Natural Language Processing Engineer


Cambridge or Bristol, GB

Category:  Assessment and Research

Job Title: Natural Language Processing Engineer

Contract: Permanent

Salary: £60k-£84k, dependent on experience and qualifications

Location: Cambridge or Bristol


Help us revolutionise English language learning and assessment!


We are recruiting a Natural Language Processing Engineer to expand our expertise in NLP to increase the pace and scope of our tech transfer efforts at English Language iTutoring (ELiT), which turn cutting-edge research into products and services that help people learn English.


A new team of Natural Language Processing Engineers will work closely with Cambridge University’s Institute for Automated Language Teaching and Assessment (ALTA), other experts in Machine Learning and education researchers, to develop existing technologies and create new ones. This is an exciting opportunity to work with world-leading NLP researchers, solving educational problems with machine learning and artificial intelligence.


What you’ll be doing

Building an in-depth technical understanding of currently deployed machine learning-based systems (e.g. automarkers) and experimenting to incorporate state-of-the-art developments, you will also develop a technical roadmap for an area where machine learning-based systems are applied.


Responding to queries regarding the effectiveness of machine learning-based systems in specific contexts, and where needed, developing immediately deployable solutions as fixes, you will also lead on  collaborative projects to prototype, operationalise and deploy novel machine learning developments as product features.


Teamwork is key as you collaborate with data engineers, web developers and enterprise architects to design and build data pipelines and model training infrastructure. You will also collaborate with researchers at the ALTA institute, as a visitor at Cambridge University’s Department of Computer Science and Technology.


Responsible for publishing and presenting research to position Cambridge Assessment English as thought leaders in language assessment and learning; particularly in the application of artificial intelligence to these areas, you will engage with policy debates about the governance and regulation of artificial intelligence technologies in educational contexts.


With the objective to grow the machine learning and natural language processing capabilities of Cambridge Assessment English, and partner organisations (e.g. English Language iTutoring, Cambridge University Press), you will identify specific problems for data scientists and junior NLP researchers to solve. Also, mentoring them to support their development as independent engineers, and to create a culture of AI literacy. 


What we’re looking for

Working closely with the ELiT team the successful candidate will have excellent technical skills and knowledge. They will also be able to use these creatively and independently, to solve novel problems.


Our NLP-powered capabilities use state-of-the-art techniques to automate assessment and feedback on English proficiency. These technologies were developed with the Institute for Automated Language Teaching and Assessment (ALTA) and Cambridge Assessment English’s Research and Thought Leadership department. We work with multidisciplinary teams at the University of Cambridge and are looking for people who will enhance these collaborations.


You will help deploy AI-powered solutions widely in Cambridge Assessment English and Cambridge University Press products and to achieve this, we need someone who can articulate the benefits of applying natural language processing to our contexts. By doing so, they will help communicate our vision and influence a range of stakeholders.



A postgraduate degree (e.g. MPhil) with natural language processing elements (e.g. Advanced Computer Science; Machine Learning; Informatics; Computational Linguistics) is essential. 

A doctoral degree (e.g. PhD) focused on research in Natural Language Processing or Machine Learning is desirable.



  • Expert computer programming skills.
  • Highly proficient at coding in Python and Java.
  • Ability to work independently on technical and complex problems.
  • The ability, and willingness, to engage with existing software infrastructure.
  • Understanding of text pre-processing and normalization techniques, such as tokenization, Part-Of-Speech tagging and parsing.
  • Some familiarity with the research literature on machine learning for NLP
  • Communication skills to explain research and ideas to both specialist and non- specialist audiences.
  • Ability to work with businesses to understand commercial goals and create solutions that use artificial intelligence.
  • Knowledge of social science research, particularly applied linguistics, is desirable.
  • The ability and willingness to lead multidisciplinary teams is desirable.



  • Designing statistical experiments and analysing the performance of machine learning models.
  • Producing, processing, evaluating and utilizing training data.
  • Developing and evaluating classification algorithms for different datasets.
  • Using relevant Python libraries (e.g. scikit learn; tensor flow) to independently solve complex machine learning problems.
  • Creating and managing roadmaps that iteratively plan the development and deployment of technical systems.
  • Publishing work in academic conferences/journals or industry circles.



  • Innovative – we are looking for someone who can learn complex techniques quickly and deploy them in creative ways, to meet changing needs in teaching and assessment around the world. You must be able to demonstrate how you have innovated and experimented with different approaches in the past, preferably in the application of NLP.
  • Responsible – the products and services we build impact on millions of English learners. We are education experts trusted to uphold standards of transparency, fairness and quality. Our partners rely on us for reliable and robust systems; we expect our staff not to compromise on these standards.
  • Collaborative – the successful applicant must be able to collaborate effectively with small agile teams and larger organisations, including colleagues from different functional areas and backgrounds, such as academia, business development and software engineering.


The closing date for receipt of applications is 1 December 2020 and interviews will be held on week commencing 14 December


To apply please upload your covering letter and CV.


As part of your recruitment process you will be required to undergo a background screening. This will be carried out by our selected supplier, Credence Background Screening Limited.



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