PhD position: The Bright Side and Dark Side of Emerging Technologies in the Media Industry (0,8-1fte)

PhD position: The Bright Side and Dark Side of Emerging Technologies in the Media Industry (0,8-1fte)

Published Deadline Location
22 Nov 15 Jan Rotterdam

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Ever thought of the implications of algorithms in your daily life? Do you have a drive to figure out where algorithmic decision systems will take society next? Then a PhD position in our algosoc community is what you have been looking for!

Job description

We are in an increasing need to access personalized, adaptive, and dynamic information in real time. Advanced enabling technologies for Metaverse, such as AI, AR/VR, Web3.0, IoT, NFT, and edge computing, provide us ample possibilities by embedding the information in an appropriate time and space, which provides users new ways to interact with both the physical and the virtual world. These emerging technologies are changing the landscape of news organizations and media industries. On the one hand, emerging technologies create new opportunities for news organizations. For example, VR allows users to have a deeper level of interaction, connectedness and empathy with news stories. Robot journalism (i.e., automated journalism) allows news organizations to test headlines, source information and identify trending stories. Wearable journalism, using AR smart glasses or contact lenses, allows instant update and composition of stories. On the other hand, technologies such as image manipulation, deep fakes, fake news certainly speed up the spread of misinformation and pose threats to authentic media. This project will investigate both the bright side and the dark side that emerging technologies play in the media sector.

This project is part of the Gravitation programme Public Values in the Algorithmic Society (algosoc). The Gravitation program is an initiative by the Dutch government to support excellent research in the Netherlands. The funding is reserved for scientific consortia that have the potential to rank among the world's best in their field. algosoc is a response to the urgent need for an informed societal perspective on automated decision making. Funded by the ministry for Education, Culture and Science for a period for 10 years, research in the algosoc programme will be grounded in a deep understanding of the systemic changes that automated decision making entails for core public institutions, for society, and for how public values are realised. The research will focus on three sectors: justice, health, and media. The programme brings together researchers in law, communication science, computer science, philosophy, public governance, STS, economy, and social sciences from five Dutch universities (Amsterdam, Utrecht, Tilburg, Delft and Rotterdam). Together, the algosoc community will develop solutions for the design of governance frameworks needed to complement technology-driven initiatives in the algorithmic society.

The current position is part of the algosoc media sector and is located in Rotterdam. As a PhD candidate, you will get the unique opportunity to help shape the research programme with your research plan. Closely collaborating with your fellow PhDs and mentored by top scholars from various disciplines, you are encouraged and supported to conduct your PhD project.

What you are going to do:

  • Develop, conduct, and publish research on the effects of algorithmic decision making;
  • Contribute to the public debate and organise outreach activities of algosoc;
  • Contribute to the overall programme in terms of community building, events, research meetings, and activities;
  • Collaborate with other researchers within the algosoc consortium;
  • Give guest-lectures in the area of your expertise at bachelor and master level;
  • Help co-supervising research projects of students working on related topics.


Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR)


We expect you to have:

  • Passionate about understanding the impact of digital technologies on individuals, organizations, markets, system design, public policy, and society;
  • MSc or MPhil in economics, business administration, econometrics, statistics, (computational) social science, computer science or a related discipline;
  • Experience with various social science methodological skills, preferably including quantitative and qualitative methods (e.g., survey, experiment).
  • Experience in programming, and developing and estimating econometric or statistical models;
  • The ability, willingness, and commitment to do autonomous work in a multidisciplinary team that includes legal scholars, communication scholars, ethics and data scientists;
  • Ambition to work towards an academic career as a world-class researcher and instructor;
  • A good written and spoken command of English (a basic command of Dutch is preferred, given the interaction with the target audience);
  • Experience with organising workshops or similar events is appreciated.

If the vacancy appeals to you, but you are doubting whether you might be THE person we are looking for, please do apply. We encourage all qualified applicants, including minorities, women, people with disabilities, and members of other groups underrepresented in academia. We wish to create a consortium that consists of persons who each contribute in their unique way to the team. Complementarity and not homogenity is what we are looking for.  

