Computer Scientist / AI Programmer

Job reference:
BAS 21/135
Contract type:
Fixed-term contract for 18 months (end date March 2023)
£39,748 - £50,790 per annum.
We offer generous benefits
British Antarctic Survey
Closing date:
24 October, 2021 11:59 pm


The British Antarctic Survey are looking for a Computer Scientist/ AI Programmer

Who we are

British Antarctic Survey (BAS) delivers and enables world-leading interdisciplinary research in the Polar Regions. Its skilled science and support staff based in Cambridge, Antarctica and the Arctic,work together to deliver research that uses the Polar Regions to advance our understanding of Earth as a sustainable planet. Through its extensive logistic capability and know-how BAS facilitates access for the British and international science community to the UK polar research operation. Numerous national and international collaborations, combined with an excellent infrastructure help sustain a world-leading position for the UK in Antarctic affairs.

British Antarctic Survey is a component of the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC). NERC is part of UK Research and Innovation We employ experts from many different professions to carry out our Science as well as to keep the lights on, feed the research and support teams, and keep everyone safe! If you are looking for an opportunity to work with amazing people in amazing places, then British Antarctic Survey could be for you. We aim to attract the best people for those jobs.


The British Antarctic Survey’s Artificial Intelligence Lab ( is looking for a Computer Scientist/ AI programmer with a background in Discrete Optimisation, AI Planning or Scheduling, to join a team working on the initial stages of a Digital Twin of the Royal Research Ship Sir David Attenborough (SDA). The focus of this role will be on developing code to implement a passage planning tool for the SDA, building on existing work at BAS. This will include working with a team to understand the data available, to model the relevant constraints, and to prototype parts of the overall passage planning solution. The successful candidate will join the BAS AI Lab, contributing to its ongoing activities and to the development of the AI Lab community. Candidates will be experienced programmers, and have experience working in path-planning, scheduling and/or constraint programming.



A PhD or equivalent experience in a relevant field.


• To contribute to the development of a passage-planning system and visualisation tool, as part of a Digital Twin of the RRS Sir David Attenborough.
• To work collaboratively with researchers and senior investigators from across BAS, and with external partners where required.
• To undertake other duties as appropriate as requested by the BAS Director.

The above list is not exhaustive, and the job holder is required to undertake such duties as may reasonably be requested within the scope of the post. All employees are required to act professionally, co-operatively and flexibly in line with the requirements of the post and UKRI

Please quote reference for any queries: BAS 21/135
Publication date: 08 October 2021
Closing date for receipt of application forms is: 24 October 2021
Interviews are scheduled to be held on Zoom on: 9th November 2021

At BAS, our vision is to be a world-leading centre for polar science and operations. Making our vision a reality depends on the excellence and diversity of our staff. We are committed to creating a workplace where all our staff can flourish and succeed. BAS is a Disability Confident employer, we are proud to hold a bronze Athena Swan award and we are a member of enei, the EmployersNetwork for Equality & Inclusion.

We appreciate the importance of achieving work-life balance and support this with a number of family and carer-friendly policies. Plus a flexible working policy for those who may wish to amend their working pattern or arrangement.

Skills are listed as either Essential or Desirable. Desirable skills importance rating in parenthesis (1 is high, 5 is low)

Communication skills

  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills. - Essential
  • Ability to communicate more complex, specialist, or conceptual information clearly and persuasively. - Essential

Computer / IT skills

  • Excellent computer skills. - Essential
  • Proficiency in one or more modern programming languages. - Essential
  • Experience in using discrete optimization tools, e.g. Minizinc - Desirable [2]
  • Experience in linear/ mixed integer programming and related tools. - Desirable [2]

Decision Making

  • Ability to make decisions independently and as part of a team. - Essential

Interpersonal skills

  • Ability to interpret and share knowledge. - Essential
  • Ability to foster an innovative and creative environment for research. - Desirable [1]

Numerical ability

  • Good background in discrete maths. - Essential

Other Factors

  • Willingness to be flexible and responsive to changing requirements. - Essential
  • Record of ongoing development of technical skills and knowledge. - Essential


  • A PhD or equivalent experience in a relevant field. - Essential

Skills / Experience

  • Expertise in AI methods, eg: heuristic search, constraint programming, AI planning, scheduling and optimisation. - Essential
  • Strong computer science background with knowledge of graph-based algorithms. - Essential
  • Experience in robot pathplanning - Desirable [2]
  • Familiarity with version control tools e.g. Git. - Desirable [1]

In order to apply, please complete and upload all the application forms listed below. If you experience any issues in uploading your Application Form, please email us your complete application, making reference to the job reference and title.

If you are an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen, please visit this website before applying.

Apply Online:

Apply by post:

Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the Recruitment team is working remotely and cannot access the building. If you would like to apply for this job but cannot apply online, please contact us: [email protected]

If you need more information

[email protected]
+44 (0)1223 221400
+44 (0)1223 362616

The information you provide during the application process will only be used for the purpose of progressing your application, to fulfil legal or regulatory requirements where necessary or, in the case of the Equal Opportunities Monitoring Questionnaire, to help BAS meet its equal opportunities policy.

The British Antarctic Survey will not share the information you provide with any third parties, and the information will be held securely by the British Antarctic Survey whether the information is in electronic or physical format. Please note that the Equal Opportunities Monitoring Questionnaire will be detached from your application prior to the short-listing of candidates for interview.

Unsuccessful applications will be securely destroyed 6 months after the end of the recruitment process (or 1 year after the end of the recruitment process in the case of Marine Staff and AEP. The applications of successful applicants will be retained as part of their personnel file.

Further information can be found in the information notice of NERC, our parent body.