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Distributed AI for Participatory Digital Democracy

PGR-P-744

Key facts

Type of research degree
PhD
Application deadline
Thursday 7 May 2020
Project start date
Thursday 1 October 2020
Country eligibility
UK and EU
Funding
Funded
Source of funding
External organisation
Supervisors
Dr Evangelos Pournaras
Schools
School of Computing
Research groups/institutes
Distributed Systems and Services
<h2 class="heading hide-accessible">Summary</h2>

Can you envision a more inclusive and direct democracy for our digital society empowered by an ethically-aligned AI? The Distributed Systems and Services group at University of Leeds has an opening for a PhD candidate position in the lab of Distributed and Intelligent Social Computing Systems.

<h2 class="heading hide-accessible">Full description</h2>

<p>You will conduct research on the area of intelligent and interactive decision-support systems for self-organized deliberation, collective decision-making, participatory governance and bottom-up policy-making. You will study and build social computing systems using the Internet of Things and blockchain to empower augmented collective decisions in Smart Cities as well as promote trust, legitimacy and transparency. You will have a unique opportunity to apply this research in real-world by running pilots tests in the city of Aarau in Switzerland with a strong tradition on direct democracy initiatives. This project will run in collaboration with ETH Zurich and University of Fribourg in Switzerland as well as the city authorities of Aarau. You will design and build prototype systems such as <a href="http://smart-agora.org">Smart Agora</a>&nbsp;and <a href="http://epos-net.org">EPOS</a>&nbsp;that will use as instruments to conduct novel social experiments in the public urban space.&nbsp;</p> <p>As a PhD candidate in this project you are expected to design crowd-sensing systems using smart phones and the Internet of Things, which you will use as instruments to collect and analyze data about participatory citizens&rsquo; choices, e.g. budgeting, assessment of urban qualities (environment, traffic, social etc). You will also need to experiment with distributed&nbsp;agent-based models, design AI algorithms and decision-support systems that&nbsp;can help citizens make more informed and legitimate decisions.</p>

<h2 class="heading">How to apply</h2>

<p>Formal applications for research degree study should be made online through the&nbsp;<a href="https://eps.leeds.ac.uk/computing-research-degrees/doc/apply">University&#39;s website</a>. Please state clearly in the research information section&nbsp;that the research degree you wish to be considered for is &ldquo;Distributed AI for Participatory Digital Democracy&rdquo; as well as&nbsp;<a href="https://eps.leeds.ac.uk/computing/staff/6446/dr-evangelos-pournaras">Dr Evangelos Pournaras</a>&nbsp;as your proposed supervisor.</p> <p>If English is not your first language, you must provide evidence that you meet the University&#39;s minimum English language requirements (below).</p> <p><em>We welcome applications from all suitably-qualified candidates, but UK black and minority ethnic (BME) researchers are currently under-represented in our Postgraduate Research community, and we would therefore particularly encourage applications from UK BME candidates. All scholarships will be awarded on the basis of merit.</em></p>

<h2 class="heading heading--sm">Entry requirements</h2>

Applicants to research degree programmes should normally have at least a first class or an upper second class British Bachelors Honours degree (or equivalent) in an appropriate discipline. An MSc in Computer Science or similar area would be desired, as well as an interest in decision science, social science, game theory, mechanism design, incentive mechanisms, blockchain and democratic/governance processes. Relevant industry experience is also recognised.

<h2 class="heading heading--sm">English language requirements</h2>

The minimum English language entry requirement for research postgraduate research study is an IELTS of 6.0 overall with at least 5.5 in each component (reading, writing, listening and speaking) or equivalent. The test must be dated within two years of the start date of the course in order to be valid.

<h2 class="heading">Funding on offer</h2>

<p><strong>UK/EU</strong>&nbsp;- Studentship paying Home/EU academic fees (&pound;4,600 for Session 2020/21), together with a maintenance grant of &pound;7,500 per year for 3.5 years. Funding is awarded on a competitive basis.</p>

<h2 class="heading">Contact details</h2>

<p>For further information regarding the application procedure,&nbsp;please contact Doctoral College Admissions,<br /> e:&nbsp;<a href="mailto:phd@engineering.leeds.ac.uk">phd@engineering.leeds.ac.uk</a>, t: +44 (0)113 343 5057.</p>


<h3 class="heading heading--sm">Linked research areas</h3>