Research Associate

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The machine translation group ( ) is seeking a Research Associate to join the School of Informatics at the University of Edinburgh. The translation group plays a leading role in neural machine translation research, develops toolkits, and participates in organizing the WMT shared tasks.

It is a supportive group which has many alumni who have moved on to interesting positions in research and industry. We also have 92 GPUs, access to a larger cluster, and a regular programme of seminars and workshops with internationally recognised experts.

The successful candidate will be perform machine translation research and contribute to European Union project goals. These projects cover several areas:

  • Speeding up training and decoding for machine translation models
  • Extracting parallel corpora from a petabyte of web pages plus the text of every European patent we can find
  • Low-resource translation
  • Spoken language translation

The research will have real-world impact through our project to create client side machine translation ( ) or mine and release translations ( ).

Informal inquires should be made to Kenneth Heafield:

Grade: UE07 (£33,797 - £40,322pa)

This is a full-time appointment through December 2021.

Please note that feedback is only provided to interviewed candidates.

Closing date 5pm (GMT) on 9th October 2020.

1. Job Details

Job title: Research Associate
School: School of Informatics
Unit: Institute for Language, Cognition and Computation
Line manager: Principal Investigator

2. Job Purpose

Advance machine translation research and contribute to European Union project objectives and deliverables.

3. Main Responsibilities
  1. Conduct and contribute to high-quality research in machine translation aligned with project objectives (50%)
  2. Collaborate with other members of the group, which may include shared supervision of students or junior staff (20%)
  3. Disseminate work through publications, open-source code, and by posting research results publicly (10%)
  4. Participate in writing deliverables (10%)
  5. Participate in attracting funding and applying for grants (5%)
  6. Attend and contribute to project meetings (5%)

4. Planning and Organising

The post holder will agree a general plan of activity with the PI and progress will be monitored at scheduled meetings.

There will be an opportunity to shape some of the direction of the project based on your interests.

5. Problem Solving

Machine translation is full of open problems and you will have a degree of independence to explore them and solve problems as they arise.

6. Decision Making

The post holder will determine the specific techniques and approaches to be used in the course of the research, in agreement with the PI.

7. Key Contacts/Relationships

The main contact is the line manager Dr. Kenneth Heafield. The overall machine translation group has over 20 people, with key contacts depending on your project. If working on the Bergamot project ( ) on efficient machine translation, you will work with three other local staff plus our project partners at Charles University, the University of Sheffield, the University of Tartu, and Mozilla. If working on the ParaCrawl project, you will work with two local staff and our partners at the University of Alicante, Prompsit, and Omniscien.

8. Knowledge, Skills and Experience Needed for the Job

• PhD (or near completion) in Computer Science or a related area; or five years experi-ence post-MSc.
• Track record of research in natural language processing or neural networks
• Strong programming ability
• Ability to communicate complex information clearly in English, orally and in writing

• Publication record in machine translation
• Strong C++ programming skills
• Knowledge of the Linux command line
• Experience with efficiency and large-scale data processing

9. Dimensions

There are no line management responsibilities associated with this post.

10. Job Context and any other relevant information

This post is most aligned with the Bergamot project on browser translation ( ) or the ParaCrawl projects mining the web and patents ( ). A candidate with strong research alignment could work part-time on the ELITR ( ) project for speech translation or User-Focused Marian project ( ) to make the Marian toolkit easier to use.

Application Procedure

All applicants should apply online by clicking the apply link at the bottom of this page and submitting an up to date CV. The application process is quick and easy to follow, and you will receive email confirmation of safe receipt of your application. The online system allows you to submit a CV and other attachments.

The closing date is 5pm on 9th October 2020.

Right to Work

In accordance with the Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Act 2006 and Immigration Act 2016 the University of Edinburgh, as an employer, has a legal responsibility to prevent illegal working and therefore must check that all employees are entitled to work in the United Kingdom (UK).
To do so, the University requires to see original documents evidencing right to work in the UK before commencement of employment and this is normally carried out at interview. Details will be provided in any letter of invitation to interview.

