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We’re hiring! Data Scientist to study the geography of the darknet

Published on
14 Jan 2017
Written by
Mark Graham

Grade 7: Salary £31,076 – £38,183 p.a.

We are looking for a full-time Researcher to work with Professor Mark Graham and Dr Joss Wright on a new project on ‘The Economic Geography of the Darknet’.

Relatively little is known about the geography of the global darknet trade. Although the strong anonymity on darknet markets prohibits any data collection about the geography of consumption of things like drugs and weapons, there is a large amount of data available about the sale of such goods and services.

This project seeks to employ techniques from computational social science and digital geography in order to achieve two primary objectives. First, we seek to use scrape relevant geographic information out datasets of darknet sales: building some re-usable data at the country level (e.g. ‘the number of heroin sellers based in every country’, ‘the total number of vendors selling weapons in every country’ etc.). Second, we seek to map, visualise, and analyse those data: using multiple variables (the various categories of products and services) to ask ‘what is the geography of illicit products and services?’ We hope to further ask ‘does the online trade of illicit goods and services have a significantly different geography from conventional mappings of that trade?’ In other words, can data from the darknet be used as a proxy for more traditional (and much harder to collect) data about illegal economic activities?

The position is suited to candidates who have recently completed a doctorate in computer science, GIS, economics, sociology or other relevant discipline (i.e. postdocs), but we also welcome applications from qualified individuals without a doctorate (e.g. candidates with industry experience). Programming skills, and experience with GIS are required.

Based at the Oxford Internet Institute, this position is available immediately for 12 months (as a part-time role) or 7 months (as a full-time role) in the first instance, with the possibility of renewal thereafter, funding permitting.

Please note: This role will not attract sufficient points to obtain a sponsored tier 2 visa under the points based immigration system, however applications are welcome from candidates who don’t currently have the right to work in the UK, but who would be eligible to obtain a visa via another route.

Download the Job Description and Selection Criteria

Please note that you may only apply through the Oxford University’s recruitment website

Only applications received before 12.00 midday GMT on Monday 5th February can be considered.

Interviews for those short-listed are currently planned to take place on week commencing 26th February 2017.