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Senior Research Associate - Health Data Science

Requisition ID:  21664

Newcastle, GB

Contract Type:  Fixed Term
Working Pattern:  Full Time
Posted Date:  04-Aug-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.


Salary: £43,414 to £46,047 per annum


Closing Date: 14 September 2022


The Role


Due to expansion, we have an exciting opportunity for a proactive researcher to join the growing NIHR Innovation Observatory to lead research shaping and developing novel AI tools.


You will be a data scientist/researcher with experience of combining and integrating evidence synthesis methods with AI methods to support novel tool development and translational insights.


The NIHR Innovation Observatory is a £16M initiative, funded by the National Institute for Health Care Research, based at Newcastle University with an academic home in the Population Health Sciences Institute. The Observatory brings together information specialists, data scientists, text mining, horizon scanning and evidence synthesis researchers to provide essential intelligence to several national agencies, including NHS England and National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE) whilst developing new methodology and novel AI tools. Our outputs support our stakeholders (and others) to make informed decisions about the innovation pipeline and access to innovation. 


This full time post is available fixed term until 31 March 2024, with a possibility for extension. 


For informal queries, please contact Dr Teresa Fortune, Chief Operating Officer -

Key Accountabilities

  • Show academic leadership in health data science and evidence synthesis methods in the Evidence Synthesis Group and Population Health Sciences Institute 
  • Carry out research within agreed timelines, meeting project milestones and to an appropriate standard 
  • Lead on multi-disciplinary research at the intersection of computer and data science, health innovation horizon scanning, and evidence synthesis methods
  • Show a commitment to high quality research and a high level of accuracy and attention to detail
  • Monitor workload and supervise junior staff who may be working on several projects across the Innovation Observatory and the Evidence Synthesis Group
  • Prepare bids for submission to prestigious funders
  • Publish in peer reviewed journals and present findings at conferences nationally and internationally
  • Lead on the design, development, and deployment of novel AI-based data science tools to support Innovation Observatory processes and external (i.e., public) facing outputs 
  • Contribute to the development of a series of relevant short courses in evidence synthesis, leading on relevant courses whilst supporting colleagues in the development of others
  • Undertake teaching of evidence synthesis on the PHSI and Faculty of Medical Science postgraduate and undergraduate courses as required 
  • Build internal and external contacts and participate in networks for the exchange of information and to form relationships for future collaboration
  • Identify and undertake a programme of professional development, including further training in research methods and other transferable skills
  • To contribute to the wider activities of the Evidence Synthesis Group and Innovation Observatory at Newcastle University
  • Carry out administrative tasks and other duties to support the Innovation Observatory/Evidence Synthesis Group as required by the Director (NIHRIO) or Dean (NUPHSI)


The Person


Knowledge, Skills and Experience

  • Knowledge of and commitment to using best practices in software development including documentation and version control
  • Knowledge of secondary research methods, such as systematic reviews, rapid reviews, and scoping reviews
  • Interest, enthusiasm, and experience of developing intelligent AI-based research tools, with a particular emphasis on natural language processing and deep learning
  • Strong computing and scripting skills in Python and R, with demonstrable experience using either Scikit-Learn, Keras, and TensorFlow libraries/frameworks
  • Experience of data management, curation, linkage, and analysis methods for large, noisy, heterogenous unstructured datasets (e.g., social media data)
  • Ability to contribute to broader organisational and management processes and to provide leadership, co-ordinating the work of other staff
  • Ability to build effective relationships with a range of different stakeholders, across different levels
  • A strong track record of peer reviewed publications and wider dissemination activities
  • Experience of research project management and delivery
  • Ability to communicate effectively and confidently to a range of audiences and stakeholders
  • Evidence of the ability to deliver high-quality work within agreed timelines
  • Ability to meet deadlines, prioritise and to manage conflicting priorities
  • Aptitude to work flexibly and cooperatively with others
  • Robust experience with the standard data science toolkit, e.g. Python, R, MATLAB
  • Experience of handling and analysing data of various sizes and formats
  • Experience of undertaking systematic reviews, rapid reviews, and scoping reviews (Desirable)

Attributes and Behaviour

  • Ability to work independently and as a member of a team
  • Excellent organisational, communication and interpersonal skills
  • Ability to maintain confidentiality
  • High level of attention to detail and accuracy
  • Motivated, proactive researcher
  • Experience of effectively managing and taking responsibility for own workload



  • A PhD in a relevant topic area, such as computer sciences or data science (or a closely-related subject)



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: 21664