Research Associate - Online Safety

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’s Online Safety Team, which is part of the Public Policy Programme, is a research grouping specialised in understanding and mitigating online harms, with a particular focus on hate speech, abuse and misinformation. Our work supports the core Turing Institute goals of both advancing foundational research in artificial intelligence and translating this research directly into practical impact by working closely with government and civil society.

As we expand our work, we are currently seeking to appoint a Research Associate or Research Assistant focussed on the area of AI for Online Safety. The successful candidate will help support our stream of work in this area which is focussed on advancing technology for detecting and countering online harms. This is a broad area of research, and we are open to looking at a variety of different specialisations: for example, people specialising in natural language processing, image recognition, or working with voice or video material are all encouraged to apply. However, an interest in using these technologies for detecting and understanding online harms is essential, with preference given to candidates who already have background and expertise in this area.


The successful candidate will work with a team of people specialising in the development of AI technology for the public good, with a particular focus on online safety. The main purpose of the role will be to support with some leadership responsibilities within this team, and help push forward our work in using the latest artificial intelligence and data science techniques to detect, understand and respond to online harms. They will report to Jonathan Bright who is Head of Online Safety at the Public Policy Programme.

The appointed candidate will benefit from access to the Turing’s research computing infrastructure (based on Microsoft Azure) as well as funds for labelling data, training models and supporting research. In addition to advancing cutting edge AI research, the candidate will also have direct interaction with policymakers and civil society organisations.


The successful candidate will:

  • Conduct original research in the area of artificial intelligence for online safety. The precise area of research is open: examples would include automatic detection of hate speech in text data, detection of visual misinformation, or detection of violence in video material (we are open to other specialisations within the broad area of artificial intelligence.)
  • Support the Head of Online Safety in writing grant applications and submitting funding proposals.
  • Contribute to the national and international landscape of research and applications in online safety / AI and public policy.
  • Carry out collaborative projects with colleagues in partner institutions, and research groups.
  • Support the work of policymakers, regulators and others by providing advice, attending workshops and giving talks.
  • Write Turing Public Policy Briefing Paper, blogs and insight reports.
  • Support with building the AI and public policy community at The Turing.


  • Research Associate level: PhD-level degree in data science, mathematics, computer science, quantitative social science, or a related discipline, or equivalent level of professional experience.
  • Research Assistant level: A Masters degree in data science, mathematics, computer science, quantitative social science, or a related discipline, or equivalent level of professional experience.
  • Solid background and competence in development of artificial intelligence.
  • Competence in a relevant programming language such as R or Python
  • Excellent track record of academic publications in the area of artificial intelligence
  • Ability to creatively solve problems, working both independently and with other team members
  • Ability to perform relevant literature reviews
  • Ability to critically evaluate experimental results and derive evidence-driven conclusions

Please see the Job description for a full breakdown of the duties and responsibilities as well as the 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 3970 2148 or 0203 862 3516, 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.

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.


This full-time post is offered on a fixed term basis for two years. The annual salary as a Research Associate is £42,893 - £48,510 (depending on experience). Research Assistants will be appointed at an annual salary of £40,148. Our offer will include the 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 £40,148 per annum.

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 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].