Postdoctoral Researcher (f/m/div) - Algorithmic Fairness for Asylum-Seekers and Refugees (AFAR)
The Hertie School in Berlin prepares exceptional students for leadership positions in government, business, and civil society. The school also offers experienced professionals the opportunity to deepen their skills in the field of public management. A renowned international faculty with expertise in economics, business, law, political and social science take an interdisciplinary, policy-orientated approach to the school's teaching and research agenda. The Hertie School is an international centre, with a variety of first-rate academic projects and a diverse student body. The school actively engages in public debate with its wide range of events bringing together experts from academia and the world of practice. The school was founded in 2003 by the Hertie Foundation, which remains the major partner. The Hertie School is accredited by the state and the German Science Council.
We seek to fill the position of a
Postdoctoral Researcher (f/m/div)
Algorithmic Fairness for Asylum-Seekers and Refugees (AFAR)
on full-time and/or part-time basis (30 - 40 hours/week).
The contract shall commence as of 01 November 2021 or as soon as possible thereafter. The total duration of the contract is 42 months, envisaged to run initially for 24 months on full-time (40 h/w) basis, with a further 18 months on part-time (30 h/w) basis. The successful candidate will be based at the Hertie School Berlin as a member of the School’s Centre for Fundamental Rights.
The AFAR research project is funded by the Volkswagen Foundation as part of its "Challenges for Europe" programme. The Researcher will form part of a team based at the Hertie Centre for Fundamental Rights, and across four other institutions – the Refugee Studies Centre, University of Oxford; Migration Policy Centre, European University Institute, Florence; Nordic Asylum Law & Data Lab, iCourts Centre of Excellence, University of Copenhagen; and the Faculty of Law, University of Zagreb.
The project is led by the Principal Investigator (PI), Professor Cathryn Costello. This project addresses two of the Europe’s most significant challenges, reforming migration and asylum governance (MAG) in order to avoid another ‘refugee/migration crisis’ and regulating ‘newtech’ for fairness. MAG encompasses legal mechanisms to access protection, distribution mechanisms, and decision-making on asylum / international protection. Newtech refers to the automation or part-automation of decisions normally taken by humans, using various algorithmic processes, and related uses of digital identity mechanisms.
You will work collaboratively with the PI and other members of the AFAR research group to accomplish the general aims of the AFAR Project –
- Increase data literacy and expertise on newtech amongst a new generation of MAG scholars, by designing curricula and training materials for postgraduate researchers, advanced scholars and policy-makers;
- Map key current and potential uses of newtech in European MAG;
- Assess the benefits and risks of newtech for fairness and the trade-offs between different dimensions of fairness, thereby contributing to the scholarship on how to design and regulate newtech in MAG to ensure fairness;
- Identify tractable realistic reform proposals on how to reform European MAG for fairness.
In particular, you will, working closely with the PI and other members of the AFAR research group:
- Engage in advanced legal and sociolegal research on fairness standards and newtech practices, with a focus on fair procedures across the policy fields of MAG, drawing on EU, ECHR and other applicable standards;
- Support the development of an online course on Human Rights & Newtech;
- Develop an Online Caselaw Digest on legal challenges to newtech practices across Europe;
- Contribute to joint publications on the AFAR themes, in particular on fairness standards and automated decision-making;
- Develop and deliver, in collaboration with the PI, a workplan for individual research outputs to meet the AFAR aims;
- Arrange and participate in various AFAR preparatory workshops and dissemination activities of the AFAR project;
- Participate in and present research at internal and external workshops, conferences, and other events; support the organization of stakeholder and research activities and events; and
- Actively contribute to the academic life of the Centre for Fundamental Rights.
- Excellent academic track record and a (at least imminently expected) doctorate in law or closely related field, preferably with a focus on newtech and human rights;
- Demonstrated knowledge and understanding of EU and international law on data protection, AI, and related fields;
- Demonstrated familiarity and insights into scholarly debates on human rights aspects of newtech, including on the right to privacy, fair procedures, and/or non-discrimination;
- Demonstrated understanding of the role of newtech in public decision-making, preferably in MAG;
- Excellent legal and empirical research skills and experience and a proven ability to manage own independent research;
- Previous scholarly publications at the highest level, commensurate with experience;
- Excellent presentation and communication skills, including the ability to convey research findings in accessible formats to diverse audiences;
- Ability, willingness and commitment to work in a multidisciplinary, multinational team and contribute to joint publications;
- Excellent communication skills in English, including the ability to write for publication, present research and results to diverse audiences, and represent the AFAR research project in both internal and external fora, including to refugees and asylum seekers;
- Knowledge, understanding and experience of research ethics process in the fields covered by the AFAR project;
- Ability and skills to provide support for the organizational, administrative and reporting aspects of the AFAR project, in collaboration with other team members.
- Demonstrated knowledge and understanding of EU and international refugee, migration and asylum law;
- Demonstrated knowledge and understanding of overlapping legal sources and legal principles on fairness, including fair procedures / due process.
A stimulating international and diverse environment in multiple areas of social science, high-quality teaching and public policy. The Hertie School is a vibrant academic community that emphasizes excellence in research and teaching as well as an interdisciplinary perspective. Our school has been certified as a family friendly work environment in higher education and an equal opportunity employer (www.hertie-school.org for further information). Severely disabled applicants are given preferential consideration in the event of equal qualification.
Please submit your application including a CV, a cover letter describing your interest in and qualification for this position, three references (at least two from academics who are familiar with your research), a research proposal and two writing samples (i.e. a chapter of the PhD thesis or other scholarly paper, in total 6,000 – 10,000 words) by using the Apply button below.
Please indicate in your cover letter how you meet the criteria for the post and how your research and future plans relate to the main goals of the AFAR project.
The deadline for full consideration is 30 September 2021.
Please contact Cathryn Costello, Professor of Fundamental Rights and Co-Director of the Centre for Fundamental Rights, for further information on the position.