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Researcher Ethical Artificial Intelligence for Unmanned Aerial Vehicles

Job description

In this era of big data and artificial intelligence (AI), spatial information collected through remote sensing or earth observation is essential for promoting sustainable development. Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), also known as RPAS or drones, can collect very detailed imagery and photogrammetric point clouds. Machine learning and deep learning methods (e.g. CNNs, FCNs) can then automatically process this data into spatial information. Indeed this combination of spatial detail provide by UAVs with automated data processing shows great promise to support sustainable development in Lower-Middle Income Countries (LMICs), particularly in applications such as automated building detection, slum mapping, and disaster risk management.

However, there is also an increasing societal concern regarding Ethical AI or AI for good. There are questions regarding hidden biases in algorithms and concerns on how to explain the “black-box” results so they can be trusted and better utilized for decision-making. UNESCO is drafting Recommendations on the Ethics of Artificial Intelligence and the European Commission is drafting a binding Regulation for Artificial Intelligence. These guidelines emphasize the importance of embedding fairness and explainability into algorithms. And yet, despite research in the fields of FATML and XAI, there is little knowledge on how to audit algorithms in the geospatial domain for bias or best practices for explaining the results.

To address this gap there is a vacant full-time position for a researcher in deep learning / ethical AI.

The successful applicant will integrate fairness or explainability techniques into deep learning workflows for classifying UAV imagery. The precise tasks under this theme will be discussed based on the applicant’s expertise.

This position requires a background in deep learning, photogrammetry, geographical information science (GIS), earth observation and/or computer vision and must be confirmed by an excellent track record and proven programming skills.

The research output will be closely connected to the ITC UAV Centre. This Centre centralizes UAV activities at ITC and focusses on the development of educational material, capacity building projects, and consultancy services related to drones and UAVs. It is the intention that your research delivers open source code packages to be reutilized in these projects and can be integrated into the educational material produced by the Centre.

You will:

  • integrate fairness or explain ability techniques into deep learning workflows for classifying UAV imagery.
  • establish a research line on how to integrate explainable AI (XAI) or bias auditing mechanisms into deep learning workflows for Earth Observation and UAV data in particular;
  • implement reliable and robust deep learning workflows;
  • develop and share open codes for reproducible research;
  • publish your results in scientific journals;
  • present results at appropriate meetings and conferences;
  • be involved in educational activities and designing educational material (optional);
  • contribute to national and international project development (optional).

Your profile

You have:

  • A PhD in Photogrammetry, GIS, deep learning, or computer science
  • An excellent track of record in one or more of these domains
  • Demonstrated programming skills in deep learning with open toolboxes
  • An ability to collaborate in a multidisciplinary environment
  • Excellent communication skills
  • An excellent command of English
  • An affinity with a multi-cultural education environment, excellent work ethics, and commitment to the job

Experience in writing research project proposals an teaching experience in MSc courses or equivalent are a pre.

Our offer

We offer a fulltime position in an inspiring and challenging multidisciplinary and international environment for two years. Salary and conditions will be in accordance with the Collective Labor Agreement (CAO-NU) of the Dutch Universities.

  • Gross monthly salary between € 3,270.00 and € 4,474.00 depending on experience and qualifications (job profile Researcher 4);
  • A holiday allowance of 8% of the gross annual salary and a year-end bonus of 8.3%;
  • A solid pension scheme;
  • A total of 41 holiday days in case of full-time employment;
  • Professional and personal development programs;
  • Costs for moving to Enschede may be reimbursed.

Information and application

For more information about this position, you can contact Dr. Caroline Gevaert (c.m.gevaert@utwente.nl). You are also invited to visit our homepage.

Please submit your application before January 9, 2022 (choose “apply now” below). Your application should include:

  • A cover letter (maximum 2 pages), emphasizing your specific interest in the position and outlining your relevant skills and experience
  • A full Curriculum Vitae

Online job interviews will be scheduled on Monday January 24, 2022.

About the organization

The Faculty of Geo-Information Science and Earth Observation (ITC) provides international postgraduate education, research and project services in the field of geo-information science (GIS) and earth observation. We use remote sensing and GIS for collecting spatial data. Our aim is to contribute to the international exchange of knowledge, focusing on capacity building and institutional development in developing countries and emerging economies. As part of a ‘people-first' university of technology, we ensure that everything we do is aimed at maximum impact on people and society through the sustainable utilisation of science and technology. We also seek to sustain and expand our role as a leader in academic social entrepreneurship.

University of Twente (UT)

University of Twente (UT) has entered the new decade with an ambitious, new vision, mission and strategy. As ‘the ultimate people-first university of technology' we are rapidly expanding on our High Tech Human Touch philosophy and the unique role it affords us in society. Everything we do is aimed at maximum impact on people, society and connections through the sustainable utilisation of science and technology. We want to contribute to the development of a fair, digital and sustainable society through our open, inclusive and entrepreneurial attitude. This attitude permeates everything we do and is present in every one of UT's departments and faculties. Building on our rich legacy in merging technical and social sciences, we focus on five distinguishing research domains: Improving healthcare by personalised technologies; Creating intelligent manufacturing systems; Shaping our world with smart materials; Engineering our digital society; and Engineering for a resilient world.

As an employer, University of Twente offers jobs that matter. We equip you as a staff member to shape new opportunities both for yourself and for our society. With us, you will be part of a leading tech university that is changing our world for the better. We offer an open, inclusive and entrepreneurial climate, in which we encourage you to make healthy choices, for example, with our flexible, customisable conditions.

Researcher Ethical Artificial Intelligence for Unmanned Aerial Vehicles
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