Leiden University

PhD candidate, Compliance by Design: Technical Challenges of EU AI Act Requirements and Their Ethica

2024-07-15 (Europe/Amsterdam)
Job sichern

Über den Arbeitgeber

Leiden University was founded in 1575 and is one of Europe’s leading international research universities.

Besuchen Sie die Arbeitgeberseite

Vacancy number 14931

Job type PhD positions

Hours (in fte) 1,0

External/ internal External

Location Leiden

Placed on 11 June 2024

Closing date 15 July 2024 33 more days to apply

The Faculty of Science and the Leiden Institute of Advanced Computer Science (LIACS) are looking for a:

PhD candidate, Compliance by Design: Technical Challenges of EU AI Act Requirements and Their Ethical Implications

AI Compliance by Design: Technical Challenges of EU AI Act's Requirements and Their Ethical Implications. As artificial intelligence technologies are increasingly subject to regulation, complex questions are arising regarding both technical feasibility of assessing compliance and the wider ethical implications thereof. This PhD project aims to critically evaluate the European Union's Artificial Intelligence Act as an instance of this. The project will approach the technical challenges of promoting and monitoring compliance from several standpoints, focusing on the feasibility of translating its requirements into tangible technological solutions for assessing AI compliance. The project integrates ethical and technical dimensions, aiming to understand both how the AI Act’s ethical requirements can be translated into technical specifications and how the corresponding design choices (and their implications) can be evaluated in light of broader ethical principles. The project explores the design, development, and assessment of algorithms and systems that embody the Act's mandates, thus ensuring that AI applications meet both ethical guidelines and technical standards. In addition, the project will explore more general principles that flow for this case for other attempts at “compliance by design” in the domain of rapidly developing AI technologies.

This PhD position is a part of the Ethics of Socially Disruptive Technologies (ESDiT) programme, a new ten-year long international research programme of seven academic institutions in the Netherlands that has started in January 2020. This programme has a combined budget of € 27 million and is funded by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research in the Gravitation funding scheme for excellent research, with the matching funds from the participating institutions. The programme has the aim of achieving breakthrough research in at the intersection of ethics, philosophy, technology / engineering and social sciences, and to position its consortium at the top of its field internationally. A key objective is to investigate how new technologies challenge moral values and ontological concepts (like “nature”, “human being” and “community”), and how these challenges necessitate a revision of these concepts. The programme includes four research lines, “Nature, life and human intervention”, “The future of a free and fair society”, “The human condition” and “Synthesis: Ethics of Technology, Practical Philosophy, and Modern Technology-Driven Societies”. This position belongs to research track STEM. A fuller description of the project as a whole, can be pointed to through the ESDiT website: https://www.esdit.nl/

Please note that there are other vacancies in the Ethics of Socially Disruptive Technologies programme at different participating universities. Applicants are encouraged to apply for more than one ESDiT position simultaneously in case of several positions are of interest to the applicant.

Key responsibilities

  • assess technical feasibility of implementing the EU AI Act’s requirements in practical AI systems, identifying technical methodologies for compliance assessment, against the background of critical review of existing efforts;
  • examine how the AI Act's guidelines can be translated into technically feasible implementations, focusing on the integration of considerations into technical research and development processes, from the early stages, in a transdisciplinary fashion;
  • identify insights from relevant previous attempts to integrate considerations regarding the feasibility of compliance into the design specification of the new technology;
  • design and implement algorithms that meet the EU AI Act's requirements, demonstrating technical possibilities and limitations, with an eye to developing 'best practices' of algorithmic design in accordance with the AI Act;
  • develop methodologies for evaluating the risk levels of AI applications, aligned with the Act's classifications and assessing systems' adherence to ethical and legal standards;
  • formulate more general recommendations regarding how regulatory guidelines can be designed in a way that optimises the technical feasibility of compliance (and compliance monitoring);
  • be actively involved in the project including following courses in ethics of technology (20 ECTS);
  • assist in relevant teaching activities within LIACS;

Selection Criteria
The successful applicant should be a motivated university graduate who is a top performer among his/her peers and has an excellent education and/or research track record proven by relevant experience, publications, etc. The applicant is expected to have:

  • MSc degree in Artificial Intelligence, Data science, Applied Mathematics, Computer science, or related field;
  • Strong interest in ethics;
  • Good programming skills in, e.g., Python;
  • Credible experience with Machine Learning and/or Data science;
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills in English, Dutch proficiency or willingness to learn is a plus;
  • Ability to work with diverse stakeholders, along with an affinity for connecting work in Computer Science to other relevant disciplines and societal challenges.

