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Research Assistant/Associate-Data Scientist

Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences

Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK


  • Posted on: 04th Nov 2021
  • Salary: Research Assistant starting from £28,756 to £30,497 per annum
  • REF: 13882
  • Closes: 18th November 2021
  • Contract Type: Fixed-Term/Contract
  • Hours: Full Time

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.


Research Assistant starting from £28,756 to £30,497 per annum

Research Associate starting from £31,406 to £33,309per annum

Closing Date: 18November 2021

The Role

We are looking for a highly motivated Research Assistant/Associate (biomedical data scientist) for a project entitled “Implementing an Artificial Intelligence Module in the web based imaging platform Myoshare”. The project focus is on the development of and Machine Learning algorithm that could analyze automatically from patients with different neuromuscular diseases and predict the diagnosis. The post will be based at the John Walton Muscular Dystrophy Research Centre (JWMDRC) at Newcastle University. This is a varied and exciting role with extensive opportunities for external collaborations with academics, clinicians and researchers and study participants worldwide.

The main objectives of the post are to design innovative machine learning and neural network strategies which will enable the project team to develop a tool useful for the whole medical community working in the field of the neuromuscular diseases.

You should have experience in the application of artificial intelligence to large collection of biomedical data with a good record of accomplishment in publications or communications to conferences. You should have demonstrable communication and interpersonal skills and an aptitude for engaging with stakeholders at a local and international level. You should have the ability to use personal initiative and creativity to solve problems.

For informal enquiries, please send email Dr. Jordi Diaz Manera, Professor of Neuromuscular diseases via email: Jordi.diaz-manera@newcastle.ac.uk

This is a full time fixed term contract for one year.

Please visitJohn Walton Centreto find out more.

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.

Key Accountabilities

  • Develop tools to build machine learning algorithms to analyze large datasets of muscle MRIs values using commercial and/or open source tools.
  • Provide technical advice, assistance and support to our site and all members of the consortium during the whole duration of the project.
  • Develop tools to automatically segment muscle MRIs obtained from controls and patients with neuromuscular diseases using commercial and/or open source tools
  • Document and test data pipelines for the two new tools generated (diagnostic algorithm and automatic segmentation tool) with a new data set of MRIs obtained. This should include writing and maintaining a SOP for the development of the script used for building both tools.
  • Analyze automatically, or if needed manually, all muscle MRIs of patients obtained from the consortium of sites to calculate the degree of fat replacement on each muscle and generate and handle the database needed for the study.
  • Evaluate and demonstrate the utility of the implementation of the two new tools in the web based imaging platform MyoShare. locally and nationally to key stakeholders and partner organisations.
  • Disseminate the methods used to develop them at world- class academic / industrial venues and in world class academic publications.
  • May be required to contribute to the preparing and writing of research papers for publication, and disseminate the findings at conferences and seminars, as required.
  • Liaise with external stakeholders, including users of applications, funders, subject matter experts, etc.
  • Attend meetings and other events appropriate to projects and the John Walton Muscular Dystrophy Research Centre.
  • To act as an internal and external consultant, advising on the development and application of specialist artificial intelligence to the analysis of large cohorts of patients.
  • Carry out some administrative tasks and other duties to support the development of the project, as and when required.

The Person

Knowledge, Skills and Experience


  • Experience in one or more of the following areas: machine learning, pattern recognition, text mining, artificial intelligence.
  • Experience in writing and maintaining code, preferably using: Java, R and Python
  • Proven ability to develop and implement systems to apply machine learning strategies to the analysis of large datasets.
  • Understanding of digital product development.
  • Good analytical skills and capacity for independent original thought.
  • Enthusiastic and hard working.
  • Excellent communication skills, both oral and written.
  • Good negotiation and persuasion skills are required in order to fully appreciate, assess and resolve stakeholder requirements.
  • Ability to interact with people from different disciplines.
  • Strong team-working abilities.
  • Excellent time management and ability to multitask.
  • You understand the digital product development processes and adopt best practices related to the design, testing, configuration management, documentation, deployment, etc.
  • Knowledge of R and Python codes
  • Previous experience in successfully applying machine learning strategies to large cohort datasets


  • Proven communication and presentational skills with the public and other non-academic audiences (e.g. customer facing work).
  • Knowledge of NodeJS and interest in Front-End Framework (React).
  • Knowledge of cloud computing, preferably AWS and Azure.
  • Good understanding of data handling, security and privacy best practices.
  • Experience of solving problems with big data.
  • Experience of running manual and automated tests.

Attributes and Behaviour


  • Delivering Services – Works continually towards achieving success through understanding and meeting or exceeding the expectations of the area, the University, colleagues and other stakeholders. Is enthusiastic in getting the job done on time.
  • Finding Solutions – Generates a range of viable options and decides on an appropriate course of action that best fits organisational and area goals.
  • Team Working – Operates in a number of different teams and groups across the organisation, confident in adopting a range of team roles.
  • Understanding Others – Understands individual or group motives, understands the culture of a particular area, school or faculty.
  • Planning and Organising – Works in a planned and structured way, uses own and others’ time effectively, Sets own priorities in conjunction with team and area objectives



  • Knowledge of web crawling/scraping tools
  • Visualisation, data management and statistical tools e.g: Tableau, Power BI, Excel, R, SPSS, Python.
  • PhD required for appointment at Research Associate level


  • Degree in Computer Science – Deep Learning, Machine Learning, Natural Language Processing being core components of your academic or commercial work (or equivalent work experience).
  • A good understanding and experience of using web analytics tools.

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.

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.

We understand how important the full employment package is to our colleagues at Newcastle University and we are committed to providing a great range of benefits and discounts for all. You can learn more about what is available here on ourBenefitsWebsite page.

Requisition ID: 13882

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