R360 AI and Data Scientist: Visa Sponsorship Available

AI and Data Scientist: Visa Sponsorship Available


University of Derby

About the role

University of Derby’s College of Science & Engineering in partnership with Sperry Rail (International) Limited are offering an exciting career-development opportunity to manage and deliver a challenging strategic Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) project. Based at Sperry Rail’s premises in Derby, you will be employed by the University as a KTP Associate but work under the terms and conditions of the company.

Using your knowledge and skills to support the business and achieve specific project aims, you will receive on-going support from a Sperry Rail Supervisor, Academic Supervisor and Academic Lead from the University of Derby to help you deliver.  A personal training and development budget will also be available for you to access, as well as receiving access to the same training opportunities and facilities as University staff.

You will be responsible for developing an innovative and improved method to automatically detect defects in rails, integrating AI tools and practices. The project will involve investigating and prototyping the state of art deep learning techniques and multi-sensor fusion for rail surface defects detection, classification and growth estimation. The KTP Associate will benefit from the support of a team of experts in the field of computer vision, deep learning, image processing and sequential data analysis in order to develop and prototype the solutions.

You will be part of a 12 person team based in Derby. The Derby office will be available for associate to work with other team members who work a mix of office based and distance working. You will be expected to be present in the office for a minimum of three days a week and participate in daily stand-up meetings. You will also be interfacing with Sperry teams of AWS specialist sub-contractors and user interface software sub-contractors, and other related teams (e.g. non-destructive analysis, data acquisition, embedded systems, and possibly customer facing teams such as business development).

This is a dynamic role that presents an opportunity for an ambitious candidate to play an influential role in analysing data, building predictive models, and providing actionable recommendations to solve complex business problems that will enable leveraging cutting-edge technologies to enhance the existing defect detection capabilities. This structured development project will also require the post holder to work across a range of departments to understand and solve complex business problems.

About Sperry Rail (International) Ltd

Sperry Rail is on a mission critical journey to revolutionize the Rail Flaw Detection industry. Through the continuous development of cutting edge diagnostic technologies and AI assisted analysis, we are transforming railway safety worldwide. Our global engineering teams work collaboratively to develop step-change technologies that define Sperry as the unparalleled market leader.

About University of Derby

The University of Derby is an extraordinary educational environment and because we specialise in identifying and developing individual potential, you can be confident you’ll receive all the help and encouragement you need to succeed in your role. We offer some of the best university facilities in the UK, investing more than £200 million in facilities in the last 10 years. Financially strong and seriously ambitious, achieving outstanding results for our teaching and research, we depend on the dedication of a team of 2,200 academic and professional services staff.

About Knowledge Transfer Partnership

This full-time post is part-funded by the UK Government’s KTP programme. A KTP is a three-way project between a graduate, an organisation and a university. KTP is one of the UK’s largest graduate recruitment programmes and has been placing graduates on challenging, high profile projects for almost 45 years. In addition to a competitive salary and core KTP development training, you will have a dedicated budget of £6,000 for further training and career development. To find out more about the scheme visit: ktp-uk.org/graduates

For informal enquiries please contact Alaa AlZoubi, Senior Lecturer in Computer Science via a.alzoubi@derby.ac.uk

Principal accountabilities

  1. To lead the development of the KTP project, including: The design and development of novel AI methods to automatically detect different types of cracks in rails; and the testing and integration of AI tools and practices for monitoring railway conditions.
  2. To work with the academic team to disseminate the outcome and research developed as part of the development process.
  3. To work with Sperry Rail and academic team to integrate the developed system into a business platform and demonstrate the system to key stakeholders in support of the company’s future plan.
  4. To carry out work in a professional manner and engage in tasks and training as required by the Sperry Rail, University of Derby, and Innovate UK.

Person specification

Essential Criteria


  • Masters degree (or equivalent) in a relevant discipline


  • Experience of developing machine learning and deep learning techniques
  • Experience of prototyping and project delivery

Skills, knowledge & abilities

  • Excellent knowledge of appropriate research methods
  • Ability to collect, analyse and synthesise research data and information
  • Ability to use initiative and creativity to solve problems in a research context
  • Self-motivated and able to work independently and as part of a team
  • Innovative and creative
  • Ability to communicate complex information clearly both in writing and presentations
  • Ability to work collaboratively with colleagues

Business Requirements

  • Willingness to work flexibly and be responsive to projects needs and partners expectations
  • Understanding of workplace values in line with Sperry Rail
  • Willingness to travel across the UK to meet Sperry Rail stakeholders

Desirable Criteria


  • PhD in Computer Science related to AI technologies


  • Strong background in image analysis, signal processing, data compression and software engineering
  • Experience of developing machine learning solutions for rail track condition monitoring
  • Very good python programming skills
  • Experience of project management
  • Evidence of an emerging track record of publications in a relevant field
  • Experience of presenting scientific research results to various audience


As well as competitive pay scales, we offer generous holiday entitlement. We also offer opportunities for further salary progression based on performance, and the opportunity to join a contributory pension scheme.

Important information

Applications from job seekers who require sponsorship to work in the UK are welcome and will be considered alongside all other applications.

Whilst this role is eligible for sponsorship under the Skilled Worker Route, we recommend that you assess your individual eligibility before applying for this position.

Visit https://www.gov.uk/skilled-worker-visa for more information.

To be eligible for sponsorship you must provide evidence that you hold all essential qualifications listed on the job description. Please note, equivalent experience will not be accepted as evidence of the essential qualifications.

To apply for this job please visit www.derby.ac.uk.