Research Technologist

Edinburgh, UK
Jun 10, 2020
Jul 10, 2020
Contract Type
Full Time
Job Type
The position of Research Technologist promotes and enables innovative use of digital technologies in a broad range of research projects. The role is based in the vibrant Central campus of the University of Edinburgh (currently ranked 20th in the 2020 QS World University rankings, and fourth in the UK for research power based on the 2014 Research Excellence Framework.)

The Digital Innovation Team (DIT) provides tailored digital solutions for the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences (CAHSS). As a member of the DIT, the Research Technologist will focus on supporting development of cutting-edge and experimental digital solutions in support of research projects across the College and its 12 Schools. You will document technical proposals and data management plans, project manage the development phases, and prototype innovative solutions using your extensive knowledge of the latest digital technologies. Providing high-level support for academic staff working within digital scholarship disciplines is integral to the role.

Central to this position will be close collaboration with the Edinburgh Centre for Data, Culture & Society (CDCS) a cross-College initiative providing a locus for data-driven and digitally-engaged research, directed by Professor Melissa Terras. This sits within the wider context of data upskilling across the University of Edinburgh, and the post-holder will have the chance to work with researchers in the newly formed Edinburgh Futures Institute

As the ideal candidate, you will demonstrate capability in problem solving and developing new competencies, possess excellent written and verbal communication skills, and work well in a team and remote working environments.

This is an full time (35 hours per week), open-ended post.
Salary: £28,331 - £32,816 per annum.
Closing date: 8 July 2020, 5pm (GMT)

1. Job Details

Job title: Research Technologist

School/Support Department: College of Arts, Humanities and Social Science

Unit (if applicable): College Office, Digital Innovation Team (DIT)

Line manager: DIT Development Manager

2. Job Purpose

To work as a member of the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences (CAHSS) Digital Innovation Team, with a particular focus on supporting digital research and development of cutting-edge and experimental digital solutions in support of research projects across the College and its 12 Schools. 
To provide high-level support, guidance and advice for academic staff working within Centre for Data, Culture, and Society (CDCS) disciplines (digital arts, digital humanities, digital social science, digital education and digital design), or using digital techniques for data gathering, analysis or dissemination for traditional research within the College. Innovate technical solutions and rapid prototypes in support of the CDCS and the wider College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences. Contribute to the overall work of the DIT and CDCS who together support digital activity across all areas of the College. 

3. Main Responsibilities
  • Rapid prototyping and development of applications to support digital scholarship activity across the College, using the appropriate technologies for the task, meeting agreed deadlines, appropriate quality controls, and the required functionality. (Approx % of time - 50)
  • Manage and document online projects for our customers. Identifying project requirements, preparing project plans and specifications, and developing appropriate solutions to conclude the project in an efficient fashion. (Approx % of time - 20)
  • Provide expert technical advice and support to researchers on all technology aspects of digital scholarship to enable them to develop and maintain an effective digital presence or to scope out research proposals. (Approx % of time - 15)
  • Proactively taking remedial action to ensure that all solutions developed meet the University's duties in respect of The Equality Act, the Freedom of Information Act, the Data Protection Act/GDPR and the University's Web Publishing guidelines. Actively contribute to University-wide information technology and development forums and to the overall work of the Centre for Data Culture and Society as a core member. (Approx % of time - 10)
  • Undertake continuing professional development to stay abreast of new ideas and developments in web-related technologies. (Approx % of time - 5)
  • Any other duties as required by the management structure within the College.

  • 4. Planning and Organising
    • Plan technical aspects of research projects, including the specification and scheduling of resources, for applications and proposals. 
    • Planning personal workloads, projects and support tasks, liaising with colleagues and customers and reporting issues to the line manager when guidance or prioritisation advice is required. 
    • Scheduling the design, development and maintenance cycle for the CAHSS online presence and its associated technologies, in liaison with line manager. 
    • React daily to enquiries and problems from CAHSS students and staff via the University's incident management system. Prioritise them: delegate to the editorial assistants, when appropriate, or carry them out within appropriate timescale. 
    • Actively investigate and deploy appropriate new technologies that can be applied to the research undertaken within the College. 

