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Research Assistant/Associate in Bayesian Statistics

Requisition ID:  20501

Newcastle, GB

Contract Type:  Fixed Term
Working Pattern:  Full Time
Posted Date:  17-Jun-2022


We are a world class research-intensive university. We deliver teaching and learning of the highest quality. We play a leading role in economic, social and cultural development of the North East of England. Attracting and retaining high-calibre people is fundamental to our continued success.


What’s in it for you? Newcastle University is a great place to work, with excellent benefits. We have a generous holiday package; plus the opportunity to buy more, great pension schemes and a number of health and wellbeing initiatives to support you.

Newcastle is an inclusive global University community where everyone is treated with dignity and respect.  As a University of Sanctuary, we aim to provide a welcoming place of safety for all, offering opportunities to people fleeing violence and persecution.


Newcastle University is committed to being a fully inclusive Global University which actively recruits, supports and retains colleagues from all sectors of society.  We value diversity as well as celebrate, support and thrive on the contributions of all our employees and the communities they represent.  We are proud to be an equal opportunities employer and encourage applications from everybody, regardless of race, sex, ethnicity, religion, nationality, sexual orientation, age, disability, gender identity, marital status/civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, as well as being open to flexible working practices.



Research Assistant: £28,756 to £30,497 per annum

Research Associate: £31,406 to £40,927 per annum


Closing Date: 18 July 2022


The Role


The School of Mathematics, Statistics and Physics (MSP) at Newcastle University is seeking to recruit a Research Assistant/Associate in Bayesian Statistics managed by Dr Cristiano Villa and Prof. Fabrizio Leisen.


You will work on a project that is at the forefront of Bayesian inference which aims to design a novel Bayesian methodology to implement Bayesian Additive Regression Tree (BART) models to deal with non-linear phenomena. The successful candidate will work on developing prior distributions to estimate the structure of the trees and the number of trees in a BART model. Furthermore, the project will focus on building scalable and efficient computational tools to ease the implementation of the methodology. 


The project aims to bridge the Loss-based methodology to the framework of Bayesian Additive Regression Trees (BART) to deal with non-linear phenomena, building on the previous works of Dr Cristiano Villa and Prof. Fabrizio Leisen on model selection, linear regression models and Gaussian graphical models.


You will be involved in all the work packages of the project, and you will build on your experience in Bayesian Statistics to develop loss-based priors for BART models. You must have a solid background on computational methods for Bayesian inference to develop efficient algorithms for the new proposed modelling framework. Within the project, you will also perform theoretical modelling and data analysis, as well as disseminate your work through publications and presentations at scientific meetings.


You will join the growing Statistics group at Newcastle University and interact with the established Statistics group at Nottingham University. In addition to project-specific activities, you will be encouraged to pursue your own independent research and training.

We are committed to building and maintaining a fair and inclusive working environment. 


You will be involved in performing the theoretical modelling and data analysis, and disseminate the work through publications, presentations at scientific meetings, as well as in developing suitable software packages and a publicly available website. Become a member of a dedicated local research group, contributing to the research planning and implementation. 


As part of our commitment to career development for research colleagues, the University has developed 3 levels of research role profiles. These profiles set out firstly the generic competences and responsibilities expected of role holders at each level and secondly the general qualifications and experiences needed for entry at a particular level.


The position is offered on a fixed term basis for three years from start date, or tenable until the project end date, whichever is soonest. Generous funds are available for travel, training and other support.


To apply, please complete the online application and attach a CV and covering letter. In your covering letter, please outline how you are either working towards, meet or exceed all the essential requirements for the role holder as outlined below, and highlight any expertise relevant to the described project.


For all information enquiries about the position, please contact Dr Cristiano Villa ( or Prof. Fabrizio Leisen ( 

Key Accountabilities 

The main duties and responsibilities are as follows: 

•    Conduct the theoretical modelling, data analysis and research along the lines of the programme of the funded project
•    Present outputs of the research from the research team to scientific and non-scientific audiences, in written and oral form.
•    Contribute to the positive culture and general strengths of the research group and the School; for example, through supervision of project students, organising/participating in research events as well as participation in outreach and leading initiatives to promote Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI)
•    Any other duties that may be required from time to time, commensurate with the grade of the post


The Person 

Knowledge, Skills and Experience 

•    Excellent technical skills in computational methods for Bayesian inference and data analysis that can be applied to the aims of the project and the specific aspects of the positions listed under ‘The role’
•    A track record of high-quality research outputs related to the goals of the project (e.g., publications, software, research tools etc.) 
•    Excellent communication skills, including the ability to write research publications, and to effectively communicate results to the scientific community
•    A track record of presenting research at conferences, symposia, or meetings, commensurate with stage of career

•    Demonstrable ability to develop research proposals in collaboration with other academics
•    Experience in creating and/or delivering activities designed to promote science to the general public and/or to make science more accessible and inclusive

Attributes and Behaviour
•    Ability to work independently using own initiative and to meet deadlines
•    Demonstrable ability to work collaboratively as part of a team, including participating in research meetings and working on joint research projects
•    High level analytical and problem-solving capability
•    Ability to set own research goals, be self-motivated and proactive
•    Commitment to the values of equality, diversity, and inclusion in all aspects of your work

•    An interest in the (co-)supervision of undergraduate and/or postgraduate students
•    Demonstrable commitment to promoting a positive and healthy research culture (e.g., by actively supporting/mentoring students, supporting initiatives to improve the work environment etc.) 


•    PhD awarded (or nearing completion) in a relevant discipline 
•    Honours Degree in a relevant discipline


The University holds a silver Athena SWAN award in recognition of our good employment practices for the advancement of gender equality. The University also holds the HR Excellence in Research award for our work to support the career development of our researchers, and is a member of the Euraxess initiative supporting researchers in Europe.


Requisition ID: 20501