Research Fellow in Natural Language Processing

Southampton, United Kingdom
£30,942 to £38,017
Thursday, 17 June 2021
End of advertisement period
Wednesday, 21 July 2021
Contract Type
Fixed Term
Full Time

Agents, Interactions & Complexity

Location:  Highfield Campus
Salary:   £30,942 to £38,017
Full Time Fixed Term (Until 30/09/2023)
Closing Date:  Wednesday 21 July 2021
Interview Date:   To be confirmed
Reference:  1395221FP

You will join our team working on deep learning-based Natural Language Processing (NLP) models for data rescue as part of the GloSAT (Global Surface Air Temperature) research project. The post will be in the Agents, Interaction and Complexity (AIC) group, which is part of the department of Electronics and Computer Science (ECS) at the University of Southampton. The AIC group leads a number of nationally important research centres including the Trustworthy Autonomous System Research Hub ( and the UKRI MINDS Centre for Doctoral Training (

The GloSAT project ( is addressing uncertainties of climate change models using a combination of data rescue from historical documents to improve climate measurement data records, and improved climate change models making use of these improved records. An important aspect of data rescue is information extraction from typed and handwritten historical ship and land measurement station logbooks.

Your role will be to develop deep learning-based NLP models which can operate alongside a major citizen science site ( You will explore novel NLP models for information extraction of tabular measurement data and semantic labels from a large text corpus originating from a GloSAT pipeline of table structure and optical character recognition tools. The GloSAT project has access to 100,000's of manually annotated data tables from the rainfall rescue citizen science site. You will explore how NLP models can be pre-trained using this corpus and then iteratively fine-tuned using human-in-the-loop active learning and/or adversarial training using dynamic citizen science annotations.

You will work in the context of a research partnership between the University of Southampton and UK research institutions including the National Oceanography Centre (NOC) and UK Met Office. To be successful you will have a PhD* or equivalent professional qualifications and experience in natural language processing, artificial intelligence or a closely related subject and have experience of information extraction. In addition to research, an important part of the role is to interact with project partners, and to become familiar with the environmental science domain.

The appointment is for 24 months due to funding restrictions.

The department of Electronics and Computer Science is the leading university department of its kind in the UK, with an international reputation for world-leading research across computer science, electronics, and electrical engineering. Research takes place in a multidisciplinary, collaborative environment and draws on our outstanding facilities. With over 550 researchers from many different subject backgrounds, the research culture in ECS is fast-changing and dynamic. Our internationally renowned teaching and research have been ranked among the highest in the UK.

Equality, diversity and Inclusion is central to the ethos in the School of Electronics and Computer Science. We particularly encourage women, Black, Asian and minority ethnic, LGBT and disabled applicants to apply for this position. We are committed to improving equality for women in science and have been successful in achieving an Athena SWAN bronze award in April 2020. We give full consideration to applicants that wish to work flexibly including part-time and due consideration will be given to applicants who have taken a career break. The University has a generous maternity policy**, onsite childcare facilities and other benefits such as the cycle to work scheme.

The University of Southampton is in the top 1% of world universities and in the top 10 of the UK’s research-intensive universities. The University of Southampton is committed to sustainability and being a globally responsible university and has recently been awarded the Platinum EcoAward.  Our vision is to embed the principles of sustainability into all aspects of our individual and collective work, integrating sustainable development into our business planning, policy-making, and professional activities.  This commits all of our staff and students to take responsibility for managing their activities to minimise harm to the environment, whether this through switching off non-essential electrical equipment or using the recycling facilities.

For informal enquiries before submitting your application, contact Dr Stuart E. Middleton ( 

Please include a covering letter and full CV in your application. You will also need to specify at least two references on the application form.

*Applications for Research Fellow positions will be considered from candidates who are working towards or nearing completion of a relevant PhD qualification.  The title of Research Fellow will be applied upon successful completion of the PhD. Prior to the qualification being awarded the title of Senior Research Assistant will be given.

**subject to qualifying criteria

Application Procedure  

You should submit your completed online application form at The application deadline will be midnight on the closing date stated above. If you need any assistance, please call Charlene Tyson (Recruitment Team) on +44 (0) 23 8059 2750 or email  Please quote reference 1395221FP on all correspondence.

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