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Postdoctoral Research Associate-Mathematics of Cities, ASG Digital Twins: Urban Analytics

Posted: 29 Jan 2021 Closes: 28 Feb 2021
London £35,000 to £41,000
Fixed term & Full time alan-turing-institute/20210129154701

The Alan Turing Institute is the UK’s national institute for data science and artificial intelligence. The Institute is named in honour of the scientist Alan Turing and its mission is to make great leaps in data science and artificial intelligence research in order to change the world for the better.


The post is funded through the UKRI AI for Science and Government programme. Across almost every sector of UK society, enhanced computing power has created need for new methods and tools to help harness the insights from the large quantities of data now available and to expand the speed and scope of what we can learn from it. The ASG programme has been established out of a shared recognition that the UK government require the transformative capacity of AI and data science to increase its efficacy if the UK is to maximise the potential of its governance and administrative systems, maintain its world-class scientific leadership, and continue its commitment to social progress for the benefit of the population. The programme was established in 2018 supported by five-years of funding totalling £38.8M. Work began on 1 November 2018. Urban analytics is an important theme in the Programme and we are seeking to appoint a Research Associate who will contribute to its economic modelling dimension – particularly developing urban input-output models.


The project is looking for a Research Associate to develop and apply mathematical and computer modelling methods, with special reference to the economics of cities, using census and related data. The candidate may be from various backgrounds provided they have core skills in mathematics, computing and modelling. As a Research Associate, you will work closely with Professor Sir Alan Wilson and the Urban Analytics Programme Director, Professor Mark Birkin, and the wider inter-disciplinary team based at the Turing Institute. You will play an active part in all aspects of research from data preparation, to the development of research questions, modelling and analysis, and writing up/publication. This is a collaborative research role and so it is crucial that you enjoy working with others within an iterative research process. We hope that the appointed candidate will develop to take ownership of a key strand of work on the project, under the mentorship of the PI and Co-Is.


The research associate will work closely with the project investigators with the aim:

  • To build models of the economics of cities, embracing both spatial interaction and input-output modelling;
  • To establish a sound research base within the Alan Turing Institute in order to pursue individual and collaborative research of outstanding quality, consistent with making a full active research contribution in line with the research strategy outlined by the PI;
  • To write or contribute to publications or disseminate research findings using other appropriate media;
  • To attend and present research findings and papers at academic and professional conferences, and to contribute to the external visibility of the Institute;
  • To participate in and to develop internal and external partnerships, for example to identify sources of funding, generate income, obtain projects/datasets, or build relationships for future activities;
  • To ensure compliance with secure handling of data and health and safety in all aspects of work.



  • A PhD (or equivalent experience and/or qualifications) in a relevant area, which will include mathematical, computing and modelling skills.
  • Experience with computational processing of large data bases.
  • Fluency in at least one programming language (we particularly work in Python).
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills, including the ability to write for publication, present research proposals and results, and represent the research group at meetings.
  • Adapts the style of communication to the audience and ensures understanding.
  • Ability to communicate complex, specialist or conceptual information clearly and persuasively, presenting compelling arguments to influence and/or negotiate satisfactory outcomes.
  • Independently make decisions which are low risk and that mainly affect themselves or a small number of people and are guided by regulation and practice.
  • Work with others to make collaborative decisions that may be operational or strategic and impact immediate team or work area only.
  • Recommend and advise on available options for decisions that affect operational processes, taking into account any risks.
  • Uses judgement to analyse and solve problems, and take action to prevent recurrence of problems.
  • Consider possible solutions to identify those which offer wider benefits, and obtain evidence to support thinking.
  • Identify and use a range of standard sources to gather and analyse routine data and produce reports that can be interpreted by others.
  • Design and use data gathering and analytical methods appropriate for each investigation. Recognises and accurately interprets patterns and trends. Understands when additional data is required and identifies appropriate sources. Produces reports that identify key issues and findings.
  • Participates in networks within the organisation or externally to share knowledge and information in order develop practice or help others learn.
  • Networks with others with shared interests, collaborating on projects and strengthening future relations.
  • Teaching may be required.
  • Commitment to meeting deadlines.
  • Commitment to EDI principles and to the Organisation values.
  • Flexible attitude towards work


  • Experience of working with census data.
  • Experience working with large research data sets and (semi)structured data.
  • An understanding of the importance of good practices for producing reliable software and reproducible analyses.
  • Evidence of high-quality publication(s) in a relevant field (published or in-press) commensurate with your career stage.

Other information


If you are interested in this opportunity, please click the apply button below. You will need to register on the applicant portal and complete the application form including your CV, covering letter and contact details for your referees. If you have questions about the role or would like to apply using a different format, please contact them on 0203 862 3575, or email



This full-time post is offered on a fixed-term basis for twelve months starting on 1 April 2021. The annual salary is £35,000 to £41,000 plus excellent benefits, including flexible working and family friendly policies,

Secondments of suitable staff from relevant organisations (business, universities, government or charities) are welcome.

Candidates who have not yet been officially awarded their PhD will be appointed as Research Assistant within the salary range £32,000-£34,000 per annum


The Alan Turing Institute is committed to creating an environment where diversity is valued and everyone is treated fairly. In accordance with the Equality Act, we welcome applications from anyone who meets the specific criteria of the post regardless of age, disability, ethnicity, gender reassignment, marital or civil partnership status, pregnancy and maternity, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation.

Reasonable adjustments to the interview process can also be made for any candidates with a disability.

Please note all offers of employment are subject to continuous eligibility to work in the UK and satisfactory pre-employment security screening which includes a DBS Check.

Full details on the pre-employment screening process can be requested from

The Alan Turing Institute

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