Research Fellow in Open Data Engineering

Birmingham City University - Faculty of Computing, Engineering and the Built Environment

School: Computing and Digital Technology

Full Time Fixed Term Position (until 30th Sept 2019)

Location: City Centre Campus (Millennium Point)

Interview Date: 8th December 2017

Located in a modern £300M campus in the heart of Birmingham, the School of Computing and Digital Technology is a thriving, vibrant, and inspiring learning community committed to excellence in research, high quality teaching and industrial engagement. The School has growing research teams in cyber security, software engineering, data science, emergent networks and digital media technology working on visionary, multi-disciplinary, collaborative and impactful research.

The School won a £2.2M EU European funded ESIF project, the Big Data Corridor. This project is worth £480K to the University over 3 years. The project involves collaboration between Birmingham City University, Birmingham City Council and several academic and industrial partners. Big Data Corridor will provide a new platform, customise open source tools and develop services that enable Birmingham businesses and entrepreneurs to have facilitated access to big data repositories. It will also support digital innovation activities relating to the data platform through co-operation between academic researchers and business communities.

We are seeking a full-time Research Fellow with experience in Data Science Platforms to join a dedicated software innovation team. You will work to provide a new data science platform, customise open source tools and develop services that enable Birmingham businesses and entrepreneurs to have facilitated access to big data repositories. You will take responsibility for the technical delivery of the project milestones, working closely with the project manager and team members in:

  • Assisting and taking lead in the build, maintenance, enhancement and support of big data platforms.
    • Working with service providers to ensure that developed platforms remain operational, performant, are sized for current and anticipated workloads, and are generally fit for purpose
    • Defining and adhering to cyber security guidelines for data at rest and in transit
    • Data analytics and business intelligence. Identifying data of value, working with data stewards within the business to help determine its format and veracity, cleanse and transform, and make usable for big data jobs
    • Working to define and develop strategies for ingesting data into the big data pipeline from various sources, utilising existing services and middleware in some cases
    • Working within engineering to define and schedule jobs for big data analysis, optimising jobs within the cluster and ensuring that business users have access to the information they need at all times
    • Development of big data applications, creation of modules for data ingestion, transformation, batch and real time data streaming
    • Working in an agile environment and able to accommodate changing requirements

We expect the post holder to have the following:


  • Building and maintaining a Data Science Platform using Big Data technologies such as Hadoop, Cassandra.
  • Stream processing technologies such as Spark, Kafka and Storm
  • Data ingestion in a big data environment, including third party tooling, e.g. Talend, Pentaho
  • Batch processing, Map Reduce, and export into traditional data warehouses, SQL or No SQL, such as Mongo DB
  • Application of programming languages such as Java, Python, R and Scala
  • Experience in development on cloud computing platforms, such as AWS, Azure and Alibaba Cloud


  • Appreciation of machine learning techniques and strategies, ML algorithms, training data sets, and supervised learning
  • Knowledge of container based virtualisation platforms – Docker, Mesos
  • Knowledge of devops practices – continuous development, Jenkins

Personal Skills

  • Ability to work independently and provide technical guidance to development team
  • Ability to develop reporting and presentation skills to key stakeholders involving senior executives
  • Comfortable with unstructured, fast moving and constantly evolving high growth environment
  • Excellent communication and analytical skills
  • Strong coordination, mediation and engagement skills with clients and team members in a highly agile environment

This is a Full Time Fixed Term Position until 30th Sept 2019. This post is available for Research Fellow salary scale and would require from the selected candidate to take assistant leadership role to meet the deliverables and reporting requirements of the project. A PhD in computing or substantial experience supported by evidence of a significant role in previous projects would be expected.

For more information about applying and for the job description for the post, please see the current vacancies on the BCU website: Informal enquiries can be sent to Dr. Abdel-Rahman Tawil (email: Early applications are encouraged as applications will be considered on a rolling basis.

Alternatively if you require the application in a different format please contact the Human Resources Department at or on 0121 331 6693.

Birmingham City University seeks to be a single status employer and benefits include up to 32 days annual holiday, an index linked contributory pension scheme and an employee medical scheme.

Birmingham City University is an equal opportunities employer and welcomes applications from all sections of the community.