Research Assistant in Open Data Engineering

Birmingham, West Midlands (GB)
18 Feb 2021
End of advertisement period
05 Mar 2021
Contract Type
Fixed Term
Full Time

Research Assistant in Open Data Engineering - Initially fixed term until 30 September 2021

Faculty of Computing, Engineering and the Built Environment
Location:     Birmingham, City Centre Campus
Salary:     £30,831 to £33,512 per annum
Closing Date:     Monday 01 March 2021
Interview Date:     Friday 05 March 2021
Reference:     022021-46

Located in a modern £300M campus in the heart of Birmingham, the School of Computing and Digital Technology is a thriving, vibrant, and inspiring learning community committed to excellence in research, high quality teaching and industrial engagement. The School has growing research teams in data science, data engineering, cyber security, software engineering, emergent networks and digital media technology working on visionary, multi-disciplinary, collaborative and impactful research.

Data Science Collaboration (DSC) is a collaborative project with the goal to raise the profile of Birmingham City Council (BCC) and Birmingham City University (BCU). The project aim is to create an environment that supports data science research through providing specialised data/ software development expertise and potential training, writing data science focused research grant proposals for funding and publishing related research work in international conferences and journals

This is an exciting opportunity to work on a 7-months (DSC) project between Birmingham City University and Birmingham City Council with a prospect to extend the contract for longer term collaboration.   This is initially a full time fixed term position until 30th Sept 2021 with the prospect of a longer term extension. We would expect the successful candidate to take on an assistant leadership role to meet the deliverables and reporting requirements of the project. 

The Role

We are seeking a full-time Research Assistant with experience in data science and data engineering. You will contribute to the development of data solutions for the execution and visualisation of analytics and machine learning functions. Use open-source tools to develop client services that enable Birmingham City Council to have facilitated access to large volumes of data and produce analysis for data-driven decisions. 

You will also support digital innovation activities relating to the development of data solutions through co-operation between academic researchers and council scientists & strategic planning/ tactical teams. 

You will be joining a dedicated software innovation and data science team with the responsibility for the technical delivery of the project milestones, working closely with the project manager and team members. 

Duties and Responsibilities: 

Would include:

  • Assisting and taking lead in the design, build, maintenance, enhancement and support for data analysis, processing and engineering. 
  • Demonstrate Data Science and Machine Learning capabilities as well as data analytics and business intelligence. 
  • Identifying data of value (open or internal),  cleanse and transform to make usable for analysis and machine learning 
  • Working to define and develop strategies for ingesting data into the data pipeline from various sources, utilising existing services and middleware in some cases 
  • Working within engineering to define and schedule jobs for data analysis, optimization within the infrastructure and ensuring that business users have access to the information they need 
  • Development of data applications, creation of modules / scripts for data ingestion, transformation, batch and real time data streaming may be required 
  • Defining and adhering to data sharing guidelines for data at rest and in transit 
  • Working in an agile environment and able to accommodate changing requirements 

Skills and Experience

We expect the post holder to have the following:


  • Experience in various data science, analysis and data processing techniques and packages 
  • Experience with using and building data visualization applications such as Tableau, Power BI and SAP Business Objects 
  • Experience in data ingestion including third party tooling, e.g. Talend or Pentaho 
  • Knowledge or willingness to learn graph databases (e.g., Neo4J) and other traditional database systems (SQL or No SQL) such as Oracle, Mongo DB and Cassandra
  • Use of  programming languages such as Java, Python or R for small applications or scripts development 
  • Basic experience in cloud computing platforms, such as AWS, Azure, Google Cloud   


  • Appreciation of machine learning techniques and strategies, ML algorithms, training data sets, clustering, Natural Language Processing (NLP) and supervised learning 
  • Basic understanding of container based virtualisation platforms – Docker, Kubernetes 
  • Awareness of DevOps practices – continuous development, Jenkins 

Personal Skills 

  • Ability to work independently and provide technical guidance to development team 
  • Ability to develop reporting and presentation skills to key stakeholders involving senior executives 
  • Willingness to explore and learn new technologies and research for best practices / methodologies 
  • Excellent communication and analytical skills 
  • Strong coordination, mediation and engagement skills with clients and team members in a highly agile environment 


  • A PhD/ MSc in computing OR substantial experience supported by evidence of a significant role in previous projects would be expected. 

Informal enquiries can be sent to Dr Abdel-Rahman Tawil (email:  

Early applications are encouraged as applications will be considered on a rolling basis.

To apply, please complete the online application and upload a copy of your CV.  Candidates are advised to remove personal details to ensure a fair and transparent recruitment process.

The University is committed to internationalism and diversity and welcomes applications from all countries, faiths and backgrounds. 

It is each individual successful applicants responsibility to ensure that they have permission to work in the UK. Some applicants may require sponsorship from the University and a visa from UKVI to take up the role if successful. More information on this can be found here: 

Some roles are not capable of sponsorship because they do not meet the UKVI criteria relating to skill and salary level. If you are unsure as to whether you would require sponsorship if successful, or whether the role is capable of sponsorship, please contact us: 

Please note on occasions where we receive a large number of applications, we may close the advert ahead of the publicised closing date. If this does happen, we will contact all candidates via email who have started but not yet completed their application, giving 48 hours’ notice.  We would therefore advise that you submit your completed application as soon as possible.

At Birmingham City University we are proud to be an equal opportunities employer.  All staff are expected to understand and enact the University’s commitment to ensuring equality, diversity and inclusion in our employment practice and in all that we do . This commitment is enshrined in our Core Values and is detailed in our Equality, Diversity and Inclusion in Employment Policy. The University values and celebrates the diversity of our staff and students; we welcome people from the many  different backgrounds and life experiences that reflect the students and the citizens we serve.  We are committed to equality of opportunity for all staff and actively encourage unique contributions, in particular from under-represented groups in respect of age, disability, sex, gender or gender identity, ethnicity, race, religion or belief, sexual orientation or transgender status

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