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[Filed Position] Doctoral scholarship STS and IA

The SciencesPo médialab offers a doctoral scholarship in the framework of the international research project "Shaping 21st Century AI. Controversies and Closure in Media, Policy, and Research" (SHAPING AI). The project will interrogate the development of Artificial Intelligence as a socio-technical issue.

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AI is not only an innovative technology that is gradually being integrated into our societies. It also implies a particular approach for solving social problems and new ways of organising public spheres. However, the combination of technological developments, massive investments but also the many controversies it generates, indicates that AI is still in a formative phase. SHAPING AI will study these dynamics by mapping, analysing and comparing the global trajectories and regional ecologies of AI in four different countries – Canada, France, the United Kingdom and Germany – and in three different areas  – the media, public policy and research communities. 

In each of these different but intertwined contexts, the project will use the methods of social science, digital sociology and design research to highlight the assumptions and the forces driving the intersections between computational technologies and society. Through these different means, the project responds to the strong demand for new expertise and visions to inform the understanding of 21st century AI developments in society and to shape AI for the benefit of the public.

Key Responsibilities

The candidate will construct an original research project within the field of Science and Technology Studies. The project should pay close attention to the construction of scientific knowledge in the field of IA, their dynamics of circulation in the media and regulation in public policies. The general framework of the thesis will be built in relation to the comparative research activities carried out by the SHAPING AI consortium. In order to do so, the PhD student will calibrate and develop the research for the French study contexts. Working in close collaboration with the principal researchers - Dominique Cardon and Donato Ricci — one of the main challenges of the research will be to reflect on the global dynamics of AI scientific research in articulation with the localised media debates and the regulations instances of AI in France. 

In addition, the position requires:

  • The participation in the implementation of the general research project ; 
  • The implementation of sub-studies in collaboration with the project team (e.g. on policy debates and regulation of AI; on the media debate and on technical research in France); 
  • The development of comparative models of empirical results at the consortium level;
  • Participation in the international research network and project management;
  • Cooperation assistance in communication and coordination with the project partners; 
  • Publication of articles in leading international journals as well as the development of knowledge transfer formats for a wide audience;
  • Support and expansion of existing scientific networks of the medialab; 
  • Monitoring of funding lines and calls for tenders in the field of AI in France.

Requirements and Preferred Qualifications

At the time of registration for the thesis (September 2021), the candidate must hold a Master 2 (or equivalent) and have a background in the social sciences (sociology, political science, science and technology studies). 

The following are required:

  • Experience in social science methods (interviews, ethnography, archive studies, etc.) ; 
  • Experience in digital social sciences and digital methods; 
  • Fluency in French and English. 
  • Interdisciplinary research experiences;
  • We look forward to receiving applications supported by relevant international experience.

Application Instructions

We look forward to receiving applications with :

  • a cover letter; 
  • a CV; 
  • relevant certificates;
  • a 2-page document describing a thesis project, specifying the subject of the thesis, the main research question and the methods envisaged in the SHAPING AI project;
  • one or more relevant texts (articles, dissertation, etc.) ;
  • a letter of recommendation.

The call for applications will remain online and thus open until a suitable applicant is found. The careful screening and selection of our new team members is very important to us and we ask for your understanding that we will conduct several selection interviews during the process. The second round of interviews will start on March the 31st 2021.

If you have any questions regarding the content of the position, please contact Donato Ricci.