Skip to main content
EU Science Hub

Seconded National Expert – Scientific Project Officer – Algorithmic transparency – Inspections

Category: Seconded National Expert (SNE)

Location: Seville, Spain or Ispra, Italy

Duration: Initial contract duration of 24 months (possible starting date 1st quarter 2023)

Deadline: (Deadline is established internally by the Commission/DG HR. Please check with your Permanent Representation).

REF: JRC-B-6_Inspections

This vacancy notice is open to:

  • Member States

Job title

Scientific Project Officer – Algorithmic transparency – Inspections

We are

The Joint Research Centre (JRC) is the science and knowledge service of the European Commission: our mission is to support EU policies with independent evidence throughout the whole policy cycle.

The current vacancy is with the newly formed European Centre for Algorithmic Transparency (ECAT), which, through its scientific and technical expertise and analyses, will reinforce the European Commission’s supervisory role in the context of the EU Digital Services Act (DSA) – in close collaboration with the Directorate General for Communication Networks, Content and Technology (DG CONNECT). The ECAT will be established in the second half of 2022 and will be located in three JRC sites (Seville, Ispra and Brussels).

More details about the JRC

The EU Digital Services Act (DSA) is the world’s first platform regulation that seeks to comprehensively address the most pressing societal risks emerging from the use of online platforms. Amongst other challenges, it focuses on tackling the dissemination of illegal content, goods and services online, protecting freedom of expression, and addressing disinformation.

It imposes obligations for online intermediaries and platforms (e.g. online marketplaces, social networks, content-sharing platforms, app stores, and online travel and accommodation platforms) according to their role, size and impact in society. It seeks to empower users of digital services – for example by regulating advertising and recommender systems on online platforms – and to protect them, by imposing obligations on digital services and holding them accountable through an unprecedented transparency mechanism.

Since a wider reach is coupled with the most severe risks, very large platforms and search engines with a user base of more than 45 million monthly average users (representing around 10% of the EU population) bear special obligations. Most prominently, they will be subject to a supervised risk management obligation and will need to adapt their service, their systems and their algorithms to address the societal risks they may pose. They will be subject to external independent auditing and will be under public scrutiny from civil society, vetted researchers and others.

This adaptive and anticipatory legal framework needs strong regulatory supervision and cutting-edge competence within the regulators. The European Commission will lead the supervision and enforcement of obligations for the largest platforms and search engines. This vacancy is part of the Commission’s efforts to strengthen its capability and prepare for the enforcement of the rules. The Regulation was proposed by the European Commission in December 2020 and should enter into force in the last quarter of 2022.

We propose

The jobholder will join an interdisciplinary and multicultural team of researchers working in the ECAT and more broadly contribute to the JRC’s research portfolio on Trustworthy Artificial Intelligence and algorithmic transparency. The jobholder will work in close collaboration with ECAT scientific researchers and a wide range of partners, in particular legal and policy experts in the enforcement units of the European Commission, in DG CONNECT. S/he will be part of cross-department teams during investigations and will interact with the technical departments of very large online platforms and very large online search engines. Activities may also include collaborations with external researchers and scientists, and other various stakeholders in EU Member States and civil society organisations.

For this team, we are looking for applied researchers with a strong motivation to work in a goal-oriented environment for the public good. The ideal candidate should have a keen sharp curiosity and creativity, as well as a problem-solving mentality to – collectively, within a case team – obtain and link various pieces of evidence. S/he should have the ability to come up with creative questions and investigative methods to deepen our understanding of some of the most advanced algorithmic systems used by online platforms, and the real-world challenges they pose, while respecting strict case-handling protocols.

The work may involve:

  • designing practical experiments to assess the societal risks posed by online platforms’ algorithmic systems, producing evidence about their impact on users and society;
  • implementation and application of algorithmic auditing and impact/risk assessment methodologies in practical scenarios with real-world constraints;
  • development of new skills together with their team.

Eligibility criteria

Diploma

  • university degree or
  • professional training or professional experience of an equivalent level  in the field(s) : computer science, data science, artificial intelligence or another field relevant to the position, ideally with a focus on algorithmic design and auditing.

Professional experience

At least 2 years relevant research experience or a PhD (doctoral diploma) in disciplines relevant to this vacancy such as computer science, artificial intelligence, social sciences or engineering

Practical experience in the design, development and/or evaluation of algorithmic systems such as AI-based content recommendation, moderation and search systems.

Furthermore, the following experience would be desirable:

  • Experience in conceptualizing and performing algorithm inspection, auditing or testing activities.  Knowledge of the architecture and lifecycle (design, verification, deployment, operation) of large-scale algorithms used by online platforms and search engines.
  • Experience in the review and analysis of source code and technical documentation of complex software systems, including technical reports, audit reports, architecture and design specifications, patent applications, scientific articles, technical standards, API documentation;
  • Experience in open source intelligence (OSINT) techniques and skills in large-scale collection (scraping) and analysis/mining of live data and information from online sources, such as search engines, social networks and other online platforms;
  • Knowledge of the various software tools and libraries that support or automate any of the above-described activities; ability to develop custom software tools for interacting with online platform systems, and for related data collection and analysis activities;
  • Experience in applied investigative work in the context of online platforms, social media, artificial intelligence and/or digital technologies.
  • Experience in on-site inspections, cooperation with regulators, and/or setting-up digital forensic capabilities.

Language(s) necessary for the performance of duties

Very good (C1) knowledge of English.

Eligibility criteria for seconded national experts

Recruitement policy

The JRC:

  • Cultivates a workplace based on respect for other people and the environment;
  • Embraces non-discriminatory practices and equality of opportunity. In case of equal merit, preference will be given to the gender in minority;
  • Encourages learning and development possibilities.

How to apply

Please contact your Permanent Representation.

No applications should be sent to the JRC.