Centre for Computing and Social Responsibility - De Montfort University, Leicester, UK
SENIOR RESEARCH FELLOW Ethics of Robotics
Full Time, Temporary Fixed Term Contract until 30 September 2018
Grade G: £35,597 - £45,053 per annum
Application deadline: 31 May 2014
De Montfort University's Centre for Computing and Social Responsibility (CCSR; www.dmu.ac.uk/ccsr ) is offering the position of a Senior Research Fellow Ethics of Robotics, with a focus on Robot-Enhanced Therapy for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders.
The CCSR is the UK's leading research centre in responsible research and innovation, in particular in the area of computer and technology ethics. The CCSR is among the leading research centres in Europe and the world. Between 2008 and 2012, the Centre led or was involved in successful research proposals worth approximately £6M. CCSR is home of the long-running ETHICOMP conference series and edits the Journal on Information, Communication and Ethics in society. The CCSR also runs the Information Society Doctoral Programme (ISDP) which currently hosts approximately 30 research students.
The CCSR has served or continues to serve as coordinator and work package leader in many EU FP7 projects, including ETICA, CONSIDER, Responsible-Innovation, and GREAT. Recent acquisitions include involvements in the FP7 Flagship Human Brain Project, the FP7 integrated project “Development of Robot-Enhanced therapy for children with AutisM spectrum disorders” (DREAM), and “Stakeholders Acting Together On the ethical impact assessment of Research and Innovation” (SATORI). The Centre also coordinates Responsible-Industry.
This Senior Research Fellow post is funded by the European FP7 project DREAM (http://mech.vub.ac.be/dream/index.html ), an exciting interdisciplinary, large-scale project, involving 7 European partners which will develop the next-generation robots that mediate between therapists and children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) in autism therapy. In this Robot-Enhanced Therapy (RET), the robots will be able to interact with the child autonomously for limited periods under the supervision of a therapist (“supervised autonomy”).
The use of robots in therapeutic contexts raises several ethical issues, such questions concerning automomy and trust. The “Ethics” work package will address these ethical issues by making sure that all relevant known ethical constraints and existing laws are implemented in the design process, by examining specific new ethical questions raised by the child-robot interaction, and by investigating if and how we can build in ethical constraints into the meta-cognition level of the robot. Through close collaboration between the technical and ethical researchers and the ASD practitioners, the project will integrate technology with ethics and clinical therapy practices.
The successful candidate will conduct high quality research, shape the work and take initiatives, and publish the results of the work in high quality outlets and publications. Working closely with leading scholars from a range of disciplines, (s)he will also contribute to the initiation of new research initiatives of the Centre.
Research leader of the ethics workpackage will be Prof. Mark Coeckelbergh. The research leader and the Senior Research Fellow will collaborate very closely with partners from all over Europe with different backgrounds, such as engineering and psychology.
To qualify for the post you will be an international post-doctoral researcher with at least 3 years (but preferably 5 years) research experience with a background in philosophy/ethics and proven ability and willingness to engage in interdisciplinary research. Consideration will also be given to outstanding candidates with a social sciences or multidisciplinary PhD degree on a topic relevant to the project, provided the candidate has some background and experience in ethics. Other requirements include demonstrable interest in philosophical issues relating to human-robot interaction, high motivation to become part of an international research team and contribute to the success of the DREAM project, and good analytical, organizational, and communication skills (in English). We are looking for a person who displays creativity, open-mindedness, and ability to develop new ideas. The candidate should also be willing to participate in other CCSR oriented research and teaching and support the CCSR in relevant administrative duties.
Details of the Centre can be found at http://www.dmu.ac.uk/research/research-faculties-and-institutes/technology/centre-for-computing-and-social-responsibility/ccsr-home.aspx . Details of the Faculty can be found at http://www.dmu.ac.uk/technology/
For any questions or further information contact Prof. Mark Coeckelbergh at firstname.lastname@example.org or +44 116 257 7487 or, alternatively, the CCSR's director, Prof. Bernd Carsten Stahl at email@example.com or +44 116 207 8252.
Please quote reference: 8384
Closing Date: 31 May 2014
Interview Date: To be confirmed