    5. Problem Solving
    • Take independent responsibility for own staff development needs in the constant online technological flux e.g. keeping informed of potentially useful emergent technologies.
    • Negotiating with college staff to ensure that their requirements are met and in alignment with relevant University policy.
    • Produce creative solutions to technical challenges posed by each project and share with the team and wider community.

    6. Decision Making
    • Day to day work responding to project requests and requests for support are carried out primarily using own initiative with some supervision as needed. Requests for new projects requiring large resource allocation are referred to the Digital Innovation Team Manager for prioritisation. 
    • Exercise quality control of output, while working alone, following University policy, W3C guidelines, and UK and EU legislation. 
    • Prioritise and plan own work schedule, reviewing and amending as necessary in response to the daily load of enquiries and problems. 
    • Advising on technical aspects for the Centre for Data, Culture, and Society. 

    7. Key Contacts/Relationships
    • Digital Innovation Team management on a daily basis to discuss work progress and priorities. 
    • Centre for Data, Culture and Society director, centre manager, administrators and core academic team. 
    • College Chief Information Officer as needed to discuss work progress and special projects. 
    • Digital Innovation Team colleagues on a daily basis to exchange knowledge and information. 
    • Information Services staff on a regular basis to progress support and project issues relating to the web environments that they provide on behalf of CAHSS. 
    • Head of Digital Library and team. 
    • Colleagues in the wider College including Schools and their associated centres and units on a regular basis to discuss issues and provide support or advice. 
    • Staff and students in the University user community as required to provide advice on College web issues and to respond to enquiries. 
    • Maintain a wide network of contacts in the Digital Humanities community nationally and globally. 

    8. Knowledge, Skills and Experience Needed for the Job


    • A relevant degree or equivalent qualification plus 3 years of professional experience.   

    • Postgraduate qualification in digital humanities, arts or social science, information science, a relevant arts, humanities or social science discipline, computer science, or other related discipline.


    • Proven broad knowledge of technologies and methods appropriate to digital arts, humanities and social science research. 
    • Evidence of extensive, in-depth knowledge of a range of specific digital arts, humanities and social science tools and methods, e.g. for historical data analysis, data visualisation, network and text analysis, natural language processing, digitisation practice, topic modelling and/or knowledge representation. 
    • Proven ability to learn new software packages and tools and apply them within a research context. 
    • Competencies include proven use of their knowledge and skills to produce quality output for the web in the form of applications and web sites in an efficient, professional and timely manner. Your competency should be demonstrable by the way you communicated with stakeholders during the project(s), how you managed the project(s), and how competently you made decisions during the process (including during periods of pressure or conflict). 
    • Knowledge of a range of core web technologies and frameworks, e.g. HTML5, CSS3, Javascript 
    • Expert skills developing in a range of the above technologies, multiple OS platforms (Windows, Mac, and/or Linux), and office software (MS Office or equivalent). 
    • Understanding of metadata and basic semantic web technologies. 
    • Demonstrable experience in one or more versions of Python. 
    • Ability to collaborate with other professional colleagues. 
    • Excellent interpersonal, problem solving, and creative skills. 

    • Experience working on digital arts, humanities or social science projects 
    • Experience in teaching and instruction of technologist and/or researchers. 
    • Competency in digital research tools linked to digital arts, humanities and social science research areas such as data mining or manipulation, Internet of Things (IoT), Git version control, text-encoding practice using TEI, R, visualisation techniques including mapping and GIS, web-scraping and the creation of digital datasets through sampling. 
    • Demonstrable web development experience and technologies such as XML, JSON, Twitter Bootstrap CSS and SASS to theme Drupal and WordPress, package managers (npm) and task managers (Gulp/Webpack). 
    • Experience of working within teams using agile methodologies. 

    9. Dimensions

    As part of the overall College Digital Innovation Team, the post holder has some shared responsibility for: 
    • Maintenance, development and review for websites and applications delivered and supported by the team.
    • Providing guidance on the use of web technologies to all support staff in the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences and all its associated Schools, Centres and Units.
    • Shared responsibility for 12 main sites (between 200 and 2000+ pages per site) and 50+ subsidiary websites varying in size (10 to 2000+ pages).

