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Postdoctoral Research Associate

Durham University and Newcastle University seek to appoint a total of 9 postdoctoral researchers for the EPSRC funded project ‘AGENCY: Assuring Citizen Agency in a World with Complex Online Harms’ (EP/W032481/1). We invite applications of candidates from a variety of disciplines 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.

The ideal candidate for this role is a capable and independent researcher who has expert working knowledge in the field of Human-Centred Artificial Intelligence, with experience using human-centred approach to the design and development of AI-powered interactive systems with ethical, legal, and societal values. Your work explores an AI-based component that assists the end user (in a privacy and agency preserving manner), recommending tailored features of the platform and providing an adaptive and personalised user experience. You will work in an interdisciplinary team to iteratively test how tailored features can increase the usability of the platform and users’ motivation and engagement in performing these activities, as well as how performing these activities can deter and reduce the instances of online harms. You will become a member of Haii Lab ( in the Department of Computer Science at Durham University. You will work with Dr Lei Shi, who is available for informal inquiries at [email protected].

As member of the AGENCY project team, you will work in an inclusive, interdisciplinary team. You will be provided with individual career support and be part of a national network of related research projects (see 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.

Deadline: 3rd June 2022.

IAS Fellow

Applications are now invited for the academic year 2023/24.

An IAS Fellowship provides recipients with the opportunity to develop their ideas and collaborations in a thriving community of researchers, and through engagement with the University’s Departments, Institutes and Colleges. All Fellows will be provided with office space. Each will be welcomed into a Durham College where they will be offered accommodation (in a one bedroom flat, or similar), and membership of the College’s Senior Common Room.

The IAS will cover the costs associated with the Fellow travelling to Durham from their home institution (one return fare – economy class only), and will provide all Fellows with an honorarium (£3,000 for three months; pro-rata for a shorter stay).  

Applicants must have at least five years’ experience following the completion of a PhD, or – if a non-academic practitioner – at least five years equivalent professional experience. Applicants may come from an academic or non-academic background (e.g. public intellectuals, artists, writers, film makers, journalists, policy makers, politicians). Applicants must spend their time at Durham either October – December 2023 or January – March 2024.

For details, please refer

The official application deadline is midday GMT 17 June 2022, so applicants will need to contact Dr Lei Shi ([email protected]) IN ADVANCE to discuss details and finalise the application.

Academic Visitors

Colleagues from other universities, research institutes, and R&D departments in firms are welcome to visit us. Please email Lab Director, Dr Lei Shi, to discuss and confirm the details.

PhD students

We welcome potential applicants all year round.

To apply for a position in our lab, you need to have (or nearly complete) a BSc or an MSc degree in artificial intelligence, data science, applied statistics, human-technology interaction, cognitive sciences, cognitive and/or experimental psychology, learning science, applied linguistics, instructional design, industrial design, innovation sciences, or similar.

You will be supervised by an interdisciplinary academic team (Dr Lei Shi as your main supervisor) and be part of a broader cohort of students in the Department of Computer Science, Durham University.

Applications are via the central Durham Admissions procedure. Before you apply, please email Lab Director, Dr Lei Shi, to discuss the possibilities and confirm the details, with your:

  • Research proposal
  • Full CV and covering letter that describes your background and suitability for the PhD study
  • 2 reference letters
  • Degree (BSc and/or MSc) transcripts and certificates
  • English certificate, e.g. IELTS

Looking for project ideas?

Visiting Research Students

We welcome visiting research students, who are currently PhD students registered in other universities. Visiting period is normally 6 months or a year. The university policy can be found here. Please email Lab Director, Dr Lei Shi, to discuss the possibilities and confirm details before starting the official application procedure.