Research Software Developer in Privacy Enhancing Technologies (PRIME)

Deadline for Applications is midnight on the 15th March 2023.

Salary: £31,396 to £33,965 (Grade 6)

Contract: This part time .50 position is for 12 months commencing in April 2024 (a firm start date will be negotiated with the successful candidate)

Interviews will take place on 21st, 22nd or 25th March.

Applying here: follow this link

Detailed Description

Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh is seeking candidates for a part time Software Developer who will support the work of the funded EPSRC (£3.4M) project Protecting Minority Ethnic Communities Online (PRIME). The PRIME project aims to broaden understanding of online harm and how it can be mitigated through new systems, tools and processes by focusing on Minority Ethnic (ME) communities’ experiences of digitalised services, particularly in the areas of housing, health and energy. We will draw on knowledge, methods and skills from social policy, cyber security and privacy, data mining and machine learning; human computer interaction, applied linguistics and educational technology. Working closely with the National Research Centre on Privacy, Harm Reduction and Adversarial Influence online (REPHRAIN ( the PRIME consortium includes researchers from Heriot-Watt, Glasgow, York, Cranfield, and Open Universities, and it will engage with a wide range of individuals from ME communities, community organisations, public agencies and energy suppliers to identify and categorise the nature of the harms experienced, and assess the adequacy of existing systems and processes to counter them. In the first instance, we will translate this knowledge into the co-design and co-production of novel, effective and scalable social and technological harm-mitigating solutions through a Citizen-led Race Equity Living Lab (CREL).

The Software Developer will work alongside the Research Associates in machine learning and data mining and the Research Associates in HCI, to design better privacy-enhancing technologies (PETs) and an XAI framework that helps counter discriminatory processes in digitalised services. They will also assist with other relevant work-packages e.g., the Glasgow University led co-production CREL activities and the analysis of datasets. With the information gathered from the CREL labs and the datasets they will work to develop and test privacy enhancing technologies. We hope by doing this work we will address ethnic inequalities in service provision and demonstrate more accountability to the public in terms of greater transparency and equitable service outcomes.


The Software Developer will work with Prof Lynne Baillie an expert in Human Robot Interaction and with Dr Wei Pang an expert in machine learning and data mining.

The applicant should have a Hons (2.1 or above) or Masters in Computer Science (or a very closely related cognate discipline). The applicant is expected to have excellent programming (including Python) skills and prototyping and evaluation skills to enable and support the development of the PETS and XAI framework (you will be supported in this by the two senior and two junior research associates). Experience of applying Privacy Enhancing Technologies to real-world problem solving is desirable.

Duties & Responsibilities

In general, to support the PI and Co-I in Computer Science at HWU of the PRIME project in achieving the goals of that project, under their direction. • Undertaking the specific role of Software Developer in the project under supervision

• Taking responsibility for some elements of the planned development of the PETS and XAI framework

• Planning and carrying out a work programme appropriate to the research activity

• Contributing to dissemination and publication of research teams findings as appropriate.

• Contribute to learning and teaching through activities such as, tutoring and marking (limited to no more than 10% on an annualised basis).

Please note that this job description is not exhaustive, and the role holder may be required to undertake other relevant duties commensurate with the grading of the post. Activities may be subject to amendment over time as the role develops and/or priorities and requirements evolve.

Person Specification



• A Hons Degree (2.1 or above) or Masters degree in Computer Science or very closely related subject.

Key technical skills (candidates will ideally display several of the following attributes):

• Excellent experience of software engineering and software testing

• Excellent programming skills in some of the following: Python, Java, C# or C++, functional programming to support the development of the PETS and XAI framework

• Prototyping and evaluation skills to enable the development and testing of the PETS and XAI framework

• Experience of software development within a research context.

• Knowledge in some of the following: user centred design, co-design and development

• Strong analytical and problem solving skills.

• Strong communication skills (verbal, written and presentation).


• Industry experience on projects.

• Good team player with good interpersonal skills.

• Tenacity and confidence in engaging stakeholders during an iterative development life cycle.

• Adaptability, willingness to learn new fields and develop new skill sets.


• Ability to travel within the UK and Internationally (if required).


Applying here: follow this link

The Application must contain (please note all materials should be contained in a single pdf file).

  1. A letter of interest describing your relevant background and skills for the project, and why you are interested in this project.

  2. A current curriculum vitae that includes dates and details of your educational background (degrees, subject, classification, degree transcripts), technical programming skills, publications, work experience and other relevant information.

  3. The name and contact information of two referees (one of which must be your current line manager or Hons/Masters supervisor), these will only be solicited by the University for shortlisted candidates.

For further information or informal enquiries regarding this position please email Professor Lynne Baillie (