Research Associate - Social Implications Autonomous Systems

Position Reference No.: 
School, Unit or Centre: 
School of Engineering and Information Technology
Employment type: 
Full time
Salary Range: 
Level A - $73,297 - $98,127 + (17% Super)
Level B - $103,047 - $121,478 + (17% Super)
Fixed Term 36 Months
2 Positions Available

UNSW Canberra is a campus of the University of New South Wales located at the Australian Defence Force Academy in Canberra. UNSW Canberra endeavours to offer staff a rewarding experience and offers many opportunities and attractive benefits, including:

o         One of Australia’s leading research and teaching universities

o         Australian bush land setting with FREE parking

o         FREE Onsite GYM and Indoor Sports Centre

o         Strong commitment to staff development and learning

o         Strong commitment to work life and family balance

o         Generous superannuation and salary packaging opportunities

         At UNSW, we pride ourselves on being a workplace where the best people come to do their best work

The School of Engineering and Information Technology (SEIT) offers a flexible and friendly working environment that is well-resourced.  SEIT delivers research-informed education in its high quality, accredited, globally recognised engineering and computing degrees to its undergraduate students.  The School offers programs in electrical, mechanical, aeronautical, and civil engineering as well as in aviation, information technology and cyber security to graduates and professionals who will be Australia’s future technology decision makers.

About the Role:   

Robust financial, travel and intellectual support will be provided to the successful candidates, enabling them to seek additional external funding for potential continuation beyond this period. Teaching is not required, though opportunities are available for career enhancement purposes. PhD scholarships and generous top-up stipends are currently available to candidates with interested research students. The successful candidates will be expected to relocate to within regular commuting distance of Canberra. Relocation assistance may be available to competitive international candidates.

The successful applicants will be based within the School of Engineering & Information Technology and, as part of a new multimillion-dollar initiative to build interdisciplinary capability, will become core members of a newly formed Research Group on Values in Defence and Security Technology (VDST) ( The group aims to have global influence in the values dimension of weapons and security engineering research and analysis. It will serve as essential knowledge resource, enabler and value adding partner for UNSW Canberra researchers and, in particular, the Defence community. The overarching theme of the Research Group is to encourage responsible design and innovation in the defence and security space.

We are currently recruiting researchers with interests in military robotics/drones/autonomous systems to work on a large project on the social implications of autonomy for soldiers and their units, undertaken in direct collaboration with an allied military force, with the explicit aim of providing value-sensitive input to guide the design and development of said systems.   As a holder of a PhD in a relevant area of humanities or social science with a focus on one or more of these emerging military/security technologys, the incumbent will be  responsible for the development of an impact-driven research programme for timely publication of papers in international journals.  The position holder will also be responsible for workshops, writing funding applications and other research-related administrative tasks. 

The role of Research Associate will report to the Research Group Leader, Dr Jai Galliot.

The successful candidate/s will hold a PhD in a relevant area of the humanities or social sciences, with a focus on emerging military/security technologies. In addition, the ideal candidate will:

  • be familiar with the international autonomous weapon/drone debate and the relevant literature;
  • understand, or have done some studies in, a relevant area of engineering or the information sciences (i.e. AI/robotics/machine learning);
  • be interested in interdisciplinary collaboration;
  • have good analytical skills;
  • have an excellent command of written and spoken English;
  • have a strong interest in the practical applications of his/her discipline and a desire to influence technical research, design and development;
  • preferably have some experience with qualitative research methods; and
  • have an ability to work independently, but also be motivated to collaborate with others from different backgrounds to achieve common research goals.


The current full time staff of SEIT comprises about 80 academics, 25 research associates and 40 support staff. Visiting and casual academic staff and postgraduate research students provide an additional resource supporting teaching and research.

The School is well resourced with physical equipment and facilities. In addition to the campus community classrooms, the School’s buildings have adequate space for staff, research students and visitors. There are classrooms for specialist courses (for example computer laboratories, aviation safety studio, an integrated design office etc), general purpose tutorial rooms, computer laboratories, IT infrastructure, well-equipped workshops and generous laboratory space.


UNSW Canberra has a number family friendly work practices in place to assist staff. These arrangements are designed to find the best possible match between the interests of the University and those of individual employees and can include:

  • Flex-time
  • Permanent part time work
  • Job sharing
  • Recognition of carers' responsibilities and leave such as parental leave and carer's leave.


        UNSW Canberra provides training and development opportunities for staff by:

  • Supporting staff in planning and developing their careers
  • Offering training courses (in training and facilitation skills, recruitment and selection and other areas)
  • Addressing the development needs of managers and academic leaders, and
  • Providing opportunities for staff to collaborate, network and learn from one another.

In your application you should systematically address the selection criteria outlined in the Position Description on the Jobs@UNSW Career Portal.

An applicant may be required to undergo pre-employment checks prior to appointment to this role.

To Apply: Please follow the link to the UNSW Careers Portal Position Number - 61406, and sign in or register as a new user.


Please note: Due to a system change application closing date now Wednesday 2 May 2018


Find out more about working at UNSW at

UNSW is an equal opportunity employer committed to diversity

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