IT Research Software Engineer

Job reference:
BAS 21/49
Contract type:
Full Time
Fixed Term Appointment (3 years)
£38,969 - £49,794 per annum.
We offer generous benefits
ICT team
Cambridge with possibilities of remote in the Antarctic or Arctic and at sea
Closing date:
11 April, 2021 11:59 pm

Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, please note there may be delays to our recruitment timeline.


We are looking for an IT Research Software Engineer to assist researchers within the British Antarctic Survey Artificial Intelligence Lab.

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 keep the 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.


A new role for the British Antarctic Survey, a Research Software Engineer position is being created to assist researchers within the BAS AI Lab.

The successful applicant will use their software development skills to help researchers run code efficiently on HPC systems including the BAS High Performance Computing Cluster, the UK’s JASMIN data analysis facility, the UK’s ARCHER2 National Supercomputing Service and other Supercomputer/HPC resources BAS scientists have access to. This will include code running on both CPUs and GPUs.

The BAS AI Lab develops and deploys ML, computer vision and AI methods to tackle environmental challenges. This includes building AI based & physics informed Digital Twins of the natural environment. There is scope within the role to develop some of the BAS AI Lab models so they can be accessed through web frontends and make the models accessible to a wider community.

The successful applicant will work closely with the BAS HPC team and BAS IT department and software developers across many BAS areas. In additional there will be collaborations with the AI Lab partner institutions; including The Alan Turing Institute, Universities, Centres for Doctoral Training in Earth Observation and AI for Environmental Risk.


BTEC/National Diploma or equivalent in computing or equivalent working experience.


  • Work with researchers to debug, optimise, profile and make robust their research codes. This includes making research reproducible and open source as well as adaptable to cloud computing.
  • Developing tools for the AI Lab in order to support all parts of BAS science.
  • Provide software development support to researchers as well as documentation and training.
  • Lead the design and implementation of the Digital Twin framework, bringing together components from across BAS and partner organisations. This will include liaising with the wider NERC/JASMIN/Turing community to share knowledge and lead design.
  • Feedback to the BAS HPC team and IT department on the future direction of the BAS HPC facility to meet the needs of researchers.
  • Work with other BAS departments (Polar Data Centre, Mapping and Geographic Information Centre, Web Applications) on joint software engineering projects and to promote best practices for software development.
  • Support and assist research groups with the implementation of AI/ML including via “hackathons” events.
  • 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

Publication date: 12 February 2021

Please quote reference: BAS 21/49
Closing date for receipt of application forms is: 11 April 2021
Interviews are scheduled to be held: 5th May or 12th May 2021

BAS is an Equal Opportunity employer. As part of our commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion and promoting equality in careers in science, we hold an Athena SWAN Bronze Award and have an active Equality, Diversity and Inclusion programme of activity. We welcome applications from all sections of the community. People from ethnic minorities and disabled people are currently under-represented and their applications are particularly welcome. We operate a guaranteed interview scheme for disabled candidates who meet the minimum criteria for the job. We are open to a range of flexible working options, including job sharing, to support childcare and other caring responsibilities.

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

Communication skills - a) oral skills b) written skills

  • (a) Good Communicator, may be living and working with people in close quarters. - Essential
  • (b) Capable of producing clear training materials and documentation. Ability to understand user requirements or goals and provide a solution. Effectively explain complex issues when communicating with end users. - Essential

Decision Making

  • Must be good. - Essential
  • Much of the work involves working autonomously. Capable of being flexible to changing priorities. - Essential

Interpersonal skills

  • Works on own and as part of a team as necessary. - Essential

Managerial ability

  • Able to manage a small team - Essential

Numerical ability

  • Able to handle numbers for IT applications - Essential
  • Ability to assist researchers with writing and debugging AI/ML Python code. - Desirable [1]

Other Factors

  • Team player. - Essential
  • Helpful. - Essential
  • Flexible. - Essential
  • Approachable - Essential
  • Able to understand and explain complex problems with people who are not knowledgeable of IT systems. - Essential
  • Able to run HPC training sessions. - Essential


  • BTEC/National Diploma or equivalent in computing or equivalent working experience. - Essential
  • Degree level in computing or relevant discipline. - Desirable [1]

Skills / Experience

  • Python programming in an HPC environment (including SciPy ecosystem and parallel/distributed computing) - Essential
  • Experience writing and debugging python code which makes use of TensorFlow and/or PyTorch. - Essential
  • Experience with the use of GPU’s in AI/ML. - Essential
  • Knowledge of software development best practices. - Essential
  • Linux System Administration. - Desirable [2]
  • Fortran experience. - Desirable [4]
  • C/C++ experience. - Desirable [4]
  • Cloud Computing experience. - Desirable [2]
  • MATLAB Parallel Toolbox experience. - Desirable [4]
  • Other programming languages - Desirable [2]
  • Advanced usage of Jupyter Notebooks and Jupyter Hub - Desirable [1]
  • Web front or backend development - Desirable [3]

You can apply for this job online or you can print off the application forms, fill them out by hand and mail them.

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.