Senior Research Associate / Research Associate, Data Science & Machine Learning in Human Rights

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

Company Description

Named in honour of Alan Turing, the Institute is a place for inspiring, exciting work and we need passionate, sharp, and innovative people who want to use their skills to contribute to our mission to make great leaps in data science and AI research to change the world for the better.

Please find more information about us here


The Institute has a focused area of work on AI, Human Rights and Inclusion which considers different dimensions to the intersection of AI and human rights including: how AI and related technologies can be applied to address global challenges of human rights; how diverse perspectives can inform in the AI lifecycle (including design, data curation and sharing) to safeguard human rights (e.g., privacy, non-discrimination); and how EDI can be improved across the AI lifecycle, ecosystem and environment to support equitable, just and inclusive societies.

One of the application areas includes a programme of research activities to understand and enable the data ecosystem and application of data science and AI technologies to address modern day slavery challenges for policy-makers and front-line agencies. The research activities have been and are informed by and in collaboration with stakeholders across public, private, non-profit and IGO sectors. The modern slavery specific work is cross-cutting supported through a mixture of internal and external partnerships and funding sources: The Institute is a partner in the Modern Slavery and Human Rights Policy Evidence Centre (herein Modern Slavery PEC) and the Institute’s AI for Science and Government (ASG) Programme, Defence & Security Programme, and Finance Programme. The programme of research activities leverages expertise of Project leaders from across the Institute and its University partners. The project involves a multi-disciplinary team with Project Investigator team including: Anjali Mazumder, Jat Singh, Jennifer Cobbe, Carsten Maple, Mihai Cuccuringu, Ian Walden, and Alexa Hagerty.


We are looking for an outstanding researcher with a background in data science, statistics and/or machine learning methods with a strong interest in data challenges regarding human rights or humanitarian challenges. The aim of this role is to apply data science and machine learning skills and interdisciplinary knowledge and thinking to (a) identify and consider socio-technical issues and opportunities in combining multiple sensitive datasets sourced across institutions, sectors and borders relating to modern slavery and/or related marginalised populations, (b) apply data science and machine learning methods to multiple and sensitive datasets, and (c) consider and develop approaches to visualise, inform and derive insights at individual and aggregate levels for policy makers and front-line agencies. The role requires engaging with domain experts and stakeholders across law enforcement, government, NGOs and the private sector.

The post-holder will join a multi-disciplinary team of researchers be responsible for delivery and support of the Modern Slavery PEC partnership and workstream – Understanding and Enabling Modern Slavery Data Ecosystem and Data Science Research, working closely with other Modern Slavery PEC leads and fellows, Turing Project Leads, other Research Associates and Research Assistants and programme management staff. As a senior Research Associate, the post-holder will also support in the coordination and direction of modern slavery projects across, collaborating and engaging with external stakeholders and ensuring junior researchers are supported.

This role is suitable for someone who is interested in bringing strong data skills and knowledge to human rights applications. We invite you to join us as we grow our research capability, supporting our goal to develop the next generation of data science researchers to push the boundaries of how we design and conduct data science and AI for human rights and humanitarian action. The post-holder will report to the Theme Lead on AI and Justice and Human Rights.


  • Conduct high quality research as relevant to the project to improve understanding of modern slavery data ecosystem and data science and machine learning challenges and opportunities, informing on and developing data curation and sharing approaches to address policy and practice challenges, highlighting opportunities, risks and limitations of data science for human rights applications
  • Identify and curate data sources, conducting data analysis, deriving insights from data analysis and visualisation, ensuring validity and reliability of data at all times and maintaining accurate and complete records of all findings
  • Learn new methods and approaches to support the delivery of research project’s goals and activities
  • Take initiative and make original contributions to the research project and its related activities to the success of the goals and objectives
  • Collaborate with stakeholders and partners on research and identifying opportunities to take developed methods, frameworks and insights towards wider use.
  • Assist in the organisation of and participate in regular meetings and special workshops with the research team, designated members of staff, collaborators and stakeholders
  • Write and publish articles in peer-reviewed journals that highlight findings from research ensuring consistency with the highest standards of academic publication, and draft publications for other mediums such as blogs, briefs and explainers, showcasing the Institute’s research leadership
  • Present methods and results at conferences and workshops, and communicate results to a diverse audience.
  • Work closely with Pis, Co-Is, the research leadership team and collaborators on the project within Turing, MSPEC and across the sector.
  • Scope, pilot, and deliver high quality research, driving impact and collaboration with academic, policy and industry experts.

If appointed at a Senior Research Associate level, the post-holder will have additional responsibilities. Please see the job description for further details.


  • PhD Degree in statistics, machine learning, quantative social science, or related discipline that provides requisite skills to interrogate data and consider human rights issues from a data perspective, or equivalent level of professional experience.
  • Experience in performing data analysis on real-world data problems.
  • Experience in statistical and machine learning modelling.
  • Experience of using a modern statistical programming language (such as R or Python).
  • Experience of developing and documenting analysis workflows for scientific research projects.
  • A level of scientific comprehension sufficient to conduct relevant literature reviews.
  • Ability to critically evaluate findings and derive evidence-driven conclusions.
  • Experience or understanding of AI designed for social good/human rights challenges.

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 is £38,850 - £46,200 for Research Associate and £49,025 for a Senior Research Associate, plus excellent benefits, including flexible working and family friendly policies,

Candidates who have not yet been officially awarded their PhD will be appointed as Research Assistant at a salary of £36,236 per annum.

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

We are currently assessing the results of our hybrid working trial, which ran for six months. We will soon publish a long-term workplace policy: as a guide, we anticipate this will be between 2-4 days per month. Some roles may require the jobholder to spend a greater number of days in the office, but the hiring manager will be able to confirm this during the interview.


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].

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.

CLOSING DATE FOR APPLICATIONS: Thursday 13 October 2022, 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.


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.

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].