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Queens’ College Summer Research Programme and Internships

Queens' College is delighted to be able to fund a small number of internships for 2024/25, for current students to assist Queens' Fellows in subject related research projects over the Summer.

The internships are open to any student who will continue as a student in Queens’ in 2024-25. Each project will have an individual duration listed between 3 - 8 weeks, this period may be broken up into separate windows of time to allow for Visa or working contstraints. Students will be paid the London Real Living Wage, currently £13.15 per hour and the College will provide accommodation during the research period. Students will be expected to submit a short report at the end of the Summer detailing their research and reflecting on the overall experience (approx. 700-800 words).

The form to apply is available at the bottom of this page. You must be logged in to view the form.

Listed below are the internships available for the Summer of 2024:

Alternative forms of political participation and public presence in France Genome identification in plants Manuscript Editing - General defences in the law of State responsibility
Conceptualising actions that a software engineer performs within a software project Linguistics Assistant Internship Exploring the history of Queens’ College within living memory
Literature review - critical scholarship on race and educability Prison Consensus Project Internship Alloy design and prototyping Internship
Colonel Leake's early 19th century travels research internship Magnetic Resonance Imaging for Breast Cancer Screening Internship Discovering copies of Pelagius' writings travelling under false attributions
The Phantom Of Liberty; The Creation Of Abstract Value And The Genesis Of Capitalism In Early Eighteenth Century Britain Genetic mechanisms regulating cell shape patterning Internship Early modern reception of Islamic hadith traditions
Newtonianism, Evangelicals, and Enslavement. The library of Isaac Milner, Queens’ President (1788-1820) Decision-making process in (behavioral) public policy using machine learning tools  

 

Alternative forms of political participation and public presence in France

Summary:

My current project is researching alternative forms of political participation and public presence that are being explored by activists and artists in today's France. Focussing specifically on mainland France, understood as a national territory defined by its postcolonial status, I am analysing these alternative forms through the concept of opacity. For the artists and activists in question, the pact which in theory recognizes all French citizens as equal members of the Republic, regardless of their particular attributes (race, religion, sexuality, etc), has been thoroughly discredited by the state's discriminatory practices (in areas such as housing, employment, education, policing). Their response to this is not to demand more and better recognition, or to seek to reform the state: instead, they have developed modes of opacity, as ways to enact political participation and public presence independently of the state.

The project looks at three such modes, defining respectively: the assertion of public presence by minoritized groups; the constitution of autonomous zones withdrawn from state control; and the development of practices of solidarity and mutual aid in parallel to or underneath the state's mechanisms of surveillance and incarceration. 

The part of this project examining practices of solidarity and mutual aid will be centred on the operation of the Centres de rétention administrative (CRA), and to a lesser extent, Locaux de rétention administrative (LRA) and Zones d'attente, in which the French state places migrants awaiting deportation. The applicant's role will be (i) to research the history of these institutions from their inception to the present day, covering aspects such as their legal definition, political and social debates over their operation, and key news stories in which they featured, and to produce a digest of this history; (ii) to compile an exhaustive bibliography of materials on this subject, to include works of sociology and other essays, interviews and participant accounts, declarations, tracts, and protests, websites, vlogs, etc, and works of literature, films, and other cultural items (e.g. graphic novels) featuring these institutions.

The student researcher will need French language skills equivalent to at least A-level competence; knowledge of contemporary France would be an advantage but is not required.

Genome identification in plants

Summary: 

Most flowers produce cone-shaped cells on their petal epidermis - these provide grip to insects landing on the flower. The first gene responsible for the development of these cells was identified in Antirrhinum majus, the garden snapdragon, and is called MIXTA. MIXTA encodes a transcription factor which activates expression of genes required for cell outgrowth. In most plant species MIXTA is one a small family of related genes, whose function is unknown. In this project we will characterise the functions of the other members of the MIXTA gene family in Antirrhinum majus.

