Assistant Professor in Philosophy (PHIL_01)

Durham University

Assistant Professor in Philosophy (PHIL_01) (
Job Number:
Department of Philosophy
Grade 8:  £45,585 – £54,395 per annum
Open-Ended/Permanent  Full Time
Contracted Hours per Week: 35
Closing Date
: 14-Dec-2023, 6:59:00 PM
Disclosure and Barring Service Requirement: Not Applicable. 

Working at Durham University  

A globally outstanding centre of teaching and research excellence, a warm and friendly place to work, a unique and historic setting – Durham is a university like no other.

As one of the UK’s leading universities, Durham is an incredible place to define your career. The University is located within a beautiful historic city, home to a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and surrounded by stunning countryside. Our talented scholars and researchers from around the world are tackling global issues and making a difference to people’s lives.  

We believe that inspiring our people to do outstanding things at Durham enables Durham people to do outstanding things in the world. Being a part of Durham is about more than just the success of the University, it’s also about contributing to the success of the city, county and community.

Our University Strategy  is built on three pillars of research, education and wider student experience, but also on our keen sense of community and of inspiring others to achieve their potential. 

Our Purpose and Values

We want our University to be a place where people can be free to be themselves, no matter what their identity or background. Together, we celebrate difference, value one another and are each responsible for creating an inclusive community that is respectful and fair for all.

Find out more about the benefits of working at the University and what it is like to live and work in the Durham area on our Why Durham? information page.

The Post and the Department 

The Department of Philosophy at Durham University seeks to appoint an outstanding philosopher with research interests in the ethics and politics of AI, data analysis, and the philosophy and foundations of computing. The applicant must be able to teach ethical issues in some of the above areas (e.g., ethics of AI, data ethics, ethics of technology) both to students of philosophy and of other disciplines (e.g., data or information science or computing). This is a new post arising from the very successful recent launch of an interdisciplinary master’s programme in data science. It will involve teaching and supervising projects across disciplinary boundaries within this programme, as well as in core areas of philosophy.

This is an exciting opportunity to join a growing department that pursues research that is world-leading and world-changing. The Philosophy Department at Durham University has concentrations of research expertise across the discipline, with four main research clusters: Aesthetics, Ethics and Politics; History of Philosophy; Mind, Language and Metaphysics and Science, Medicine, and Society. It is home to the Centre for Humanities Engaging Science and Society (CHESS) and has strong links with other interdisciplinary research centres and institutes at Durham.

At postgraduate and undergraduate level, our students can choose from a wide range of teaching, spanning the whole discipline of philosophy and the history and philosophy of science and medicine. The Department’s undergraduate programmes are to be found among the top 10 in national rankings for philosophy (The Guardian, The Complete University Guide and The Times). The Department has one of the largest PhD programmes in the UK, and many of our students go on to pursue highly successful academic careers.

Benefitting from strong student recruitment, the Department has expanded significantly in recent years, investing in key research areas including philosophy of health and medicine, and environmental philosophy. We are using this opportunity to create a scholarly community that is open, representative, and diverse: our commitment to this is expressed through the work of the Department’s Diversity and Inclusion Group, and our recent Athena Swan Bronze award. We have strengthened our research culture by consolidating and deepening current areas of strength with new appointments; further developing our collaborations with researchers, policymakers, and practitioners from other disciplines and beyond academia; and using external funding and University research centres and institutes to support innovative research and the environment it needs to flourish.

This post offers an exciting opportunity to make a major contribution to the development of internationally excellent research and teaching at Durham, while allowing you unrivalled opportunities to progress and embed your career in an exciting and progressive institution. For more information, please visit our Department pages:


Assistant Professors at Durham 

Assistant Professors on the Education and Research track are encouraged to focus on research and teaching but also to engage in wider citizenship to enhance their own development, support their department and wider discipline, and contribute to the wider student experience. 

Academic colleagues are supported to publish high-quality research in their area of interest with a focus on quality in high-impact outputs including monographs, essays in edited volumes, and book chapters, rather than quantity. We will fully support your research needs including practical help such as resources to attend conferences and to fund research activities, as well as a generous research leave policy and a designated mentor.  

Durham University is also committed to ensuring excellent teaching quality, stimulating learning environments, and innovative curricula for all of our students. You will be supported to develop your teaching expertise and to develop innovative teaching. 

