Post-doctoral fellow in “Privacy and Innovation” - CDD 12 months

Job description


Télécom Paris, a founding member of Institut Polytechnique de Paris and a part of IMT (Institut Mines-Télécom), is ranked as one of the top 5 engineering schools in France. Recognized for its invaluable corporate connections, Telecom Paris is an institution with a strong sense of community and international representation. This public higher-education establishment guarantees excellent employability in all sectors and is the leading engineering school for the entire digital spectrum (from hardware to software technology).

With its high-level instruction and innovative pedagogy, Télécom Paris is at the heart of a unique innovation ecosystem which is based on collaborative classroom engagement, an emphasis on project-based training, and multidisciplinary research. Our scientific faculty are affiliated with two key research laboratories; first, the LTCI laboratory, which is recognized by the HCERES as a leading facility in the field of digital sciences and has a remarkable international outreach. And second, the i3 laboratory, Interdisciplinary Institute of Innovation (I3 - UMR 9217 of the CNRS), which carries out multidisciplinary research focused on innovation and in collaboration with the École Polytechnique and Mines ParisTech.

Based in Palaiseau, France at the heart of the Institut Polytechnique campus alongside the École Polytechnique, ENSTA, Télécom Sud Paris and ENSAE, Télécom Paris also has a central-Paris incubator at the epicenter of the French start-up ecosystem.

Télécom Paris is a living laboratory for all the major technological and societal challenges including Artificial Intelligence, Quantum Computing, IoT, Cybersecurity, large-scale digital equipment (Cloud Computing), 5G/6G, and Green IT.


The post-doc will be hosted by the team of economists of the SES department of Télécom Paris, Institut Polytechnique de Paris, under the supervision of Patrick Waelbroeck. It is part of a research project on the impact of data on the direction of innovation and is financed by the Living Lab 5G project, a network of open experimentation platforms accredited by Arcep, the DGE and the CSF numérique. The post-doc will carry out his research in a team specialized in data economy.

Privacy and innovation: research proposal

Data is the fuel of the digital economy. Many innovations are data-driven: they use new algorithms, such as machine learning and artificial intelligence, as well as information systems that require vast amount of data, especially personal data.

The current literature mostly view privacy regulations as an obstacle to innovations: there is a trade-off between privacy and high quality innovations. This is echoed by Chicago-school types of arguments, according to which, firms should be allowed to collect all available information for efficiency purpose. In this view, no data means no innovation.

This argument can be challenged if there are negative externalities for consumers due to the direction of innovations. Indeed, innovations can increase consumer surplus but there is also many downfalls from data-driven innovations for consumers and society: fake news, deep fakes, filter bubbles and echo chambers, price discrimination, … In addition, innovations can lead to situations in which privacy is less protected, raising privacy and trust concerns for consumers. In this context, consumers can hide information or decide to provide low quality data. If the quality of data differ under different privacy regimes, then protecting privacy might be optimal.

Research questions

There are different regimes of privacy protection including opt-in and opt-out; and consumers have different attitudes to data sharing under the different privacy regimes and act strategically by hiding or providing low- or high-quality data (using technical tools such no-scripts, spoofers, fake IDs, etc.)

The first research question is the following. With opt-in, consumers are ready to share more high-quality data, because they trust the firm more since there is a possibility for punishment (for instance through class actions of the General Data Protection Regulation in Europe). With the opt-out regime, there could be a risk of negative externalities that depend on the amount of data exposed. These negative externalities can have different forms: individual effect (such as identity thefts, price discrimination, spam) and group effects (for instance with social data or in the presence of information externalities). Do consumers prefer a data-minimizing regime with high quality data to an opt-out regime where more but lower quality data are exposed?

The second research question is related to the direction of innovation. Innovation can have an impact on privacy since innovations can be made more or less intrusive. Which data will be collected? Which field and which type of innovation will be preferred? What type of data-driven innovations will emerge?

These research questions are also related to ethics. What guarantees that innovations will translate in welfare improving technologies, not just profit maximizing technologies ?


1. To carry out research missions in the field of digital economy
2. To ensure supervision and tutoring missions
3. To contribute to the reputation of the School, the Institut Mines-Télécom and the Institut Polytechnique de Paris


1. To carry out research missions in the field of digital economy
- Carries out research missions in "digital economy" within the SES department of Telecom Paris
- Participates and ensures the realization of the deliverables of the Living Lab 5G project on business models based on the exploitation of personal data and their energy impacts.

2. To ensure supervision and tutoring missions
- Supervises student projects and engineering internships

3. To contribute to the reputation of the School, the Institut Mines-Télécom and the Institut Polytechnique de Paris

- Publishes the results of its research work
- Gives presentations and conferences
- Is involved in learned or professional societies
- Maintains close relations with academic institutions, research centers and companies

4. Other activities

- Participates in the scientific, pedagogical and management activities of the Department or Institution
- If necessary, directs and manages the agents placed under his/her responsibility or supervision
- Reports on the activities and results of the missions for which he/she is responsible

Job requirements

Required skills, experience, and knowledge:

  • - In-depth theoretical and/or empirical knowledge in the field of digital economy, industrial economy and innovation economy
  • - Fluency in English

Preferred skills, experience, and knowledge:

  • Expertise in industrial economics modeling

Other abilities and skills:

  • - Ability to work in a team, dialogue and writing skills
  • - Interpersonal and pedagogical skills
  • - Ability to synthesize

Candidates with the following qualifications may apply:

PhD or equivalent


Applications should include:

- A detailed CV

- A cover letter

- Any element considered useful for the examination of the application

In order to be considered, applications must be received no later than: 31/12/2022

Scientific contact person: Patrick Waelbroeck,
Administrative contact person: Marjorie Xavier,

Telecom Paris is an equal-opportunity employer.
All our positions are open to individuals with disabilities.