PhD scholarship: Responsible Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Automated Decision Making (ADM) in Social Services


Enrolment status New students
Student type Domestic students, International students
Level of study Higher Degree by Research
Study area Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, Engineering and Computing, Law
HDR funding type Living stipend scholarship
Scholarship value $31,000 per annum (indexed annually)
Scholarship duration 3.5 years with the possibility of 1 extension in line with UQ and RTP Scholarship Policy
Number awarded 2
Opening date 16 March 2021
Closing date 3 August 2021


Supervisor – Professor Paul Henman

Two scholarships are available for high calibre students to undertake research on a wide range of PhD projects from diverse academic disciplines examining responsible Artificial Intelligence (AI) or Automated Decision Making (ADM) in Social Services.

  • In what ways do AI/ADM in social services differentially impact on diverse populations?
  • How can we build AI/ADM that does not reproduce bias and disadvantage?
  • What counts as responsible AI for diverse and marginalised peoples?\
  • What are the possibilities for co-creation of ADM/AI with social services users?
  • What might be the policy, legal and governance reforms required to ensure responsible AI/ADM in social services?
  • What might be an Indigenous approach to AI/ADM in social services? (For Indigenous students)

If you are interested in any of the above or similar questions, please consider applying for a PhD scholarship to work with Professor Paul Henman at the University of Queensland (UQ), Brisbane.

Automated Decision Making systems are procedures in which decisions partially or completely use automatically executed models to perform an action. Artificial Intelligence (or Machine Learning, ML) is a particular mode of generating ADM systems. Not all ADM systems are AI/ML. Funded PhD projects may focus on AI or non-AI ADM. Social services are publicly funded services to support human challenges and enhance wellbeing. They are often provided to disadvantage people and populations.

Prospective students are invited to prepare a draft PhD research project relating to responsible AI and ADM in Social Services. PhD projects may relate to criminal justice, disability services, social security/welfare, employment services, child and family services, international aid and refugees, or similar areas. Projects may also focus on particular population groups, such as women, culturally diverse groups, Australian Indigenous peoples, or children and young people.

PhD projects are expected to investigate the ethical, social, policy, legal or political implications of ADM in social services. They can do so from a variety of disciplinary perspectives, including but not limited to sociology, anthropology, criminology, cultural and media studies, ethics, computer science, and law.

Australian Centre of Excellence for Automated Decision Making and Society

The PhD projects are located within the UQ node of the Australian Centre of Excellence for Automated Decision Making and Society (CoE ADM+S).

The CoE ADM+S was established in 2020 with funding from the Australian Research Council (ARC). Based at nine Australian universities, the Centre has national and international partnerships with leading academic, commercial and service organisations.

The purpose of the Centre is to create the knowledge and strategies necessary for responsible, ethical, and inclusive automated decision-making. Its work is multidisciplinary with investigators from the social sciences, humanities, law and technological sciences. The Centre also operates an active and innovative research training program for PhD students, postdoctoral research fellows and early career researchers.

The UQ Node of the Centre is led by Professor Paul Henman (School of Social Science) and is located within a wider network of digital social science and humanities researchers based at UQ. Paul has a long history of research into the social dimensions of new technologies, and holds degrees in the social and technological sciences. He has a track record of using both qualitative and quantitative research methodologies, and using innovative digital methods. Successful scholarship holders will be advised by Professor Henman and one other appropriate UQ researcher.


To be eligible, you must meet the entry requirements for a higher degree by research.

This scholarship is open to Australian citizens, permanent residents and International students who are currently in Australia at the time of application and commencement.

Applications are closed.

Before you get started

If this scholarship has rules, download and read them.

How to apply

To apply for admission and scholarship, follow this link. There is no separate application for scholarship because you will have the opportunity to request scholarship consideration on the application for admission.

Before submitting an application you should:

When you apply, please ensure that under the scholarships and collaborative study section you:

  1. Select ‘My higher degree is not collaborative’
  2. Select 'I am applying for, or have been awarded a scholarship or sponsorship'.
  3. Select ‘Other’, then ‘Research Project Scholarship’ and type in ‘ADM-HENMAN’ in the 'Name of scholarship' field.

See an example of what you have to do

Learn more about applying for a higher degree by research at UQ

Selection criteria

Applications will be judged on a competitive basis taking into account the applicant’s previous academic record, publication record, honours and awards, and employment history.

The applicant will demonstrate academic achievement in the field/s of sociology, anthropology, criminology, cultural and media studies, ethics, computer science, or law and the potential for scholastic success. Those with expertise in computer science would be required to demonstrate an interest in social science.

A background or knowledge of automated decision making and/or social services is highly desirable.

Students with disability or who identify as Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander are encouraged to apply.

Applications are closed.


Professor Paul Henman
+61 7 3365 2383
Applications are closed.

Terms and conditions

Read the policy on UQ Research Scholarships.

A domestic part-time student with carer’s responsibilities, a medical condition or a disability, which prevents them from studying full time may be eligible for scholarship consideration, on a case by case basis.

Student will be required to relinquish their Scholarship if their PhD project changes to being outside the scope of the approved project description. The student will be required to participate in various activities of the CoE ADM+S and its PhD student cohort.

Applications are closed.