We are confident that our recruitment process allows us to attract and select the best international talent to Durham. We, therefore, offer a reduced probation period of 1 year for our Assistant Professors and thereafter, subject to satisfactory performance, your position will be confirmed as permanent 


Assistant Professor in Philosophy 

Applicants must demonstrate research excellence in ethics and politics of AI, data analysis, and the philosophy and foundations of computing, along with the ability to teach our students to an exceptional standard and to fully engage in the services, citizenship and values of the University. The University aims to provides a working and teaching environment that is inclusive and welcoming and where everyone is treated fairly with dignity and respect. Candidates will be expected to demonstrate these key principles as part of the assessment process. 

Key responsibilities:  

  • To pursue research that is high quality in terms of originality, significance and rigour.  

  • To develop clear plans for the pursuit of national and international funding opportunities to support research and end-user engagement; 

  • To play a role in relevant teaching and research supervision, and contribute to ongoing curriculum development; 

  • Contribute to enhancing the quality of the research environment in the Department, the wider University and beyond through collaborative research activity;  

  • Demonstrate a willingness to contribute to the administrative work, citizenship and values of the Department;  

  • Contribute to attracting and supervising research students, and enhance the Department’s commitment to its vibrant and inclusive postgraduate culture

  • To play a role in relevant teaching and supervision, and contribute to ongoing curriculum development; 

  • To deliver lectures, seminars and tutorials at undergraduate and taught postgraduate levels, as well as engaging in related activity such as assessment; 

  • To fully engage in and enhance the values of the Department; 

  • To contribute to attracting and supervising research students, and to enhance the Department’s commitment to its vibrant and inclusive postgraduate culture.  

  • Carry out such other duties as specified by the Head of Department. 


Durham University is committed to equality, diversity and inclusion 

Equality, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) are a key component of the University’s Strategy and a central part of everything we do.  We also live by our Purpose and Values  and our Staff Code of Conduct.   At Durham we actively work towards providing an environment where our staff and students can study, work and live in a community which is supportive and inclusive. It’s important to us that all colleagues undertake activities that are aligned to both our values and commitment to EDI. 

We welcome and encourage applications from those who are currently under-represented in our work force, including people with disabilities and from racially minoritised ethnic groups.

If you have taken a career break or periods of leave that may have impacted on the volume and recency of your research outputs and other activities, such as maternity, adoption or parental leave, you may wish to disclose this in your application. The selection committee will take this into account when evaluating your application.

The University has been awarded the Disability Confident Employer status. If you are a candidate with a disability, we are committed to ensuring fair treatment throughout the recruitment process. We will make adjustments to support the interview process wherever it is reasonable to do so and, where successful, reasonable adjustments will be made to support people within their role. 

Person Specification  

Candidates applying for a grade 8 post should meet all the essential criteria.   


Candidates must have the capacity for and be progressing towards the independent development of internationally excellent research that produces high-quality outcomes, including some work that is recognised as world-class or that has world-class potential.   

Essential Research Criteria 

  • Qualifications – a good first degree and a PhD in Philosophy or a related subject which is relevant to the post. (Candidates must either have passed their PhD viva or submitted their PhD thesis for examination by the closing date for applications.)
  • Outputs – evidence of high-quality research publications in areas of philosophy relevant to the post, some of which are recognised as world-class. Candidates are asked to submit two research papers with their application (as outlined in the How to Apply section below).  Candidates may additionally choose to submit evidence such as external peer review of their outputs.
  • 3. Personal Research Plan – a personal research plan (maximum three pages) outlining your research objectives for the next five years, including any plans to apply for external funding.


    Candidates must demonstrate the development and delivery of high-quality teaching that contributes to providing a supportive and enabling learning environment and curricula which encourage students to achieve their potential.

    Essential Education Criteria 

  • Quality – evidence of the development and delivery of effective and engaging teaching relevant to the post. (Candidates may choose to provide student evaluation scores and/or peer reviews of teaching).
  • Innovation – evidence of contribution to new programme development and innovation in the design and delivery of high-quality teaching or assessment of learning including lectures, small group learning and/or using technology or other techniques to enhance learning and/or assessment.
  • Strategic – evidence of strategic teaching development – engagement in the design of excellent teaching programmes which are research informed and led.
  • Service, Citizenship and Values 

    Active engagement in the administrative and citizenship requirements of the Department. Positive contributions to University values  and to fostering a respectful environment as well as demonstrating their commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion. 

