PhD Candidate: The Ethical and Societal Implications of AI in Education

Updated: 4 months ago
Deadline: 11 Jun 2023

0.8 - 1.0 FTE

Gross monthly salary
€ 2,541 - € 3,247

Required background
Research University Degree

Organizational unit
Faculty of Philosophy, Theology and Religious Studies

Application deadline
11 June 2023

Apply now

Do you have a keen interest in education, research and intelligent technologies? Do you want to be part of a team that works on ethical and responsible AI for education? The National Education Lab for Artificial Intelligence (NOLAI in Dutch) at Radboud University develops innovative and intelligent technologies aimed at improving the quality of primary and secondary education. Over the next ten years, NOLAI will team up with schools, research and applied sciences universities and companies to create new innovative prototypes of AI in education. As a PhD candidate, you will work together with educational professionals, researchers and technologists to integrate ethics into the development process of AI and create responsible educational AI.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is playing a growing role in Dutch education as it is believed to be crucial in improving the quality of teaching. However, such AI technologies are not just passive, neutral tools that are used to fulfil pre-defined functions. The introduction of AI in primary and secondary education and the interaction with AI may destabilise core educational values (such as good pedagogy, equal opportunities and collaboration) as well as public values which are important in the educational sector (such as autonomy, justice and humanness), with unknown consequences. In this PhD project, you will critically study the ethical and societal consequences of AI in education. You will be able to shape the project in a unique way matching your interests and background.
You will be part of NOLAI's ethics team that is led by Prof. Tamar Sharon (PhD supervisor) and Dr Marthe Stevens (co-supervisor). The ethics team will work on integrating ethics into educational AI development by using embedded ethics approaches. This means that throughout your research you will interact with teachers, researchers and technology developers to address ethical issues in an iterative and continuous process.
NOLAI's scientific programme supports the development of AI prototypes in education and creates the preconditions necessary for a successful dialogue between schools, scientists and companies. The aim of the scientific programme is to gain insight into the pedagogical, technical, societal and ethical consequences of AI in education. It examines the opportunities and risks of intelligent technologies, based on the premise that, although AI can be a useful tool for teachers and students, it also comes with some ethical challenges that need to be identified and addressed at the development level.

  • You should hold an MA/MSc degree in the philosophy of technology, science and technology studies or a related field.
  • You have a proven interest in the ethics of technological innovations.
  • You have an interest or experience in the field of education.
  • You have an interest in or experience with qualitative research methods, including interviews, participatory observations, the organisation of focus groups and workshops.
  • You are proficient in English as well as Dutch.
  • You are highly motivated to conduct interdisciplinary research and interested in collaborating with teachers, industry stakeholders and technology developers.
  • You have good collaborative and communication skills.

We are

The National Education Lab for Artificial Intelligence (NOLAI) is a collaborative effort of schools, research and applied sciences universities and companies to develop prototypes for primary and secondary education over the coming ten years. With these prototypes, it will be possible to meet the increasing demand for responsible learning materials and intelligent technologies. Alongside its scientific programme (engaging researchers and data scientists), NOLAI has a co-creation programme in place (in which education, science and business collaborate on projects). In total, about 30 to 40 people will be working at NOLAI and many more people will be involved in carrying out the various projects.


You will be embedded at the Department of Ethics and Political Philosophy at the Faculty of Philosophy, Theology and Religious Studies . This faculty is a compact, ambitious organisation with eight academic departments, over 160 staff,  and more than 1,000 students. Our educational programme includes several top-notch courses in in-depth disciplinary fields of study as well as interdisciplinary and interfaculty studies. The Faculty has innovative educational and research programmes with a strong focus on current social issues.


You will also be affiliated with iHub , Radboud University's interdisciplinary hub for digitalisation and society. iHub brings together researchers from various disciplines, including philosophy, computer science, law and social sciences, and focuses on the promotion of public values in digital society.

Radboud University

We want to get the best out of science, others and ourselves. Why? Because this is what the world around us desperately needs. Leading research and education make an indispensable contribution to a healthy, free world with equal opportunities for all. This is what unites the more than 24,000 students and 5,600 employees at Radboud University. And this requires even more talent, collaboration and lifelong learning. You have a part to play!
We offer
  • It concerns an employment for 0.8 (5 year contract) - 1.0 FTE (4 year contract).
  • The gross starting salary amounts to €2,541 per month based on a 38-hour working week, and will increase to €3,247 from the fourth year onwards (salary scale P ).
  • You will receive 8% holiday allowance and 8.3% end-of-year bonus.
  • You will be employed for an initial period of 18 months, after which your performance will be evaluated. If the evaluation is positive, the contract will be extended by 2.5 years (4 year contract) or 3.5 years (5 year contract).
  • You will be able to use our Dual Career and Family Care Services . Our Dual Career and Family Care Officer can assist you with family-related support, help your partner or spouse prepare for the local labour market, provide customized support in their search for employment and help your family settle in Nijmegen.
  • Working for us means getting extra days off. In case of full-time employment, you can choose between 30 or 41 days of annual leave instead of the legally allotted 20.

Additional employment conditions
Work and science require good employment practices. This is reflected in Radboud University's primary and secondary employment conditions . You can make arrangements for the best possible work-life balance with flexible working hours, various leave arrangements and working from home. You are also able to compose part of your employment conditions yourself, for example, exchange income for extra leave days and receive a reimbursement for your sports subscription. And of course, we offer a good pension plan. You are given plenty of room and responsibility to develop your talents and realise your ambitions. Therefore, we provide various training and development schemes.
Would you like more information?
For questions about the position, please contact dr. Marthe Stevens, leader of ethics team at .
Practical information and applying
You can apply until 11 June 2023, exclusively using the button below. Kindly address your application to Dr Marthe Stevens. Please fill in the application form and attach the following documents:
  • A letter of motivation.
  • Your CV.
  • A sample of your written work (or a link to it).
The first round of interviews will take place on Monday 19 and/or Wednesday 21 June. You would preferably begin employment on Friday 1 September.
We can imagine you're curious about our application procedure . It offers a rough outline of what you can expect during the application process, how we handle your personal data and how we deal with internal and external candidates.
Apply now Application deadline 11 June 2023

We would like to recruit our new colleague ourselves. Acquisition in response to this vacancy will not be appreciated.

Dr Stevens, M.J. (Marthe)
leader of ethics team
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Are you an internal candidate at Radboud University?

When are you an internal candidate?
You are an internal candidate if you:
  • Work at Radboud University (i.e. have an employment contract with Radboud University).
  • Are a former Radboud University employee receiving unemployment (WW/BWNU) benefits paid by Radboud University (which started less than two years ago or resulted from the discontinuation of your job/redundancy).
  • Currently work as a student employee at Radboud University through the campus employment office.
  • Work as a temporary employee at, or have been seconded to, Radboud University.

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Last modified: 22 May 2023
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