Research at our faculty
The Faculty of Science is a world-class faculty where staff and students work together in a dynamic international environment. It is a faculty where personal and academic development are top priorities. Our people are committed to expand fundamental knowledge by curiosity and to look beyond the borders of their own discipline; their aim is to benefit science, and to contribute to addressing the major societal challenges of the future.

The research carried out at the Faculty of Science is very diverse, ranging from mathematics, information science, astronomy, physics, chemistry and bio-pharmaceutical sciences to biology and environmental sciences. The research activities are organised in eight institutes. These institutes offer eight bachelor’s and twelve master’s programmes. The faculty has grown strongly in recent years and now has more than 2.300 staff and almost 5,000 students. We are located at the heart of Leiden’s Bio Science Park, one of Europe’s biggest science parks, where university and business life come together. For more information, see www.universiteitleiden.nl/en/science and www.universiteitleiden.nl/en/working-at

The Leiden Institute of Advanced Computer Science (LIACS) is the Artificial Intelligence and Computer Science Institute in the Faculty of Science of Leiden University. We offer courses at the Bachelor and Master of Science level in Artificial Intelligence, Computer Science, ICT in Business, Media Technology, and Bioinformatics. According to an independent research visitation, we are one of the foremost computer science departments of the Netherlands. We strive for excellence in a caring institute, where excellence, fun, and diversity go hand in hand. We offer a clear and inviting career path to young and talented scientists with the ambition to grow. For more information about LIACS, see www.cs.leiden.edu

Terms and conditions
We offer a full-time position for one year initially. After a positive evaluation of the progress of the thesis, personal capabilities and compatibility, the appointment will be extended by further three years. Salary ranges from € 2.770,- to € 3.539,- gross per month (pay scale P in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities). Preferred starting date for this position is October 1, 2024 or soon thereafter. Leiden University offers an attractive benefits package with additional holiday (8%) and end-of-year bonuses (8.3%), training and career development and sabbatical leave. Our individual choices model gives you some freedom to assemble your own set of terms and conditions. Candidates from outside the Netherlands may be eligible for a substantial tax break.

All our PhD students are embedded in the Leiden University Graduate School of Science www.universiteitleiden.nl/en/science/graduate-school-of-of-science Our graduate school offers several PhD training courses at three levels: professional courses, skills training and personal effectiveness. In addition, advanced courses to deepen scientific knowledge are offered by the research school.

Within this project, PhD students are encouraged to spend a semester abroad, and a budget is available to cover their expenses. Moreover, generous (conference) travel budgets are available for the position.

D&I statement
Diversity and inclusion are core values of Leiden University. Leiden University is committed to becoming an inclusive community which enables all students and staff to feel valued and respected and to develop their full potential. Diversity in experiences and perspectives enriches our teaching and strengthens our research. High quality teaching and research is inclusive.

Enquiries can be made to Dr Anna Kononova, a.kononova@liacs.leidenuniv.nl. If you have any questions about the procedure, please send an email to jobs@liacs.leidenuniv.nl.

Please submit online your application via the blue button in the vacancy. Please ensure that you upload the following additional documents quoting the vacancy number:

  • Motivation letter
  • Curriculum vitae
  • Academic transcript of the MSc degree
  • Names of 2-3 references if applicable

Only applications received before July 15, 2024 can be considered. Selected candidates will be invited for an interview in early August 2024.


PhD candidate, Compliance by Design: Technical Challenges of EU AI Act Requirements and Their Ethica
Rapenburg 70 Leiden, Niederlande
2024-07-15 23:59 (Europe/Amsterdam)
2024-07-15 23:59 (CET)
Job sichern

Mehr Jobs von diesem Arbeitgeber

Über den Arbeitgeber

Leiden University was founded in 1575 and is one of Europe’s leading international research universities.

Besuchen Sie die Arbeitgeberseite

Das könnte Sie interessieren

Hubble Trouble in Our Expanding Universe Leiden University 4 Minuten Lesezeit
Nanoparticle Robots: No Assembly Required Leiden University 5 Minuten Lesezeit
Deciphering the Gut’s Clues to Our Health University of Turku 5 Minuten Lesezeit
Understanding Users to Optimise 3D Experiences Centrum Wiskunde & Informatica (CWI) 5 Minuten Lesezeit
Mehr Stories