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Postdoctoral position in speech recognition

Research Associate
Vacancy Ref: : 048225 Closing Date : 08-Jul-2019
Contact Person : Jenny O’Donnell Contact Number : 01316502723
Contact Email :
Applications are invited for a Research Associate position in Deep Learning for Speech Recognition at the Centre for Speech Technology Research at the University of Edinburgh ( The successful candidates will contribute to an EPSRC project “SpeechWave” which aims to develop acoustic models for robust speech recognition which learn directly from the speech waveform using deep learning.

The successful candidate will play a leading role in the development of models and algorithms for raw waveform speech recognition using convolutional and recurrent neural networks. Key aspects of the work will involve the development of factorised neural network models to efficiently model additive noise, reverberation, and speaker characteristics, and of deep end-to-end recurrent network systems which can map directly from the speech waveform to a word sequence. A particular focus of the work will involve the development of these approaches for robust and distant speech recognition. There will be opportunities to participate in international research challenges and to work on challenges arising from our project partners.

The role is thus expected to focus on deep learning involving the development of state-of-the-art convolutional and recurrent network approaches for acoustic modelling and end-to-end systems, together with the development and evaluation of robust speech recognition systems.

The post is available for two years with a start date from July 2019.

Grade: UE07 (£33,199 – £39,609)

Please feel free to contact Steve Renals or Peter Bell for informal enquiries.

1) Job Details

Job title: Research Associate (Grade 7) 
School/Support Department: School of Informatics 
Line manager: Principal Investigator for the research programme

2) Project Details

SpeechWave is a collaborative project with King’s College London, and has several project partners including the BBC, Emotech, Quorate Technology, and SRI International. The overall approach in SpeechWave will be the development of new machine learning and signal processing approaches to speech recognition which operate in high-dimensional time-domain spaces – raw waveform based speech recognition.

3) Job Purpose

Research staff are normally employed to work on a particular project, based on restricted funding arising from a specific source, such as a UK Research Council grant or similar. (Occasionally a post holder will work on more than one project). This job description sets out the very general nature of such a post. Specific responsibilities will be determined by the project itself, and the member of staff responsible for that project. This generic job description is accompanied by the further particulars for the post which specifies the project areas of work.

4) Representative Work Activities

In general, to support the Principal Investigator of a specific project in achieving the goals of that project, under his/her direction.

• Undertaking a specific role in the research project under supervision 
• Taking responsibility for some elements of the planned research 
• Planning and carrying out a work programme appropriate to the research activity 
• Developing own research portfolio in related areas 
• Contributing to the writing of research grants 
• Contributing to dissemination and publication of personal and/or research teams findings as appropriate.

5) Planning and organising

The post holder will have to agree a general plan of research with the Principal Investigator and progress will be monitored at pre-scheduled meetings.

6) Problem Solving

The problems to be faced are purely scientific and the post holder will supply the detailed expertise for delivering a solution. They will be expected to achieve this under instruction by and with advice from the Principal Investigator and other academic and senior research staff.

7) Decision making

The post holder will determine the specific techniques and approaches to be used in the course of the research, in agreement with the principal investigator.

8) Key contacts/relationships

The post holder will principally interact with the Principal Investigator and other project staff and students. More generally, the post holder will discuss the work, and other questions of scientific interest, with other members of the School. The postholder will be expected to represent the University externally, by presenting their work at specialist meeting or workshops in the relevant research area. They may also be required to provide advice and support to relevant students.

9) Knowledge, skills and experience

You should have the following:

• A PhD (or close to completion of a PhD) in speech technology, machine learning, signal processing, artificial intelligence, or a related discipline 
• Strong programming skills in Python and/or C++, preferably with experience in machine learning, acoustic modelling for speech recognition, end-to-end speech or language processing systems, or signal processing 
• Research experience in machine learning, speech processing, or signal processing

• Experience of developing models and algorithms for machine learning 
• Experience of developing models and algorithms for speech processing 
• Experience with speech recognition toolkits, in particular Kaldi 
• Experience with deep learning toolkits, such as TensorFlow or PyTorch 
• Research experience using convolutional or recurrent networks 
• Working knowledge of GPGPU software implementation 
• A good track record of publications in the field

You are also expected to work independently, have strong communication skills and be able to work in a team.

Recruitment will aim at selecting those candidates with the best possible performance in these criteria.

