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Research Associate

Psychology
Salary:   £28,756 to £33,309
Closing Date:   Saturday 04 December 2021
Interview Date:   To be confirmed
Reference:  A3597

We invite applications for a Research Associate to work with us on a project titled ‘Computational Social Science—Social Data Bias’.   

Computational social science (CSS) provides a powerful approach to analyse and predict the social world. Yet, a widely known concern with the CSS approach to understanding social phenomena is the bias across all stages of the process. Machine bias involves instances where an algorithmic selection of one prediction over another creates legally or ethically inappropriate implications (Shadowen, 2017). Although often unintentional, this bias can have severely negative consequences for groups of people, especially minority and underrepresented groups (e.g., Angwin et al., 2016). This is not only ethically and morally concerning but also questions the usefulness of the CSS approach itself. To date, most work attempting to resolve issues of social bias in CSS has been technical, and research has shown that addressing these issues through implementing quantitative changes is difficult and has limited effect (e.g., Kusner et al., 2017). One underrepresented area is the application of social science theory and research to help to address social bias when building CSS tools and techniques. The current project will identify and summarise the core concerns relating to bias and CSS and propose recommendations about how it might be possible to mitigate these biases by drawing on social science theories.

The current project will take a multi-stage approach and the post-holder will be involved in each research stage. The post-holder will be primarily responsible for conducting a scoping review of the current literature on social bias within CSS, writing the results of this review as a theoretical research paper, and liaising with the stakeholder throughout this process. The post-holder will also be involved with the organization and running of two workshops that seek to gain a deep understanding from practitioners and academic leaders in the field of the concerns and possible solutions to the issue of social bias in CSS. For all research stages, the post-holder will support the team in the writing and dissemination of findings to the stakeholder.

You will join us on an indefinite contract however, the role remains contingent on external funding which, at this time is due to come to an end on 31 July 2022.

This position is Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl)/ Ministry of Defence (MOD) funded.

The Department of Psychology holds an Athena SWAN Bronze award and is committed to Lancaster University’s Equality, Diversity and Inclusion strategy and Widening Participation. We seek to provide a work environment that strongly supports women in academia and the individual needs of each employee, that promotes a healthy work-life balance, and we welcome applications from people in all diversity groups. 

For further information or an informal discussion please contact Dr Sophie Nightingale s.nightingale1@lancaster.ac.uk

 For further information about the Department please visit: https://www.lancaster.ac.uk/psychology/

 

 

 

 

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Please note: Unless specified otherwise in the advert wording, all advertised roles are UK based.


The University provides an environment that strongly supports the individual needs of each employee, whilst promoting the importance of wellbeing for all our colleagues. We have a range of support networks available for our employees, and more information on these can be found on the ‘Working at Lancaster’ information page.

 

We are committed to family-friendly and flexible working policies on an individual basis. The University recognises and celebrates good employment practice undertaken to address all inequality in higher education.

 

We warmly welcome applicants from all sections of the community regardless of their age, religion, gender identity or expression, race, disability or sexual orientation, and are committed to promoting diversity, and equality of opportunity.


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