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SAgE – School of Computing

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Newcastle University and Durham University seek to appoint a total of 9 researchers for the EPSRC funded project ‘AGENCY: Assuring Citizen Agency in a World with Complex Online Harms’. We invite applications of candidates from a variety of discipline to become part of an exciting, multidisciplinary research project incorporating scholars from Computing (including AI, HCI and Cyber Security), Sociology, Ethics, Business and Law. The team’s research aims to protect citizens and society from online harms such as hate speech, misinformation, issues around self-image, and domestic violence during a pandemic. Specifically, AGENCY researches how to provide end-users with control (‘agency’) over their online experiences. The team will design new citizen-centred technologies, influence policy and contribute to new ethical frameworks. Please visit http://agencyresearch.net for more information on all available posts.

This specific post considers cyber security and privacy.

The ideal candidate for this role is a capable and independent researcher in privacy and security of modern-day technologies, addressing technologies from a user-centred perspective. The ability to engage with other disciplines as part of an interdisciplinary research team is essential for this interdisciplinary project.

We invite applications from researchers with expertise in areas related to cyber security, human-computer interaction, usable security and user-centric security/privacy evaluation of technology. You have a PhD in Computer Science or related disciplines, particularly with an interest in user-centred studies, including those for marginalised and disadvantaged communities.

You will work with Dr Maryam Mehrnezhad in Newcastle School of Computing and with Dr Kovila Coopamootoo. This post is funded until March 31, 2025 on a full-time basis and is available to start immediately. Informal inquiries for this post can be made to Maryam Mehrnezhad maryam.mehrnezhad@newcastle.ac.uk.

Applicants are asked to submit:

  • A CV.
  • A covering letter which details your experience, strengths and potential in the requirements set out above.
  • URL(s) for up to three outputs (scientific papers or other).

As member of the AGENCY project team, you will work in an inclusive, interdisciplinary team. You will be based in AGENCY’s dedicated interdisciplinary work space in the multi-award winning Urban Sciences Building, a ‘living laboratory’ and an exemplar of sustainable urban development in the heart of Newcastle upon Tyne, UK (https://newcastlehelix.com/). For more information about the School of Computing and our research, please see: https://www.ncl.ac.uk/computing/research/.

You will be provided with individual career support and be part of a national network of related research projects (http://agencyresearch.net). The research will be guided by case studies, including personal health devices, digital identity management, smart homes and online disinformation. You will help shape the specific research associated with the case studies in collaboration with a variety of external partners. For more information about the project and all available posts please contact project lead Aad van Moorsel aad.vanmoorsel@newcastle.ac.uk.

Newcastle University has developed an Academic Job Summary Guidance document which summarises the range of activities that academic colleagues may be expected to perform. The above items are within the context of the Academic Staff Career Pathway at Newcastle University.

Key Accountabilities

  • Design and conduct user studies, and perform qualitative and quantitative analysis
  • Evaluate and improve security and privacy of online technologies such as apps and IoT devices.
  • Work effectively with team members across the project, attending relevant AGENCY group meetings
  • Present research findings at conferences and through publications appropriate to the discipline
  • Assist in the development of non-academic outputs to the benefit of the public and interested stakeholders

Knowledge, Skills and Experience

Essential for Research Associate

  • Postgraduate level research skills training and/or experience
  • Excellent communication skills, written and oral
  • Experience of writing reports and/or academic papers
  • Experience of carrying out research within agreed timelines, prioritising tasks, meeting project milestones and producing work to an appropriate standard

Desirable for Research Associate

  • Successfully published academic work in peer-reviewed journals, presentation at research conferences, symposia or events
  • Knowledge of and experience in usable security and privacy research
  • Knowledge of and experience in security and privacy evaluation of computer technology, eg, apps and IoT devices
  • Experience in conducting user studies, eg, online, interviews, workshops
  • Experience in researching technology with marginalised user groups

Essential for Senior Research Associate

  • Previous experience (or equivalent) and demonstrated research/organisational leadership

Attributes and Behaviour (Essential)

  • Ability and flexibility to work individually and as part of an interdisciplinary research team
  • Willingness and ability to attend in-person meetings as required for the success of the project and a readiness to work flexibly by mutual arrangement
  • Ability to maintain confidentiality
  • Ability to carry out an innovative and flexible approach to interdisciplinary research
  • Commitment to maintain and supporting a diverse and inclusive working environment, in which all colleagues and students are treated fairly and respectfully

Qualifications (Essential)

  • PhD in Computer Science or related subject

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