Alex Trebek Postdoctoral Fellowship, AI and Environmental Health

Posted on Tuesday, May 5, 2020

Type: Postdoctoral Fellowship

Start date: Flexible (but ideally September 1, 2020)

Duration: One-year fellowship (with possibility of renewal)

Salary range: $45,000, plus benefits

Reports to: Dr. Kelly Bronson, Canada Research Chair in Science and Society (in collaboration with Dr. Colleen M. Flood and Dr. Florian Martin-Bariteau)


Fellowship Description

We are seeking a skilled and enthusiastic Postdoctoral Fellow to pursue an innovative research program focused on the social science aspects of Artificial Intelligence (AI) applied to environmental sustainability.

The successful candidate will be supervised throughout the postdoctoral fellowship by leading social science, legal and policy scholars from the University of Ottawa together with an advisory committee of national and international scholars, as part of the new Alex Trebek Forum for Dialogue’s Project on AI for Healthy Humans and Environments.

Applicants are encouraged to propose creative ideas for a postdoctoral fellowship, emphasising how they plan to contribute to new knowledge within the domain of agricultural AI and environmental sustainability. We are particularly interested in proposals that take an interdisciplinary and critical social science perspective to studying the relationship between innovation and agro-environmental change.

It is expected that this work will result in a series of joint publications by the end of the fellowship. Research outputs (e.g. policy recommendations and framework proposals) will be disseminated through a series of publications, white papers and other knowledge mobilization activities. The postdoctoral fellowship will focus on research dissemination and knowledge translation both within and outside the academy, and with public and private sector actors

The successful candidate will be registered as a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Ottawa and will enjoy all associated privileges. This individual will have a strong background in sociology, critical human geography or political economy but it would be an asset to have experience with the theoretical commitments of science and technology studies (STS).


About the Project

The Postdoctoral Fellow will join the dynamic research community of the AI + Society Initiative at the University of Ottawa, and its new Alex Trebek Forum for Dialogue’s Project on AI for Healthy Humans and Environments.

The University of Ottawa has positioned itself as a leader in transdisciplinary research and training for responsible AI for the benefit of Canada and the world. The AI + Society Initiative leads a research agenda for a better understanding and framing of the ethical, legal and societal implications of AI research and its uses, as well as leveraging a transdisciplinary approach to advancing AI methods and tools, with a focus on their responsible applications.

Co-lead by Dr. Kelly Bronson, Dr. Colleen M. Flood and Dr. Florian Martin-Bariteau, the Alex Trebek Forum for Dialogue’s Project on AI for Healthy Humans and Environments synergistically brings together leading centres and researchers on AI and proposes research and knowledge translation in the areas of health care, agriculture and the environment. The project aims at developing tools and a framework to support policy makers in Canada and abroad in implementing “smart” changes–ones which support healthier and more sustainable AI-powered healthcare and food production.

The Alex Trebek Forum for Dialogue’s Project on AI for Healthy Humans and Environment builds on the expertise of the Centre for Law, Technology and Society,  Centre for Health Law, Policy and Ethics, the Institute for Science, Society and Policy, and a network of leading experts from the Centre for Environmental Law and Global Sustainability, the LIFE Institute, the Centre for Governance, and the Centre for Public Law.


Position Requirements

  • Doctoral degree in sociology or allied field. The preference will be for candidates with doctorates awarded in the last 5 years but all candidates will be considered. 
  • Research experience, preferably on projects related to big data and AI.
  • English Proficiency. 


Additionally, the following skills will be considered as assets:  

  • Bilingualism (English and French).
  • Scholarship on the relevant topics.
  • Experience with knowledge mobilization.
  • Experience with the concepts and commitments in STS.

If the start date for this position is affected either by the candidate being under COVID-19-related travel restrictions or the campus being closed, remote working options can be negotiated.


How to apply

Apply on our Application Portal


The application package should include:

  • a cover letter,
  • a complete curriculum vitae,
  • a one-page (max.) description of research interests relevant for this position.

The selection committee will start to review applications on June 8th. Applications will be considered until a successful candidate is found. We thank all applicants for their interest, however only those under consideration for the role will be contacted.

The cover letter shall indicate the level of proficiency in English and French.

The University of Ottawa is an equal opportunity employer. We strongly encourage applications from women, Indigenous people, persons with disabilities and members of visible minorities.

In keeping with Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada requirements, all qualified persons are invited to apply; however, preference will be given to Canadian citizens and permanent residents. The cover letter should confirm the immigration status of the candidate.

In keeping with the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005, the University of Ottawa will provide accommodations upon request during the recruitment, selection and assessment process for candidates with a disability.

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