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Fully Funded UKRI PhD Scholarship: TRUE: Trust in User-generated Evidence: Analysing the Impact of Deepfakes on Accountability Processes for Human Rights Violation

Swansea University - Law

Qualification Type: PhD
Location: Swansea
Funding for: UK Students
Funding amount: This scholarship covers the full cost of tuition fees and an annual stipend of £16,062 (UKRI rate). Additional research expenses will also be available.
Hours: Full Time
Placed On: 22nd June 2022
Closes: 22nd July 2022

Funding providers: UKRI Frontier Research grant

Project start date: 1 October 2022 (Enrolment open from mid-September)

Project description: 

TRUE is a five-year research project originally selected for funding by the European Research Council (Starting Grant no. 101040463), which will now be funded by a UKRI Frontier Research guarantee grant, in light of the UK’s non-association to the Horizon Europe programme. Through an innovative interdisciplinary methodology combining legal analysis of trials, large online experiments, and mock jury trials, TRUE will develop the first systematic account of trust in user-generated evidence (such as photos and videos recorded by witnesses on their mobile phones), in the specific context of its use in human rights accountability processes.

We are seeking to appoint a PhD student to collaborate on one of the key strands of this project, which will focus on investigating how domestic and international courts have approached user-generated evidence in prosecuting atrocity crimes and pursuing accountability for human rights violations. There is considerable scope for the successful candidate to shape their own research agenda within the parameters of the broader project and its research objectives, which are to:

  1. Analyse public awareness of deepfakes and how perceptions of deepfakes impact upon the perceived trustworthiness of user-generated evidence;
  2. Create and validate a scale of trustworthiness for user-generated evidence, identifying the factors that feed into the perceived credibility, reliability and probative value of that evidence and comparing it to other types of evidence from both lay and professional fact-finders’ perspectives;
  3. Test the scale of trustworthiness through online and offline experiments with lay and professional factfinders, including through jury simulations;
  4. Examine the extent to which ‘plausible deniability’ arguments, allegations of deepfakes and narratives of (mis)trust have appeared in cases using user-generated evidence to prove mass human rights violations;
  5. Critically assess the likely future role of user-generated evidence in this context, and what steps can be taken to preserve the utility of genuine, reliable, user-generated evidence for future human rights accountability processes.

Eligibility

Candidates must normally hold an undergraduate degree at 2.1 level (or non-UK equivalent as defined by Swansea University), with no failed modules at undergraduate level, and a master’s degree with an overall grade of ‘merit’. 

English Language requirements: If applicable – IELTS 6.5 overall (with no individual component below 6.0) or Swansea recognised equivalent.

This scholarship is open to candidates of any nationality.

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