Call for applications Marie Skłodowska-Curie Early Stage Researcher (PhD Position)

Fully funded for up to 3 years, starting as soon as possible between 1st of May and July 2020

Closing date: March 1st, 2020

Interview period: March-April 2020

Position starts: July 1st, 2020 (indicative)

Reference: NoBIAS ITN

PhD project: “Bias mitigation in classification methods”

The Information Technologies Institute (ITI)/ Multimedia Knowledge and Social Media Analytics Lab of Centre for Research and Technology Hellas (CERTH), Thessaloniki, Greece, invites applications for 1 fully funded PhD student position in the area of Artificial Intelligence.

The project context: NoBIAS

NoBIAS - Artificial Intelligence without Bias is a project funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie - Innovative Training Networks (ITN), Grant Agreement No. 860630.

NoBIAS aims at developing novel methods for AI-based decision making without bias by taking into account ethical and legal considerations in the design of technical solutions. The core objectives of NoBIAS are to understand legal, social and technical challenges of bias in AI-decision making, to counter them by developing fairness-aware algorithms, to automatically explain AI results, and to document the overall process for data provenance and transparency. NoBIAS will train a cohort of 15 ESRs (Early-Stage Researchers) to address problems with bias through multi-disciplinary training and research in computer science, machine learning, artificial intelligence, law and social science.

Your tasks

The PhD project “Bias mitigation in classification methods” takes a machine learning approach to the task of discovering and quantifying bias and aims at developing ensembles of bias-aware classifiers which combine simpler but easier to control for bias models which altogether achieve state of the art performance that is comparable or even outperforms single complex models that are hard to control for bias.

The project will develop novel methodologies for bias quantification and discovery in supervised learning, and explore bias mitigation methodologies for achieving optimal trade-offs between accuracy and fairness. Furthermore, the project will perform studies on applied usage scenarios in collaboration with industrial partners associated with the NoBIAS project.

How you will work

You will be part of a stimulating and dynamic environment of various European top-level universities and other institutions. You will be based in the Centre for Research and Technology Hellas, Thessaloniki, Greece in the Multimedia Knowledge and Social Media Analytics lab (MKLab) of the Information Technologies Institute. The Multimedia Knowledge and Social Media Analytics lab follows an applied research approach to the exploration of new artificial intelligence and data mining methods and tools. It investigates a wide variety of machine learning, data mining and multimodal data analysis problems in relation to real-world application needs and social contexts. This includes among others domains such as media and journalism, culture, security and environment.

You will conduct research visits and secondments at several NoBIAS partner institutions across Europe. You will engage, throughout your PhD, at NoBIAS partner organizations across the EU, in disciplines including computer science, social sciences, and law. You will engage in the NoBIAS research activities and actively collaborate within the consortium. You will actively participate in the training programme offered by the NoBIAS ITN.

You will work independently as well as in local and international teams, with a focus on producing excellent research as well as in learning and acting in real-life contexts of AI creation and deployment.

You will be based in Thessaloniki, Greece, a city renowned for its festivals, events and vibrant cultural life in general and recently being ranked by Lonely Planet as the world’s fifth-best party city worldwide. More importantly, it is also a city with a continuous 3,000 year old history; preserving relics of its Roman, Byzantine, Ottoman past and of its formerly dominant Jewish population.

Your profile

You have a Master’s degree in Computer Science, Artificial Intelligence, or a similar discipline. You have strong data science skills. Skills in computer vision, multimedia analysis, information retrieval and other related fields of AI are a plus. You care not only about AI, but also about the ethical dimension of computer science, and you are motivated to learning and taking a critical and interdisciplinary approach that values the social sciences while leveraging your computer scientist’s understanding and skills. Prior experience with topics with an ethical dimension is a plus (privacy/data protection, fairness/non-discrimination, dealing with bias and misinformation, etc.).

General eligibility criteria

To be eligible, the applicant must satisfy the mobility requirements of Marie Skłodowska-Curie actions. At the time of recruitment, the potential candidate * “must not have resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc.) in the country of the recruiting beneficiary for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately before the recruitment date. Compulsory national service, short stays such as holidays, and time spent as part of a procedure for obtaining refugee status under the Geneva Convention are not taken into account”. * “be in the first four years (full-time equivalent research experience) of their research careers and have not been awarded a doctoral degree”.

You work efficiently and reliably, independently as well as in teams. You have very good communication skills and scientific curiosity. Your English is very good. You are flexible and prepared to travel and to integrate into the local teams, while keeping a focus on your PhD and on delivering scientific and other project-related output.

We welcome all applicants, but specifically encourage people from traditionally under-represented groups to apply.

Applications will be processed according to the rules of the corresponding host institute and in compliance with the general rules for projects in the H2020/Marie Skłodowska-Curie programmes.

Salary

In accordance with the MSCA-ITN rules: approximately 34,800€ gross per year, subject to health insurance/tax deductions (pursuant to Greek Law), not including mobility and family allowance (if applicable).

Required documents

Applications must be accompanied by the following documents: * Detailed CV in Europass format in English, highlighting your achievements and fit to the applied position; * Scanned copies of BSc and MSc transcripts, with certified translation in English (if the degree qualification is not in English or in the language of the hosting country); * A motivation letter in English, highlighting why you will be a good fit for the position and why you want to be a NoBIAS ESR to carry out this specific PhD; * Contact details or recommendation letters of two referees in English or in certified translation (if available); * Scanned copy of valid identification document. * Proof of English skills (e.g., IELTS, TOEFL, Cambridge or equivalent). This is not required in case of native English speakers (i.e., English is your mother tongue).

If available, please also include contact details or recommendation letters of two referees in English or in certified translation.

Information and contact

Please contact Senior Researcher Dr. Symeon Papadopoulos, the primary scientific supervisor of this PhD project, at papadop@iti.gr and Senior Researcher Dr. Yiannis Kompatsiars, the Head of MKLab, at ikom@iti.gr if you have any questions, and/or send your application to them.

Applications will be processed according to the rules of the corresponding host institute and in compliance with the general rules for projects in the H2020/Marie Skłodowska-Curie programmes. Applications that do not meet the eligibility criteria will not be considered.

NoBIAS ITN has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement no. 860630. EU Emblem