The applicant will work closely with a postdoc in my research group, who will provide training in core molecular techniques. They will identify members of the MIXTA family in the (already available) Antirrhinum genome. They will use quantitative RT-PCR and in situ hybridisation to explore the expression patterns of these genes. They will also build constructs for their misexpression in transgenic plants.

They will be a full member of my research group and take part in regular group meetings and journal clubs, learning key skills including critical evaluation of papers and data and presentation/communication skills.

Manuscript Editing - General defences in the law of State responsibility

Summary:

I am writing a book on general defences in the law of State responsibility, for the Oxford University Press Elements of International Law Series. The manuscript is due at the end of summer 2024. The topics covered include consent, self-defence, countermeasures, state of necessity and distress, as well as some general considerations on the invocation of defences in international law (including the burden of proof, their relation with treaty-based exceptions and other treaty-based responses). The book is intended to be a reference book on the topic, and to provide a detailed and comprehensive treatment of the topic. More information on the series can be found here: https://global.oup.com/academic/content/series/e/elements-of-international-law-eil/.

I would like to have some assistance with the completion of the manuscript.

This may involve:

  • discrete research tasks (eg, checking that there are no decisions on any particular topic omitted from the text, that the major sources are all included, any recent writings that I may have missed);
  • reading and editing the text (eg, checking for inconsistencies, ensuring it is clear and well-explained), and,
  • assistance with checking references.

I expect this to take somewhere in the range of 6-8 weeks. July and September are ideal. The task will require some basic knowledge of international law, or preferably a 1st in the PIL exam.

Conceptualising actions that a software engineer performs within a software project

  • Supervisor: Dr Jasmin Jahić
  • Duration: 6 weeks 
  • Period: Flexible dates
  • Hours: 35 per week

Summary:

This project will conceptualise actions that a software engineer performs within a software project. The project also prescribes creating a sample web (preferably business) application within this conceptual framework. To do so, the project will investigate available AI tools and concepts that assist in creating the application. At the end of the project, the applicant will have an application, along with an experience report on using AI enabled tools and concepts in creating the app. The applicant will write a report on what parts of the conceptual software engineering framework are already profiting from AI, what are the parts where AI will develop, what are the parts where AI does not thrive, and finally what does this mean for the role of a software engineer. This mapping will represent an experience report of current advances of AI in software engineering. The conclusions made about the future role of software engineers will be disseminated in a form of a publication. 

The applicant will work together with the supervisor to conceptualise actions that a software engineer performs within a software project. Then, they will perform systematic literature review of state of the art approaches, and inspect state of the practice when it comes to AI enabled concepts and tools in AI. After this, they will work on a sample application. However, instead of a traditional development approach, the applicant will try to replace as many as possible of the tasks with AI support. They will also investigate if AI enablement leads to a new levels of productivity previously not possible in traditional software engineering. By the end of the project, the applicant will complete the application and also write a mapping study as described in the project description.

Linguistics Assistant Internship

Summary:

The projects will involve editing, proofreading, compiling information, researching and the languages of expertise are any Romance language and/or Greek.

  1. Revamping of SP11 lectures to boost Ibero-Romance comparative element (Portuguese, Catalan) and transfer some material from word to powerpoint.
  2. Researching/editing/proofreading for 4 linguistics papers which are on course to be submitted by August/September 2024.
  3. Admin support for organising three major events scheduled for 2024-2025.

ELIGIBILITY: Open to any current first or second year Linguistics undergraduate or Classics undergraduate or first, second, third MMLL undergrad.

Exploring the history of Queens’ College within living memory

  • Supervisor: Dr Gareth Atkins
  • Duration: 4 weeks (flexible)
  • Period: July or September (flexible)
  • Hours: 35 per week (flexible)

Summary:

This internship will kick-start a medium-term project exploring the history of Queens’ College within living memory. While I would anticipate this project taking several years, eventually ranging over a wide range of source material, and perhaps producing written outputs, a necessary early step is conducting interviews: gathering, collating and making sense of oral source material from fellows, staff and alumi/ae. While there exists a good institutional history of the College, by John Twigg, this concludes in 1986, i.e. almost forty years ago. Jonathan Dowson’s recent examination of the Presidents of Queens’ is detailed but does not have much to say about the social backdrop of its 40 eminent subjects. New source material beyond that held by the institution is required to get beyond and behind these essentially official stories.

