Data Scientist

University of Stirling

Stirling, UK 🇬🇧


CONTRACT TYPE: Fixed Term Contract

CLOSING DATE: 29-Aug-2021

LOCATION: Stirling Campus

GRADE: Grade7 £33,797-£40,322 p.a.

FACULTY/SERVICE: Faculty of Natural Sciences

Post Details

Full time
Fixed term for 24 months

The closing date for applications is midnight on Sunday 29 August 2021
Interviews are expected to take place week commencing 13 September 2021

For the purposes of sponsorship, this is a postdoctoral role under SOC code 2311

The University of Stirling recognises that a diverse workforce benefits and enriches the work, learning and research experiences of the entire campus and greater community. We are committed to removing barriers and welcome applications from those who would contribute to further diversification of our staff and ensure that equality, diversity and inclusion is woven into the substance of the role. We strongly encourage applications from people from diverse backgrounds including gender, identity, race, age, class, and ethnicity. 

The Post

Scotland’s International Environment Centre is looking to appoint a highly motivated, forward-looking Data Scientist to join a multidisciplinary team working on the ground-breaking Forth Environmental Resilience Array (Forth-ERA) programme and the development of a world-leading digital catchment observatory for the Firth of Forth in close collaboration with a range of regional and national stakeholders.

You will join a dynamic, innovative team focussed on delivering a programme that will help deliver on Scotland’s net zero targets.  The postholder will develop and apply new, innovative methods for the processing, integration, analysis and visualisation of large and complex datasets from multiple sources including wireless IoT sensors, citizen smartphone devices, drones and satellites to deliver real-time, actionable intelligence to multiple stakeholders.

Working alongside scientists with expertise in water quality, hydrology, ecosystem ecology, and Earth observation, the postholder can expect to apply their skill set to a broad range of scientific challenges, such as forecasting floods and droughts, modelling surface water pollution events, and quantifying changes in terrestrial carbon dynamics.

We expect the postholder will be well versed in artificial intelligence and it is anticipated the tools developed will heavily exploit a range of state-of-the-art machine learning methods such as gradient boosting, regression trees, convolutional neutral networks, and other deep learning approaches alongside more established methods.

The postholder will have use of the new SIEC Data Centre which will include a scalable, multi-million-pound high-performance computing infrastructure to be launched in early 2022.

Description of Duties

  • Develop and apply innovative approaches for the creation of added-value data products and services for the environmental sector using machine learning and other data science approaches
  • Lead on the curation of Forth-ERA datasets including those derived from satellites, drones, in-situ sensors, citizens and models and to work develop OGC-compliant systems and procedures that adhere to FAIR principles
  • Provide advice and technical support both internally to colleagues and externally to stakeholders in the application of data science approaches and promote their wider uptake as part of the Forth-ERA programme
  • As an integral part of the wider Forth-ERA team, contribute to the continued development of a strategy for the integration of data science approaches at all levels of the research programme
  • Identify potential funding sources and contribute to proposals to secure funding, including drafting grant proposals and planning for future proposals from internal and external bodies to support future research
  • Write or contribute to journal publications, project reports, presentations and to disseminate research findings using other appropriate media
  • Deliver presentations at conferences or exhibit work in other appropriate events

Essential Criteria


  • Honours Degree and PhD (or equivalent work-related experience) in an appropriate discipline such as machine learning or data science

Knowledge, skills and experience:

  • The enthusiasm and ability to solve complex problems using machine learning
  • Exceptionally strong programming skills in Python (or equivalent languages) and experience with machine learning libraries such as TensorFlow, Keras or PyTorch for big data science
  • Experience in data visualisation for scientific and/or non-scientific audiences in languages such as Python and R
  • Ability to communicate effectively with stakeholders from different disciplines to understand their requirements
  • Excellent interpersonal and time management skills including evidence of being responsible for a small research project or identified parts of a large project
  • Self-motivation, initiative and independence in thought and working

Desirable Criteria

  • PhD related to the application of machine learning to environmental challenges
  • Knowledge of environmental science and how machine learning can be applied to solve environmental challenges
  • Familiarity with code development for distributed, cloud-based computing architectures and high-performance computing technologies
  • Familiarity with the use of container technology for operating system virtualisation
  • Experience in the use of code hosting platforms for version control and collaboration (e.g., Git) and cloud-based notebooks (e.g., Jupyter)
  • Experience in front-end software develop and/or a working knowledge of JavaScript, CSS or HTML

Behaviours and Competencies

The role holder will be required to evidence that they can meet the qualities associated with the following behavioural competencies, as detailed within the AUA Competency Framework.