    Essential Services, Citizenship and Values criteria 

  • Citizenship contribution – evidence of participation in the citizenship/administrative activities of an academic Department, Faculty or University.  (Candidates may choose to evidence departmental or University roles, mentoring activity, pastoral and academic support of students, engagement with widening participation, involvement in equality and diversity initiatives and membership or engagement with external bodies).  
  • Leadership – engagement in activities that contribute to the administrative functioning of an academic Department, Faculty, University and/or discipline including leadership or responsibilities in an academic context.  (Candidates may choose to detail any leadership roles which they have undertaken, preferably in an academic context).   
  • Communication – candidates must have excellent oral and written communication skills with the ability to engage with a range of students and colleagues across a variety of forums.  
  • Desirable Criteria 

    The desirable criteria for this post (for which candidates should provide evidence of some if not all criteria) are: 

  • Qualification – candidates to hold or have the ability to attain the rank of Fellow of the Higher Education Academy ( ), which is the national body that champions teaching excellence (or Equivalent).  
  • Research Leadership – contribution to the leadership of research groups and the mentoring of early career researchers.  (Candidates may choose to include information about research group leadership, mentoring of research colleagues, invitations to external events, engagement with international networks or projects).  
  • PhD Supervision – involvement in the provision of excellent supervision for PhD students.   
  • Research Impact – demonstrable evidence of the impact of the Candidate’s research beyond their institution.    
  • Income Generation – evidence of engagement in the development of successful research projects and quality research grant proposals.  
  • Contact Information 

    Department contact for academic-related enquiries 

    Professor Robin Hendry, Head of Department, [email protected]

    Contact information for technical difficulties when submitting your application 

    If you encounter technical difficulties when using the online application form, we prefer you send enquiries by email.  Please send your name along with a brief description of the problem you’re experiencing to [email protected]  

    Alternatively, you may call 0191 334 6801 from the UK, or +44 191 334 6801 from outside the UK. This number operates during the hours of 09.00 and 17.00 Monday to Friday, UK time.  We will normally respond within one working day (Monday to Friday, excluding UK public holidays).  

    University contact for general queries about the recruitment process 

    How to Apply  

    We prefer to receive applications online.    

    Please note that in submitting your application, we will be processing your data.  We would ask you to consider the relevant University Privacy Statement  which provides information on the collation, storing and use of data.  

    If you are unable to complete your application via our recruitment system, please get in touch with us on [email protected] .  

    What to Submit 

    All applicants are asked to submit: 

    • A CV  
    • A covering letter which details your experience, strengths and potential in relation to the requirements set out above. 
    •  A personal research plan (maximum three pages) outlining your research objectives for the next five years, including any plans to apply for external funding.
    • Two of your most significant pieces of written work. Your written work should normally have been published or submitted within the past five years, however older work may be submitted where candidates have had career breaks.
    • An EDI & values statement of no more than 500 words outlining work you have been involved in that demonstrates your commitment to EDI and our values, e.g. involvement in equality, diversity, and inclusion activities such as mentoring, volunteering, or attending conferences.

    Where possible we request that you provide accessible web links to your publications, which the hiring Department will use to access your work.  The application form contains fields in which to enter each of the web links. Please note we are unable to access publications behind a paywall.   

    In the event you are unable to provide accessible links to online hosting of your work, your work should be uploaded as PDFs as part of your application in our recruitment system. Please ensure that your PDFs are not  larger than 5mb. Please note that your work may be read by colleagues from across the Department and evaluated against the current REF criteria;  Please save all application documents with your name and document type as PDF files. 

    We will notify you on the status of your application at various points throughout the selection process, via automated emails from our e-recruitment system.  Please check your spam/junk folder periodically to ensure you receive all emails.  


    You should provide 3 academic referees they should not (if possible) include your PhD supervisor(s).  The majority should be from a University other than your own (save for early career applicants applying for their first post). 

    References will be requested for candidates who have been shortlisted and will be made available to the panel during the interview process. 

    As part of your application, you will be asked whether you give your consent to your academic references being sought should you be invited to attend an interview. We will only request references where permission has been granted.  

    Next Steps 

    All applications will be considered; our usual practice is for colleagues across the Department to read the submitted work of long-listed candidates.   

    Short-listed candidates will be invited to the University, either virtually or in-person and will have the opportunity to meet key members of the Department.  The assessment for the post will normally include research and teaching presentations to staff and students in the Department followed by a formal interview and we anticipate that the assessments and interviews will take place over two days 21st and 22nd March 2023  

    In the event that you are unable to attend in person on the date offered, it may not be possible to offer you an interview on an alternative date. 

    Applicant Guidance  

    For further guidance on your application please see HERE  

    View or Apply
    To help us track our recruitment effort, please indicate in your cover/motivation letter where ( you saw this job posting.

    Job Location