(Postdoc) Researcher

(Postdoc) Researcher

Published Deadline Location
16 Jun 1 Jul Amsterdam

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For the Research Project Human Values for Smarter Cities, situated at the research group of Civic Interaction Design, faculty of Digital Media and Creative Industries.

Job description


Together with companies, governments, designers, cultural institutions and students, the Civic Interaction Design research group at the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences explores how the design of interactive experiences, digital platforms and online services can contribute to public life. How can public values ​​concerning democracy, diversity and sustainability be anchored in an emerging network or platform society?  

For its newly funded applied research project Human Values for Smarter Cities, the Civic IxD  research group is searching for a (postdoc) design researcher. The project will run from 2022-2026, and it addresses the embedding of public values (e.g. transparency, accountability) into the design of responsible smart city and A.I. services in Dutch cities. The project is carried out in close cooperation with the Faculty of Industrial Design Engineering at TU Delft, the AMS Responsible Sensing Lab (Amsterdam Institute for Advanced Metropolitan Solutions) and various partners such as the municipalities of Amsterdam, Rotterdam and The Hague. 

Research project Human Values for Smarter Cities 

Developers, designers, and professionals working in urban management have started to realize that implementing A.I. in urban life poses numerous ethical challenges. This has resulted in policy papers calling for human and public values in tech development, ethics guidelines for trustworthy A.I., and cities for digital rights.  

Yet, so far implementing the ethical values expressed in these documents has been full of challenges. Public administrators find it difficult to translate abstract values like transparency into concrete specifications to design new AI services. In the private sector, developers and designers still lack a ‘design vocabulary’ and exemplary projects that can inspire them to respond to transparency and accountability demands. Finally, both the public and private sectors see a need to include the public in the ethical debate around A.I. but haven’t found the right methods.  

The Human Values for Smarter Cities research project has the ambition to answer to these challenges by contributing to the development of an integrated, value-based and multistakeholder design approach for the ethical implementation of A.I. systems in Dutch cities. It does so by setting up a research-through-design trajectory to develop a prototype for an ethical ‘scan car’, as a concrete and urgent example for the deployment of computer vision, Applied AI and algorithmic governance in public space. The focus in the research project is on the design process: what does it take to design an ethical government smart city service? 

The Position 

The postdoc researcher will work in a multidisciplinary team and function as the lead researcher. (S)he will closely work with a senior researcher from the Civic Interaction Design research group at AUAS, a project manager, and contributors from partner organizations such as Waag, Tapp, and the Cities of Amsterdam, Rotterdam and The Hague. Facilities are also available at the Responsible Sensing Lab at AMS. The project will be supervised by lector Martijn de Waal (AUAS) and Gerd Kortuem, Professor Internet of Things at TU Delft. 

Your role in the project consists of setting up, running, and analyzing a series of design-sessions / experiments that contribute to the larger goal of the design of an ethical scan car. These sessions are organized with partner organizations and consist of participatory processes aimed at elicitating ethical values at stake, the concretization of these values into a design, as well as the evaluation or contestation of the actual designs. You report on the outcomes of these sessions in both academic work such as conference papers, as well as in output that is aimed at professionals in policy and design. Think of creating, for example, a 'design canvas', a white paper or series of webinars. Taken together, the outcomes of these sessions should inform an integrated design approach for the ethical design of smart city and A.I. city services. 


Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences (AUAS/HvA))


Your Profile 

  • You have experience in independently conducting (design) research, as demonstrated in  a PhD trajectory. 
  • You are familiar with explorative work in a design research context. 
  • You have knowledge of / affinity with developments in the field of applied A.I., smart city development, responsible technology, and/or participatory design. 
  • You enjoy working in a research team, and you are able to work well with researchers and stakeholders from diverse disciplinary backgrounds. 
  • You have experience in organizing and leading meetings such as round tables and stakeholder meetings. 
  • You have an analytical mindset and can translate research results into both scientific output and products for the professional field. 
  • You speak and write Dutch and English well. 

We are looking for 

  • Our ideal candidate has a PhD or similar research experience.
  • You have methodological experience or familiarity with design research, for example in research-through-design processes or in research approaches such as participatory design, participatory machine learning, situated design, value-sensitive-design or action research.
  • You have substantive knowledge of developments in one or moreof the following research themes, and you know how to connect them: smart cities, ethics of A.I., responsible technology.
  • You are able to connect technological developments and design approaches with societal discussions.
  • You enjoy working at the interface of academic and practice-oriented research, and you easily translate research results into academic papers as well as products for professional practice.
  • You have strong communication skills and a great sense of responsibility.
  • You master the Dutch and English language both orally and in writing 

Conditions of employment

Fixed-term contract: 4 years.

We offer 

An interesting job in a stimulating research environment. The AUAS conducts groundbreaking and innovative research in collaboration with leading partners and works on the development of innovative models, tools and knowledge that promote sustainability. 

The activities are part of the organic position Researcher 3 (Onderzoeker 3) and are remunerated in pay scale 11 (CAO HBO). The salary is a maximum of € 5.332,48 gross per month for a full appointment and depends on education and experience. The employment contract will be a project based contract for 4 years and runs until June 30 2026. 

If you have a suitable profile, it is possible to teach or supervise graduates in one of the programs of the Faculty of Digital Media and Creative Industry in addition to your research appointment. 

The AUAS has an extensive package of fringe benefits, including a generous holiday scheme and a 13th month. In addition, the University of Applied Sciences offers excellent study and development opportunities aimed at new technical development and continuous professionalization. 


About the Civic Interaction Design research group

The research takes place in the Civic Interaction Design research group at the Faculty of Digital Media and Creative Industry at the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences. The professorship conducts practice-oriented research into the social implications of new technologies, see www.civicixd.nl for an overview of our recent projects. We often work together with BA and MA educational programs of the faculty such as Digital Design, Communication and Multimedia Design, HBO-ICT, Communication and Creative Business and the Digital Society School. During the appointment there is also the possibility to be involved in other projects of the professorship. You will also participate in the monthly seminars and other meetings of the research group.  

The research is connected to the AMS Responsible Sensing Lab (https://www.ams-institute.org/urban-challenges/urban-data-intelligence/responsible-sensing-lab/) and the work of TU Delft on contestable Artificial Intelligence (https://www.tudelft.nl/io/onderzoek/technology/contestable-artificial-intelligence).  

Talent as a basis, diversity as a strenght 

The AUAS wants to be an organization in which everyone feels welcome, appreciated and at home. As an employer, we believe that the more inclusive we are, the better we can perform as a knowledge institution of and for the city. We therefore strive to see the diversity of backgrounds and perspectives that Amsterdam has to offer reflected in the workforce of our university. If you have tips on how we can improve our communication in the field of diversity and inclusion, let us know. 


  • Postdoc
  • Engineering; Natural sciences; Behaviour and society
  • 24—40 hours per week
  • max. €5332 per month
  • Doctorate
  • AT HV 20220616


Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences (AUAS/HvA))

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Weesperzijde 190, 1097 DZ, Amsterdam

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