Research Fellow in Law and Computation – Birmingham Law School

Full-time University of Birmingham in Academic Email Job
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Job Description

JOB DESCRIPTION

Position Details

Birmingham Law School

Location: University of Birmingham, Edgbaston, Birmingham UK

Full time starting salary is normally in the range £34,980 to £44,263 with potential progression once in post to £46,974

Grade: 7

Full Time, Fixed Term contract up to September 2027

Closing date: 23rd July 2024

UK travel may be required for this role

 

Background

The University of Birmingham seeks to employ a Research Fellow with training in law and additional expertise in computer science, engineering, or a related field of academic inquiry. The Research Fellow will undertake research that investigates the application of computational methods to improve the design, implementation, and regulation of information systems with a focus on the protection of fundamental rights. The Research Fellow will be attached to the Birmingham Law School, and will work both in collaboration with, and under the direction of, Professor Karen Yeung, as well as engaging in independent academic research.

Role Summary

The objective of the Fellowship is to provide an early career academic with exceptional research potential and a strong interest in critical investigating the intersection between computation and law. It is intended to enable the Fellow to develop as a scholar and work in collaboration with, and be mentored by, Professor Karen Yeung (the ‘Principal Investigator’ (PI)) – a world-leading scholar in algorithmic governance undertaking cutting-edge research at the frontiers of law, governance, and computer science with extensive engagement in policy-making. The Fellow must have successfully completed their PhD and demonstrate that they have the necessary competences and motivation to undertake independent academic research, a keen interest in working collaboratively in a cross-disciplinary manner to generate research insight, and a willingness to undertake research and research-related tasks as directed. The Fellow will be a member of the PI’s research group – the Legal, Ethical and Accountable Digital Society (LEADS) Lab – and will be expected to engage in activities within a vibrant mini-community of scholars with common interests in critically investigating on-going impacts and implications of digitisation and datafication in society.

This is a fixed term appointment for three years commencing in or around 1 October 2024 as agreed with the successful candidate.

The post will be based within Birmingham Law School at the University of Birmingham (Edgbaston Campus) and will be line managed by Professor Karen Yeung.

Main Duties

The responsibilities may include some but not all of the responsibilities outlined below.

  • Develop research objectives and proposals for own or joint research, with assistance of a mentor if required
  • Contribute to writing bids for research funding
  • Analyse and interpret data
  • Apply knowledge in a way which develops new intellectual understanding
  • Disseminate research findings for publication, research seminars etc
  • Supervise students on research related work and provide guidance to PhD students where appropriate to the discipline
  • Contribute to developing new models, techniques and methods
  • Undertake management/administration arising from research
  • Contribute to Departmental/School research-related activities and research-related administration
  • Contribute to enterprise, business development and/or public engagement activities of manifest benefit to the College and the University, often under supervision of a project leader
  • Collect research data; this may be through a variety of research methods, such as scientific experimentation, literature reviews, and research interviews*
  • Present research outputs, including drafting academic publications or parts thereof, for example at seminars and as posters*
  • Provide guidance, as required, to support staff and any students who may be assisting with the research*
  • Deal with problems that may affect the achievement of research objectives and deadlines*
  • Promotes equality and values diversity acting as a role model and fostering an inclusive working culture.

* These indicative responsibilities may also be included in a research role at grade 6.

Person Specification

Candidates must have a strong academic background demonstrating a multidisciplinary approach. This includes an undergraduate degree in Law (or a closely related discipline) and a completed doctorate that combines expertise in law with a focus on computational methods. Relevant fields include computer science, statistics, or other computational disciplines with demonstrable relevance to, or applications within, the legal domain.

The successful candidate must have:

Essential:

  • Research Expertise: Meaningful research expertise in digital transformation with a strong publication record for the career stage and potential to develop a national/international reputation.
  • Analytical & Communication Skills: Outstanding analytical ability to develop and communicate ideas with precision and clarity in written form.
  • Organisation & Collaboration: Excellent organisational, collaboration, and communication skills, demonstrated through successful teamwork experiences, including under time pressure
  • Interdisciplinary Interest: Strong interest and willingness to pursue interdisciplinary training and research at the intersection of law, ethics, and computer science.
  • Independent Research: Demonstrated capacity to undertake independent, original research at a high level, leading to publications in top academic journals.
  • English Fluency: Outstanding fluency in English.
  • Professional Work Ethic: Diligent, detail-oriented, and able to manage deadlines independently while seeking assistance when needed.
  • A genuine interest and desire to engage in academic collaborations with Prof Yeung, and a willingness to work under her direction, and develop and refine high level analytical skills;

Desirable:

  • Demonstrated Experience: Experience in interdisciplinary research methods and methodologies.
  • Computational Methods: Previous work applying computational methods (e.g., data science, machine learning) to law or regulation.
  • Algorithmic Understanding: Proficient understanding of algorithmic decision-making systems, including data-driven and machine learning techniques.
  • Understanding of technical standards: Experience with analysing technical standards in order to develop strategies to protect fundamental rights.
  • Large-Scale Data Experience: Experience with handling large-scale data relevant to law.
  • Policy & Funding: Experience or interest in contributing to policy debates and attracting research funding.

 

Applicants are required to submit the following:

  • The Research Fellow will be required to submit a research proposal (not exceeding 2,000 words) that investigates the application of computational methods to improve the design, implementation, and regulation of information systems, with a specific focus on protecting fundamental rights. The proposal should align with Professor Yeung’s research interests in the field of “algorithmic regulation,” which examines how algorithmic systems are governed and how they impact society. See Prof Yeung’s webpage (https://karenyeung.me/) for more details about her on-going research interests. The proposal must include: (a) Proposal title; (b) Proposal summary (max 500 words); (c) Aims, objectives and research questions; (d) Methodology; (e) Proposed outputs and timescale and (f) Explanation of the alignment between the proposed research and Prof Yeung’s on-going research interests.
  • A curriculum vitae.
  • A covering letter of no more than 1,500 words that explains why you are interested in the appointment, and the value and benefits that your appointment to the post would bring and for whom.
  • A sample of writing of no more than 5,000 words relevant to the theme of application of computational approaches to law and regulation for the protection of fundamental rights.
  • The names and emails of two referees (ensuring that you have contacted your referees in advance about your application for this post).

 

Informal enquiries to Professor Karen Yeung, email: k.yeung@bham.ac.uk

View our staff values and behaviours here

 

We believe there is no such thing as a ‘typical’ member of University of Birmingham staff and that diversity in its many forms is a strength that underpins the exchange of ideas, innovation and debate at the heart of University life. We are committed to proactively addressing the barriers experienced by some groups in our community and are proud to hold Athena SWAN, Race Equality Charter and Disability Confident accreditations. We have an Equality Diversity and Inclusion Centre that focuses on continuously improving the University as a fair and inclusive place to work where everyone has the opportunity to succeed. We are also committed to sustainability, which is a key part of our strategyYou can find out more about our work to create a fairer university for everyone on our website.

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