Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions

Recruiting 3 PhD candidates within GECKO MSCA-ITN project in Explainable AI

This job offer has expired

    University of Strathclyde
    Computer scienceSystems design
    EngineeringComputer engineering
    First Stage Researcher (R1)
    16/04/2021 17:00 - Europe/London
    United Kingdom › Glasgow
    H2020 / Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions


The Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering (EEE) within the Faculty of Engineering is looking for 3 highly-motivated PhD students to engage in cutting edge interdisciplinary AI research combined with a structured curriculum of training activities. The successful candidates will be fully integrated within the European Commission MSCA GECKO (https://gecko-project.eu) International Training Network (ITN) to work with 12 other PhD students within an interdisciplinary consortium of nine European academic and industrial institutions, with support from 6 European industrial partners and Stanford University.

You will be trained in an international, inter-disciplinary academic and industrial environment through state-of-the-art research, GECKO training schools, and secondments to academic and industrial institutions. Selected candidates will be enrolled within the EEE PhD programme at the University of Strathclyde. Besides a highly competitive scholarship, with an approximate gross stipend of EUR60,000 per annum, the package includes excellent research and training support as per MSCA ITN guidelines.

GECKO will target interpretable and explainable Artificial Intelligence (AI) and explore alternative methods to build machine learning models drawing on the latest developments in information and social sciences. The focus of GECKO will be on AI design that is robust, from both technical and social perspectives, since even with good intentions, AI systems can cause unintentional harm. With this in mind, GECKO will focus on sustainability in relation to end users, where the decisions made by AI can significantly and directly affect people.

The PhD projects will exploit model visualisation tools and response to dynamics of collected data to understand the reasoning behind machine learning outcomes; information extraction methods to meet privacy and trust requirements; and novel graphical inference and signal and information processing techniques to acquire understanding how deep learning methods transform input data into outcome recommendations. The successful candidates will interact closely with social science teams to integrate human/social elements in the machine learning models, including biases, inclusion, accountability, and provide computational methods to understand social phenomena, studying causal inference in social systems.

More Information


The successful candidate will receive a financial package of circa £54,857.52 per annum consisting of a living allowance, pension, national insurance and a mobility allowance, according to the rules for MSCA ITN Early Stage Researchers (ESRs).  Additional family allowance is provided where applicable.

Eligibility criteria

Besides general eligibility related to Right to Work in the UK, specific eligibility related to these posts are:

  • Researchers can be of any nationality.
  • There is no age limit
  • All researchers shall, at the time of recruitment by the host organisation, be in the first four years of their research careers and not hold a doctoral degree. The four years start to count from the date when a researcher obtained the latest relevant [bachelors] degree which would formally entitle him/her to embark on a doctorate.
  • Researchers are required to undertake transnational mobility (i.e. move from one country to another) when taking up their appointment. At the time of recruitment, researchers must not have resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc.) in the United Kingdom for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately prior to the appointment date. Short holidays, civil or army service does not count.
  • For all recruitment, the eligibility and mobility of the researcher will be determined at the time of their (first) recruitment [appointment] in the project. The status of the researcher will not evolve over the life-time of a contract.

The candidates will be asked to provide evidence of their eligibility during the selection process.

Selection process

Selection will be based upon the essential and desirable criteria set out on the University of Strathclyde application website.

You will submit a CV, a 1 page research plan describing how you envisage tackling the research challenges of your PhD, as set out for ESRs 1, 2 or 3. Candidates will be shortlisted by a formally appointed recruitment committee and will be invited for interview.

Additional comments

You should apply as follows:

Go to the GECKO webpage, namely https://gecko-project.eu/positions/, then click on ESR01, ESR02 or ESR03 boxes and finally make your application by clicking on the link towards the bottom of the box, named "Link to the application".


Offer Requirements

    Computer science: Bachelor Degree or equivalent
    Engineering: Bachelor Degree or equivalent
    Mathematics: Bachelor Degree or equivalent
    ENGLISH: Excellent


To be considered for the role, you will be educated to a minimum of Degree level (BEng or BSc) in Computer Science, Computer Engineering, Electrical and Electronic Engineering, Mathematical sciences or equivalent. You will have sufficient breadth and depth of knowledge in machine learning or signal processing with good programming experience (Python). You will have knowledge of appropriate research methods, have an ability to plan and prioritise your own workload, with general supervision, and you will have an ability to work within a team environment. You will have excellent interpersonal and communication skills, with the ability to talk, listen, engage and persuade, and to present complex information in an accessible way to a range of audiences. Whilst not essential for the role, applications are welcomed from candidates with: a higher Degree in a relevant discipline (MEng, MSc) and some relevant work experience (including internships, student project and student placements).

Specific Requirements

You will interact closely with social science teams to integrate human/social elements in the machine learning models, including biases, inclusion, accountability, and provide computational methods to understand social phenomena, studying causal inference in social systems. As part of the GECKO network, you will be conducting various experiments within living labs, including collecting and processing user data to understand how users interact with AI technology and identifying drivers for responsible AI. Your responsibilities will comprise delivering research activities as part of the GECKO network and supporting teaching and learning (e.g., undergraduate project student supervision), and knowledge exchange activities under the general supervision of senior colleagues at Strathclyde. Together with other 14 GECKO ESRs, you will attend project schools and workshops and present your findings in the form of oral presentations and posters GECKO schools will provide a range of courses for developing research specific skills and transferable skills. You will also contribute to the schools via research-specific teaching material and contribute to the administrative management of the project.

You will conduct literature reviews, collect and collate data, develop novel and innovative algorithmic solutions, develop software, and undertake and record the outcomes of experiments. You will manage and prioritise your own workload and ensure that all activities are completed to deadlines and you will write up the results of your own research and contribute to the production of research reports, project deliverables and academic publications. You will also be enrolled in our PhD programme at Strathclyde, with expectation to graduate with a PhD degree at end of the 36-month period.

After 3 months of your employment, you will develop a personal career development (PCD) strategy that identifies your individual needs and learning outcomes, in terms of research and innovation training and career development, sets an initial learning pathway, selects and records appropriate activities (when, where, why), and means for monitoring the progress (deliverables). PCD plan will be updated every 6 months and will include: (i) research plan; (ii) training workshops; (iii) formal courses to attend; (iv) secondments; (v) networking opportunities, events/conferences to attend; (vi) public engagement sessions to participate in; (vii) targeted journal publications; (viii) milestones/deliverables that correspond to PCD plan.

You should be ready to undertake several international inter-sectorial and inter-disciplinary internships to GECKO’s academic and/or industrial partners in Denmark, Germany, Greece, US, Norway and /or Sweden. During these internships you will be integrated in the host institution’s GECKO team, working side-by-side with host researchers.

Work location(s)
3 position(s) available at
University of Strathclyde
United Kingdom
G1 1XW
204 George St, Royal College Building

EURAXESS offer ID: 612234


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