Data Scientist, Online Harms

Alan Turing Institute London United Kingdom Research Programmes
Warning! Vacancy expired

Company Description

The Alan Turing Institute is the UK’s national institute for data science and artificial intelligence. The Institute is named in honour of the scientist Alan Turing and its mission is to make great leaps in data science and artificial intelligence research in order to change the world for the better.


The Public Policy research programme works alongside policy makers to explore how data-driven public service provision and policy innovation might help to solve long running societal problems. Our work is interdisciplinary, with machine learning engineers, NLP experts, data scientist and social scientists collaborating across different projects.

The Online Safety Team is a new part of The Turing’s Public Policy Programme. It provides objective, evidence-driven insight into the technical, social, empirical and ethical aspects of online safety, supporting the work of public servants (particularly policymakers and regulators), informing civic discourse and extending academic knowledge. High-priority topics include online hate, personal attacks, extremism, misinformation and disinformation. We have three main workstreams:

  1. Data-centric Artificial Intelligence for online safety
  2. Building an Online Harms Observatory
  3. Policymaking for online safety


The successful candidate will work on the development of a dashboard for the Online Harms Observatory. They will be responsible for collecting, wrangling and storing data; analysing the data and identifying key insights; creating and hosting the dashboard interface; and applying analytical tools (such as abusive content classifiers).

The successful candidate will report to Dr. Bertie Vidgen, Head of Online Safety. They will have opportunities to engage with stakeholders in the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, Ofcom and others.


The successful candidate will:

  • Collect, store and wrangle data from social media platforms, primarily through APIs.
  • Work in Azure to develop and manage data infrastructure.
  • Analyse social media data, identifying key trends and insights. This will involve use of basic and advanced statistical techniques, time series analysis and metrics. Depending on the successful candidate’s skillset, it could also involve network analysis and Natural Language Processing.
  • Develop and host a dashboard/interface to visualize key insights in real-time.
  • Work using a range of programming languages, including Python, SQL and shell scripts.
  • Liaise with Turing staff and external stakeholders to drive use of the dashboard. This may include giving live demonstrations.
  • Identify opportunities for improving the dashboard and encouraging wider uptake.


  • Masters-level degree or higher in computer science, engineering, data science, statistics or a related-discipline.
  • Strong experience in Python
  • Experience working with social media data
  • Experience working with cloud hosted databases to develop data pipelines
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills including the ability to present complex or technical information.
  • Ability to use own judgement to analyse and solve problems.
  • Independently makes decisions which are low risk and that mainly affect themselves or a small number of people and are guided by regulation and practice.
  • Ability to organise working time, take the initiative, and carry out research independently, under the guidance of the PI.

Please see the job description for a full breakdown of the duties, responsibilities and person specification

Other information


This full-time post is offered on a fixed term basis for 2 years. The annual salary range is £37,000-£42,000 plus excellent benefits, including flexible working and family friendly policies,


If you are interested in this opportunity, please click the apply button below. You will need to register on the applicant portal and complete the application form including your CV and covering letter. If you have questions about the role or would like to apply using a different format, please contact us on 020 3970 2148 or 0203 862 3340, or email [email protected].

CLOSING DATE FOR APPLICATIONS: Monday 21 February 2022 at 23:59.

We reserve the right to close this vacancy early or to interview suitable candidates before the closing date if enough applications are received.

If you are applying for more than one role at the Turing, please note that only one Cover Letter can be visible on your profile at one time. If you wish to apply for multiple roles and do not want to overwrite your existing Cover Letter, please apply for the role using the button below and forward your additional cover letter directly to [email protected] quoting the job title.


The Alan Turing Institute is committed to creating an environment where diversity is valued and everyone is treated fairly. In accordance with the Equality Act, we welcome applications from anyone who meets the specific criteria of the post regardless of age, disability, ethnicity, gender reassignment, marital or civil partnership status, pregnancy and maternity, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation.

We are committed to building a diverse community and would like our leadership teal to reflect this. We therefore welcome applications from the broadest spectrum of backgrounds.

Reasonable adjustments to the interview process will be made for any candidates with a disability.

Please note all offers of employment are subject to obtaining and retaining the right to work in the UK and satisfactory pre-employment security screening which includes a DBS Check.

Full details on the pre-employment screening process can be requested from [email protected].

The Alan Turing Institute is based at the British Library, in the heart of London’s Knowledge Quarter.

In line with current Government guidance, most of our organisation is currently working remotely. When Government guidance changes, we will trial a Hybrid Working Model for an initial six-month trial period. During this period, staff will be expected to work at our British Library office for a number of days per month, dependent on the requirements of the role. As a guide, we anticipate this will be between 2-4 days per month, but the hiring manager will be able to confirm this during the interview.