Furthermore, there are swathes of the recent past that are of interest to historians. While familiarity can breed contempt, the admission of women, the mid-1980s documentary, the effect of globalization, new technology, social changes and a shifting government policy environment on Cambridge education is done and on how college feels and operates, among many other things, all have immense potential as areas of enquiry for social and cultural historians. Oral history would give numerous ways of telling these stories and could, if archived appropriately, be hugely useful to scholars in the future.

The applicant would need to have an interest and, ideally, some expertise, in the history of C20th Britain. They would also need to be prepared to organize face-to-face conversations either by telephone or Zoom or in person and manage recordings of them. Ethical and practical training for such interviews would be provided. Employment arrangements could be flexible, i.e. one applicant doing this more or less full time for four weeks in July or September for instance, or one or more applicants doing this for 20 hours a week, perhaps alongside dissertation research in Cambridge, for a minimum of four weeks, and a maximum of eight. I would anticipate meeting with them at least once a week.

The applicant(s) will ideally make use of the expertise of Drs Walker and Holmes, but also to work independently of them. With the help of the Alumni and Development Office, I hope that they can canvass College members past for their reflections and reminiscences about aspects of their time at Queens’. Applicants may also be able to identify some longstanding fellows and members of staff, either current or retired, who would be willing to be interviewed. 

Literature review - critical scholarship on race and educability

  • Supervisor: Dr Tyler Denmead
  • Duration: 8 weeks 
  • Period: Mid-July onwards
  • Hours: 35 per week

Summary:

For this summer project, I will support an undergraduate over 10 weeks as they write a literature review that provides an overview of critical scholarship on race and educability (i.e., the presumed capacity to become educated). This literature review will go beyond cognitive-oriented criticisms of race and intelligence, and instead focus on constructed racial differences in the embodied capacity to learn. This literature review will support the completion of my second book project: “White Educability: Lessons from the Terror Trial of a Far-Right Nationalist in England.”

For this project, Dr. Amina Shareef and I are investigating a 2021 trial in England in which a Judge punishes a White nationalist convicted of a terrorism charge with a reading list of canonical English literature. We are investigating the racial knowledge that both shapes and is shaped by this curricular punishment—particularly the notion that White people have a presumed inherently superior capacity for embodied and aesthetic learning. This racial and colonial knowledge, we argue, is constituted in this instance through a relationship with the figure of the “Muslim terrorist” who is imagined as a figure that cannot learn through reading literature and therefore cannot be rehabilitated. Criticism of presumed racial differences in aesthetic capacities have emerged in recent years in both Philosophy (Monique Roefols has studied the “aesthetics of racialization”) and English/Cultural Studies (Kandice Chuh has studied the “difference aesthetics makes”). Relatedly, "DisCrit” has emerged in Educational Studies, combining both Critical Disability Studies and Critical Race Theory—to critique how race and able-bodied norms are constructed in tandem, not separately. But the focus on racial differences in embodied and aesthetic learning remains an under-explored topic. (The Journal of Aesthetic Education does not have one paper in its archive with “race” in the title.).

To address this gap and support the development of our book, I will write an interdisciplinary syllabus for an undergraduate to follow this summer. They will then review and synthesise this literature in a 4,500 word paper that will inform the development of our introductory chapter in our book. They will also have the opportunity to collaboratively publish a journal article with us that features their work.

