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PhD fellowship for the critical exploration of generative AI and chatbots for mental health

Vacant position

PhD fellowship for the critical exploration of generative AI and chatbots for mental health

At the Department of Communication and Psychology, the Faculty of Social Science and Humanities, Aalborg University, a position as a PhD fellow in psychology will be open for appointment as of 1st of November 2024. The PhD Fellow will be a part of the project ‘AIM: Can AI Solve The Mental Health Crisis? Exploring Governance, Explainability and Trust’, which is funded by the Carlsberg Foundation. 

Aalborg

  • Deadline: 31.07.2024

  • Ref number: 2024-224-05852

Aalborg

Deadline: 31.07.2024

Ref number: 2024-224-05852

Vacant position

PhD fellowship for the critical exploration of generative AI and chatbots for mental health

At the Department of Communication and Psychology, the Faculty of Social Science and Humanities, Aalborg University, a position as a PhD fellow in psychology will be open for appointment as of 1st of November 2024. The PhD Fellow will be a part of the project ‘AIM: Can AI Solve The Mental Health Crisis? Exploring Governance, Explainability and Trust’, which is funded by the Carlsberg Foundation. 

Aalborg

  • Deadline: 31.07.2024

  • Ref number: 2024-224-05852

Aalborg

Deadline: 31.07.2024

Ref number: 2024-224-05852

Job description

The appointment as PhD fellow will be a fixed term(3 years), full-time position, which will include both research and teaching activities. 

The position will primarily be attached to the section Psychology of Culture, Humanity and Education(Psyche), which focuses its research on the following main themes: 
  • General psychology
  • Theoretical psychology
  • Situated psychology
  • Environmental psychology
  • Cultural psychology
  • Educational psychology
  • Qualitative methods
Furthermore, The PhD fellow will become part of the project group and enrolled in the PhD school at the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, Aalborg University

”The project is called AIM: Can AI Solve the Mental Health Crisis? Exploring Governance, Explainability and Trust”.

The purpose of AIM is to conduct a wide-ranging and critical study of the dynamics and developments of digital mental health. Artificial intelligence is rapidly entering the field of mental health, spurred on by the high prevalence of mental health problems and a lack of treatment access. In response to these challenges, academic researchers and private companies are increasingly developing products and services for mental health which are based on generative AI, in the hope that AI can improve psychiatry and help solve the mental health crisis. These technologies include digital phenotyping which focuses on diagnosing and monitoring mental health problems, and chatbots for treatment of mental health problems. However, developing and using generative AI for mental health problems involve complex and unanswered questions, and we must critically explore the governmental, technical, and ethical challenges that arise from these pressing developments.

AIM focuses on generative AI and machine learning for mental health, with a particular emphasis on two emerging technologies which utilize generative AI and machine learning: chatbots for mental health therapy and digital phenotyping for detecting, diagnosing and/or monitoring mental health problems. AIM will explore these technologies and the emerging field of digital mental health, with a particular focus on questions of governance(e.g., how are these technologies governed and made accountable in practice?), explainability(e.g., how is explainability understood by researchers, developers and users within AI based therapy and diagnostics for mental health?) and trust(e.g., how and why do people trust digital mental health technologies?). 

The overarching methodology of AIM is qualitative, with a focus on multi-sited, qualitative case studies of chatbots/digital phenotyping as emerging technologies, drawing on participant observation, fieldwork and/or semi-structured interviews with designers, researchers, users and other key stakeholders. The theoretical framework of AIM is broadly situated within Science and Technology Studies. 

AIM is a collaborative research project, which will consist of four researchers(2 PhD fellows, the PI, one research assistant), and as such all researchers will be expected to work together in gathering and analyzing empirical materials. At the same time, however, it is expected that an independent research project is conducted by the PhD applicant.

The PhD-project

The proposed PhD project must work specifically with exploring chatbots for mental health therapy, drawing on qualitative methods such as interviews, participant observation etc. The PhD student is expected to design their own project, including research questions, methodology, theoretical framework and so on, but the project must involve qualitative methods) and it must engage with at least one of the overarching research questions of AIM, i.e. governance, explainability and/or trust, which should be noted clearly in the project description. 

