Doc­toral Re­searcher, Law

Updated: 3 months ago
Job Type: FullTime
Deadline: 11 May 2022

The University of Helsinki is among the leading multidisciplinary research universities in the world. In addition to its 11 faculties, the University includes several independent institutes, some of which are jointly operated with other universities. More than 30,000 students are currently pursuing a degree at the University of Helsinki. Read more of the University of Helsinki as an employer (https://www.helsinki.fi/en/about-us/careers ) and on good life in Helsinki (https://welcome.helsinki/welcome-to-helsinki-living-in-helsinki/#62ad6d38 ). The University of Helsinki welcomes applicants from a variety of genders, linguistic and cultural backgrounds, and minorities.

The Faculty of Law at the University of Helsinki is the leading Finnish institute of legal education. Some degrees granted by the Faculty are completed at the bilingual Vaasa Unit of Legal Studies. The Faculty’s mission is to train qualified, ethically responsible legal professionals for both the Finnish and international markets through high-quality international research and research-based teaching. The Faculty of Law offers undergraduate degrees in Finnish, Swedish and English as well as a bilingual degree in Finnish and Swedish. The Faculty has a teaching and research staff of around 120 people and 2,400 students pursuing a degree.

The appointee will be affiliated with the University of Helsinki Legal Tech Lab (https://www2.helsinki.fi/en/networks/legal-tech-lab ), a research hub located at the Faculty of Law. We are a growing vibrant international community of interdisciplinary-minded scholars. We examine the intersections of law, technology, and society. We believe that these areas of life develop hand-in-hand and co-produce each other. We study law and digitalization broadly, examining technology as object of research, but also as tools of analysis. Legal Tech Lab belongs to the global Network of Internet and Society Research Centers, other members of which include i.a. Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University and Alexander von Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society in Berlin. In addition to in-depth academic research, we value societal awareness building and knowledge mobilization so that our understanding on law, society and technology contributes to a better society.

Further local collaborative frameworks include the interdisciplinary Helsinki Institute of Humanities and Social Sciences (HSSH - https://www2.helsinki.fi/en/helsinki-institute-for-social-sciences-and-h... ) and Finnish Centre for Artificial Intelligence (FCAI - https://fcai.fi/ ). University of Helsinki’s Innovations Services (HIS - https://www.helsinki.fi/en/helsinki-innovation-services ) supports staff in commercializing their ideas.

The Faculty of Law invites applications for DOCTORAL RESEARCHER (The Automated Administration: Governance of ADM in the public sector (ADM-Gov)) for a fixed term of 12 months.

The appointee will become a group member in a new multidisciplinary joint research project (ADM-Gov - https://www2.helsinki.fi/en/networks/legal-tech-lab/adm-gov-the-automate... ) of the universities of Lund, Helsinki, Uppsala, and Södertörn on automated administration (directed at University of Helsinki by Assistant Prof. Riikka Koulu). The project combines theoretical, empirical and legal approaches to studying and analysing how good public governance can be achieved despite challenges associated with increased automation and AI systems in public decision-making. The project focuses on Sweden and Finland, two countries with similar administrative foundations as well as forerunners in digitalisation. The project aims to develop empirically grounded and theoretically enhanced recommendations for future ADM developments. The project will develop cutting-edge knowledge on, e.g., how AI systems are designed and what this means for the explainability of those decisions.

ADM-Gov analyses the legal framework for ADM in Sweden and Finland. The fundamental principles of public administration in Finland and Sweden are based on the same foundations, as expressed by the administrative law principle of good public governance. Despite similarities, there are also important differences in the administrative traditions: both in how they are specifically regulated but also in how they relate to and interpret EU law (e.g., EUCFR good administration). As tasks are increasingly delegated to automated systems, administrative legal frameworks have come under pressure. As a whole, the project seeks to highlight what aspects of the administrative laws in Finland and Sweden are ill-fitted for ADM, and what improvements are needed.

Our expectations:

The appointee must already have the right to pursue a doctoral degree at a Faculty of Law, by the start of the appointment. We recommend that the applicant has already undertaken 3-4 years of full-time doctoral studies (or equivalent) by the start of this fixed-term employment.

The appointee will tease out national legal interpretations that ultimately define the boundaries of AI/ADM use in public authorities and provide a legal scientific analysis of existing and planned legislation on ADM use in public administration in Finland. They will follow the ongoing legal reform on ADM in the public sector and a potential legislative strategy by the Ministry of Justice (government proposal expected in 2022).

In more detail, the project examines how the benefits and risks of public sector ADM are framed and taken into consideration within the legislative process by analysis of:

  • current administrative legislation,
  • the legislative documents such as government proposals and parliamentary statements,
  • expert opinions and stakeholder feedback collected during preparation.

The tasks require understanding the Finnish legal system and Finnish language. Existing knowledge on the national legal framework concerning digital administration and relevant EU law will be considered an asset. Analytical thinking, accuracy and intellectual curiosity will be appreciated. Previous experience of publishing in scientific journals, interdisciplinary work, and working in groups will be considered assets. The appointee must be able to carry out independent research work after initial induction, in addition to working well as a team member following the overarching ADM-Gov research plan. Good written and verbal communication skills are required and very good or excellent oral and written proficiency in English is expected as it will be the main working language. A good command of other European languages is considered an advantage.

What we offer:

The appointee’s duties will include conducting research and providing teaching in the field of law, technology and society (5-10% of working time) as well as other activities at the Faculty and the University of Helsinki Legal Tech Lab. At least 90% of working time is reserved for research deploying the ADM-Gov research plan.

The salary will be based on level 2-4 of the demands level chart for teaching and research personnel in the salary system applied in Finnish universities. In addition, the appointee will be paid a salary component based on personal work performance. The salary range will be €2350–3059 per month, depending on the merits and experience of the appointee. There will be a six-month trial period for the position.

How to apply:

The application must contain the following enclosures (in English):

  • An application written by the applicant, indicating the applicant’s interest in conducting research, as well as expertise and teaching experience related to the research field
  • A curriculum vitae
  • A list of publications
  • A tentative research plan (max. 1 page) that relates to the theme of the project

Please also include contact details (incl. phone number) of at least two persons for references.

The application, together with the required attachments, must be submitted as one PDF file through the University of Helsinki electronic recruitment system by clicking on the link below. Applicants employed by the University of Helsinki must submit their application through SAP Fiori (https://msap.sap.helsinki.fi/flp#ZEREC-Postings ). The closing date for applications is 11 May 2022. The appointed doctoral researcher is scheduled to start working at latest on 1st August 2022.

Further information on the position may be obtained from Dean Johanna Niemi, johanna.niemi@helsinki.fi and University of Helsinki Legal Tech Lab Research Coordinator Suvi Sankari, suvi.sankari@helsinki.fi .

Further information on the recruitment system may be obtained from rekrytointi@helsinki.fi .

Due date

11.05.2022 23:59 EEST


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