The selected applicant will:

- Meet with me weekly during supervisions for 10 weeks in July, second half of August, and September.
- Read critical literature on racial theories of intelligence, including in Enlightenment thought, nineteenth century race science, and twentieth century cultural deficit theory.
- Read literature on theories of embodied learning.
- Read critical literature on racial theories of aesthetic difference.
- Write an annotated bibliography of sources reviewed.
- Analyse key themes that explain White educability in terms of an embodied and aesthetic theory of learning (e.g., Senses; Emotions; Tast; Imagination)
- Write a 4,500 word literature review.

Prison Consensus Project Internship

Summary:

The Prison Consensus Project is an interdisciplinary research effort concerned with the exponential construction of prisons in Brazil, who benefits, what implications there are for political and social life, and how prisons are justified amidst widespread recognition that they create social problems rather than solve them. Until the 1980s, and despite its deep historic and racial inequality, Brazil was a ‘low prison’ society until fairly recently -having as few as 50 prisons in the 1970s. Since then, it has embarked upon a dramatic project to build, fund, operate and secure prisons at an unprecedented scale -today there are no fewer than 1553 prisons in the country. And yet, most of those prisons continue to be stricken with racial and gendered inequality, massacres and criminal governance. Even those who argue for more of them condemn them for the disorder they create.

Funded along two strands by the Leverhulme Trust and the Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation (with a third strand of Global Challenges ODA funding under review at the moment), the project brings together a PI (Professor Graham Denyer Willis, a political ethnographer), a Co-I (Dr Pedro Mendes Loureiro, a political economist), a Post-Doctoral Research Associate (post on jobs.ac.uk at the moment for a qualitative social scientist), and a Grade 5 Research Assistant (hiring soon, hopefully with quantitative and/or archival skills). Over the next three years, the team will carry out extensive fieldwork across Brazil to examine the political (justifications, policies, rhetoric, law, contract tendering), socio-spatial (how prisons open, are operated, change social life in space) and economic transformations (how they are funded, who benefits, local and global interests) taking place.

We would welcome an undergraduate researcher to join our team this summer for up to a ten-week period. Depending on their background, interests and strengths, this person could engage with the project and its efforts in different ways. Inter alia, an economist could examine and catalogue company filings of public firms or pension funds holding prison investments in Latin America, and/or, Brazil, or inquire into bonds and debt funding mechanisms. A language or cultural studies person could focus on the cultural production of media surrounding prisons, including film, literature and associated life. A historian could examine archives in Britain or elsewhere related to colonial prisons in the region and their use, location, or justification. An HSPS, Land Economy or Geography student might inquire into land titling, sale, and the evolving discussion about prisons, race, property and environment in Latin America. An architect or engineer might examine why and how prisons are built and how that is changing in form and material. A law student might focus on international human rights tribunals’ condemnation of these prisons. All would complement the project’s work and efforts.

In an application, we would welcoming hearing what a student feels they can bring to the project and how the project would further their interests. Our goals would be for the applicant to:

a) attend our weekly meetings,
b) to advance a line of inquiry,
c) complete a package of work, such as a report or a synthesis of the material examined, by the end of their assignment.

Knowledge of Portuguese or Spanish is not necessary but could be beneficial.

Alloy design and prototyping Internship

Summary:

Currently, key components in the gas turbine engines used in power generation and civil aviation are scrapped and replaced after damage is detected during servicing. Repair strategies that could rejuvenate components and extend service life could therefore offer considerable benefits by reducing cost, material usage, and manufacturing emissions. We are now working with companies in this sector to develop new brazing alloys that will enable effective repair of nickel-based superalloys without compromising component performance. This involves a combination of computational alloy optimisation and experimental testing.

This student summer placement will support our efforts to establish robust computational alloy optimisation.  It will provide the applicant with experience of alloy design, machine learning tools, and alloy prototyping/testing.  The work will initially require data mining of published alloy properties to populate the databases required for the neural network models of key alloy properties.  These will then be combined with pre-existing physically based description of alloy behaviour and thermodynamic models of phase equilibria within a commercially available optimisation code. 

