Location: Trinity College Dublin
Level: Degree

Early Stage Researcher PhD post with the PROTECT Marie-Curie training network
OFFER STARTING DATE 31/03/2020

PROTECT is an international, interdisciplinary and cross academic-industry training network hosted across Ireland, the Netherlands, Spain and Belgium. It is recruiting 14 Early Stage Researchers (ESR) to undertake research towards PhDs in the disciplines of law, ethics or computer science, with the common goal of Protecting Personal Data Amidst Big Data Innovation.

This post, ESR4, will be hosted by Trinity College Dublin. This ESR will undertake research in open data models for the transparent modelling of risk in data processing applications. In undertaking data analytics or AI-assisted decision-making on personal data, organisations need to manage the risk of breaching the privacy and ethical expectations of different stakeholders. Stakeholders may include data suppliers, customers, data subjects, regulators, other indirectly affected stakeholders and society in general. Managing such risks involves engaging with this wide variety of stakeholder to model the uncertainty and change in stakeholder expectations in a systematic, repeatable and transparent way. The ESR will research Semantic Web modelling techniques to integrate stakeholder expectations into data integration and quality management processes as a contribution to achieving ethical data governance and trustworthy AI.

This PhD post will be supervised by Prof Dave Lewis, http://people.tcd.ie/delewis  and Prof Declan O'Sullivan http://people.tcd.ie/osulldps

PROTECT PhD Training Network

PROTECT is a unique multidisciplinary, cross academic-industry and international European Training Network (ETN) formed to train a new generation of Early Stage Researchers (ESRs) as PhD graduates.  The network investigates methods to protect of rights and interests of individuals impacted by the continuous large-scale analysis of personal data, while still enabling the economy and society to benefit from rapid innovation in digital applications that use this data and thereby underpin the Digital Single Market. PROTECT ESRs will receive training to enable them to integrate and apply arguments, analyses and tools from across the fields of law, technology ethics and knowledge engineering, so that they can excel in research and data science careers within digital services industry and public policy sectors too address problems of data protection, data ethics and data governance.

The PROTECT Training Network

The ESRs will receive a strongly multidisciplinary training programme, bringing together world-class researcher in Data Protection Law, Technology Ethics and Knowledge Engineering to offer an excellent structured research programme operating at the critical boundaries between these three fields. The research supervision and training for ESRs is delivered by a network composed of the following world-class research groups and industry practitioners:

  • the School of Law and the Knowledge and Data Engineering Group at Trinity College Dublin (TCD);
  • the Institute of Ethics at Dublin City University (DCU)
  • the Dept of Philosophy and the 4TU Centre for Ethics and Technology in University of Twente (UT - Netherlands);
  • the Law, Science, Technology & Society (LSTS) at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB - Belgium);
  • the Ontology Engineering Group at Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (UPM - Spain).
  • Castlebridge Associates (CBR - Ireland) provide training in data protection and governance consultancy
  • the Rathenau Instituut of Koninklijke Nederlandse Akademie van Wetenschappen (KNAW - Netherlands) in technology social impact analysis and policy debate.

A further set of industry partners will offer ESRs a rich range of relevant industry experience through training secondments.

Research Problems Addressed by the PROTECT Network:

There is a growing awareness worldwide that the personal data of users of online information services are not adequately protected.  Companies harvest and utilise personal data on a massive scale, including browser behaviour, social media messages, and content on personal websites. Concerns about the collection, use and leakage of personal data have become more pronounced since the rise of “big data”, i.e. very large data sets gathered from mobile devices, bio-sensors, cameras, GPS trackers and social media. These data are analysed using increasingly sophisticated machine learning techniques to deliver new insights and predictions about an individual’s behaviour and also feed increasingly personalised AI-driven interactive digital experiences.

The rate of technological innovation, now accelerated by big data and machine learning techniques, invariably outpaces public policy debate and the development of new regulation for the protection of personal data. This comes as the scale and social impact of data analysis is rapidly increasing. Individuals and groups are poorly placed to consider the impact of use of their personal information, especially when this use also delivers attractive personalised digital services. At the same time, tech companies, especially SMEs, lack the knowledge and expertise needed to address the complex legal and ethical implications of collecting and analysing personal data. PROTECT ESRs will develop new ways of empowering users of digital services to understand the risks they take with their rights and interests when they go online and offer new ways to enable developers to incorporate privacy, data protection and broader ethical considerations into the development of digital services, even as they are face growing commercial and competitive demands to exploit personal data.

ADAPT Centre for Digital Content Technology Research

PROTECT ESR in TCD are hosted at the Science Foundation Ireland ADAPT Centre. ADAPT is Ireland’s global centre of excellence for digital media technology. Led by TCD, it combines the expertise of researchers at four universities (Trinity College Dublin, Dublin City University, University College Dublin, TU Dublin, Maynooth University, Athlone Institute of Technology and Cork Institute of Technology) with that of its industry partners to produce ground-breaking digital content innovations.

ADAPT brings together more than 220 researchers who collectively have won more than €100m in funding and have a strong track record of transferring world-leading research and innovations to more than 140 companies. With €50M in research funding from Science Foundation Ireland and industry, ADAPT is seeking talented individuals to join its growing research team. Our research and technologies will continue to help businesses in all sectors and drive back the frontiers of future Web engagement.

Trinity College Dublin:

Trinity is Ireland’s premier university, with a proud tradition of excellence stretching back to its foundation in 1592. The oldest university in Ireland, and one of the oldest in Europe, today Trinity sits at the intersection of the past and the future, and is ideally positioned as a major university in the European Union. Our 47-acre campus is located in the heart of Dublin city centre and is home to historic buildings dating from the University’s establishment, as well as some of the most cutting-edge teaching and research facilities in Ireland.

Trinity is Ireland’s No.1 University in the QS World University Ranking, THE World University Ranking and the Academic Ranking of World Universities (Shanghai). Trinity is ranked 104th in the World, and 36th in Europe, in the 2018/2019 QS World University Ranking. Trinity is ranked in the Top 120 for Graduate Employability in the QS 2018 Rankings. Trinity is in the Top 50 most innovative universities in Europe according to Reuters. Between 2010 and 2015, Trinity was ranked the top university in Europe for entrepreneurship according to Pitchbook’s independent analysis.

Full details regarding the eligibility criteria and application process is available at https://euraxess.ec.europa.eu/jobs/477429