PhD vacancy with a focus on ethical aspects in addressing societal challenges with AI

Updated: 5 months ago
Deadline: 16 Jun 2023

18 May 2023
Job Information

Maastricht University (UM)
Research Field

Researcher Profile

First Stage Researcher (R1)

Application Deadline

16 Jun 2023 - 21:59 (UTC)
Type of Contract

Job Status

Not Applicable
Hours Per Week

Is the job funded through the EU Research Framework Programme?

Not funded by an EU programme
Is the Job related to staff position within a Research Infrastructure?


Offer Description

This is a unique 4-year PhD position for a student who is looking to make a difference. A student who wants to do research, but only with a clear societal goal. A student with an interest in ethics and politics of AI, to ensure we use new technologies in a responsible way.

Fighting poverty is now more relevant than ever, and we are looking for someone who is excited to pick up this societal challenge, together with us. The PhD-project is embedded in the Brightlands ELSA-lab Poverty and Debt , a consortium of regional partners searching for ways to use AI and data-driven technologies to help mitigate poverty and problematic debt and improve access to public services.  The goal of the PhD project is to develop and test an approach to ensure that AI applications in the domain of poverty and debt are ethically sound and societally responsible. It is crucial that in developing and testing the approach, relevant societal organizations and citizens are involved.

We offer a dynamic and challenging job in an internationally oriented organization. You will develop and carry out your PhD project at the Brightlands Institute for Smart Society, an interfaculty institute of Maastricht University that focuses on the societally beneficial development and application of digital and data driven technology. You will collaborate closely with the researchers at BISS.

In addition, you will also be affiliated the world renowned Maastricht University Science and Technology Studies Research Programme, and the graduate school of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences.

Specific Requirements

What we require

We are looking for a candidate who shares our passion and motivation, with:

  • A finished relevant Master’s Degree. Of specific interest are candidates with a background in ethics and philosophy of technology, science and technology studies, or other relevant fields in the social sciences and humanities.
  • Experience of or the willingness to develop expertise doing research that addresses the interrelationships between digital technologies (specifically AI in any of its manifestations) and their use in society.
  • Experience with or the willingness to develop expertise in qualitative methods, such as interviews or focus groups.
  • Written and spoken command of English and Dutch. In order to connect to stakeholders and set up participatory processes, understanding and speaking Dutch is crucial.

Additional Information

What we offer

  • Remuneration will be according to standard salary levels for PhD students starting with a salary of €2,325- with a yearly growth to € 2,972- gross a month (based on a full-time appointment.
  • In addition to the salary, we offer an 8% holiday allowance and an 8.3% end-of-year bonus;
  • 232 vacation hours per year for full-time employment and the possibility of expanding this slightly and additional holidays;
  • ABP pension;
  • Work life balance. For example, we offer a corporate fitness plan, a bicycle scheme, flexible working hours and partially paid parental leave.

The terms of employment at Maastricht University are largely set out in the Collective Bargaining Agreement of Dutch Universities. In addition, local provisions specific to UM apply. For more information, consult the website > About UM > Working at UM.

Selection process

Please send your application to

Interested candidates should send:

  • A letter of motivation
  • A detailed CV
  • A copy of your master thesis

After the closing date of the vacancy, you can expect a response from us within 2 weeks. The application process consists of a first round of one interview with 3 people, and if selected for round 2 a presentation for the BISS-team.

Maastricht University is committed to promoting and nurturing a diverse and inclusive community. We believe that diversity in our staff and student population contributes to the quality of research and education at UM, and strive to enable this through inclusive policies and innovative projects led by teams of staff and students. We encourage you to apply for this position.

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Additional comments

Interested in this vacancy?

Inquiries may be directed to Dr Robert Gianni, department of Philosophy/ BISS ( )

You can apply for this position by clicking the "apply now" button.

Website for additional job details

Work Location(s)
Number of offers available
Maastricht University
Postal Code
6229 EN
Paul-Henri Spaaklaan

Where to apply



Minderbroedersberg 4
Postal Code

6211 LK

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