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Vacancy: Faculty coordinator for the research theme of AI and the digital and non-digital society (0.3 FTE)

16 June 2023

We are looking for a

Faculty coordinator for the research theme of AI and the digital and non-digital society (0.3 FTE) for the period September 2023 – September 2026

The appointment of the faculty coordinator is partly in the context of the SSH Sector Plan Moving forward together – Investing in the basis for academic research and education and strengthening social resilience. (document in Dutch)

The coordinator has a connecting role and carries responsibility at various levels:

  • Within the Faculty for the purpose of strengthening and broadening the internal AI network;
  • Within the University by representing the internal AI network, for example in the SAILS university ‘stimuleringsgebied’ (interdisciplinary programmes), and strengthening contacts with other faculties;
  • At national level by coordinating activities with other Humanities and Arts faculties and positioning the Faculty in the broader field of societal stakeholders and knowledge institutions working with and on AI.

The candidate we are looking for knows how to bring people together, is skilled at working across disciplinary and faculty boundaries, and combines substantive expertise on artificial intelligence with a trans-disciplinary perspective.


  • You work as an assistant professor, associate professor, or full professor at the Leiden University Faculty of Humanities.
  • You have a broad perspective on the AI research field that matches the description of the AI theme, as set out below, and that does justice to the breadth of expertise on this theme within the Faculty. This means that you both ‘speak the language’ of the technical development of AI, and have an eye for the critical reflection on what AI means for society.
  • You have a strong network within the AI research field, both within and outside academia.
  • You are able to mobilise and inspire senior and junior academic staff.
  • You are sensitive to administration and organisation.


We are offering a temporary exemption for 0.3 FTE within your existing appointment, with effect from 1 September 2023 until 2026, with the option of an extension until 2029.


This vacancy text is published within the Faculty of Humanities of Leiden University. A selection committee consisting of the academic directors of the Faculty of Humanities and the leader of the university-wide SAILS ‘stimuleringsgebied’ (interdisciplinary programme) will assess the applications and issue a recommendation to the Faculty Board. If the committee considers it necessary on the basis of the applications, candidates will be invited for an interview. Based on this advice, the Faculty Board will then appoint a coordinator.


If you are interested in this position, please send your application to Marcel Belderbos, Head of Research Policy, at m.c.belderbos@hum.leidenuniv.nl, no later than July 4 2023.

Please include the following:

  • Motivation
  • A vision on how you would like to fulfil the role of faculty coordinator (max. 1 A4)
  • Your CV, including educational and work history, publications, courses given, and command of languages


If you have any questions about this vacancy, please contact Marcel Belderbos, via m.c.belderbos@hum.leidenuniv.nl.

The digital society is growing very rapidly, partly as a result of the incredible developments in the field of data collection and processing (data science) and artificial intelligence. This development brings opportunities, but also risks and challenges, among other things in the field of inequality, diversity, privacy, human rights, and disinformation. A people-oriented approach to AI that priorities public interests and values is therefore crucial. The field of AI is therefore explicitly not only about technology, but also about the social challenges raised by AI.

At the Faculty of Humanities, we reflect critically on and proactively consider the socio-cultural issues raised by the digital society. We also contribute to a healthy connection between technology, people, and society, and an understanding of this connection in legislation and society as a whole. AI algorithms are written by people who inevitably carry implicit biases. That is why decisions taken in the context of artificial intelligence must by definition include an ethical dimension.

AI, digital technologies and data visualisations are not value-neutral. The Faculty of Humanities makes a contribution to the development of AI that ‘understands’ data in the way that people do in light of norms, values, and identity. The Faculty reflects on what this development means socio-culturally, and what ethical issues this raises, also in other contexts than the Netherlands or Europe. This means that we have to model these norms, values, and identities, and be able to use these models to interpret humanities objects and practices (language, art, and history). In our digital society, we interact with technologies every day. The greatest challenges still lie in the ambiguity and variation in language, speech, art, media, and knowledge, and in the challenge of computer-based generation and interpretation.

AI and the attendant automated decision-making will be used in all kinds of sectors and contexts, increasingly also in direct interaction with people and society. By remaining closely involved in the design of AI systems, humanities disciplines can help create and safeguard systems that will not only be more easily accepted, but will also contribute to socio-economic equality, prevent biases, and promote fairness. In addition to contributing to the development of AI in collaboration with other disciplines and the industry, the Humanities have an important and unique role in equipping citizens for dealing with technology by studying and reflecting on the impact of technology in and on society. They can give people the vocabulary to engage in this reflection and maintain a critical attitude towards AI.

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