Research Associate (Machine Learning) - Turing-Sanger Partnership

Alan Turing Institute London United Kingdom Research Programmes
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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 Alan Turing Institute and the Wellcome Sanger Institute are world-leading scientific institutions, with complementary skills in machine learning techniques and using genomic data to answer scientific questions. Under a new partnership, both institutes are embarking on a collaborative research project with the aim of advancing our understanding of cellular processes and interactions.

This project will combine two important fields of study: machine learning and spatial / single-cell transcriptomics. The goal is to leverage investments in observing biological systems at cellular resolution (such as the Human Cell Atlas (HCA) data) to develop state-of-the-art generative machine learning (ML) tools that can model cellular behaviours across various modalities and scales. You will work within an interdisciplinary team of life and computer/machine learning scientists, with a shared goal of improving our understanding of the rules of life and using this to improve health for all.

You will be joining the Health and Medical Sciences Programme at the Turing which delivers research into the theory and methods of AI, statistics, and data analytics underpinning medical and health applications that will enable scientists to do better science, without compromising respect for privacy and patient trust.


The partnership is now recruiting a Research Associate with a research background in machine learning. You will be expected to work on specific machine learning projects at the intersection of single-cell biology, spatial ‘omics and machine learning. Your work will contribute to the overall aims of this collaboration, which are to address two fundamental yet significant questions:

“Can we predict cellular responses to perturbations (e.g., drugs, genetic perturbations)?” and, “Can we predict molecular information (e.g., gene expression) at a cellular resolution from within a tissue given the histology image?" To achieve this, you will work with open-source software, proposing, developing, and maintaining new solutions to analyse and interpret large-scale single-cell datasets.

Our teams are well-positioned to tackle this problem with experience in both generating and analysing datasets, including millions of cells across multiple tissues and conditions (e.g., disease, healthy), a detailed understanding in the training of large-scale ML models and a track record of undertaking large data-science projects.

The successful candidate will be part of a cross-institute team focused on delivering novel A.I. and data science solutions to biological problems. The machine-learning function within this team will provide the expertise and experience required to successfully design, implement and deploy cutting-edge AI and machine-learning tools. As a result, the successful candidate will be required to develop tailored AI models that can be trained and deployed on biological data.

This is a stand-out opportunity to join a prestigious, national research institute and shape its agenda at an important and exciting time in its development, by being part of an exciting new partnership with the Wellcome Sanger Institute.


  • Propose, develop, and evaluate new ML models that enable understanding of single-cell data and its application in cell engineering and medicine.
  • Collaborate with graduate students, postdocs, research software engineers and data wranglers on developing solutions for interdisciplinary scientific problems in biology.
  • Collaborate in writing scientific papers towards high-impact journals in biotechnology and biology.
  • Distil solutions into open-source and easy-to-install packages, including usage documentation for downstream users such as biologists and bioinformaticians.
  • Communicate research outputs to diverse stakeholders, through conferences, events, meetings, and press opportunities as appropriate.
  • Hold regular meetings with partnership members, and travel as necessary, to present work and meet with external collaborators.
  • Cultivate strong relationships with internal stakeholders, liaising with the Turing’s Programme Management team, Business team, Public Policy team and associated delivery partners across the Institute and its wider network, including the Wellcome Sanger Institute.


  • A PhD (or equivalent experience and/or qualifications) in a relevant area which will include either a computational focus like Statistics, Mathematics, Computer Science, Information Engineering, etc. or a biomedical modelling focus like Bioinformatics, Computational Biology, Biomedical Engineering, etc. or similar inter-disciplinary subjects.
  • Research Assistant level: must be near completion of PhD in a relevant area which will include either a computational focus like Statistics, Mathematics, Computer Science, Information Engineering, etc. or a biomedical modelling focus like Bioinformatics, Computational Biology, Biomedical Engineering, etc. or similar inter-disciplinary subjects.
  • Substantial experience in statistical modelling and/or data analytics on significant real-world problems, including experience in learning from data from multiple sources and types
  • Experience using advanced statistical, machine, and modern deep learning techniques
  • Substantial experience of using modern statistical programming languages (such as R and Python)
  • Strong knowledge of core data science libraries such as Scikit-Learn, SciPy, TensorFlow, and PyTorch
  • Ability to understand and apply the principles of reproducible data science
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills including the ability to present complex or technical information and to communicate effectively with analysts and other stakeholders

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

Other information


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 3862 3536 or email [email protected]. Please ensure you include a covering letter with your application outlining how you meet the essential criteria for this role as detailed in the attached job description.

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.

If you are an internal applicant and wish to apply, please send your CV and Cover Letter directly to [email protected] and your application will be considered.

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

Interviews will take place from mid January 2024

CLOSING DATE FOR APPLICATIONS: Sunday 31 December 2023 at 23:59 (London UK GMT)

The Wellcome Sanger Institute is also recruiting two Principal Research Data Scientists with machine learning knowledge for this project. Information on these roles and how to apply can be found on their website here.


This full-time post is offered on a fixed term basis for 3 years.

If appointed as Research Associate, the annual salary range would be £42,893 to £48,510 depending on experience.

Candidates who have not yet been officially awarded their PhD will be appointed as Research Assistant at a salary of £40,148 per annum.

In addition to the annual salary we offer excellent benefits, including flexible working and family friendly policies,

The Alan Turing Institute is based at the British Library, in the heart of London’s Knowledge Quarter. We expect staff to come to our office at least 4 days per month. Some roles may require more days in the office; the hiring manager will be able to confirm this during the interview.


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 team to reflect this. We therefore welcome applications from the broadest spectrum of backgrounds.

We are committed to making sure our recruitment process is accessible and inclusive. This includes making reasonable adjustments for candidates who have a disability or long-term condition. Please contact us at [email protected] to find out how we can assist you.

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].