Research Associate in Human-centred Security in AI Assistants

London (Greater) (GB)
£40,386 per annum, including London Weighting Allowance
04 Jan 2023
End of advertisement period
29 Jan 2023
Contract Type
Fixed Term
Full Time

Job description

The successful candidate will join King’s College London and work on the 3-year EPSRC-funded project “SAIS: Secure AI Assistants”. 

There is an unprecedented integration of AI assistants into everyday life, from the personal AI assistants running in our smart phones and homes, to enterprise AI assistants for increased productivity at the workplace, to health AI assistants. Only in the UK, 7M users interact with AI assistants every day, and 13M on a weekly basis. A crucial issue is how secure AI assistants are, as they make extensive use of AI and learn continually. Also, AI assistants are complex systems with different AI models interacting with each other and with the various stakeholders and the wider ecosystem in which AI assistants are embedded. Beyond the technical complexities, users of AI assistants are known to have mental models that are highly incomplete and they do not know how to protect themselves.

SAIS (Secure AI assistantS) is a cross-disciplinary collaboration between the Departments of Informatics, Digital Humanities and The Policy Institute at King's College London, and the Department of Computing at Imperial College London, working with non-academic partners: Microsoft, Humley, Hospify, Mycroft, policy and regulation experts, and the general public, including non-technical users.

This particular post will focus on human-centred security and privacy in AI assistants, as well as on explaining security and privacy in AI assistants so that users can trust these systems.  


This post will be offered on an fixed-term contract for 18 months 

This is a full-time (100%) post


Key responsibilities

  • Designing, conducting, analysing and reporting empirical research  
  • Writing papers for publication in journals and conferences, and presenting at conferences, seminars and other research meetings. 
  • Working closely with the Principal Investigator (PI) and other Co-investigators to ensure that the aims and objectives of the project are achieved in a timely and effective way. 
  • Developing new concepts and ideas to extend intellectual understanding in the area of the project.
  • Leading the organisation of and support conferences and workshops run by the project to develop the project outputs and research agenda; and participating in relevant events within the institution or externally, in order to build contacts to facilitate exchange of information and advance thinking. The post holder will be particularly expected to actively engage in the activities and events of SAIS.
  • Contributing to the development of further research proposals.

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, Human-computer Interaction, Cyber security or similar near completion. 

2.      Excellent background in Human Factors in and Usable Security and Privacy 

3.      Strong research record in the subjects above as evidenced by publications in high quality journals and conferences. 

4.      Proven ability to work independently. 

5.      Flexible approach to working and a desire to develop knowledge. 

6.      Excellent interpersonal / team-working and organisational skills. 

7.      Excellent written and verbal communication skills including presentation and report-writing skills. 


Desirable criteria 

1.      Previous experience in Human-AI Interaction  


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.

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