Postdoctoral Researcher in Trustworthy Autonomous Systems

London (Greater) (GB)
£38,304 to £45,026 including London Weighting
Thursday, 23 September 2021
End of advertisement period
Monday, 25 October 2021
Job Type
Research Related
Contract Type
Fixed Term
Full Time

Job description

A candidate will join a team of post-doctoral researchers in the UKRI Trustworthy Autonomous Systems Hub (TAS Hub, that King’s College London is a member of. Led from the University of Southampton with King’s College London and the University of Nottingham as partners, the TAS Hub aims to bring together the UK’s world-leading expertise in areas ranging from computing and robotics to social sciences and the humanities to ensure that autonomous systems are trustworthy by design and default and can ultimately benefit society and industry.


Autonomous systems are technologies that gain information about their environment, learn, adapt and make decisions, with little or no human control. They can include automated software and ‘smart’ devices as well as selfdriving cars, drones and robots. Autonomous systems are already used in many sectors of society, and given their increased use, it is important to ensure that they are designed, built and deployed in a way that can be accepted and trusted by all. Explanations can help human users understand and trust the choices of autonomous systems or interact with them in a safe and secure way.


They can also help such systems interact with each other in a safe, secure and trusted way. Much work has recently been devoted to Explainable AI, which has so far focused on new AI techniques that enable users to understand, appropriately trust, and effectively manage the emerging generation of AI systems. Of interest, but not exclusively, the area of explainable safety and security in autonomous systems is still largely unchartered territory, especially since it involves different stakeholders (i.e., the system’s developers, analysts, users and attackers, as well as legislators and policymakers) and is multi-faceted by nature (as it requires reasoning about system model, threat model and properties of security, privacy and trust as well as concrete breaches, attacks, vulnerabilities and countermeasures).


This is an exciting opportunity to participate in a new area of research and in the process collaborate with our Hub partners (see There will also be the opportunity to shape and engage in focused and agile multidisciplinary projects in the different research streams of the TAS Hub. They will be highly experienced in autonomous systems and formal methods or human computer interaction, as well as have a strong publication record in related areas. 


The research will have a substantial multidisciplinary Page 3 of 5 Version 28.07.2021 ambition, but a PhD in computer science, mathematics or engineering is essential. Our staff and students come from all over the world and the Department is proud of its friendly and inclusive culture. Diversity is positively encouraged with a number of family-friendly policies, including the operation of a core hours policy, the right to apply for flexible working and support for staff returning from periods of extended absence, for example maternity leave.


The Department of Informatics is committed to ensuring an inclusive interview process and will reimburse up to £250 towards any additional care costs (for a dependent child or adult) incurred as a result of attending an interview for this position. For further information about the Department of Informatics at King’s, please see


This post will be offered on an a fixed-term contract until 30 May 2024.


This is a full time post - 100% full time equivalent


Key responsibilities 

The successful candidate is expected to:

 • shape and engage in advanced multi-disciplinary research in collaboration with the UK TAS Hub partners 

 • maintain an outstanding track record of published research at a level of international excellence and

 • lead activities promoting research impact. 

 The above list of responsibilities may not be exhaustive, and the post holder will be required to undertake such tasks and responsibilities as may reasonably be expected within the scope and grading of the post.

Skills, knowledge, and experience 

Essential criteria 

  1. PhD in computer science, artificial intelligence, autonomous systems or related field [or near completion*] 
  2. Solid knowledge in computer science and/or artificial intelligence as evidenced through high quality research and publications at conferences. 
  3. Strong experience in formal methods 
  4. Enthusiasm to work collaboratively with partners from multiple disciplines across the national programme. 

Desirable criteria 

  1. Knowledge of various related subdisciplines including security, privacy, machine learning, provenance, user studies 
  2. Familiarity with some aspects of ethics and governance of autonomous system

Please note that this is a PhD level role but candidates who have submitted their thesis and are awaiting award of their PhDs will be considered. In these circumstances the appointment will be made at Grade 5, spine point 30 with the title of Research Assistant. Upon confirmation of the award of the PhD, the job title will become Research Associate and the salary will increase to Grade 6.


Further information

The selection process will include a brief pre-recorded video presentation and an online panel interview. 


Interviews are provisionally scheduled to be held w/c 15th November.


 Detailed scheduling will be confirmed once shortlisting has taken place.

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