10) Dimensions

There are no line management responsibilities associated with this post.

Informal Enquiries

Please feel free to contact Steve Renals or Peter Bell for informal enquiries.

Application Procedure

All applicants should apply online by clicking the apply link at the bottom of this page and submitting an up to date. The application process is quick and easy to follow, and you will receive email confirmation of safe receipt of your application. The online system allows you to submit a CV and other attachments. We ask that candidates for this position attach their CV and a research statement to their application as a minimum.

The closing date is 5pm GMT on

Eligibility to Work

In accordance with the Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Act 2006 and Immigration Act 2016 the University of Edinburgh, as an employer, has a legal responsibility to prevent illegal working and therefore must check that all employees are entitled to work in the United Kingdom (UK).

To do so, the University requires to see original documents evidencing right to work in the UK before commencement of employment and this is normally carried out at interview. Details will be provided in any letter of invitation to interview.

For further information on right to work please visit our right to work webpage

If you are from outside the EEA and not currently eligible to work in the UK, there are visa routes that may be available to you, for example:

  1. Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent): If you are an academic in the field of sciences; humanities; engineering; medicine; digital technology; or the arts, it may be possible for you to apply for a Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) visa. This route requires you to apply to be endorsed as an internationally recognised leader or emerging leader in your particular field by a designated competent body (Arts Council England, British Academy, Royal Academy of Engineering, Royal Society, Tech City UK). However, if you are applying for a senior academic role, e.g. Professor/Reader there is an accelerated route to endorsement. Further information can be found on the UKVI website
  2. Tier 2: The University is a UKVI licensed sponsor and is able to issue a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) to successful candidates who are offered highly skilled roles and meet the eligibility criteria. The CoS enables candidates to apply for a Tier 2 (general visa).

Please note if you were last granted leave to stay in the UK in any Tier 2 category in the 12 months immediately preceding an application and the leave has 
• ended or expired. 
• the CoS which led to that grant of leave was issued for more than 3 months, and 
• you are either: 
o applying for entry clearance from outside the UK, or 
o you are in the UK and had a previous period of Tier 2 leave, but then changed (‘switched’) into a different immigration category and now wishes to apply again under Tier 2. 
You must wait 12 months before applying again.

Further information about whether you require a visa and other visa routes can be found at:

Conditions of Employment

Pension Scheme

This role is grade UE07 and therefore the post holder is automatically included in membership of the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS), subject to the USS membership criteria, unless they indicate that they choose not to join the Scheme.

For further information please visit our Pensions website.


The role is grade UE07 and attracts an annual salary of £33,199 – £39,609 for 35 hours, each week. Salary is paid monthly by direct transfer to your Bank or Building Society account, normally on the 28th of the month. Salaries for part-time staff are calculated on the full-time scales, pro-rata to the Standard Working Week.

The University reserves the right to vary the candidate information or make no appointment at all. Neither in part, nor in whole does this information form part of any contract between the University and any individual.

The School of Informatics
Informatics is the study of how natural and artificial systems store, process and communicate information. Research in Informatics promises to take information technology to a new level, and to place information at the heart of 21st century science, technology and society. 

The School enjoys collaborations across many disciplines in the University, spanning all three College, and also participates as a strategic partner in the Alan Turing Institute and, with Heriot-Watt University, in the Edinburgh Centre for Robotics.

The School provides a fertile environment for a wide range of studies focused on understanding computation in both artificial and natural systems. It attracts students around the world to study in our undergraduate and postgraduate programmes, and currently has approximately 1000 undergraduate students, 320 MSc students and 350 PhD students.

Our research draws on concepts from computer science, artificial intelligence, linguistics, cognitive science, neuroscience, psychology and biology. 
This is represented in our six research institutes:
Institute for Adaptive and Neural Computation (ANC): 
Centre for Intelligent Systems and their Applications (CISA): 
Institute for Language, Cognition and Computation (ILCC): 
Institute for Computing Systems Architecture (ICSA): 
Institute of Perception, Action and Behaviour (IPAB): 
Laboratory for Foundations of Computer Science (LFCS): 

More details about these research activities can be found at

The various institutes in The School of Informatics are housed together under one roof in the modern purpose–built Forum Building on Crichton Street in central Edinburgh. 

