Research Associate in Natural Language Processing and Conversational Agents

Imperial College London Dyson School of Design Engineering

Job summary

An exciting opportunity has arisen for a Research Associate to undertake work in Natural Language Processing as part of the Leverhulme Centre for the Future of Intelligence (CFI). The postdoctoral Research Associate will be working with Professor Rafael Calvo (as well as Dorian Peters and colleagues at the University of Cambridge) on developing theory and methods to for the design of ethical conversational agents that are fair, support...

Job listing information

  • Reference ENG02045
  • Date posted 22 February 2022
  • Closing date 25 March 2022

Key information about the role

  • Location South Kensington and White City Campus
  • Position type Full time, fixed term
  • Salary £41,593 – £49,210 plus benefits
  • Department Dyson School of Design Engineering
  • Category Researcher / Non Clinical Researcher

Job description

Job summary

An exciting opportunity has arisen for a Research Associate to undertake work in Natural Language Processing as part of the Leverhulme Centre for the Future of Intelligence (CFI). The postdoctoral Research Associate will be working with Professor Rafael Calvo (as well as Dorian Peters and colleagues at the University of Cambridge) on developing theory and methods to for the design of ethical conversational agents that are fair, support wellbeing and human autonomy and do no harm. 

Responsibilities and duties include developing research objectives and proposals; developing algorithms; analysing statistical data; writing presentations and publications.  The role will combine your computer science expertise to our ethics and design research.

The new activities aim to develop the body of evidence on the design of intelligent systems that support wellbeing, building on research in psychology and design practice.

Duties and responsibilities

Key Responsibilities

The activities associated with this post are:
•    Develop NLP algorithms for sentiment analysis, Named Entity Recognition and classification.
•    Develop new conversational agent technology using psychology research on motivation
•    Evaluate how biases in pretrained language models and transformers can be reduced or eliminated
•    Collect data either through direct recruitment or through collaboration with our other projects

•    Analyse data using various statistical techniques, including preforming path analysis.
•    Publish original research on NLP and HCI 
•    Maintain accurate and complete records of all findings
•    Assist with the writing of reports to research sponsors
•    Present findings to colleagues
•    Assist with the publication of findings 
•    Attend relevant workshops and conferences as necessary
•    Develop contacts within the College and the wider community
•    Promote the reputation of the Group, the Department and the College

In addition, at Research Associate level:

•    Take initiatives in the planning of research
•    Write reports for submission to research sponsors
•    Submit publications to refereed journals 
•    Provide guidance to staff and students
•    Contribute to bids for research grants 
•    Conduct and plan own scientific work with appropriate supervision.
•    Maintain highly organised and accurate record of experimental Work.
•    Actively participate in the research programme of the Group 
•    Publish in high quality journals and present data at national and international meetings.
•    Participate in Group research meetings and internal seminars
•    Collaborate with other allied scientists within Imperial College and elsewhere in London and abroad, as appropriate
•    Contribute to the smooth running of the Group’s laboratories and, facilities with other scientists, clinicians, technicians and students within the laboratories

Essential requirements

Essential Requirements

Education

  • PhD degree or higher in Psychology or Human-Computer Interaction

Knowledge & Experience

  • Experience conducting Natural Language Processing research.
  • Evidence of previous work in multidisciplinary and multi-stakeholder environments.
  • Programming in Python

Skills & Abilities

  • Willingness to work flexibly in order to achieve project demands.
  • Ability to organise and prioritise own work and organise research within the project timetable
  • Ability to conduct a detailed review of recent literature
  • Ability to develop and apply new concepts
  • Creative approach to problem-solving
  • Excellent verbal communication skills and the ability to deal with a wide range of people
  • Excellent written communication skills and the ability to write clearly and succinctly for publication
  • Ability to organise own work with minimal supervision
  • Ability to prioritise own work in response to deadlines
  • Advanced computer skills, including statistical tools like SPSS or R, word-processing, spreadsheets and the Internet
  • Ability to direct the work of a small research team and motivate others to produce a high standard of work

Desirable Requirements 

Knowledge & Experience

  • Experience developing production quality NLP algorithms.
  • A track record of publishing for academic dissemination.
  • Developing conversational agents with Rasa or similar framework
  • Developing transformer technology and pipelines in packages like Spacy
  • Rasa Developer Certification
  • Practical experience within a research environment and / or publication in relevant and refereed journals

Further information

* Please note that possible extension for another 12 months will be considered

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