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Research Assistant (RA) to join “The Geography of Artificial Intelligence (AI): understanding the spatial, environmental, and economic footprint of the AI value chain and its associated risks and benefits” Project

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Research Assistant (RA) to join “The Geography of Artificial Intelligence (AI): understanding the spatial, environmental, and economic footprint of the AI value chain and its associated risks and benefits” Project

Level:Research Assistant (RA)
POSTED:May 8, 2024
LOCATION:Maynooth University; opportunities for remote work also available
Duration:
Reports to:Dr Kevin Credit
Salary:Research Assistant (2023) Level 2 at point 1, depending on experience and qualifications. Gross salary is €18.03 per hour.
Closing Date:June 1, 2024

The Role

The National Centre for Geocomputation (NCG) and ADAPT Centre invite applications for an hourly Research Assistant (RA) to join the project The Geography of Artificial Intelligence (AI): understanding the spatial, environmental, and economic footprint of the AI value chain and its associated risks and benefits” under the direct supervision of Dr Kevin Credit. The project is funded by Enterprise Ireland as part of its proposal preparation support for European Research Council (ERC) awards. The role of the RA will be to provide general assistance and preliminary research in support of Dr Credit’s upcoming 2024 ERC Starting Grant application, due in October.

 

The purpose of the proposed ERC Starting Grant project is to develop a new theory of AI activities in the economy by examining where the value in those activities is produced, transformed, and applied (and why), and the impact of those activities on local and global economic and environmental outcomes. Interestingly, despite the broad interest in understanding the impact of AI technologies, to this point less attention has been paid to the inherently spatial causes and consequences of this technological change. New technologies in the marketplace are dependent on a vast array of subsidiary upstream products and resources with a completely different – but inherently linked – geography. And, at the same time, the countries, regions, and neighbourhoods where these innovations are eventually applied in the economy at scale, through the process of technological diffusion, may be different again from the first two. Given the inherently interlinked, global nature of technological development and diffusion in the 21st century, it is impossible to understand these processes, and their multifarious effects, without examining the spatial distribution of the full production value chain.

 

The Research Assistant will assist with various aspects of the proposal preparation, planning, and preliminary research process, including: preliminary research on the AI value chain and various AI technologies, exploratory data analysis and database management, literature review, and proof-reading and editing (among other tasks). It is expected that this exploratory analysis and preparation process will produce research outputs on which the RA can serve as a co-author, including (possibly) peer-reviewed publications and/or conference presentations. The position will be housed in the National Centre for Geocomputation at Maynooth University.

 

Principal Duties 

  • Analysing the AI value chain and evaluating available social and economic data at each link;
  • Evaluating and exploring available data sources on AI activities;
  • Investigating open source environmentally-extended multi-regional input-output models (EE-MRIO), such as EXIOBASE 3, IMPLAN, FIDELIO, and EUREGIO-2017;
  • Creating and managing databases related to exploratory datasets;
  • Conducting an initial scoping literature review for AI value chain analysis and relevant theoretical literatures (e.g., global value chains (GVC), global production networks (GPN), world-systems theory, global cities and the spatial division of labour, and innovation/agglomeration).
  • Assisting generally in ERC Starting Grant proposal preparation (e.g., proof-reading the application, formatting, and  integrating charts and figures);
  • Carrying out additional duties as may reasonably be required within the general scope and level of the post.

 

The ideal candidate will have:

 

Essential

 

  • An undergraduate degree (BSc or BA) in Geography, Economics, Business, Computer Science, Data Science, or other relevant discipline;
  • An interest in understanding the complex ways in which AI may impact the economy, and the geographic distribution and effects of those impacts; 
  • Experience downloading, mapping, and manipulating spatial data using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) software;
  • Strong problem-solving skills to help refine problem statements and figure out how to solve them with the available data;
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills to contribute to proposal writing and research outputs;
  • Excellent interpersonal skills, including liaising with the supervisor and potential collaborators.

 

Desirable

 

  • A graduate degree (MSc or PhD) in Geography, Economics, Business, Computer Science, Data Science, or other relevant discipline;
  • Experience conducting a significant research project in an academic context;
  • Experience preparing an academic literature review;
  • Experience interacting with AI models and their outputs;
  • Experience using input-output (IO) models to analyse economic impact;
  • Experience in web scraping for data collection;
  • Experience using patent or citation data.

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