Principal Researcher in Environmental AI

Job reference:
BAS 20/83
Contract type:
Open-Ended Appointment
Starting from £49,708 per annum.
We offer generous benefits
British Antarctic Survey
Closing date:
6 December, 2020 11:59 pm

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


British Antarctic Survey are looking for a Principal Researcher in Environmental Artificial Intelligence to support and help manage the BAS AI Lab, to win funding and sustain the growth of this emerging research area.

What is the role about?

The British Antarctic Survey’s Artificial Intelligence Lab ( is looking to hire a Principal Researcher to lead research that applies data science and AI methods to environmental science. We are looking for a dynamic leader with a proven track record of securing external funding to significantly grow this research activity at the British Antarctic Survey. The post holder will work in collaboration with our partner organisations, including: The Alan Turing Institute; international research institutes; our University network; and our two Centres for Doctoral Training (CDTs) in Earth Observation and AI for Environmental Risk. Candidates will be experts in data science and artificial intelligence, with leadership experience working in an interdisciplinary setting within the context of environmental science.

Who are we?

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.


Areas where AI research could be developed include:

• Monitoring the Earth from satellite images
• Monitoring the oceans and glacial systems
• Modelling and prediction of extreme events
• Environmental sensor networks
• Digital Twinning for the natural environment
• Impact of climate change on water security
• Using AI methods and models to inform policy


A PhD or equivalent experience in a relevant field


• To conduct outstanding, creative and innovative research in AI for environmental science, and to develop internationally-significant outcomes through high-impact publications.

• To work collaboratively with key partners (e.g. from research councils, charities, industry and government departments) to develop new research ideas.

• To obtain external funding to underpin and grow the research activity in this area at the British Antarctic Survey (BAS).

• To take on line management responsibilities for staff, and supervise students

• To disseminate research to both academic and non-academic audiences (including public engagement), and seek ways to develop societal impact.

• To represent BAS to key stakeholders, such as funding agencies, and Government.

• To play a role in advancing the BAS AI Lab

• To contribute to the smooth-running of the organisation as and when required

• Some teaching/training may be required as part of collaboration work

Please quote reference: BAS 20/83
Closing date for receipt of application forms is: 6 December
Interviews are scheduled to be held: January 2021

Interviews will be a two-stage process, with candidates who pass the initial interview will be invited to give a presentation to BAS staff which will form the second part of the interview.

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

  • Track record of engaging with partners from different domains of expertise - Essential
  • Excellent communicator and networker within and outside the research community (creating networks) - Desirable [1]

Computer / IT skills

  • Excellent computer skills - Essential

Decision Making

  • Track record of leading /managing project with a strong societal impact - Essential

Interpersonal skills

  • Can form research consortia and secure research funding / budgets / resources from research councils or industry - Essential
  • Commitment to professional development of their own career and acts as mentor for others - Essential
  • Ability to create an innovative and creative environment for research - Essential

Numerical ability

  • Significant experience in developing and applying predictive models - Essential

Other Factors

  • Outstanding publication record - Essential


  • A PhD or equivalent experience in a relevant field - Essential
  • Python and machine learning programming skills - Desirable [1]

Resource Management ability

  • Track record of obtaining funding for multi-disciplinary research, including at the intersection of AI/Data Science and environmental science - Essential

Skills / Experience

  • Significant post-doctoral experience in a relevant field - Essential
  • Expertise in state-of-the-art methods in data science and computational intelligence - Essential
  • Research excellence in applications across a broad range within these fields - Essential

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.