Informatics is one of seven schools in the College of Science and Engineering, at the University of Edinburgh. It is recognised for the employability of its graduates (demand exceeds supply), its contributions to entrepreneurship, and the excellence of its research. Since the first Research Assessment Exercise in 1986, Informatics at Edinburgh has consistently been assessed to have more internationally excellent and world-class research than any other submission in Computer Science and Informatics. The latest REF 2014 results have again confirmed that ours is the largest concentration of internationally excellent research in the UK. This contributes to our ranking in the top 15 CS departments world-wide according to the latest Times Higher Education ranking.

Working within the School

We aim to ensure that our culture and systems support flexible and family-friendly working and recognise and value diversity across all our staff and students. The School has an active programme offering support and professional development for all staff; providing mentoring, training, and networking opportunities.

The School of Informatics holds a Silver Athena SWAN award, in recognition of our commitment to advance gender equality in higher education and research.

College of Science and Engineering (
The College of Science and Engineering (CSE) is one of the largest and highest-ranked science and engineering groupings in the UK. Headed by Professor David Robertson, CSE comprises seven Schools (Biological Sciences, Chemistry, Engineering, GeoSciences, Informatics, Mathematics, and Physics and Astronomy) as well as a national supercomputing centre (the Edinburgh Parallel Computing Centre) and the Bayes Centre for interdisciplinary data science and innovation. We extend beyond the University through many joint activities – for example we host the cross-Scotland DataLab innovation Centre, we are a founding partner in the Scottish Industrial Biotechnology Innovation Centre, and we are a partner in UK-wide collaborations including the Alan Turing Institute and the Rosalind Franklin Institute. Most Schools are located 2 miles south of the city centre at the King’s Buildings whilst Informatics, EPCC and Bayes are located in the University’s Central Area near George Square. The College has over 3,000 academic and support staff, and educates some 6,000 undergraduates, over 1000 taught postgraduates and more than 2,000 research students. It is in the front rank of UK university science and engineering groupings for research quality and income, and is a key player in many European and international research consortia. 

Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014

In the 2014 REF over 95% of our staff were submitted. Of our seven submissions, four of which were as a joint research school in combination with a strategic research university partner through pooling, 3 were ranked top in the UK and all 7 were in the top 5 in their discipline in the Times Higher Power rankings.

The University of Edinburgh
For more than four centuries, our people and their achievements have rewritten history time and again. They’ve explored space, revolutionised surgery, published era-defining books, paved the way for life-saving medical breakthroughs and introduced to the world many inventions, discoveries and ideas from penicillin to Dolly the sheep. We have believed that anything is possible, we still do. 
The latest Research Excellence Framework highlighted our place at the forefront of international research. This adds to our international reputation for the quality of our teaching and our student experience excellence. The University is proud of its success with online teaching initiatives, with 2550 students currently studying its online distance learning postgraduate programmes, and a total to date of more than 2 million enrolments for Edinburgh MOOCs.

As a member of staff, you will be part of one of the world’s leading universities, with 20 Schools spread over 3 Colleges that offer more than 1600 undergraduate and 600 postgraduate programmes to over 41,000 students each year. Professional services are critical to this success as well as our world-class teaching, research and student facilities. In fact, we are one of the top employers in Edinburgh, with over 14,500 people spread across a wide range of academic and supporting roles. 

As a world-changing, world-leading university, we offer an exciting, positive, creative, challenging and rewarding place to work. We give you support, nurture your talent, develop and reward success and integrate academic, professional and personal career goals, as well as give your career the benefit of a great and distinguished reputation. In addition, our employees benefit from a competitive reward package and a wide range of staff benefits, which include generous holiday entitlement, a defined benefits pension scheme, staff discounts and much more. Access our staff benefits page for further information and use our reward calculator to find out the total value of pay and benefits provided.

The University of Edinburgh holds a Silver Athena SWAN award in recognition of our commitment to advance gender equality in higher education. We are members of the Race Equality Charter and we are also Stonewall Scotland Diversity Champions, actively promoting LGBT equality. The University has a range of initiatives to support a family friendly working environment, including flexible working and childcare vouchers. See our University Initiatives website for further information.

University Family Friendly Initiatives

Equality Networks:

Staff Pride Network for LGBT+ colleagues and allies
Disabled Staff Network

The University of Edinburgh is a charitable body, registered in Scotland, with registration number SC005336.

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