New PhD Scholarship: applying design-thinking to the development of ethical AI in accounting

Dear all,

Can I ask for your help in promoting this exciting opportunity for a fully-funded PhD to your networks?

One of the key areas of my research and work is to explore the normative questions and ethical issues in the design, development and adoption of AI in accounting. With ICAEW's ambition to actively engage and support the academic community, we partnered with the Edinburgh College of Art to secure funding through the Arts and Humanities Research Council:

AHRC Studentship: Applying Design Thinking to the development of Ethical Artificial Intelligence in Accounting

Value: Tuition fees are paid at the Home/EU rate, plus a £15,327 stipend
Eligibility: First-class degree or good 2:1 and a Masters or equivalent experience in Ethics, Social Science, Human-Computer Interaction, Interaction Design, or an area cognate to the project. You must also meet the AHRC eligibility criteria.


Qualification: Design - PhD

Location: Edinburgh

Duration: 3 years, Full time (part time will be considered)


Accounting is one of the latest professions to incorporate Artificial Intelligence (AI) in their practice. Currently, only large companies have capacity to make meaningful, resourced choices about how and when to do this. There is also great interest in AI amongst Small to Medium sized Enterprises (SMEs), set against rising concerns over the ethical implications of such adoption. This research focuses on understanding AI adoption, particularly amongst SME accounting firms, in order to co-produce a series of instruments and methods to (a) enable accounting firms to understand the ethical implications of the technology before they adopt, and (b) inform the development of skills and professional training around ethical application of AI. Drawing from design thinking, the candidate would take a creative approach to supporting exploratory thinking about the ethical benefits and implications of AI.

Questions that the project should address

What are the ethical issues arising from the adoption of AI in accounting, and how might these be mitigated by the profession? How, and to what extent, is AI currently being used in accounting (e.g. tax) and what areas might it extend to (e.g. risk modelling)? How do accounting professionals currently understand the ethical implications of AI in their profession? How might design-thinking instruments help develop capacities for judgement in individuals and support the creation of an enabling environment in professional practice?


Whilst the PhD will be based at the University of Edinburgh, during the project the scholar will be expected to spend six months based in London with the Institute of Chartered Accountants for England and Wales (ICAEW).

For more information, please visit here or contact me directly for informal enquiries.