It is anticipated that this will allow the applicant to identify optimal alloy compositions for fabrication and testing before the end of the placement.  All the work will be supported by a postdoctoral researched who is dedicated to this programme.

Colonel Leake's early 19th century travels research internship

  • Supervisor: Dr Michael Loy
  • Duration: 4 weeks 
  • Period: July
  • Hours: 30 per week

Summary:

In recent years I have been working on the archives of George Finlay, a Philhellene who lived in Athens and travelled around the Mediterranean in the early/mid-19th century. In his travels around Egypt and the Levant, Finlay had corresponded with the antiquarian and Greek topographer Colonel William Martin Leake, from whom Finlay sought practical advice on travel in the region: that is, Leake had travelled in the same area only a few years previous, almost a generation before formal tourism began here. A study of the unpublished papers of Leake in the archives of the Faculty of Classics gives the chance to explore the connections between Finlay and Leake, and also to see, through Leake's eyes, the state and nature of antiquities and archaeology during the formative years of the discipline.

The student researcher will produce a detailed and paginated finding aid of Colonel Leake's early 19th century travels, as documented in a number of unpublished field books. They will also produce a GIS storymap to chart Leake's journeys, bringing to life in particular three itineraries: 'Cerigo to England', 'Malta to Olympia' and 'travels in Sicily'. Archival metadata produced during the project will be made publicly available on the University repository 'ArchiveSpace' and will help to prepare the material for scanning and transcription.

Magnetic Resonance Imaging for Breast Cancer Screening Internship

  • Supervisor: Dr Lorena Escudero Sánchez
  • Duration: 6-8 weeks
  • Period: July and August
  • Hours: 20-30 per week (negotiable)
  • Location: Flexible

Summary:

Magnetic Resonance Imaging for Breast Cancer Screening: Breast cancer is the most frequent type of cancer in women, with approximately two million women diagnosed worldwide each year. Although dedicated screening programs have been implemented in many countries decades ago, breast cancer continues to represent a major cause of cancer-related death in women, second only to lung cancer. New recommendations for breast cancer screening are currently being rolled out across Europe, recommending the use of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) for a substantial subset of women. Additionally, Artificial intelligence (AI) will have a profound impact on the practice of medicine in the next years, particularly to provide solutions in medical imaging, such as improving the speed and accuracy of diagnosis in screening programs. This project will be hosted within the context of the European consortium ODELIA (https://odelia.ai), which aims to develop AI tools for breast cancer diagnosis using MRI and swarm learning.

The two goals of the internship are:

- Perform a quality control of MR images shared from various European centres, understanding and identifying issues, and helping implementing solutions to homogenise them.
- Perform a literature research to understand the state-of-the-art AI methodologies, in particular Deep Learning-based methods, for breast cancer diagnosis using MR images.

Applications are welcome from students in the Natural Sciences Tripos, Computer Science or related fields. Biomedicine knowledge is not mandatory. Programming skills, in particular Python, and familiarity with deep learning concepts is highly desirable. During the internship, the student will work together with the local research team at the Department of Radiology. 

Discovering copies of Pelagius' writings travelling under false attributions

  • Supervisor: Dr Ali Bonner
  • Duration: 3 weeks
  • Period: 16 September - Friday 4 October 2024
  • Hours: 25 per week

Summary:

Research into discovering copies of Pelagius' writings travelling under false attributions, and work to examine the rare cases of use of Pelagius' name in attributions, tracing manuscript origin and context. This work will involve research in manuscript catalogues, both online and hard copy; obtaining digital images of folios where possible; research into possible links between manuscripts; and research on the writers using Pelagius' texts under an unabashed attribution to him.  

I would ask the researcher to document manuscript context and provenance, map occurrences geographically, and trace any links between manuscripts. The role for the student will develop their skills in catalogue and manuscript research, both online and in the UL manuscripts room. The work will require paleaographical skills. The period of research would be 3 weeks, Monday 16th September to Friday 4th October 2024, working 5 hours a day. 