For further information on right to work please visit our right to work webpage

If you are from outside the EEA and not currently eligible to work in the UK, there are visa routes that may be available to you, for example:
  1. Global Talent: If you are an academic, researcher or technical specialist in the field of sci-ences; humanities; engineering; medicine; digital technology; or the arts, it may be possible for you to apply for a Global Talent visa. This route requires you to apply to be endorsed as an internationally recognised leader or emerging leader in your particular field by an endorsing body (Arts Council Eng-land, British Academy, Royal Academy of Engineering, Royal Society, Tech Nation, UK Research and Innovation (UKRI)). However, if you are applying for a senior academic role, e.g. Professor/Reader there is an accelerated route to endorsement. Further information can be found on the UKVI website
  2. Tier 2: The University is a UKVI licensed sponsor and is able to issue a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) to successful candidates who are offered highly skilled roles and meet the eligibility criteria. The CoS enables candidates to apply for a Tier 2 (general visa).

Please note if you were last granted leave to stay in the UK in any Tier 2 category in the 12 months immediately preceding an application and the leave has
• ended or expired.
• the CoS which led to that grant of leave was issued for more than 3 months, and
• you are either:
o applying for entry clearance from outside the UK, or
o you are in the UK and had a previous period of Tier 2 leave, but then changed ('switched') into a different immigration category and now wishes to apply again un-der Tier 2.
You must wait 12 months before applying again.

Further information about whether you require a visa and other visa routes can be found at:

Conditions of Employment

Pension Scheme

This role is grade UE07 and therefore the post holder is automatically included in membership of the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS), subject to the USS membership criteria, unless they in-dicate that they choose not to join the Scheme.

For further information please visit our Pensions website .


The role is grade UE07 and attracts an annual salary of £33,797 to £40,322 for 35 hours each week. Salary is paid monthly by direct transfer to your Bank or Building Society account, normally on the 28th of the month. Salaries for part-time staff are calculated on the full-time scales, pro-rata to the Standard Working Week.

The University reserves the right to vary the candidate information or make no appointment at all. Neither in part, nor in whole does this information form part of any contract between the University and any individual.
var links = document.querySelectorAll(".targetLink"), i, j, aTags, string; for(i=0; i Institute for Language, Cognition and Computation The Institute is dedicated to the computational study of language, communication, and cognition, in both humans and machines. Research areas include automatic speech and language processing, dialogue systems, models of human communication and language processing, information retrieval and presentation, and assistive technology.

The School of Informatics Informatics is the study of how natural and artificial systems store, process and communicate information. Research in Informatics promises to take information technology to a new level, and to place information at the heart of 21st century science, technology and society.

The School enjoys collaborations across many disciplines in the University, spanning all three College, and also participates as a strategic partner in the Alan Turing Institute and, with Heriot-Watt University, in the Edinburgh Centre for Robotics.

The School provides a fertile environment for a wide range of studies focused on understanding computation in both artificial and natural systems. It attracts students around the world to study in our undergraduate and postgraduate programmes, and currently has approximately 1000 undergraduate students, 320 MSc students and 350 PhD students.

Our research draws on concepts from computer science, artificial intelligence, linguistics, cognitive science, neuroscience, psychology and biology.
This is represented in our six research institutes:
Institute for Adaptive and Neural Computation (ANC):
Centre for Intelligent Systems and their Applications (CISA):
Institute for Language, Cognition and Computation (ILCC):
Institute for Computing Systems Architecture (ICSA):
Institute of Perception, Action and Behaviour (IPAB):
Laboratory for Foundations of Computer Science (LFCS):

More details about these research activities can be found at

The various institutes in The School of Informatics are housed together under one roof in the modern purpose-built Forum Building on Crichton Street in central Edinburgh.

Informatics is one of seven schools in the College of Science and Engineering, at the University of Edinburgh. It is recognised for the employability of its graduates (demand exceeds supply), its contributions to entrepreneurship, and the excellence of its research. Since the first Research Assessment Exercise in 1986, Informatics at Edinburgh has consistently been assessed to have more internationally excellent and world-class research than any other submission in Computer Science and Informatics. The latest REF 2014 results have again confirmed that ours is the largest concentration of internationally excellent research in the UK. This contributes to our ranking in the top 15 CS departments world-wide according to the latest Times Higher Education ranking.