  1. Managing self and personal skills
    Being aware of your own behaviour and mindful of how it impacts on others, enhancing personal skills to adapt professional practice accordingly.
  2. Delivering excellent service
    Providing the best quality service to external and internal clients. Building genuine and open long-term relationships in order to drive up service standards.
  3. Finding solutions
    Taking a holistic view and working enthusiastically to analyse problems and to develop workable solutions. Identifying opportunities for innovation.
  4. Embracing change
    Being open to and engaging with new ideas and ways of working. Adjusting to unfamiliar situations, shifting demands and changing roles.
  5. Using resources effectively
    Identifying and making the most productive use of resources including people, time, information, networks and budgets.
  6. Engaging with the wider context
    Enhancing your contribution to the organisation through an understanding of the bigger picture and showing commitment to organisational values.
  7. Developing self and others
    Showing commitment to own ongoing professional development. Supporting and encouraging others to develop their professional knowledge, skills and behaviours to enable them to reach their full potential.
  8. Working together
    Working collaboratively with others in order to achieve objectives. Recognising and valuing the different contributions people bring to this process.
  9. Achieving Results
    Consistently meeting agreed objectives and success criteria. Taking personal responsibility for getting things done.

About Us

The Faculty of Natural Sciences was formed in August 2016 and encompasses the Divisions of Biological and Environmental Sciences, Computing Science and Mathematics, Psychology and the Institute of Aquaculture. The FNS is a distinctive academic arena where new fundamental understandings of the complex and challenging inter-relationships between human behaviours, technologies, biological, and environmental systems are created, explored and tested.  Results of REF2014 confirmed that our research is regarded as world-leading and internationally excellent. Our research is supported through UK Research Councils, the European Union and a range of research charities and private enterprises.  We work with businesses and public service organizations both at home and overseas to achieve direct and positive outcomes for society across a range of critical problems.

Biological and Environmental Sciences (BES)

The strength of Biological and Environmental Sciences lies in our unique focus on the interface between people and the environment, which positions us well to exploit growing funding opportunities and to develop strong student interest in environmental and ecological systems science and management.  Our research interests are broad, ranging from conservation and evolutionary ecology to environmental processes including carbon and nutrient cycling, aquatic sciences and ecology, pollution, environment and human health, and impact monitoring. Our studies incorporate science, policy and practice; they are used to inform national and international policy makers and practitioners in conservation and environmental regulation, planning and management. Our research and impacts are found in all continents of the world and positions us as a leading institution in Environmental Protection and Biological Conservation. Our location, the City of Stirling, is fast becoming a centre for environmental and conservation activity in Scotland, with four times the national average number of jobs in the environment sector.

The University

The University of Stirling is a leading UK teaching and research-intensive university, created by Royal Charter in 1967. Since its foundation, the University has embraced its role as an innovative, intellectual and cultural institution with a pioneering spirit and a passion for excellence in all that it does.

In 2016, the University launched its current Strategic Plan (2016-2021), with targets to: be one of the top 25 universities in the UK; increase income by £50 million; enhance its research profile by 100 per cent; and ensure internationalisation is at the heart of everything it does.

With three-quarters of its research ranked world-leading and internationally-excellent (Research Excellence Framework 2014), the University’s groundbreaking, interdisciplinary research makes a difference to society and has a positive impact on communities worldwide. Stirling’s research is making a positive impact on people’s health, education and wellbeing, with key strengths across our research themes of: Cultures, Communities and Society; Global Security and Resilience; and Living Well. The University collaborates with international governments and policymakers, businesses, industry, and charitable organisations, to tackle and provide solutions to some of the toughest global societal challenges.

For more information on working at Stirling, please visit

The University offers great benefits such as generous annual leave and membership of the Universities Superannuation Scheme. Additionally staff can benefit from a reduced membership rate at the University’s excellent Sport Centre facilities.

A full list of FAQs can be found here, we recommend you read these before making your application.

Please ensure that you check your email account junk folder as your email provider may flag emails sent to you as suspected spam.

Terms and conditions of this post can be found here.

After the closing date, this job advert will no longer be available on the University of Stirling website therefore please keep a copy for your records.