Developing a societal vision on automated decision making concerns us all. We believe that a diversity of perspectives in our consortium will be important in developing an inclusive societal vision and strive therefore also in our hiring policy for encouraging applicants from diverse backgrounds. We are committed to creating an environment of mutual respect, inclusiveness, equal opportunities with room for situated experiences, diverse perspectives, and ideas to flourish. This commitment applies to our research, organisation, room for flexibility, training, and community activities as well as our hiring strategy.   

Conditions of employment

As PhD candidate you will:

  • Get the opportunity to develop your PhD project, in collaboration with top talent peers and senior scholars from various disciplines.
  • Follow a training in the algosoc early career researcher programme, the Erasmus Graduate School of Social Sciences and the Humanities, Erasmus Research Institute of Management (ERIM).
  • Be supervised by top scholars.
  • Get access to societal stakeholder network.
  • Work in a supportive, inspiring, collaborative, and flexible working environment.
  • Work in a dynamic and inspiring urban environment in the bustling hyperdiverse city of Rotterdam.
  • Have an internationally oriented and varied job in an enthusiastic team, with good working conditions in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities (CAO-NU).

The start date of this position is Spring 2023 and you will be based at the Erasmus AiPact Initiative at Woudestein campus, Rotterdam. The position is for 0.8-1.0 FTE. We offer an appointment as PhD student for a period of 1.5 year, which will be extended with a second term of 2.5 years if the candidate performs well. The salary will range from € 2.541 in the first year to € 3.247 in the fourth year gross per month on a fulltime basis, in accordance with scale [scale P] of the CAO-NU. In addition, we offer an 8% holiday allowance, an end-of-year payment of 8.3%, and a very generous paid leave scheme. Furthermore, EUR is affiliated with ABP for the pension provision, and we offer partially paid parental leave, fully paid extended birth leave for partners, a personal career budget, work-life balance coaches, discounted collective health insurance, and more. As an employee, you can also use EUR facilities such as the University library and receive a discount on subscriptions for the Erasmus sports centre.

Erasmus University Rotterdam offers a Dual Career Programme (DCP) to assist the life partners of new academic staff (on payroll) in finding employment in The Netherlands. The programme is offered in close cooperation with the nearby universities of Delft and Leiden.


Erasmus University Rotterdam

Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) is an internationally oriented university with a strong social orientation in its education and research, as expressed in our mission ‘Creating positive societal impact’. EUR is home to 3.700 academics and professionals and almost 33.000 students from more than 140 countries. Everything we do, we do under the credo The Erasmian Way – Making Minds Matter. We’re global citizens, connecting, entrepreneurial, open-minded, and socially involved. These Erasmian Values function as our internal compass and create EUR’s distinctive and recognizable profile. From these values, with a broad perspective and with an eye for diversity, different backgrounds and opinions, our employees work closely together to solve societal challenges from the dynamic and cosmopolitan city of Rotterdam. Thanks to the high quality and positive societal impact of our research and education, EUR can compete with the top European universities.

Erasmus University Rotterdam aspires to be an equitable and inclusive community. We nurture an open culture, where everyone is supported to fulfill their full potential. We see inclusivity of talent as the basis of our successes, and the diversity of perspectives and people as a highly valued outcome. EUR provides equal opportunities to all employees and applicants regardless of gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, religion, ethnicity, age, neurodiversity, functional impairment, citizenship, or any other aspect which makes them unique. We look forward to welcoming you to our community.


Erasmus Initiative Societal Impact of AI (AiPact)

As an EUR algosoc researcher, you will be part of the Erasmus Initiative ‘Societal Impact of AI' (AiPact). AiPact is a transdisciplinary initiative to co-create the conditions for artificial intelligence in society, involving all stakeholders. You will be part of our dynamic and enthusiastic interdisciplinary team addressing societal challenges. Follow AiPact on Linkedin and Medium for our activities.

AiPact is one of four spearhead initiatives of the Erasmus University Rotterdam. The Erasmus Initiatives streamline our academic activities to increase the social and economic impact of our work. The connection and interaction between science and society, between theory and practice, are part of our DNA. Talented researchers who enter international collaborations with an open mind move science forward. The Erasmus Initiatives join forces for science that matters. The Erasmus Initiative Societal Impact of AI (AiPact) is embedded in the Erasmus Centre for Data Analytics (ECDA).


  • PhD
  • Behaviour and society
  • 32—40 hours per week
  • €2541—€3247 per month
  • ESSB/Strat/PhD/22112022


Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR)

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