Studentship Vacancies

The Knowledge Media Institute (KMi) is home to internationally recognised researchers in semantic technologies, educational multimedia, collaboration technologies, artificial intelligence, cognitive science, and human-computer interaction. KMi offers students an intellectually challenging environment with exceptional research and computer facilities.

Early-Stage Researcher Pursuing a PHD on Bias in Artificial Intelligence

Unit: Knowledge Media Institute (KMi)
Salary: £45,463 per year plus allowances
Please quote reference: 17044
Full-time, Fixed term contract for 36 months
Closing date: Thursday 5th March 2020 - 17:00.

About the role and duties

The Knowledge Media Institute invites applications for an Early Stage Researcher to work in the area of bias in Artificial Intelligence. The researcher will work within the interdisciplinary community of the NoBias project and will pursue a PhD in Computer Science at the Open University as part of their 3-year engagement with the project.

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 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. ESRs will acquire practical expertise in a variety of sectors from healthcare, telecommunication, finance, marketing, media, software, and legal consultancy to broadly foster legal compliance and innovation. Technical, interdisciplinary and soft skills will give ESRs a head start towards future leadership in industry, academia, or government.

The successful candidate will be required to:

  • Carry out a PhD research project on topics related to mitigating bias in AI algorithms using data enrichment techniques.
  • Engage in the NoBIAS research activities and actively collaborate within the consortium.
  • Actively participate in the training programme offered by the NoBIAS ITN (Innovative Training Network)
  • Engage with researchers at NoBIAS partner organizations across the EU.
  • Conduct research visits and secondments according to the individual career development plan.

Skills and Experience

  • First degree in computer science or a relevant discipline;
  • Strong programming and Machine Learning skills;
  • Aptitude and ability in computational thinking and methods;
  • Scientific curiosity and an innovative approach to problem solving;
  • Willingness to work in a cross-disciplinary training and research setting;
  • Very good communication and team working skills;
  • Fluent level of English.

For further information concerning the tasks please contact Dr Miriam Fernandez ( and/or Professor Harith Alani (

Role Specific Details

To be eligible the applicant must satisfy the mobility requirements of Marie Skłodowska-Curie actions. According to these guidelines, 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 (United Kingdom) 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".

Please see attached job description document detailing the above along with further information regarding completing a PHD at The Open University.

Doing a PhD at the Open University (Knowledge Media Institute – KMi)

The OU Graduate School encompasses a community of around 900 postgraduate research students (PGRS). In the Postgraduate Research Experience Survey (PRES) 2019, the OU was in the top quartile for student satisfaction. Our research students are supervised by academics who are leading experts in their disciplines and benefit from a comprehensive programme of research skills training.

Within the OU, The Knowledge Media Institute (KMi) is home to internationally recognized researchers in semantic technologies, educational multimedia, collaboration technologies, artificial intelligence, cognitive science, social data science, and human-computer interaction. KMi offers students an intellectually challenging environment with exceptional research and computer facilities. KMi offers a very friendly and diverse work and research environment that is well equipped with the newest hardware and software technology. KMi welcomes researchers from all backgrounds and ethnicities, and takes immense pride in being the home for researchers from over 20 different nationalities, brought together by their passion for research.

How to Apply

You will need to have your documents ready ahead of submitting the electronic application.

Required documents:

  • Detailed CV in Europass format (template available in the following link) in English, highlighting your achievements and fit to the applied position;
  • Scans of BSc (and MSc if applicable) transcripts, with certified translation in English (if the degree qualification is not in English);
  • 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 a PhD;
  • Contact details or recommendation letters of two referees in English or in a certified translation to English;
  • Scanned copy of valid identification document;
  • Proof of excellent command of English. Unless from a majority English-speaking country, Non-EEA applicants will require an IELTS score of 6.5 with a minimum of 6 in each element of Listening, Reading, Speaking and Writing. IELTS Certificates are valid for a period of 2-years;

To assure your file is uploaded to our system correctly, please make sure your document is saved with the following file name as appropriate to the vacancy you are applying for: reference, surname, first initial, Document Title.

Please submit your CV in the mandatory attachments field, you can submit the additional attachments, (up to 5 documents) in the 'additional attachments' field on the application system.

Should you need any guidance on submitting your application please call the Resourcing Hub on 01908 655544.

Closing date for applications: 5th March 2020

Interview date(s): 16 March to 3 April 2020

Please submit an electronic application according to the above instructions by clicking on "Apply Now" below:

Apply Now

Alternatively, please scan the QR code below:

Marie Curie Early Stage Researcher - QR code

We are committed to widening participation and awarding positions to a diverse community of applicants. We particularly welcome applications from under-represented groups.

Equal Opportunity is University policy

Job related information:

Marie Curie Early Stage Researcher - Job Description.pdf - 189.32kb

Terms and Conditions (Research Staff)

Terms and Conditions - Full Time Research Staff