Research Assistant/Associate: Online Computer Science Education at Scale x 2 (Fixed Term) University of Cambridge, Department of Computer Science and Technology, West Cambridge United Kingdom

Research Assistant/Associate: Online Computer Science Education at Scale x 2 (Fixed Term)


Research Assistant £26,243 - £30,395 or Research Associate £32,236 - £39,609


Fixed-term: The funds for this post are available until 31 July 2022.


The University of Cambridge is looking to appoint two full-time or part-time software engineers / researchers to work in the emerging field of data science and online education. The role involves designing, building and running a new online platform to teach A-level computer science in English schools, working collaboratively with the Raspberry Pi Foundation.


The new platform will be based on our existing innovative learning platform ( which provides a free educational learning environment for tens of thousands of school pupils, and prepares them for entrance to competitive university courses in physics, engineering, computer science and related subjects.


The Isaac platform includes:

  • delivery of material through written text, video and interactive games/simulations,

  • diagnostic feedback for students through interactive questions and problem solving,

  • assessment to elicit student progress,

  • models of student progress to recommend further teaching materials or exercises, and

  • feedback to improve content quality through usage analyses.


We release all our software for this project under an open-source license (see:


The successful candidate will work together with a small team of world-class researchers in the Computer Science department in Cambridge, collaborating with the content and events teams at the Raspberry Pi Foundation. We use the platform to measure learning outcomes at scale, publish results in the academic literature and drive further innovation on our platform in an evidence-based way. By understanding the fundamentals, we aim to improve online learning outcomes not just on our platform but for society at large.


Candidates must have a strong background in distributed systems and networking, and demonstrable experience as a programmer. Expertise in both the server-side and client-side aspects of web development is highly desirable. The ability to adapt and select appropriate software, languages and tools is more important than previous experience with specific examples. (For reference, we are currently working with AngularJS, Java with RestEasy, Maven, Git, Puppet and PostgreSQL.) An ability to manage the deployment, operation and maintenance of large-scale servers and web systems is beneficial. Prior expertise in data science techniques, including statistics, machine learning and/or educational research is desirable but not essential. Previous experience managing or contributing to open source projects is an advantage. Candidates must be able to work independently or as part of a team as appropriate.


To be considered for appointment at the Research Associate level, applicants will either hold a PhD or have significant relevant experience. Applicants who have recently obtained an undergraduate degree will be considered for a position on the Research Assistant scale. The position also includes membership of the USS career-average pension scheme, paid teaching opportunities, and the potential to undertake private consulting work. Successful candidates are expected to start on, or soon after, 1st April 2019.


Informal enquires should be directed to or


To apply online for this vacancy, please click on the 'Apply' button below. This will route you to the University's Web Recruitment System, where you will need to register an account (if you have not already) and log in before completing the online application form.


Please ensure you upload your curriculum vitae and a cover letter. If you upload any additional documents, which have not been requested, we will not be able to consider these as part of your application.


Please quote reference NR18010 on your application and in any correspondence about this vacancy.


The University values diversity and is committed to equality of opportunity.


The University has a responsibility to ensure that all employees are eligible to live and work in the UK.

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