 

 

The Phantom Of Liberty; The Creation Of Abstract Value And The Genesis Of Capitalism In Early Eighteenth Century Britain

Summary:

This project will involve two separate tasks for a duration of 6 37.5 hour weeks. The first task will be to work with me on making an index for my new book The Phantom Of Liberty; The Creation Of Abstract Value And The Genesis Of Capitalism In Early Eighteenth Century Britain. This will involve reading through the manuscript and then identifying themes and subjects to be indexed with me. The applicant will then search through a file of the book to compile page references. This should take three weeks, as the manuscript is about 190,000 words. This will enable the applicant to gain valuable reading and classification skills relating to history, but obviously valuable in any kind of publishing related employment.

The second part of this project will be to engage on a different but similar task covering the same period of history. This will be to help with a pilot project to use the Orisis AI optical character recognition program to read early modern handwritten documents. For the applicant, this will involve modifying some textual transcripts of laborers’ and carpenters’ inventories already prepared by myself, so that the computer program can compare them to images of the historical document and learn to read the handwriting. This will involve working with Alexis Litvine and myself to categorise different words. The task will further involve correcting the program’s mistakes until it become proficient. This project will not only provide training in using historical documents but offer practice in the new world of AI. This would also run for 3 weeks.

Genetic mechanisms regulating cell shape patterning Internship

  • Supervisor: Dr Edwige Moyroud
  • Duration: 8 weeks
  • Period: Flexible dates
  • Hours: 35 per week

Summary:

Our lab developed a small species of Hibiscus as a model to understand how patterns form on petals. Hibiscus trionum displays a striking bullseye pattern: the base of its petal possesses flat elongated purple cell covered with thin striations, while the top of the petal displays white smooth conical cells. We identified a small gene regulatory network controlling pigment production, but the genetic mechanisms regulating cell shape patterning remain to be understood. This project will investigate potential regulators of cell shape to understand (i) how flowering plants sculpt the surface of their petals and (ii) how pollinator perceive cell shape patterns.

The applicant will use mutant, transgenic and genome edited lines, along with a range of molecular biology, biochemistry and microscopy approaches coupled with behavioural assays to further our understanding of the mechanisms that underpin the formation and evolution of a structural bullseye (cell shape pattern).

We will use qPCR to test whether the spatio-temporal expression patterns of 4 LBD genes we have singled out are compatible with their proposed role(s). We will also apply Scanning Electron Microscopy, light and fluorescent confocal microscopy to characterise the phenotypes of genome edited lines that carry a mutation for a selected LBD gene each. In particular we will quantify cell shape and behaviour during petal development when those genes are knocked-out, allowing us to characterise their contribution to cell shape specification. Finally, we will perform behavioural assays to test the ability of bumblebees to detect variation in cell shape patterning and start investigating the possible contribution of cell shape to plant-pollinator communication.

Early modern reception of Islamic hadith traditions

  • Supervisor: Dr Peter McMurray
  • Duration: 6 weeks
  • Period: Flexible dates
  • Hours: 35 per week

Summary:

I’m interested in early modern reception of Islamic hadith traditions, both within contexts of formal commentaries by hadith scholars and also Sufi interpretations and responses to ideas raised in hadith. I’m especially interested in late Mamluk and early Ottoman interpretive cultures, and have been writing on hadith as a unique medium for transmitting theological understanding. I am personally especially interested in debates about these texts, such as those that emerge in the Kadizadeli disputes in early modern Istanbul.

The student researcher’s role would depend on linguistic knowledge. Good reading knowledge of Arabic would be ideal, though there are possibilities for meaningful work in Turkish or Persian as well. The applicant would most likely (again, depending on linguistic knowledge) read hadith commentaries (e.g., Ibn Hajar’s “Fath al-Bari”) to help identify key passages related to themes of oralist/aurality in the text. 

