The research group KIM at the University of Arts and Design Karlsruhe calls for declaration of interest and project proposals for two 1-year PhD research fellowship (renewable up to 3 years) within the AI Forensics project funded by the Volkswagen Stiftung program “AI and the Society of the Future.”


The research group KIM at the University of Arts and Design Karlsruhe is seeking to appoint two researchers to be part of the AI Forensics research project and its consortium. The two positions are to be held as internal or external (also international) PhD candidates. The remuneration is based on the provisions of the collective agreement for the public service of Baden-Württemberg (TVL-E13 65%). Starting date: as soon as possible between 1 April and 1 October 2022.

The AI Forensic research project, funded by the Volkswagen Foundation, will develop a new sociotechnical framework for the analysis and critique of AI systems, including an interdisciplinary methodology between critical AI studies and Explainable AI, or Interactive Machine Learning (IML). Part of the project is the development and deployment of an AI forensics toolkit for the investigation of large training datasets (e.g. face recognition datasets), trained models (e.g. issues of algorithmic bias), and real world applications (e.g. predicting policing). 

The projects will carry out four sociotechnical investigations as an integration to the AI Forensics toolkit. The research group KIM seeks two researchers for two respective sociotechnical investigations that are about:

  1. The application, interpretability and accountability of AI systems in the humanitarian sector, natural disaster managements, war scenarios as much as in urban critical areas, focusing on the entanglement of conflict prediction and algorithm design.
  2. The application, interpretability, and accountability of statistical models in visual AI systems and beyond, reconstructing the history of statistical and algorithmic modeling and its generalization to diverse technical, economic and social applications with the rise of machine learning.

The appointees will join an interdisciplinary research team composed of computer and social scientists based at Cambridge University, Durham University, University of California Santa Barbara, Kassel University, and Karlsruhe University of Arts and Design. The appointees will each carry out a case study in collaboration with members of the consortium and under the supervision of Prof. Dr. Matteo Pasquinelli.

The appointees are expected to have demonstrable knowledge in the fields of history of media philosophy, science and technology studies, political science, AI studies, and computer science, as well as relevant education and experience in the fields related to the case studies. Apart from research related to the case study, the appointees are expected to assist in the planning and administration of project-related workshops and conferences, support the AI Forensics platform development, and represent the project at institutions and conferences. 

The appointees are expected to submit: 1) a letter of interest and cv; 2) a running PhD project description or proposal;  3) a detailed research outline and timeline that is organised per semester and demonstrates in particular the research feasibility. Letters of interest and project proposals have to be submitted electronically to Prof. Dr. Matteo Pasquinelli  <mpasquinelli[at]> as one single PDF file until the 30.3.2022. For any question or clarification please contact Prof. Dr. Matteo Pasquinelli directly.


Candidate requirements

  • Degree (MA) in Media Studies or an adjacent university subject, e.g. Philosophy, History, Digital Humanities, Cultural Studies, Visual Studies, etc.
  • Demonstrable knowledge in the fields of AI and media studies, media philosophy, political science, and computer science. 
  • Specification of a PhD project or proposal related to the specific fields (already accepted or not).
  • Willingness for project-oriented work in an interdisciplinary team
  • Very good knowledge of English and possibly German.
  • Good computer skills of Content Management Systems (WordPress), mailing lists, social media, web design, and server administration is required.


  • Conduct academic research within the framework of the PhD project and the respective case study and integrate results into the wider project.
  • Work independently on their case study and contribute to the overall research project in terms of events, research meetings and activities.
  • Present their research at seminar and academic conferences as well as internal consortium meetings and colloquia.
  • Assist in carrying out project-related workshops, presentations, and conferences.
  • Assist in the “AI Forensics toolkit” platform developments.