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Job offer: Social Science Research Fellow for Women in Data Science and AI

07.02.2019 11:27 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

The Alan Turing Institute

Deadline: February 28, 2019

The Alan Turing Institute is the UK’s national institute for data science and artificial intelligence. The Institute is named in honour of the scientist Alan Turing and its mission is to make great leaps in data science and artificial intelligence research in order to change the world for the better.

Public Policy Programme

The public policy programme works alongside policymakers to explore how data-driven public service provision and policy innovation might solve long-running ‘wicked’ policy problems and to develop the ethical foundations for the use of data science and artificial intelligence in policy-making.

Our aim is to contribute to the Institute’s mission - to make great leaps in data science and artificial intelligence research in order to change the world for the better - by developing research, tools, and techniques that have a positive impact on the lives of as many people as possible.

As part of our work, the public policy programme has launched a new research project, focused on the role and impacts of women’s representation in data science and AI and how data-driven insights can be used to inform policy and enhance gender equality.

Women in Data Science and AI

Digital technologies, data science and AI have diverse and far-reaching implications for the lives of individuals and the functioning of societies. It is imperative for women to be equal partners in developing the algorithms, setting the research agendas, and building the applications underpinned by data science and AI. Nevertheless, at the moment, women are underrepresented in data science and AI professions. With the goal of remedying this issue, the Alan Turing Institute has established the research project Women in Data Science and AI.

This project will carry out multidisciplinary research to answer the following questions:

  • Why are there so few women in data science and AI professions?
  • What interventions would help increase the number and influence of women in data science and AI?
  • What impacts does the gender deficit have, for example in setting the research agenda and driving the applications of data science and AI?

Both quantitative and qualitative research will be used to inform our understanding of the gender gap in data science and AI and generate new actionable insights and recommendations to tackle it. We are recruiting for two roles. One Research Fellow will focus on quantitative research, and one Research Fellow will focus on the qualitative aspects of the work. This advertisement is for the qualitative Research Fellow, who is expected to have a social science background.

Ultimately, the goal of the Women in Data Science and AI research project is to increase women’s participation in these fields and ensure that women’s perspectives and priorities inform the insights that data scientists generate, the algorithms that they build, and the research agendas that they define.

The Role

The Alan Turing Institute is recruiting a full-time postdoctoral scholar to work in the public policy programme. The scholar will focus entirely on the Women in Data Science and AI research project, applying social science and quantitative research techniques to study the participation and role of women in these fields.

The Research Fellow will investigate:

  • Why women do not enter or do not remain in data science and AI. Research should bring forth new evidence and analysis of issues such as gender bias in hiring, career progression path, gender pay gap, lack of mentorship, and male-dominated office culture.
  • How gender deficit in these fields shapes the research agenda, insights and applications of new data-driven technologies. Such impacts could manifest themselves in a myriad of ways, including the interaction between the values and beliefs of technology creators and the technology products themselves, incorporation of bias within technology applications, the setting of research agendas, and representation of women-specific issues within such agendas.

Research should translate into concrete recommendations and policy measures aimed at increasing the number of women in data science and AI professions.

The successful candidate will join the Institute’s public policy programme and will play an important role in shaping and executing the programme’s research into the role of women in Data Science and AI. The Research Fellow will be able to work closely with academics and policy-makers in an interdisciplinary, dynamic and collaborative environment.

Duties and Responsibilities

The core functions of the post-doctoral Research Fellow are as follows:

  • Carry out a systematic review and synthesis of existing work in this field and work with other members of the project team to lay out a research agenda for the Women in Data Science and AI project.
  • Work with the public policy programme’s leadership team to develop an innovative research strategy and carry out original research to analyse the factors influencing female representation, as well as the position and role of women in data science and AI. Research should ultimately contribute actionable insights to improve gender imbalances in the data science and AI fields.
  • Serve as a key link within the Turing’s academic community, as well as with external partners in the policy and gender equality space.
    • Externally, the Research Fellow will build and maintain relationships with external stakeholders as part of the public policy programme’s external engagement strategy. In particular, the Fellow will meet with external partners to identify common areas of interest, resources and partnerships.
    • Internally, the Fellow will collaboratively set the intellectual direction of the research on factors influencing the position of women in data science and AI, will identify relevant academics from the Turing community to collaborate with where relevant, and will develop and implement work-plans to ensure timely delivery of objectives.
  • Participate in knowledge exchange activities as appropriate. This may include:
  • Preparing research outputs that are tailored to a diverse audience, ranging from policy-makers to researchers, civil society and the general public.
  • Working with the Turing’s Communications team to ensure that the Turing’s research is effectively promoted in the mainstream media.
  • Working in close coordination with other members of the public policy programme to maximise the programme’s influence on ongoing policy debates.
  • Representing the Turing at external conferences and events.
  • Collaborate with other researchers within the Women in Data Science and AI project, and the Alan Turing Institute in general, as appropriate.

Person Specification

The successful candidate will have:

  • Essential
    • PhD or equivalent experience that provides suitable theoretical tools to understand the socio-economic and/or political issues raised in the context of women’s role in data science and AI. Possible fields of study include sociology, social psychology, science and technology studies, gender studies, management and organisation studies, political science, public policy, or other relevant fields;
    • Demonstrable knowledge of research on gender, diversity and organisational dynamics;
    • Demonstrable understanding of gender equality issues and policy;
    • Demonstrably strong methodological and theoretical foundations and experience doing fieldwork or data collection at the intersection of technology and society;
    • A proven ability to communicate research and advocate policy at multiple levels and to diverse audiences;
    • A record of scientific publications, which may include journal articles, book chapters, policy reports / white papers;
    • An interest in the mission of the Alan Turing Institute and in exploring and promoting the role of women in data science and AI.
  • Desirable
    • Experience in a policy environment, such as in international organisations, government agencies, think tanks, or learned societies; or experience in tech companies or consultancies;
    • Experience in setting up research collaborations involving multiple stakeholders;
    • Experience with research planning and management, i.e. as part of committees or working groups, workshop organisation, etc.;
    • Ability to communicate research outputs across a diverse set of audiences and in a diverse range of settings, including conferences, workshops, roundtables, etc..

Terms and Conditions

This is a fixed-term position for a period of 2 years. The annual salary offered is £45,000 - £50,000, dependent on skills & experience. The post will be held primarily at the Institute’s site at the British Library, Euston Road, London. A competitive benefits package is also available.

Application procedure

If you are interested in this opportunity, please apply to by submitting:

  • your CV;
  • a cover letter that outlines how you meet the person specification;
  • a one-page proposal outlining what you see as the key issues/research questions you would like to pursue, methodology, and implications for the Women in Data Science and AI project,
  • publications (two journal articles, conference proceedings, book chapters, or equivalent writing samples); and contact details for two referees.

If you have questions or would like to discuss the role further with a member of the Institute’s HR Team, please contact them on 0203 862 3394 or email

Closing Date for Applications: 28 February 2019

Interviews: 11 March 2019.

The Alan Turing Institute is committed to creating an environment where diversity is valued and everyone is treated fairly. In accordance with the Equality Act, we welcome applications from anyone who meets the specific criteria of the post regardless of age, disability, ethnicity, gender, gender reassignment, marital and civil partnership status, pregnancy, religion or belief or sexual orientation. Reasonable adjustments to the interview process can also be made for any candidates with a disability.

Please note all offers of employment are subject to continuous eligibility to work in the UK and satisfactory pre-employment security screening which includes a DBS Check.

Full details on the pre-employment screening process can be requested from



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