Newtonianism, Evangelicals, and Enslavement. The library of Isaac Milner, Queens’ President (1788-1820)

  • Supervisor: Dr Tim Eggington
  • Duration: 6 weeks
  • Period: July or September (flexible)
  • Hours: 37.5 per week

Summary:

The c. 6,000 books and pamphlets that partly form the subject of this project were bequeathed to Queens’ by the cleric, scholar and Queens’ President Isaac Milner. Milner’s vast and rich book collection offers an invaluable insight into his engagement with some wide-ranging yet interconnecting Cambridge preoccupations of his age, not least Newtonian science, evangelical Christianity, and the institution of enslavement. Strengths in his collection of pamphlets and books include 18th/19th-century Anglicanism, key works of the Protestant Reformation dating back to the 16th century, early 19th-century European mathematics and other sciences, and numerous publications relating to the abolition of enslavement. The intern would assist the Librarian and Rare Books Curator in their ongoing research into Isaac Milner, his career activities, his collecting habits and, more generally, the significance of his collection within the wider context of print culture and collecting in 18th- and 19th-century Cambridge. I am particularly interested to examine the numerous archive papers that relate to Milner (currently in the UL) as a means to gain a better sense of what there is and in preparation for our upcoming project to catalogue them. I should also like to make further progress in the cataloguing of the book collection. A further area of considerable interest is the many instances of extended annotations left by Isaac Milner in printed books which need to be documented and described.

Curation and cataloguing will form a principal focus of this project and the intern will learn bibliographic skills and knowledge necessary to create online catalogue records to a high level (bibliographical description, bindings description, provenance research, printers, etc.) Depending on the intern’s interests, an essential component of the project would be to digitise some key pages from documents in the archives as well as some of the above mentioned book annotations and write a carefully considered extended article about their research that will be posted on the Old Library Books Blog. For the right candidate, the project will provide invaluable knowledge in historical bibliography, early printed book cataloguing, the management of digital content, archival research and the life and activities of an important 19th-century Cambridge figure. Much assistance would be provided for all aspects of the project. No prior knowledge is required.

Ideally, the applicant would work 10 weeks fulltime (37.5 hours), beginning in June, and perhaps continuing in September.

Decision-making process in (behavioral) public policy using machine learning tools

  • Supervisor: Dr Micha Kaiser
  • Duration: 8 weeks
  • Period: Flexible dates
  • Hours: 35 per week

Summary:

The project aims to enhance the decision-making process in (behavioral) public policy by developing a machine learning-based tool that assesses the external validity of behavioral interventions across different contexts. This initiative addresses the challenge of determining the effectiveness of policy measures, such as green defaults on electricity consumption, in varying settings. By systematically analyzing literature on policy interventions and employing predictive algorithms, including NLP and machine learning techniques, the project seeks to predict outcomes of interventions in novel contexts. This digital consultant tool promises to streamline policy implementation by offering tailored recommendations, thereby improving the efficacy of behavioral interventions in achieving sustainable behavior changes. The project underscores the importance of leveraging advanced data analysis tools to overcome traditional barriers in policy decision-making, aiming to equip policymakers and practitioners with data-driven insights for more effective policy outcomes.

During the summer, particularly in September, the student researcher will play an important role in the PREDICT project, focusing on the intersection of Natural Language Processing (NLP) and (behavioral) public policy interventions within sustainability-related fields. With a keen interest in NLP, the student will assist senior researchers in developing, monitoring, and testing models based on modern Large Language Model (LLM) architectures, such as GPT, utilizing APIs for operational integration. This involves transforming unstructured data into a structured format, which is crucial for the accurate analysis and prediction of policy intervention outcomes. Additionally, the student will contribute to creating a comprehensive database cataloging various policy interventions across different thematic areas, thereby facilitating a more nuanced understanding and application of sustainable behavioral changes. This hands-on experience offers an invaluable opportunity for the applicant to engage deeply with cutting-edge technologies and methodologies in public policy research.

 

 

 

Apply to the Summer Research Programme

Applications will close at 5pm on Thursday 25 April 2024.