Research Associate in Natural Language Processing and Conversational Agents

Job summary

(note: this job opportunity is different to the one posted a couple of weeks ago) An exciting opportunity has arisen for a Research Associate to undertake work in Natural Language Processing as part of the Leverhulme Centre for the Future of Intelligence (CFI). The postdoctoral Research Associate will be working with Professor Rafael Calvo (as well as Dorian Peters and colleagues at the University of Cambridge) on developing theory and methods to for the design of ethical conversational agents that are fair, support wellbeing and human autonomy and do no harm.

Responsibilities and duties include developing research objectives and proposals; developing algorithms; analysing statistical data; writing presentations and publications. The role will combine your computer science expertise to our ethics and design research.

The new activities aim to develop the body of evidence on the design of intelligent systems that support wellbeing, building on research in psychology and design practice.

Duties and responsibilities

Key Responsibilities

The activities associated with this post are: • Develop NLP algorithms for sentiment analysis, Named Entity Recognition and classification. • Develop new conversational agent technology using psychology research on motivation • Evaluate how biases in pretrained language models and transformers can be reduced or eliminated • Collect data either through direct recruitment or through collaboration with our other projects

• Analyse data using various statistical techniques, including preforming path analysis. • Publish original research on NLP and HCI • Maintain accurate and complete records of all findings • Assist with the writing of reports to research sponsors • Present findings to colleagues • Assist with the publication of findings • Attend relevant workshops and conferences as necessary • Develop contacts within the College and the wider community • Promote the reputation of the Group, the Department and the College

In addition, at Research Associate level:

• Take initiatives in the planning of research • Write reports for submission to research sponsors • Submit publications to refereed journals • Provide guidance to staff and students • Contribute to bids for research grants • Conduct and plan own scientific work with appropriate supervision. • Maintain highly organised and accurate record of experimental Work. • Actively participate in the research programme of the Group • Publish in high quality journals and present data at national and international meetings. • Participate in Group research meetings and internal seminars • Collaborate with other allied scientists within Imperial College and elsewhere in London and abroad, as appropriate • Contribute to the smooth running of the Group’s laboratories and, facilities with other scientists, clinicians, technicians and students within the laboratories

Essential requirements

Essential Requirements


  • PhD degree or higher in Psychology or Human-Computer Interaction

Knowledge & Experience

  • Experience conducting Natural Language Processing research.
  • Evidence of previous work in multidisciplinary and multi-stakeholder environments.
  • Programming in Python

Skills & Abilities

  • Willingness to work flexibly in order to achieve project demands.
  • Ability to organise and prioritise own work and organise research within the project timetable
  • Ability to conduct a detailed review of recent literature
  • Ability to develop and apply new concepts
  • Creative approach to problem-solving
  • Excellent verbal communication skills and the ability to deal with a wide range of people
  • Excellent written communication skills and the ability to write clearly and succinctly for publication
  • Ability to organise own work with minimal supervision
  • Ability to prioritise own work in response to deadlines
  • Advanced computer skills, including statistical tools like SPSS or R, word-processing, spreadsheets and the Internet
  • Ability to direct the work of a small research team and motivate others to produce a high standard of work

Desirable Requirements

Knowledge & Experience

  • Experience developing production quality NLP algorithms.
  • A track record of publishing for academic dissemination.
  • Developing conversational agents with Rasa or similar framework
  • Developing transformer technology and pipelines in packages like Spacy
  • Rasa Developer Certification
  • Practical experience within a research environment and / or publication in relevant and refereed journals

Further information

*** Please note that possible extension for another 12 months will be considered**


About Imperial College London

Imperial College London is the UK’s only university focussed entirely on science, engineering, medicine and business and we are consistently rated in the top 10 universities in the world.

You will find our main London campus in South Kensington, with our hospital campuses located nearby in West and North London. We also have Silwood Park in Berkshire and state-of-the-art facilities in development at our major new campus in White City.

We work in a multidisciplinary and diverse community for education, research, translation and commercialisation, harnessing science and innovation to tackle the big global challenges our complex world faces.

It’s our mission to achieve enduring excellence in all that we do for the benefit of society – and we are looking for the most talented people to help us get there.