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Senior Researcher, Public Sector Algorithms

£43k - £47k (dependent upon experience). Full Time, permanent.
We're London-based and our staff have the option to work part of the week from home

The Ada Lovelace Institute (Ada) is hiring a Senior Researcher, to lead a substantive research programme at Ada: public sector data and algorithms. This is a major programme for the organisation, considering the increasing use of algorithmic decision making by government departments, local authorities and public services.

The role  

The role of Senior Researcher provides an excellent opportunity for a mid-career scholar to craft and execute a research agenda in a dynamic and energetic policy-facing organisation.

This is a new position created as part of our strategy which organises the research under five programmatic priorities: the future of regulation; ethics in practice; public sector algorithms; biometrics; and health and covid. The primary responsibilities will be to develop and execute Ada’s strategy for the Public Sector Data and Algorithms. This will include defining a research agenda (bringing together existing major projects including an ethnographic study of local authority use of predictive analytics, as well as policy-focused research on transparency registers in partnership with the Central Digital and Data Office) and communications strategies for outputs, and conceptualising, facilitating and attending meetings, workshops and events with a view to achieving strategic impact.

The Senior Researcher will work closely in particular with the Senior Researcher for Ethics in practice who is leading work which cross-cuts this theme on algorithmic accountability and audit as well as drawing on research from across the organisation.

Ada’s methodologies include the use of working groups and expert convenings, public deliberation initiatives, desk-based research and synthesis, policy and legal analysis and translation, and ethnographic research. We welcome new kinds of expertise and methodologies into our team. We prioritise outputs that are aimed at engaging different publics and do not generally produce academic publications so the researcher will need to marry technical credibility with compelling framing arguments. Senior Researchers will provide leadership on their assigned substantive domains and subject areas. The Senior Researcher is expected to produce and execute a novel, achievable, and high-impact research agenda.

About you

You may have a background researching for an academic organisation, policy department or a regulator, a tech company, research institute or charity. You may have a university degree, or have gained experience from an apprenticeship or trainee programme at a research, policy, private-sector or civil-society. You are curious and passionate about the issues which arise at the intersection of technology and society, and committed to bringing an interdisciplinary and intersectional lens to understanding them. Importantly, you’ll be comfortable taking initiative, working independently and to short deadlines at times. You’ll enjoy working in a team environment, willing to jump in to projects and keen to explore areas of policy, technology and practice that you don’t already understand. You’ll appreciate the importance of exceptionally high standards of rigour in research, but also want to think creatively about communicating and influencing in novel ways.

The Ada Lovelace Institute

The Ada Lovelace Institute is an independent research institute funded and incubated by the Nuffield Foundation in 2018. Our mission is to ensure data and artificial intelligence work for people and society. We do this by building evidence and fostering rigorous debate on how data and AI affect people and society.  We recognise the power asymmetries that exist in ethical and legal debates around the development of data-driven technologies and seek to level those asymmetries by convening diverse voices and creating a shared understanding of the ethical issues arising from data and AI. Finally, we seek to define and inform good practice in the design and deployment of AI technologies.

After little more than two years of operation, the Institute has emerged as a leading independent voice on the ethical and societal impacts of data and AI. We have built relationships in the public, private and civil society sectors in the UK and internationally. Some of our most impactful work to date includes our rapid evidence review on contact tracing apps, Exit Through the App Store?, and our public attitudes survey on facial recognition, Beyond Face Value.

Our research takes an interconnected approach to issues such as power, social justice, distributional impact and climate change (read our strategy to find out more), and our team have a wide range of expertise that cuts across policy, technology, academia, industry, law and human rights.  We value diversity in background, skills, perspectives, and life experiences. As part of the Nuffield Foundation, we are a small team with the practical support of an established organisation that cares for its employees.

We aim to be a collaborative, welcome and informal place to work. We are currently a 16-person team and have returned to some in-person working in our London offices but are open to hybrid working patterns.

To apply for this role, please forward a copy of your CV to our recruitment partner Datatech Analytics [email protected], demonstrating how you meet the requirements of the role.

We strongly encourage applicants from backgrounds that are underrepresented in the research, policy and technology sectors (for example those from a marginalised community, who did not go to university or had free school meals as a child). We are committed to tackling societal injustice and inequality through our work, and believe that all kinds of experiences and backgrounds can contribute to this mission.

The Ada Lovelace Institute

The Ada Lovelace Institute is an independent research institute funded and incubated by the Nuffield Foundation in 2018. Our mission is to ensure data and artificial intelligence work for people and society. We do this by building evidence and fostering rigorous debate on how data and AI affect people and society.  We recognise the power asymmetries that exist in ethical and legal debates around the development of data-driven technologies and seek to level those asymmetries by convening diverse voices and creating a shared understanding of the ethical issues arising from data and AI. Finally, we seek to define and inform good practice in the design and deployment of AI technologies.

After little more than two years of operation, the Institute has emerged as a leading independent voice on the ethical and societal impacts of data and AI. We have built relationships in the public, private and civil society sectors in the UK and internationally. Some of our most impactful work to date includes our rapid evidence review on contact tracing apps, Exit Through the App Store?, and our public attitudes survey on facial recognition, Beyond Face Value.

Our research takes an interconnected approach to issues such as power, social justice, distributional impact and climate change (read our strategy to find out more), and our team have a wide range of expertise that cuts across policy, technology, academia, industry, law and human rights.  We value diversity in background, skills, perspectives, and life experiences. As part of the Nuffield Foundation, we are a small team with the practical support of an established organisation that cares for its employees.

We aim to be a collaborative, welcome and informal place to work. We are currently a 16-person team and have returned to some in-person working in our London offices but are open to hybrid working patterns.

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