Research Associate, Project ELSA

Alan Turing Institute London United Kingdom Research Programmes Hybrid
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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.


At The Alan Turing Institute, the AI programme’s goal is to advance world-class research into artificial intelligence, its applications and its implications for society, building on the wealth of expertise and knowledge across our academic network. Our programme expertise draws on the cross-disciplinarity at the heart of the Turing; bringing together technical experts to forge ahead with breakthroughs in fundamental AI research and its applications, with social scientists, ethicists, legal experts, industry, and policy-makers who are considering the implications of AI in real-world applications.

The programme will contribute to leadership around this area, drawing on our links with industry and government to help ensure that the UK remains at the forefront of scientific innovation while building an ethical and regulatory framework for the use of AI that prevents misuse and inappropriate discrimination.

Our aim is to build a leading centre of excellence for technical work on safe and ethical AI, in line with the government’s Industrial Strategy and in step with global demand for research and guidance in this domain.

The goal of ELSA is to create a European virtual centre of excellence for safe and secure AI that will address major challenges hampering the deployment of AI technologies. Research will focus on “technical robustness and safety”, “privacy preserving techniques and infrastructures” and “human agency and oversight”.

Efforts to detect, prevent, and mitigate threats and enable recovery from harm focus on 3 grand challenges. which cut across 6 use cases: health, autonomous driving, robotics, cybersecurity, multimedia, and document intelligence.:

  1. Robustness guarantees and certification
  2. Private and robust collaborative learning at scale
  3. Human-in-the-loop decision making: Integrated governance to ensure meaningful oversight

This project builds on and expands the internationally recognized network of excellence ELLIS, the European Laboratory for Learning and Intelligent Systems. ELLIS is made up of a network of over 100 organizations and more than 300 ELLIS Fellows and Scholars (113 ERC grants) committed to shared standards of excellence.


The role will develop new theory, methods and tools to help enable the secure and safe development and deployment of AI systems. An area of focus will be reliable tools for AI assurance to help monitor and enforce desired properties of systems in the context of ELSA project use cases, coordinating with legal expert Co-Investigators on the project, and partners to help develop technical solutions to ethical governance challenges raised. Work will advance includes developing robust measures of transparency for fairness, incorporating methods to ensure appropriate privacy is preserved, and exploring scalable approaches to incorporating human knowledge and priors in the loop for effective human-machine team decisions.


  • Develop and apply state-of-the-art approaches for fairness, transparency, robustness and/or privacy to tackle real-world-inspired research challenges of the ELSA project. Scope, pilot and deliver high quality research activity under the direction of the Programme Director.
  • Drive collaboration with academic experts and broader research partners from across the Turing and the ELSA community.
  • Publish and disseminate high-quality research papers and publications detailing research output and project case-studies.
  • To participate in and to develop internal and external partnerships, for example, to identify sources of funding, generate income, obtain projects, or build relationships for future activities.


  • Research Associate level: PhD in Mathematics, Computer Science or a closely related discipline.
  • Research Assistant level: Near completion of a PhD or equivalent level of professional qualification in Mathematics, Computer Science or closely related discipline.
  • A solid background in one or more of the following: technical approaches to fairness, transparency, robustness or privacy; probabilistic models; human-machine teams
  • Experience in design, development and implementation of research software tools and libraries, such as Python, Java, GPU programming (Tensorflow, PyTorch, etc), symbolic verification (SAT, SMT)
  • Track record of the ability to initiate, develop and deliver high quality research aligned with the research strategy indicated by the PI and any industrial stakeholders and to publish in leading journals and conferences.
  • Hands-on experience with Machine Learning methods.
  • Track record of outstanding research and in delivering impact appropriate to career stage.
  • Experience in publishing research papers, code libraries or technical reports and giving presentations or classes on technical subjects.
  • Excellent writing skills and proven ability to communicate complex, specialist or conceptual information/research findings clearly and persuasively to diverse audiences, including the ability to explain technical concepts to technical and non-technical audiences.

Please see job description for full breakdown of 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].

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. Please make sure that you include a Cover Letter with your application.

CLOSING DATE FOR APPLICATIONS: Sunday 6th August 2023, 23:59


This full time post is offered on a 2 year fixed term basis. The annual salary is £42,893- £48,510 (depending on experience) 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 £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 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].