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PhD Studentship: Artificial Intelligence for the Future of Society

University of Southampton

Qualification Type: PhD
Location: Southampton
Funding for: UK Students, EU Students
Funding amount: Not Specified
Hours: Full Time
Placed On: 15th February 2020
Closes: 31st August 2020

Supervisor:     Professor Dame Wendy Hall   

Co-supervisor : Professor Pauline Leonard    

Project description

There is a global need to develop a large and highly skilled workforce that will drive an increasingly innovative economy, while understanding the adaptations necessary for working and living with Artificial Intelligence (AI), mitigating the risks it poses and shaping a future AI society.

The Web Science Institute (WSI) aims to train multidisciplinary doctoral researchers in developing cutting-edge AI techniques, in deploying AI in innovative solutions to complex social problems, and in managing the disruptive effects of AI on social infrastructure. You can find more information about the AI for the Future of Society research theme here

For this project, we welcome research proposals which address any of the following key topics: 

  • Trusted and accountable data infrastructures for AI and Machine Learning; 
  • The use of AI in specific domains such as health, education, the workforce, and creative and cultural industries; 
  • The ethics, regulation, and governance of Artificial Intelligence;
  • The impact of technologies on society and social values, such as privacy, citizenship and equality.

You will be supervised by an interdisciplinary academic team and be part of a broader cohort of students investigating the challenges of a future AI society. Your research will be supported by relevant training, and may include MSc modules according to your individual needs. You may also have the opportunity to include an internship as part of your studies.

About the WSI

The Web Science Institute (WSI) focuses on globally-recognised cross-disciplinary research, training and innovation.  The Institute’s work explores digital economy, cultures and social practices based on Web, Data Science and AI technologies.   The WSI is a founder member of the Web Science Trust Network of Laboratories, an international network of 20 research laboratories. The Centre for Doctoral Training in Web Science Innovation is hosted by the WSI and there are close links with the University’s Centre for Machine Intelligence (CMI). Students will also benefit from opportunities offered by the University’s partnership with the Alan Turing Institute.

If you wish to discuss any details of the project informally, please contact Dr Mark Weal ( or Alison Tebbutt ( at the Web Science Institute.

Entry Requirements

A good undergraduate degree (at least a UK 2:1 honours degree, or its international equivalent) in a relevant subject, such as Computer Science or Software Engineering. 

Advanced AI experience is not needed but applicants should demonstrate an interest in social applications of AI and/or experience of interdisciplinary research. 

Start Date: September 2020

Closing date: 31 August 2020

Early application is advised.  Applications will be considered until the position is filled.

Duration: Four years (full-time).

Funding: A 3.5 year studentship is offered covering UK/EU tuition fees and an annual tax-free stipend at the standard EPSRC rate (£15,009 for 2019/20).

How to apply:

Applications should include:

Applications should be made online selecting “PhD Web Science” as the programme.  Please enter “AI for the Future of Society” under the Topic or Field of Research.

Application guidance:

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