    10. Job Context and any other relevant information

    This job involves operating in the wide ranging, multi-faceted and constantly changing field of digital development and innovation in support of research across the College. 

    The University is currently undertaking a review of a number of its professional services within our Service Excellence Programme and therefore job descriptions and their location may be subject to change.
    • Post holder must continuously develop and keep skills and knowledge up to date, share knowledge and experience and advise others on best practice and changes.
    • Will be expected to contribute to, and benefit from liaison and communication across the team and beyond.
    • Team members will be required to provide cover and back up for colleagues in the College Office.
    • The post holder will be expected to be flexible and adapt to be responsive to changes in order to support the activities and initiatives of College Office.

    Application Procedure

    All applicants should apply online by clicking the apply link at the bottom of this page and submitting an up to date CV. 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 anticipate interviews will be held in the week commencing 27 July 2020. You will be notified by email whether you have been shortlisted for interview or not.

    Closing date: 8 July 2020, 5pm (GMT).

    Right 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

    Right to Work

    In accordance with UK legislation 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 website

    In the circumstances where the vacancy does not meet the UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) criteria for sponsorship the successful applicant must have the existing right to work in the UK or individual circumstances which enable permission to work to be obtained.

    For further information about whether you require a visa and other visa routes please visit the GOV.UK website

    Conditions of Employment

    Pension Scheme

    This role is UE06 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 UE06 and attracts an annual salary of £28,331 to £ 32,816. 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.
    var links = document.querySelectorAll(".targetLink"), i, j, aTags, string; for(i=0; i College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences Office The College Office is located in various buildings closely co-located in George Square. It contains the central administrative and management services for the College, which are led by the College Senior Management Team, consisting of the Vice-Principal/Head of College, the College Registrar, five Deans, the College Accountant, the Head of College HR and the College Chief Information Officer.

    The administrative support structure of the College is led by the College Registrar, with Teams covering Academic Affairs; Admissions (Undergraduate, Visiting and Postgraduate); Estates; Finance; Human Resources; Knowledge Exchange, Research; Resources and Web Development.

    The College Office hosts the College-wide Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities (IASH), which is an important framework for interdisciplinary work across the humanities and social sciences.

    The College also hosts the Centre for Open Learning (COL) which provides part time and short courses during the day and evenings for a range of members of the local community, from people returning to learning, to professionals seeking to develop their skills. (COL) incorporates the University's Languages for All centre, offering a wide range of language support for our students.

    To find out more about the College Office and IASH please visit our websites:

      College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences ( ) The College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences is a large and diverse part of the University. Led by Vice-Principal Professor Dorothy Miell, it has 13,800 undergraduates, 5,500 taught postgraduates, 1,300 research students and more than 3,800 academic and professional services staff. The College incorporates 11 Schools (Business; Divinity; Economics; Edinburgh College of Art; Education; Health in Social Sciences; History, Classics and Archaeology; Law; Literatures, Languages and Cultures; Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences; and Social and Political Science), the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities and the Centre for Open Learning. The College is located on multiple sites across Edinburgh, with the majority of Schools and College Offices based close to the central George Square area. The College, which is recognised as one of the world's leading centres for the arts, humanities and social sciences in research and teaching, has been growing and investing strongly in recent years.

    Research Excellence Framework 2014 (REF2014)

    The College operates at the highest levels of international quality across a very wide range of disciplines in the arts, humanities and social sciences and submitted the work of more than 750 staff to 23 Units of Assessment in the Research Excellence Framework 2014. The College achieved a superb result, combining a large-scale, broad and diverse submission with very high quality outcomes: 86% of its research impact and 76% of the overall quality profile were assessed as world-leading (4*) and internationally excellent (3*). Using the widely used Research Power index (which combines the submission's overall score for 3* and 4* work with the volume of staff submitted), 12 of the College's Units were ranked within the top five in the UK, and 18 were ranked first in Scotland. With an assessment of more than 95% at 3* and 4*, we're particularly proud of the outstanding research environment we create for staff and research students.   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.