The PhD student is however free to add extra or different dimensions to their particular project, including but not limited to adding concrete cases, specific additional methods, theoretical components or similar. 
Each applicant is expected to write page project description(max 7 pages) that lays out the aforementioned design of their research project, including methodology and methods, theoretical framework, research questions and the relation of the project to AIM. 
The complete project description for AIM can be obtained by contacting the PI of AIM, Rasmus Birk, at rbirk@ikp.aau.dk

Applicants with knowledge of qualitative methods, Science& Technology Studies and machine learning/AI will be preferred, but in-depth knowledge of machine learning/AI is not a prerequisite for the successful candidate. 

Questions about the project can be directed to the PI Rasmus Birk at rbirk@ikp.aau.dk.


In terms of teaching 

The position includes teaching at the Department’s educations.

The employed are expected to quality teaching, supervision, and associated examination, as required across the range of modules offered on The Psychology program.

Ability to teach, supervise, and assess written and oral performances in Danish. International applicants are expected to learn Danish. 

Aalborg University works with a problem-based learning model(PBL). Documented experience with PBL is not mandatory, although it would be an advantage. If you haven’t completed a PBL-course, you will be required to do so within your first year of employment.

Other expectations 

In terms of personal qualities, the applicant is expected to have strong cooperative abilities, and the ability to establish and maintain productive relationships with researchers of various research, social and cultural backgrounds. 

The applicant must be prepared to actively participate in all aspects of the day-to-day activities of the department, designated section, study programs as well as with colleagues at other departments. For information on the research profile of the department etc., please see the department’s website(below). 


Who are we? 
The Department of Communication and Psychology is a part of the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences and is in both Aalborg and Copenhagen. Our department is dedicated to enhancing human and community participation in society through interdisciplinary research and education. We combine classical and modern humanistic disciplines and promote innovative thinking and a commitment to contributing to society. As part of our large and diverse Department you'll be working alongside over 150 scientific staff and more than 2,400 students. In addition, we have over 30 Ph.D. students and an administration team of 40 staff members. 

Join us in making a difference in society! 
More information about the research profile of the Department can be found here: http://www.kommunikation.aau.dk 


Qualification requirements
PhD stipends are normally for a period of 3 years. PhD stipends are allocated to individuals who hold a Master’s degree, or expect to have obtained the Master’s degree before the employment date(Statement from thesis supervisor, verified transcripts, thesis contract and documentation of the date of the exam must be enclosed). According to the PhD Order, the PhD study comprises among other requirements: Participation in active research environments, including stays at other, mainly foreign, research institutions, private research enterprises etc.
 
General information
It is a prerequisite for allocation of the stipend that the candidate will be enrolled as a PhD student at The Doctoral School of Social Sciences and Humanities, in accordance with the regulations of Ministerial Order No. 1039 of 27 August 2013(PhD Order).

Application
Please visit the website of the doctoral school for further information on the PhD programme, application procedure, and admission requirements.

The application must include the following and be written in English or Danish

  • Application for enrollment
  • Copy of diplomas/transcripts
  • Curriculum vitae(CV)
  • Project description(max 7 pages)
  • List of written work(optional)
  • Sample of written work, e.g. Master's thesis(optional)
  • For applicants planning to complete their thesis in English and who do not have English as a first language or have completed an English language-based Master's programme(or an equivalent educational achievement in English), please see the following language requirements:https://www.phd.aau.dk/ssh/become-a-phd-student#admission-requirements

Shortlisting will be applied. This means that subsequent to the deadline for applications the head of department supported by the chair of the assessment committee will select candidates for assessment. All applicants will be informed whether they will be assessed or not.

The application can only be submitted by using the link on AAU’s job-portal https://www.stillinger.aau.dk/(not other online job portals that may have reposted the position).. Please note that zipped files are not supported by the recruitment system, please upload only Word or PDF files.

Contact
For further information on the doctoral research programme, please visit the website of The Doctoral School
For further information on the PhD stipend, please contact Rasmus Birk,rbirk@ikp.aau.dk or Thomas Szulevicz, thoszu@ikp.aau.dk

For general information about the application process etc., please contact Lene Møller, e-mail: lml@adm.aau.dk.

Wages and employment

Appointment and salary as a PhD fellow are according to the Ministry of Finance Circular of 15 December 2021, on the Collective Agreement for Academics in Denmark, Appendix 5, regarding PhD fellows, and with the current Circular on the employment structure at Danish Universities. AAU wishes to reflect the diversity of society and welcomes applications from all qualified candidates regardless of personal background or belief.

Ref number

2024-224-05852

Deadline

Apply

Appointment and assessment process

PhD positions