Dr Aitor Jiménez, recipient of Ramón y Cajal grant
Dr Aitor Jiménez, recipient of Ramón y Cajal grant

ADM+S researcher awarded prestigious Ramón y Cajal grant

Authors  Natalie Campbell
Date 9 November 2023

ADM+S Research Fellow Dr Aitor Jiménez has been awarded a Ramón y Cajal grant from the Spanish Ministry of Science, one of only seven recipients selected from the field of law.

The most prestigious competitive research grant program in Spain, the Ramón y Cajal grant provides a five-year employment contract plus additional funding for research, for post-doctoral researchers to establish and lead their own groups and projects within Spanish universities, research centres, or institutions.

Dr Jiménez’s project, The Colonial Lives of Data, expands on his work at the ARC Centre of Excellence for Automated Decision-Making and Society (ADM+S).

“In this project, I aim to empirically illustrate how the datafication of racism in Spain is deeply rooted in its imperial legacy, and more specifically in the repressive and surveillance structures and infrastructures designed to enforce Spain’s racial capitalism,” explains Dr Jiménez.

The research aims to link colonial technologies of power with contemporary datafied systems used in borders or across the criminal justice system, all within a transdisciplinary and decolonial framework.

Dr Jiménez will “empirically trace the genealogy of the scientific, statistical, and algorithmic construction of racial lines from their early colonial origins to their latest postimperial developments.”

“I will then Map, categorize, and analyse ongoing instances of the datafication of racism in the Spanish public sector.

“In my view, it is only by examining where colonial powers established their data-centric punitive-surveillance technologies for racial categorisation that we can fully comprehend today’s algorithmic racism practices.”

The Colonial Lives of Data project will draw insights from various disciplines, including law, sociology, science and technology, history, and decolonial theory, to shift from a narrow, technology-centric analysis of algorithmic discrimination to a more comprehensive, sociohistorical, and transhistorical understanding.

The main objective of the Ramón y Cajal program is to strengthen the research capacity of Research and Development groups and organisations from public and private sectors.

The Spanish Ministry of Science grants are co-financed by the receiving organisations, who in turn, identify and define their research strategies and those areas in which they wish to specialise. Applicants must identify a research line they wish to develop which could make substantive contribution to their field and corresponds to the programs and subprograms of the State Plan for Scientific Research.

Dr Jiménez will commence this five-year position in Spain in 2024, after completing a three-year Research Fellow position at the ADM+S Centre, University of Melbourne node.

View the full list of recipients (ESP)


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