Scotiabank Postdoctoral Fellowship, AI and Regulation

Posted on Thursday, April 23, 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


Fellowship Description

We are seeking a skilled and enthusiastic Postdoctoral Fellow to pursue an innovative research program focused on shaping the regulation of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in a global context.

The successful candidate will be supervised throughout the postdoctoral fellowship by leading technology law, ethics and policy scholars at the University of Ottawa AI + Society Initiative, notably Dr Michael Geist, Dr Florian Martin-Bariteau and Dr Teresa Scassa

Emerging artificial intelligence tools are constantly complicating previously straightforward areas of domestic and international policy, and call for comparative studies. 

Applicants are encouraged to propose creative ideas for a postdoctoral fellowship, emphasizing how they plan to contribute to new knowledge within the domain of the regulation of AI and automation. 

We are particularly interested in proposals aligning with one of the following topics: 

  • Regulating AI and Ethics: The research would look at different initiatives to regulate AI and incorporate human rights and ethical values in the development of AI, notably beyond the usual black letter law, such as rules of professional conduct, norms and standards. 
  • Data Governance and AI:  The research will look at current practices and legal frameworks regarding data governance for data sharing and AI development, study use cases to derive insights, propose principles and frameworks, and recommendations for law and policy reform at the provincial and federal levels. 
  • Copyright and AI: The research would look at the social, economic and cultural implications at the intersection of copyright and artificial intelligence, and explore  policy avenues (barriers to AI innovation; AI and creativity; and bias concerns that arise from the reliance on “low risk” data sets for machine learning purposes.

The postdoctoral fellowship will result in a better understanding of the current AI context and challenges. 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 law and, in addition, it would be helpful but not necessary to have training in ethics and/or policy.


About the Project

The Postdoctoral Fellow will join the dynamic research community of the AI + Society Initiative at the University of Ottawa, and its “AI + Regulation” research stream, which focuses on shaping global AI regulation.

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.

The AI + Society Initiative promotes an inclusive research agenda with a specific focus on avoiding the amplification of global digital injustices through AI for affected communities. The research will include many important voices such as women, youth, seniors, Indigenous People, LGBTQIA+, visible minorities, people with disabilities, and linguistic minorities (such as French and Indigenous Languages) – and those at the intersection of these identities.

While being grounded in rigorous evidence-based academic research, most outreach (public lectures, training, tools, white papers, reports, etc.) will be developed with the general public in mind, and communicated in plain language for them to be able to take ownership of the tools and implement them to have a transformative impact within their communities, including in relation to policy reform.


Position Requirements

  • Doctoral degree in law or allied field (e.g. ethics, policy, media studies) with training in law or policy. The preference will be for candidates with doctorates awarded in the last 5 years, but all candidates will be considered. 
  • Research experience, preferably in law and policy. 
  • English or French proficiency.


Additionally, the following skills will be considered as assets:  

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


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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