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Bicentennial Research Leader (BRL) Associate/Assistant Professor in Computer Science

Heriot-Watt University

Location: Based at Riccarton Campus in Edinburgh

Contract: Open-ended

Closing date: Midnight on 7th December 2021

Heriot-Watt University has established a reputation for world-class teaching and leading-edge, relevant research, which has made it one of the top UK universities for innovation, business and industry.

To celebrate our bicentenary of pioneering research, we recruit outstanding research academics, Bicentenary Research Leaders, some of whom will be associated with the new National Robotarium (NR) and the Edinburgh Centre for Robotics (ECR).

We welcome applicants for this post and in particular research leaders in the field of trustworthy autonomous systems. As both trust and autonomy can take many forms, we are interested in a range of research areas, leading examples being: Verification (automated theorem proving, (probabilistic) model checking, SMT solvers), Validation (programming languages infrastructure, integrated simulation), Security for Complex Autonomous Systems (robustness against adversaries, security and autonomous cars) and Interpretable/Explainable/Property-driven Machine Learning.

About our team

The Department of Computer Science is internationally renowned for its world-class research across a number of areas, including artificial intelligence and machine learning, data integration, knowledge representation, visualization and analytics, natural language processing, formal methods, logic, type theory, programming languages, parallel computation, human-computer and human-robot interaction, and cybersecurity.

Jointly with the School of Engineering at Heriot-Watt and the School of Informatics at the University of Edinburgh, we host the center for doctoral training “Edinburgh Centre for Robotics” and the UK’s first National Robotarium, that together form a £129M joint venture, a center of excellence for AI research on an international scale, and a research and innovation hub with >150 staff and PhD students. In RCUK’s recent Grand Challenges Scheme: Trustworthy Autonomous Systems (TAS), our academics form core teams in 2 out of 7 TAS nodes (each node is supported by a £3M research grant). The two nodes stand for “Trust” and “Governance” in Autonomous Systems. Our grant funding in this area has also grown through being awarded, jointly with the School Of Engineering at HWU an EPSRC Industrial Strategy Challenge Strategy Fund for the Robotics Hub for Offshore Robotics for Certification of Assets (ORCA) worth £14.6M, which is one of the largest industrial strategy challenge funds awards in Scotland.

Detailed job description

As the successful candidate, you will collaborate, carry out and publish internationally excellent research in your field. You will have a strong research track record in Autonomous Systems or Robotics, with some preference to research in ensuring safety, security, expandability and trustworthiness of autonomous systems.

You will be established (a requirement to be considered at Associate Professor / Chair level) or have the potential to establish yourself as an international research leader, with strong postdoctoral research experience and the ambition to build a world-class academic group. You will have the relevant experience to engage and innovate in our specialised AI, Robotics, Data Science and Security teaching programmes and the enthusiasm to contribute to the expansion of our successful postgraduate programmes.

The School strongly encourages and supports the generation of industry impact from research, and we welcome candidates with experience of working in industry on AI, data science, robotics, autonomous systems, verification or security projects or a strong track record of collaborating with industrial partners in these domains.

Key duties and responsibilities

Reporting to the Head of Computer Science, the post holder is required to:

  • Lead, carry out and publish internationally excellent research in their area of expertise;
  • build or contribute to a research group in their field;
  • actively pursue research funding through the submission of high-quality grant proposals;
  • further knowledge exchange activities;
  • carry out such administrative and promotional activities as may be required to achieve these aims;
  • develop and deliver innovative teaching on undergraduate and postgraduate programs and courses in Computer Science;
  • carry out administrative, pastoral, representative and associated tasks as required.

Education, qualifications and experience

To be considered for the role you will be established (a requirement to be considered at Associate Professor/Chair level) or have the potential to become established as an international research leader, with strong postdoctoral research experience and the ambition to build a world-class academic group. You will have the relevant experience to be able to engage and innovate in our computer science teaching programmes and the enthusiasm to contribute to the expansion of our successful postgraduate programmes.

Essential criteria

  • PhD in computer science or a related field, or exceptionally a track-record of high-quality research in the area.
  • Track record of obtaining research funding.
  • Track-record of high-quality research with internationally excellent publications.
  • Skills to teach a range of lecture courses in CS, as well as supervise BSc and MSc dissertations.
  • Good interpersonal and teamwork skills.
  • Potential to obtain research funding.
  • Skills to supervise PhD students.

Desirable criteria

  • Track record of successful supervision of PhD students and/or PDRAs.
  • Enthusiasm and ambition to build a world-class academic group in your area of expertise.
  • Experience of working with the AI/Robotics/Intelligent Systems/Verification/Software Engineering industries or collaboration with industrial partners.
  • Potential to provide leadership in the development and implementation of research strategy within CS and the National Robotarium.
  • Potential to provide leadership in the planning, organisation and development of learning and teaching activities in CS and the National Robotarium.

How to apply

Please review the full post detail here

Submit via the Heriot-Watt on-line recruitment system a single pdf file that includes: (1) Cover letter describing your interest and suitability for the post; (2) Full CV that includes the list of publications (3) Research and teaching statements, showing your strengths in one or more of the research areas above.

For formal discussions about the position please contact For informal enquiries please feel free to directly reach out to either Prof. Yvan Petillot ( (Director of the National Robotarium) or Prof. Ekaterina Komendantskaya ( (Head of the Department of Computer Science).

Contact Yvonne Constantino, for any enquires related to post and if you are experiencing any difficulty in applying online.

The School of Mathematical and Computer Sciences has an Athena SWAN Bronze Award and is committed to an equality charter, which includes having a diverse and inclusive workforce, and to offering equality of opportunity to all (see We particularly encourage applications from women, and we welcome requests for flexible working arrangements and endeavour to accommodate them, whenever possible.

Heriot-Watt University is committed to securing equality of opportunity in employment and to the creation of an environment in which individuals are selected, trained, promoted, appraised and otherwise treated on the sole basis of their relevant merits and abilities. Equality and diversity are all about maximising potential and creating a culture of inclusion for all.

Heriot-Watt University values diversity across our University community and welcomes applications from all sectors of society, particularly from underrepresented groups. For more information, please see our website and also our award-winning work in Disability Inclusive Science Careers

We welcome and will consider flexible working patterns e.g. part-time working and job share options.

See our total rewards calculator: to see the value of benefits provided by Heriot-Watt University.

Location: Edinburgh
Salary: £42,149 to £60,022 (salary dependent on experience and qualifications)
Hours: Full Time
Contract Type: Fixed-Term/Contract
Placed On: 18th November 2021
Closes: 15th December 2021
Job Ref: I635
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