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PhD Candidate in Algorithmic Fairness

Zurich University of Applied Sciences ZHAW is one of Switzerland’s largest multidisciplinary universities of applied sciences, with over 13'000 students and 3'000 faculty and staff.
As one of the leading Engineering Faculties in Switzerland, the ZHAW School of Engineering (SoE) emphasises topics which will be relevant in the future. Our 13 institutes and centres guarantee superior-quality education, research and development with a focus on the areas of energy, mobility, information and health.

The Institute for Data Analysis and Process Design, in cooperation with the the University of Zurich, is looking for an outstanding candidate, starting December 2020, as: PhD Candidate in Algorithmic Fairness

PhD Candidate in Algorithmic Fairness

Your responsibilities are

  • applied research in the field of Algorithmic Fairness in data-based decision making, in the context of an Innosuisse funded research project
  • develop theoretically founded and practically tested methods to enable developers to create fair algorithms
  • perform industrial case studies in cooperation with companies

The objective of our research is to develop a methodology for facilitating the development of fairness-by-design approaches for AI-based decision-making systems in practice. We link philosophical concepts of fairness and algorithmic measures of fairness into a holistic approach. The goal is to enable developers to create algorithms that are socially acceptable and synchronized with the ethical values of the affected stakeholders.

You will work as a part of an interdisciplinary research team including philosophers, social scientists and data scientists. In addition to the scientific research, the project will have an important practical component, involving collaboration with different companies. Interest and ability in working in such an environment is mandatory.

The successful candidate has an excellent MSc in Computer Science, Data Science or a related field, with very good knowledge and experience in statistical and machine learning methods for modeling and prediction. She/he has strong quantitative skills, a solid background in statistics and data analysis, and good programming skills (Python, R, UI). Good communication skills, in particular in the context of non-tech users of AI (such as management, customers, public) are required. Very good English language skills are mandatory, fluency in German is a strong asset.

The PhD degree will be issued from the University of Zurich (Department of Informatics), in the framework of a joint PhD program of ZHAW and the University of Zurich.

The project is an excellent opportunity to develop qualifications and experience in different disciplines at the cutting point of AI and ethics. You will develop a solid scientific background, but also be involved in the application in business practice.

For more information regarding the vacancy, please contact Prof. Dr. Christoph Heitz, Tel. +41 58 934 78 16, Email: christoph.heitz@zhaw.ch or visit for further information www.zhaw.ch/idp/

Are you interested? If you would like to apply, please use the online platform to send us your complete application, attn. Anja Windler, Recruiting Manager, at Winterthur; Cover letter indicating your motivation and expectations from this research. Detailed CV, including publications. One page summary of your MSc degree. Contact information for two references.

ZHAW Zürcher Hochschule für Angewandte Wissenschaften