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Postdoctoral position, Trust in government decision-making, big data and artificial intelligence - 2019BAPFSWEF362

The Research Group ‘Politics & Public Governance’ (PPG) of the Faculty of Social Sciences and the UAntwerpen Centre of Excellence GOVTRUST (University of Antwerpen) are looking for a

Postdoctoral researcher for research project on ‘Trust in government decision-making, big data and artificial intelligence’ (as part of the DIGIFED project)

Governments increasingly use big data, artificial intelligence and algorithmic analytics in decision-making. But under which conditions do citizens and other actors trust such decision making? The UAntwerpen research groups ‘Politics & Public Governance’ and MIOS ‘Media, ICT and interpersonal relations in Organisations and Society’ are responsible for a work package on this topic in the interuniversity DIGIFED project (coordinated by Prof. Crompvoets). The project is funded by the Belgian BRAIN.be research program (Belgian Research Action through Interdisciplinary Networks). The post doc researcher will also work within the context of the UAntwerpen Centre of Excellence GOVTRUST on ‘Trust and distrust in multi-level governance’, coordinated by Prof. dr. Koen Verhoest. You will be based in the research group ‘Politics & Public Governance’ at the Faculty of Social Sciences but will work intensively with the other research groups.

Your assignment

As postdoctoral researcher, your tasks will include conducting high-quality empirical research within this research project. This will include the following tasks:

  • Conducting experimental and focus group research, as well as interviews;
  • Timely completion of the deliverables scheduled in the project, in collaboration with other researchers in the UAntwerpen and the other Belgian research teams;
  • Supporting prof. dr. Wouter Van Dooren and prof. dr. Koen Verhoest in the coordination of the work package;
  • Helping to sustain and extend an international network of researchers working on issues related to trust and legitimacy of digital and algorithmic decision making;
  • Being active in international collaborations, networks and conferences by presenting research work;
  • Working together with other researchers within the UAntwerp GOVTRUST Centre of Excellence and with national and international partners with the aim of publishing high-quality international articles;
  • Ensuring valorization and dissemination through science communication and outreach activities.

Your profile

  • You hold a doctorate in a relevant field, such as public administration, political science, information sciences/informatics; communication sciences, economic or management studies or other social and human sciences.
  • You have good knowledge on at least some of the following topics or related topics: governance of the public sector and of relations between citizens, societal actors and government; trust between persons, organizations and/or in government; and/or digitalization, big data based decision making, algorithmic analytics and artificial intelligence in the public sector.
  • You have a track-record in international scientific publications.
  • You are strongly oriented towards collaborations with other researchers, nationally and internationally.
  • You have a strong interest to study relations and trust between public and private actors in the context of big data, AI and algorithmic decision making, using different research methods.
  • You have experience in qualitative, quantitative or experimental research methods.
  • You are proactive, output-oriented and conscientious. You like to work in team. You have an ambition to deliver high-quality scientific research and international publications. You are interested in achieving societal impact with your research by research communication and outreach activities towards citizens, media and policy makers.
  • Strong written and oral communication skills in English, including the ability to present effectively to both academic and non-academic audiences. Having a good knowledge of Dutch or French is an advantage, but not a formal requirement.

We offer

  • a dynamic, stimulating and multi-disciplinary work environment with possibilities for intensive international collaborations, international research stays, and specialized training in methods and theories;
  • a full-time position for a term of two years (April 2020- April 2022), with an initial one-year contract and an evaluation after one year;
  • a close collaboration with the research manager of the Centre of Excellence GOVTRUST (see for the vacancy for this function here) and the postdoc researcher on the EU funded H2020 project on ‘Trust in Governance and Regulation in Europe’ (TiGRE) (see for the vacancy for this function here). In consultation with the candidate and if he/she is interested a combination of these functions is also possible;
  • the date of appointment will be the 1st of April, 1st of May 2020 or soon thereafter;
  • a competitive salary.

How to apply?

  • Applications may only be submitted online, until the closing date of 15 February 2020.
  • The candidates are asked to submit a motivation letter; an up-to-date CV with a complete publication list; three key publications together with a note of 1,5 pages, explaining why these three publications are relevant for this function. If possible, please provide one or more recommendation letters. All documents must be submitted in English.
  • A pre-selection will be made from the submitted applications, and selected candidates will be invited for an interview. These interviews will take place in the period of 24 February till 6 March 2020.
  • The remainder of the selection procedure is specific to the position and will be determined by the selection panel.
  • More information about the application form can be obtained from vacatures@uantwerpen.be .
  • For questions about the profile and the description of duties, please contact Prof. dr. Wouter Van Dooren (coordinator of the UAntwerpen team within DIGIFED), wouter.vandooren@uantwerpen.be or Prof. dr. Koen Verhoest (coordinator of the GOVTRUST Centre of Excellence), koen.verhoest@uantwerpen.be , Tel. +32 484 965 015.

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