Diversity and Inclusion Research Fellowship

The Partnership on AI (PAI) is seeking a Fellow to design and lead a research project that will yield novel knowledge that can be translated into actions that increase diversity and inclusion in the AI industry. The PAI Fellow will have the ability to further scope and shape the project, however the goal of this study is to test the hypothesis that there are measurable differences in organizational and team culture and behavior that affect employee attrition in AI-related roles. Identifying these elements will help teams to understand more precisely how to change behavior to create a more inclusive working environment. The Fellow will work with PAI staff across the partnerships, research, and policy teams and will report to the Research Scientist who is leading PAI’s fairness, transparency, and accountability research, though reporting structures may change over time. The Fellowship will begin Summer 2020 and last for 12 months. 


There has been a growing body of research in recent years around the issue of diversity and inclusion in the technology industry. Many reports have documented the severe under-representation of women and minorities in STEM fields and the dynamics in school that lead fewer women and minorities to pursue technical degrees, but such pipeline studies only explain a small portion of the diversity problem. Additionally, companies are investing large amounts of both time and money in recruitment activities. Meanwhile, there is far more limited research on what happens to women and minorities after they enter technical professions and the effectiveness of efforts inside of organizations to promote diversity and ensure the retention of women, people of color, and other minorities. There is clearly evidence of high attrition for women and minorities, not only from specific organizations but from the technology industry as a whole. However, the details of how and why women and people from minority backgrounds choose to leave teams with greater frequency than the average are scarce, especially when we focus on AI-related teams and organizations. This is especially concerning given the explosion of interest and funding for AI developers in recent years and the important role AI will likely play in shaping the future of society; without sufficiently addressing this challenge, existing economic and social disparities experienced by women and minorities are at serious risk of compounding. 

The D&I Research Fellow will use a mix of methodologies to gather qualitative and quantitative data about the culture of different AI-related teams across industry, civil society organizations, nonprofits, and academia, all of which are sectors with known diversity and inclusion challenges.

PAI is a fast-paced organization that often requires quick turnarounds, so prioritization, initiative and efficiency is critical for success in this position. Because of the varied and dynamic nature of PAI’s multistakeholder research projects, the ideal candidate would have experience working on projects with diverse stakeholders, particularly those represented in the partnership. 

Preferred qualifications:

  • PhD in Sociology, Anthropology, Industrial and Organizational Psychology or other related disciplines

  • Expertise in  qualitative (e.g. interview-based) research,quantitative research, and user-centered design methodologies

  • Demonstrated track record of or interest in cross-disciplinary engagement

  • Excellent written and spoken communication skills

  • Comfort navigating diverse input from a wide array of contributors

  • Ability to lead project management across numerous internal and external stakeholders 

  • Ability to design research projects with a focus on solutions for practical implementation

Research Fellowships at PAI are allocated in three bands of seniority, and the D&I Research Fellow can be drawn from any of the below:
  • Postgraduate Research Fellowships are suitable for candidates pursuing a PhD or equivalent research degree;

  • Research Fellowships are suitable for early to mid-career candidates, who have a PhD and a demonstrated track record of research and/or technology policy work; or who have more than a PhD equivalent level research, technical or policy experience and output in non-academic settings;

  • Senior Research Fellowships are suitable for well-established, senior researchers who have led successful labs or research teams or have an extensive track record of research work.

We know that research has shown that some potential applicants will submit an application only when they feel that they have met close to all of the qualifications for a role - we encourage you to take a leap of faith with us and submit your application as long as you are passionate about working to make real impact on diversity and inclusion in the AI industry. We are very interested in hearing from a diverse pool of candidates.

PAI is proud to be an equal opportunity employer.  We celebrate diversity and we are committed to creating an inclusive environment in all aspects of employment, including recruiting, hiring, promoting, training, education assistance, social and recreational programs, compensation, benefits, transfers, discipline, and all privileges and conditions of employment.  Employment decisions at PAI are based on business needs, job requirements, and individual qualifications.

PAI will consider for employment qualified applicants with criminal histories, in a manner consistent with the San Francisco Fair Chance Ordinance or similar laws.

The Partnership on AI may become subject to certain governmental record keeping and reporting requirements for the administration of civil rights laws and regulations. We also track diversity in our workforce for the purpose of improving over time. In order to comply with these goals, the Partnership on AI invites employees to voluntarily self-identify their gender and race/ethnicity. Submission of this information is voluntary and refusal to provide it will not jeopardize or adversely affect employment or any consideration you may receive for employment or advancement.  The information obtained will be kept confidential.  

Application Materials:

1.    Resume or CV

2.    Cover Letter

3.    3 References [name, title, email, phone]

4.    Research proposal including anticipated timeline, methodology, and resources needed for the project (1-2 pages total)

The application deadline has been extended to April 6, 2020.

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