Working within the School

We aim to ensure that our culture and systems support flexible and family-friendly working and recognise and value diversity across all our staff and students. The School has an active programme offering support and professional development for all staff; providing mentoring, training, and networking opportunities.

The School of Informatics holds a Silver Athena SWAN award, in recognition of our commitment to advance gender equality in higher education and research.
College of Science and Engineering ( ) The College of Science and Engineering (CSE) is one of the largest and highest-ranked science and engineering groupings in the UK. Headed by Professor David Robertson, CSE comprises seven Schools (Biological Sciences, Chemistry, Engineering, GeoSciences, Informatics, Mathematics, and Physics and Astronomy) as well as a national supercomputing centre (the Edinburgh Parallel Computing Centre) and the Bayes Centre for interdisciplinary data science and innovation. We extend beyond the University through many joint activities - for example we host the cross-Scotland DataLab innovation Centre, we are a founding partner in the Scottish Industrial Biotechnology Innovation Centre, and we are a partner in UK-wide collaborations including the Alan Turing Institute and the Rosalind Franklin Institute. Most Schools are located 2 miles south of the city centre at the King's Buildings whilst Informatics, EPCC and Bayes are located in the University's Central Area near George Square. The College has over 3,000 academic and support staff, and educates some 6,000 undergraduates, over 1000 taught postgraduates and more than 2,000 research students. It is in the front rank of UK university science and engineering groupings for research quality and income, and is a key player in many European and international research consortia.

Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014

In the 2014 REF over 95% of our staff were submitted. Of our seven submissions, four of which were as a joint research school in combination with a strategic research university partner through pooling, 3 were ranked top in the UK and all 7 were in the top 5 in their discipline in the Times Higher Power rankings.
The University of Edinburgh For more than four centuries, our people and their achievements have rewritten history time and again. They've explored space, revolutionised surgery, published era-defining books, paved the way for life-saving medical breakthroughs and introduced to the world many inventions, discoveries and ideas from penicillin to Dolly the sheep. We have believed that anything is possible, we still do.
The latest Research Excellence Framework highlighted our place at the forefront of international research. This adds to our international reputation for the quality of our teaching and our student experience excellence. The University is proud of its success with online teaching initiatives, with 2550 students currently studying its online distance learning postgraduate programmes, and a total to date of more than 2 million enrolments for Edinburgh MOOCs.

As a member of staff, you will be part of one of the world's leading universities, with 20 Schools spread over 3 Colleges that offer more than 1600 undergraduate and 600 postgraduate programmes to over 41,000 students each year. Professional services are critical to this success as well as our world-class teaching, research and student facilities. In fact, we are one of the top employers in Edinburgh, with over 14,500 people spread across a wide range of academic and supporting roles.

As a world-changing, world-leading university, we offer an exciting, positive, creative, challenging and rewarding place to work. We give you support, nurture your talent, develop and reward success and integrate academic, professional and personal career goals, as well as give your career the benefit of a great and distinguished reputation. In addition, our employees benefit from a competitive reward package and a wide range of staff benefits, which include generous holiday entitlement, a defined benefits pension scheme, staff discounts and much more. Access our staff benefits page for further information and use our reward calculator to find out the total value of pay and benefits provided.

The University of Edinburgh holds a Silver Athena SWAN award in recognition of our commitment to advance gender equality in higher education. We are members of the Race Equality Charter and we are also Stonewall Scotland Diversity Champions, actively promoting LGBT equality. The University has a range of initiatives to support a family friendly working environment, including flexible working and childcare vouchers. See our University Initiatives website for further information.

University Family Friendly Initiatives

Equality Networks:

Staff Pride Network for LGBT+ colleagues and allies
Disabled Staff Network

The University of Edinburgh is a charitable body, registered in Scotland, with registration number SC005336.

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