PhD position: Professional learning in software development teams for ethically responsible AI

Updated: 4 months ago
Deadline: 17 Dec 2023

  • Vacancies
  • PhD position: Professional learning in software development teams for ethically responsible AI

  • Key takeaways

    Software development teams need the capacity to develop software that meets technical requirements in relation to functionality and reliability, for example. In an increasing number of domains such as education and healthcare, they also need to comply with ethical principles such as transparency, fairness, non-maleficence, responsibility and privacy. There is a rising interest in considering those ethical principles in software development to avoid ethical issues, which gets tangible in the case an AI-cheating software falsely flagging innocent students[1] for example.

    To deal with ethical issues in a responsible way, professionals need to develop the skills to identify possible tensions, explore different values, and alternative development practices. Developing responsible software and AI hence requires transformative learning both on the individual and team-level. Currently, we lack insights in how this transformative learning evolves in ongoing practices and how we can better support software development teams in identifying and resolving ethical issues.

    Your job

    As a PhD-student in this project, you will work on the intersection of science and practice. Understanding and supporting professional learning for ethically responsible AI allows you to study how members of a development team address ethical issues and transform their working practices. Using a multi-method longitudinal research design, you will unravel individual and collaborative transformative learning activities and their specific drivers and triggers. Next, you will design and evaluate tools that support the development of ethical responsible software.

    You will work independently on your research while maintaining close connections with other researchers in the section of Professional Learning and Development and stakeholders from small and medium-sized software development companies. You will be expected to report and present your findings for both scientific and non-scientific audiences, such as at scientific conferences, in journal publications, and during meetings with software development. 'communities.

    Information and application

    Your application should include the following documents:

    • a cover letter (in English) which explains your interest in the position and your qualifications for it;
    • a curriculum vitae
    • a copy of your Master’s thesis or, if it is not yet available, an outline and summary of your thesis.

    Applications should be uploaded via (click twice to find vacancy). Since only three documents can be uploaded per application, please combine documents if needed.

    The application deadline is December 17th. The first round of interviews will be held in the beginning of new year. The starting date for the position is as soon as possible.

    For additional information about this position, you can contact dr. Sebastian Dennerlein ([email protected]  / ++31534899217) or prof.dr. Maaike Endedijk (+31 639270228 / [email protected])

    More information about the departments of Professional Learning & Technology can be found on the following website:

    About the department

    The department of Professional Learning & Technology is specialised in research on professional learning in and across organisations. Researchers at our department study formal and informal learning of (future) employees, including the use of technology to measure and support professional learning. Our studies often take place in the high-tech, health, and educational sector with the intention to understand, evaluate and optimize professional learning in these various contexts. We aim to understand the interactions between learning processes on the individual, team, and organizational level and design (technology based) interventions to optimize these processes. In our research group, we combine expertise from a range of disciplines (e.g., educational sciences, communication sciences, psychology, business administration). Staff members participate in the ICO research school (the Interuniversity Centre of Educational Sciences) and the Twente Graduate School.Our department is responsible for the courses of the Human Resource Development track of the Master Educational Science and Technology, and the corresponding pre-Master program.

    About the organisation

    The Faculty of Behavioral, Management and Social sciences (BMS) aims to play a key role in understanding, jointly developing and evaluating innovations in society. Technological developments are the engine of innovation. As a technical university that puts people first, we tailor them to human needs and behavior and use social engineering to integrate them into society. We also ensure adequate governance at public and private level, and robust, inclusive and fair organizational structures. We do this by developing, sharing and applying high-quality knowledge in Psychology, Business Administration, Public Administration, Communication Sciences, Philosophy, Educational Sciences and Health Sciences. Our research and education in these disciplines revolves around tackling and solving societal challenges. The research programs of BMS are closely linked to the research of the UT institutes Mesa+ Institute for Nanotechnology, TechMed Center and Digital Society Institute.

    As an employer, the Faculty of BMS offers work that matters. We equip you to create new possibilities for yourself and for our society. With us, you will become part of a leading technical university with increasing, positive social impact. We offer an open, inclusive and entrepreneurial atmosphere, in which we encourage you to make healthy choices, for example through our flexible, adaptable benefits.

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