the process of finishing their master’s thesis are also welcome to apply for this position.

Specific qualifications for the project are the following: the ability to apply design research approaches, knowledge and experience on user-centred design methods and prototyping techniques.

Applicants must submit a proposal whose scope lies within the scope of the abovementioned project. The proposal should comprise a maximum of ten pages in length, including the reference list. The proposal must contain a preliminary presentation of the problem area, theoretical foundation, methodological approach and planned progression for the doctoral project. The quality of the project proposal will receive a high level of consideration during the application assessment process. Fluency in written and oral English is a prerequisite.

The University, on its side, is committed to securing good supervision for successful applicants.

Desired qualifications
  • Knowledge and experience in Data Science and Machine Learning techniques is an advantage
  • Knowledge of Norwegian or another Scandinavian language is an advantage

Personal qualities

The appointee must have the ability to work in a goal-oriented, organised, focused and independent manner. During the assessment process, emphasis will be placed on the applicant’s examination results as well as any previous research and development work. UiA has signed the DORADeclaration. Relevant practical experience, personal suitability for the position and good teamwork skills will also be emphasised.

We offer
  • Professional development in a large, exciting and socially influential organisation
  • A positive, inclusive and diverse working environment
  • Modern facilities and a comprehensive set of welfare offers 
  • Membership of the Norwegian Public Service Pension Fund

More about working at UiA. 

The position is remunerated according to the State Salary Scale, salary plan 17.515, code 1017 PhD Research Fellow, NOK 491.200 gross salary per year. A compulsory pension contribution to the Norwegian Public Service Pension Fund is deducted from the pay according to current statutory provisions.

General information

UiA is an open and inclusive university. We believe that diversity enriches the workplace and makes us better. We, therefore, encourage qualified candidates to apply for the position independent of gender, age, cultural background, disability or an incomplete CV.

The successful applicant will have rights and obligations in accordance with the current regulations for the position, and organisational changes and changes in the duties and responsibilities of the position must be expected. The appointment is made by the University of Agder’s Appointments Committee for Teaching and Research Positions.

Short-listed applicants will be invited for interviews. With the applicant’s permission, UiA will also conduct a reference check before appointment. Read more about the employment process . 

In accordance with the Freedom of Information Act § 25 (2), applicants may request that they are not identified in the open list of applicants. The University, however, reserves the right to publish the names of applicants. Applicants will be advised of the University’s intention to exercise this right.


The application and any necessary information about education and experience (including diplomas and certificates) are to be sent electronically. Use the link "Apply for the position".

The following documentation must be uploaded electronically:

  • Certificates with grades
  • Master’s thesis
  • References
  • Academic work and R&D projects, as well as a list of these
  • Project description with a maximum scope of 10 pages, including the reference list.

The applicant is fully responsible for submitting complete digital documentation before the closing date.  All documentation must be available in a Scandinavian language or English.

Application deadline: 30 September 2021.


For questions about the position:

  • Professor Polyxeni Vassilakopoulou, Dept of Information Systems, e-mail
  • Professor Bjørn Erik Munkvold, Head of the PhD specialisation in information systems, e-mail  

For questions about the application process:

University of Agder

The University of Agder has more than 1400 employees and 13 000 students. This makes us one of the largest workplaces in Southern Norway. Our staff research, teach and disseminate knowledge from a variety of academic fields. Co-creation of knowledge is our common vision. We offer a broad range of study programmes in many fields. We are situated at two modern campuses in Kristiansand and Grimstad respectively.

We are an open and inclusive university marked by a culture of cooperation. The aim of the university is to further develop education and research at a high international level.

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