Research Fellow, Research School of Social Sciences

Canberra, Australia
Dec 16, 2019
End of advertisement period
Feb 10, 2020
Contract Type
Full Time

Classification: Academic Level B
Salary package: $101,805 - $115,428 per annum plus 17% superannuation
Terms: Full time, Continuing (Contingent Funded), 3 years initially with possible extension upon confirmation of additional external funding
Start date: 1 September 2020

The School of Philosophy, Research School of Social Sciences, ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences seeks to appoint a Research Fellow to work on a grant ‘Moral Skill and Artificial Intelligence’, jointly funded by the Templeton World Charity Foundation and the School of Philosophy. Candidates should hold a PhD in philosophy, sociology, psychology, or a related discipline prior to appointment.

As humans, our skills define us. No skill is more human than the exercise of moral judgment. We are already using Artificial Intelligence (AI) to automate morally-loaded decisions. In other domains of human activity, automating a task diminishes our skill at that task. Will 'moral automation' diminish our moral skill? If so, how can we mitigate that risk, and adapt AI to enable moral 'upskilling'? Our project will use philosophy, social psychology, and computer science to answer these questions. For more details about the project, please see

We are seeking a research fellow to help advance the project's goals. The primary selection criteria are world-class research excellence and ability to contribute productively to the academic life of the School of Philosophy, and the Humanising Machine Intelligence grand challenge, with which this project is associated. We are particularly interested in scholars who are able to engage across disciplinary boundaries, and to contribute to the broader public discourse around automation and society.

This position will be based in the School of Philosophy at ANU, but will be associated with the Humanising Machine Intelligence Grand Challenge project ( HMI is a major interdisciplinary investment at the ANU aimed at establishing the social, theoretical, and technological foundations for democratically legitimate machine intelligence. It features a team of researchers from across philosophy, computer science, sociology and political science.

The School of Philosophy is a world-leading department that combines several of the world’s most cited living philosophers with dynamic mid-career researchers and award-winning early career researchers.  Our principal strengths are in philosophy of science (especially philosophy of biology, probability and decision theory), moral and political philosophy and philosophy of mind, with a growing concentration in Asian Philosophy. We have a proud reputation of repeatedly winning significant support for both individual- and team-projects from a number of funders, and every year welcome scores of international visitors to Canberra, hosting multiple annual workshops in all our major areas of research strength, as well as a vibrant series of three weekly research seminars.  We have a continuing flow of postdoctoral researchers, many of whom go on to continuing positions at leading departments worldwide. We have three major research Centres – the Centre for Consciousness, the Centre for Moral, Social and Political Theory and the Centre for Philosophy of the Sciences. These centres coordinate our work in our areas of research strength, hosting multiple workshops and postdocs.

Canberra is one of the world's finest places to live, with a rare combination of urban comfort and access to some of the most beautiful countryside in the world (including an easy drive to some of the world's best, and quietest, beaches). For more information, see

The School of Philosophy particularly welcomes applications from women, and members of our groups that are underrepresented in the discipline. The University actively encourages applications from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

For further information please contact Professor Seth Lazar, T: +61 2 6125 8995 E:

Closing date: 10 February 2020

Position description: Research Fellow.pdf

ANU values diversity and inclusion and believes employment opportunities must not be limited by socio-economic background, race, religion or gender.  For more information about staff equity at ANU, visit

Application Information

In order to apply for this role please make sure that you upload the following documents:

  • A current curriculum vitae (CV).
  • 3-5 names and contact details for people to supply letters of recommendation.  
  • A writing sample, no longer than 10,000 words.
  • A statement of research ideas tailored to the theme of the project.
  • A statement addressing the selection criteria.

Applications which do not address the selection criteria may not be considered for the position.