Senior/Research Scientist - Artificial Intelligence

Science and Technology Facilities Council

Warrington, UK

Ref: STFC19


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Salary: Band D £30,782 - £33,459, Band E £38,318 - £42,576 (depending on skills and experience)

Grade: UKRI- D or UKRI - E

Contract Type: Open-Ended

Hours: Full Time

Closing Date: 28th April 2019

The Hartree Centre: Smarter Innovation at Scale

The Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) is one of Europe’s largest science research organisations. We’re trusted to support, enable and undertake pioneering projects in an amazing diversity of fields. Through world-class facilities and people, we’re driving ground-breaking advances in science and technology.

As part of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) STFC offers a benefits package designed to provide an excellent work/life balance. This includes 30 days’ annual leave, 10.5 public and privilege days, Christmas shut down, flexible working hours, an exceptional defined benefit pension scheme, and social and sporting activities and societies. Full details can be found on STFC’s careers pages.

The Hartree Centre is transforming UK industry through high performance computing, data analytics and artificial intelligence (AI) technologies. Backed by over £170 million of government funding and significant strategic partnerships with organisations such as IBM and Atos, the Hartree Centre is home to some of the most advanced computing, data and AI technologies in the UK. From early stage SMEs to international corporations, our experts work with industry and the research community to address real life challenges and accelerate the adoption of high-performance technologies, delivering transformative gains in performance, productivity and time to market. We are on the frontline maintaining the UK's position at the forefront of industrial innovation through a range of computational services and collaborative partnerships. Our emerging technologies and internationally recognised expertise offer significant opportunities for UK industry to revolutionise processes and soak up significant economic advantages, whilst also supporting academic researchers with the tools they need to push the boundaries of pioneering UK and international science. We are a centre within the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC).

To achieve this, we work collaboratively with a range of groups (companies of all sizes, research institutes and universities), across five core areas: Proof of technology, collaborative research and development, software development and optimisation, platform as a service and training and skills development. We are improving competitive advantage and productivity for our clients, partners and the wider community and developing the UK skills-base in future technologies.

The continuing success of the Hartree Centre means we are looking to recruit talented and enthusiastic Scientists, Engineers and Technologists to work on ground breaking projects across the full range of Artificial Intelligence, specifically, Natural Language Processing, Machine Learning or Knowledge Engineering.

You will work on a variety of challenging projects across a range of industry sectors (including Healthcare, Aerospace, Oil and Gas, Automotive Engineering, Transport Systems, Chemistry and Life Sciences, to name a few), utilising and enhancing your skills in Natural Language Processing, Machine Learning or Knowledge Engineering. The choice of project will depend to some extent upon your strengths, but the common thread is the application of innovative computing solutions to real industry problems. In addition, you will have the opportunity to work with the latest high-performance computing, Big Data and Artificial Intelligence technologies from Nvidia, Intel and IBM, including its world-class ‘Watson’ cognitive computing platform.

Responsibilities include:

  • identifying appropriate available technologies, as well as designing appropriate technology solutions where none are available
  • learning and applying data centric, analytics and artificial intelligence technologies, developing ‘proofs of concept’ to demonstrate Hartree Centre capabilities to clients
  • validating conclusions, and presenting results to clients (including advanced visualisation)
  • defining work plans for specific Hartree Centre projects
  • making site visits to commercial and academic partners
  • publishing non-confidential results
  • project management will also be a key responsibility for the Band E position.

Contacts and Communication

You will join a growing team of world class data scientists within the Hartree Centre, working closely with applications teams in STFC’s Scientific Computing Division and with an expanding IBM Research team based at the Daresbury site. You will work with business development personnel to develop collaborations with industrial partners and public agencies.

The Hartree Centre works closely with industrial clients on specific projects, and you will also contribute to the development and delivery of these projects as needed. Some of the work will be commercial in confidence and subject to IPR rules around public disclosure. The role will involve working closely with teams within commercial companies.

Personal Skills and Attributes

You will have graduated in an appropriate discipline, preferably with a relevant graduate or post-graduate qualification and/or with relevant on the job experience in developing end-to-end Artificial Intelligence systems to take on real-world, industry-scale problems, or experience using some combination of AI technologies (involving Natural Language Processing, Machine Learning and/or Knowledge Engineering) to tackle everyday challenges in a related field such as data science.

As a Band E, you will be expected to be able to directly contribute to the scoping, development, management and delivery of projects based on your understanding of state-of-the-art in AI and related fields.

Through previous formal or “on the job” training, you will have in-depth experience of developing and delivering projects which employ at least one or more of the following technologies:

  • Natural Language Processing
  • Knowledge Engineering
  • Machine Learning (inc. Deep Learning).

While support from other members of the department is available, you should have a knowledge of software engineering and tools, the use of clusters or supercomputers, and data management.

