Research Fellow in Open Data Engineering

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

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.

We are seeking two full-time Research Fellows with experience in big data engineering to work on this exciting project. You will contribute to the development of a data platform  for the execution and visualisation of analytics and machine learning functions. You will develop open source tools for client services (e.g. APIs, data analytics & visualisation) and provide tailored support to SMEs to use the platform.

The successful candidate will also contribute to research in digital innovation activities relating to the data platform.

You will be joining a dedicated software innovation team and be responsible for the technical delivery of the project milestones, working closely with the project manager and team members. Responsibilities include:

  • Assisting and taking lead in the design, build, maintenance, enhancement and support of big data platform
  • Working with service providers to ensure that the developed platform remain operational, performant, is sized for current and anticipated workloads, and is 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 it 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, optimization 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:


  • Experience of databases, data analysis, and big data techniques and software packages
  • Experience with building and maintaining a data platform using big data stack technologies (e.g. Hadoop, Cassandra)
  • Knowledge of stream processing technologies e.g. Spark, Kafka, Storm
  • Experience in data ingestion in a big data environment, including third party tooling, e.g. Flume, Sqoop, Power BI, Talend or Pentaho
  • Knowledge in batch processing, Map Reduce, and export into traditional data warehouses, SQL or No SQL, such as Mongo DB
  • Application and knowledge of programming languages e.g. Java, Python, R or Scala
  • Knowledge with development on cloud computing platforms e.g. AWS, Azure or Alibaba Cloud


  • Appreciation of machine learning techniques and strategies, ML algorithms, training data sets, and supervised learning
  • Understanding of container based virtualisation platforms e.g. Docker, Mesos
  • Awareness of devops practices e.g. 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 30thSept 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.