Postdoctoral researcher in science and technology studies, surveillance studies, media studies, critical data studies or another related discipline (0.8 – 1.0 FTE)
The Tilburg Institute for Law, Technology, and Society (TILT) at Tilburg University, the Netherlands, invites applications for a 2 year postdoctoral position, with the possibility of an extension with 2 years, incase new funding is acquired. The first 2 years are in the context of an ERC-funded project “Understanding information for legal protection of people against information-induced harms” (INFO-LEG) www.infolegproject.net led by dr. Nadya Purtova (ERC Starting Grant 716971).
A growing range of information in a widening range of circumstances is becoming ‘personal data’ in the sense of European data protection law. This has to do with developments in de-anonymization moving towards perfect identifiability and increasing involvement of data in making decisions about or affecting behaviour or interests of people. The premise of the project is that all data will soon become ‘personal’ under EU data protection law, thus making data protection law the law of everything. This is not a sustainable future for data protection. If ‘personal data’ is not an adequate threshold for legal protection, what is a more appropriate trigger (or triggers)? The project is looking for proxies of legal protection instead of − or in addition to − ‘personal data’ to restructure the system of legal protection against harms induced by data processing, incorporating insights from law, economics and information studies (broadly defined). Read more on the premise of the project here https://doi.org/10.1080/17579961.2018.1452176
You will become a senior researcher in the INFO-LEG interdisciplinary team that includes legal scholars, an information studies scholar and an economist. The team will collaborate closely and leverage the individual contributions to develop a path-breaking interdisciplinary understanding of how information impacts people and how it can be regulated.
The purpose of your track is to contribute a STS, surveillance studies or another social science or humanities perspective on how data processing within modern information technologies and practices engenders negative consequences, and how restructured legal protection might address these consequences. In particular, you will be tasked with establishing how information relates to people and how it may be conceptualized, classified, categorized, etc. in a relevant way through study of literature (including various theories of information) and empirical analysis of information processing technologies and practices in three case studies: smart cities, smart grid, and online advertising.
You will be the primary researcher within the ‘information studies’ track of the project.
Your tasks will include:
- Design research in your track, refine methods appropriate to achieve the purposes of the track, which should include conceptual and empirical research (the project involves 3 case studies and interviews);
- Report on the progress and results of research to the team leader;
- Contribute to the project deliverables;
- Contribute to policy recommendations resulting from the project;
- Collaborate with the rest of the multidisciplinary team, e.g. through frequent discussions, bi-weekly team meetings, co-authorship of papers, draft paper discussions, department work-in-progress meetings, etc.;
- Organise multidisciplinary expert workshops;
- Publishing the results of the project work in leading journals and presenting at leading conferences in your field;
In case of 1 FTE employment (5-days work week), you will devote 80% of your time (4 days a week) to the INFO-LEG activities, and 1 day a week (20%) to other responsibilities, such as teaching, master thesis supervision and other tasks. In case of 0.8 FTE employment (4-days work week), you will devote 100% of your time to the INFO-LEG activities for the duration of the project.
The starting date for the position is 1 January 2019 or as soon as possible thereafter.
The various employment options will be discussed at the interview.
The successful candidate must:
- Hold a PhD (or have evidence of the set date for PhD defence) in Science and Technology Studies, surveillance studies, media studies, critical data studies, critical geography or another related discipline that engages with the current issues of information, information technology and data. Background in more than one mentioned discipline, or in computer science and / or informatics, is a plus but not required;
- Have a demonstrable and an excellent ability for critical reflection, creative and disciplined thinking, and conceptual clarity;
- Have a basic understanding of and demonstrable interest (e.g. apparent from your publications) in the issues of information privacy, data protection, machine learning and other modern information technologies and practices;
- Have a background in empirical methods and ability to design and conduct case studies, including experience with or willingness to learn interview techniques;
- Be able to plan and take ownership of his/her research track;
- Able to work and think independently with the aim to contribute to the larger project objective;
- Be able and willing to collaborate constructively in a multidisciplinary team, including effectively and constructively communicating the insights from your discipline to other team members;
- Have excellent command of English, written and spoken.
Employment terms and conditions
Tilburg University is rated among the top of Dutch employers and has an excellent policy concerning terms of employment. The selected candidate will be assigned a position that is in accordance with his previous education and experience. He/she will initially be appointed for a fixed period of two years.
Selected candidates will be ranked in the Dutch university job ranking system (UFO). Depending on the candidates’ experience, the starting gross salary will vary between € 3,545.- and € 4,852.- per month (for a full-time postdoctoral researcher appointment) based on scale 11 of the Collective Labour Agreement (CAO) Dutch Universities. Candidates from outside the Netherlands may qualify for a tax-free allowance equal to 30% of their taxable salary. The university will apply for such an allowance on their behalf.
- CV, including full publication list;
- Motivation letter;
- Names of two referees who can be contacted should the candidate be selected for an interview.
- Submit full application – from now until 1 November 2018;
- 1st round of interviews – 19 November 2018;
- 2nd round of interviews (if necessary) – 26 November 2018;
- Start – 1 January 2019 or as soon as possible thereafter.
With any questions regarding the project or the position please contact Dr Nadya Purtova (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Tilburg Law School
The project will be conducted at Tilburg Institute for Law, Technology, and Society (TILT) within Tilburg Law School. Tilburg Law School (TLS) is a modern and specialized university. With a broad variety of international programmes and innovating research, the Tilburg Law School stands for high quality. Research at the Tilburg Law School is conducted in an organisation that fosters diversity. The Tilburg Graduate Law School is responsible for the training and guidance of its Research Master students and of the Faculty’s PhD researchers. With its open and inspiring atmosphere, this school is a congenial working environment. Tilburg Law School
TILT is a top player in the field of the regulation of technology and its normative implications. We conduct research into the legal and social implications of various emerging technologies such as ICT, bio- and nanotechnology, neurotechnology and robotics. A key feature of the institute’s research program is the interaction between legal, technological, and social perspectives. TILT is consistently ranked a top institute for research and education by national and international Legal Research and Education Assessment Committees.
TILT is a multidisciplinary research institute with over 50 international research staff, combining law, philosophy, social sciences, public administration and management sciences. TILT’s collaborative and open environment stimulates social and intellectual interchange.
Tilburg University applies the recruitmentcode of the Dutch Association for Personnel Management & Organization Development (NVP).
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