Aside from solid experience in one of the core areas of Natural Language Processing, Machine Learning or Knowledge Engineering, demonstration of knowledge and/or experience in areas, such as Human Computer Interaction, Robotics, Computer Vision, Speech and conversational user interfaces, Web-based Agents, Wearable devices and the like, will be a distinct advantage.

You will need to work on diverse projects, so an ability to have informed discussions with scientists, industrial clients and academic colleagues from different domains is important. Hartree Centre projects are solution-focused, so working to a plan and within a deadline is key.

For the senior Band E position you will also need to be able to demonstrate skills and experience in leading small to medium sized projects. Solid understanding of and experience implementing different project management methodologies will be an advantage.

Organization Description

UK Research and Innovation is a new entity that brings together nine partners to create an independent organisation with a strong voice for research and innovation, and a vision to ensure the UK maintains its world-leading position in research and innovation. More information can be found at

The Science and Technology Facilities Council is a world-leading multi-disciplinary science organisation, and our goal is to deliver economic, societal, scientific and international benefits to the UK and its people – and more broadly to the world.

Shortlisting (S) & Interview (I) criteria


  • educated to degree level or equivalent in a computer science, mathematical or scientific discipline (S)
  • solid background in mathematics, including good understanding of statistical methods (S&I)
  • experience of working as a member of project teams, preferably on software or cross-disciplinary projects (S&I)
  • demonstrable ability to master new tools and technologies (S&I)
  • experience of writing software for deployment, using established technology, e.g. Python, Java, Scala, C/C++ (S&I).

In addition to the above, for the Band E position you will also demonstrate:

  • formal training (with qualifications) in at least one of: Natural Language Processing, Machine Learning, Knowledge Engineering, or other equivalent relevant discipline with a significant AI component (S&I)
  • experience leading small to medium sized projects (S&I).


  • a Postgraduate degree in a computer science, mathematical or scientific discipline (S)
  • postgraduate research experience in at least one of: Natural Language Processing, Machine Learning, Knowledge Engineering, or other equivalent relevant discipline with a significant AI component (S&I)
  • experience with any of the following: Human Computer Interaction, Dialogue Modelling, Robotics, Computer Vision, Speech and conversational user interfaces, Web-based Agents, Wearable devices (S&I)
  • strong background in application of statistical methods, particularly for modelling language and linguistic behaviour (e.g. sentiment, question-answering, dialogue) (S&I)
  • experience of big data problems and processing solutions (e.g. Hadoop Map-Reduce and Spark) (S&I)
  • experience of data visualisation (S&I)
  • experience of scientific programming using R, Matlab, C, C++ or Fortran (S&I)
  • knowledge of good software engineering practice and standards, including but not limited to (S&I)
    • continuous integration
    • test driven development
    • reproducibility of results
    • software interoperability (workflow creation and optimisation)
    • experience developing interfaces and/or glue code.

UKRI supports research in areas that include animal health, agriculture and food security, and bioscience for health which includes research on animals, genetic modification and stem cell research. Whilst you may not have direct involvement in this type of research, you should consider whether this conflicts with your personal values or beliefs.

To enable us to hire the very best people we will conduct a full and comprehensive pre-employment check as an essential part of the recruitment process on all individuals that are offered a position with UKRI. This will include a security check and an extreme organisations affiliation check.

Employee Benefits

UK Research and Innovation recognises and values employees as individuals and aim to provide a pay and rewards package that motivates staff to perform to the best of their ability. The reward package includes a flexible working scheme, a Career Average Revalued Earnings pension scheme, 30 days annual leave allowance and a number of other benefits.

Developing Talent

We are committed to developing employees in their roles throughout their career. Learning and development plans enable employees to continue their professional development through training and development opportunities such as e-learning, classroom training and on-the-job experiences. We encourage our employees to share their learning across teams and organisations.

Equal Opportunities

We strive to make decisions based on individual merit and ability. We welcome applications from all sections of the community and promote equality of opportunity in accordance with the Equality Act 2010. As holders of Disability Confident Employer status, we guarantee to interview all applicants with disabilities who meet the minimum criteria for the vacancy.

As this job does not fulfil the Home Office Code of Practice criterion for obtaining sponsored migrant worker status we will be unable to apply for sponsorship for anyone not eligible to work in the UK. At interview, all shortlisted candidates are required to bring with them identification documents and original documents that prove they hold or can obtain the right to work in the UK. You can check your eligibility here: closing date for this vacancy is Sunday 28th April 2019 however applications will be reviewed and interviewed on an ongoing basis until this vacancy is filled.

Online applications only. Please submit a covering letter and CV ensuring that the IRC reference is included in the filename description of each document uploaded. Please note that failure to address the above criteria or submitted without a covering letter may result in your application not being considered.

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