Research Associate – Natural Language Processing

Lancaster University

United Kingdom

September 30, 2022


Research Associate – Natural Language Processing

School of Computing and Communications Salary: £29,619 to £34,308 Closing Date: Friday 30 September 2022 Interview Date: Monday 17 October 2022 Reference: 0965-22

Research Associate – Natural Language Processing

School of Computing and Communications

Salary: Grade 6 £29,619 to £34,308

Closing Date: 30 September 2022

Interview Date: 17 October 2022

The School of Computing and Communications (SCC) within Lancaster University's Faculty of Science and Technology, is seeking to appoint a Research Associate (RA) to work on a new large five year long (nine million euros in total across sixteen partners) EU Horizon Project: Design-based Data-driven Decision-support Tools: Producing Improved Cancer Outcomes Through User-centered Research (4D PICTURE Project).

Treatment decision-making by patients with cancer, their significant others, and clinicians can be complex, in particular when a choice has to be made between different treatment regimens with different risk profiles, potential outcomes, and effects on survival and quality of life. Decision making is often complicated through inefficient care paths, including logistic problems and lack of overview of the entire treatment trajectory including unclear responsibilities and inconsistency in information provision to patients. Recent research highlights that such inefficient care paths hinder patients with cancer and their significant others in treatment decision-making, leading to high levels of stress, fear, disempowerment, and unwanted dependence on healthcare professionals. Decision-support tools, which are computer-based tools developed to support decision analysis and participatory processes, have the potential to lead to improved access to innovative, high-quality, oncological care, enhanced patient empowerment, better treatment adherence, better health outcomes, and more health equity.

The central aim of the 4D PICTURE project is to transform health care delivery decision-making processes in oncology by redesigning patients' care paths and integrating evidence-based decision-support tools. The care paths will be redesigned to enable effective integration of these tools to facilitate the complexities of decision making with and for cancer patients. To achieve this aim, we will further develop a promising service design methodology to redesign care paths, called MetroMapping. Lancaster University will be leading on a work package to develop a conversation tool (based on our prior work on the metaphor menu, and the Metaphor in End of Life Care (MELC) project) for cancer patients, their significant others, their clinicians and citizens based on text mining analyses of patient experience ‘big' data and citizen science methods. To that end, we will apply an interdisciplinary approach that combines the strengths of AI-tools (text mining / natural language processing (NLP) techniques), corpus linguistics, and qualitative (narrative) research to efficiently convert the stories of experience of people with cancer and their significant others into usable knowledge about how they experience their care trajectory. Our methodology embeds citizen science, or patient and public involvement (PPI), at its core.

Working together with multiple project partners, the SCC RA will contribute to multilingual (English, Dutch, Danish and Spanish) data collection from multiple sources, exploratory data analysis using a variety of corpus-based NLP techniques, mapping patient vocabulary to clinical language, and machine learning tasks to train classifiers on human-labelled data.

The RA will be part of an internationally recognised centre of expertise for corpus-based natural language processing (UCREL), and will work directly with Professor Paul Rayson in SCC, Professor Elena Semino (Linguistics) and Professor Sheila Payne (Health and Medicine). For more details, please see the associated job description and person specification for this position. Potential candidates can also make informal enquiries to Professor Paul Rayson ( This is a full-time position expected to start as soon as possible from October 2022, and the RA will join on an indefinite contract, however the role remains contingent on external funding, which for this position ends 30th September 2027. Flexible working arrangements may be possible, and there are possibilities to undertake a PhD on related topics during the project.

Lancaster University are committed to family-friendly and flexible working policies on an individual basis. The School is also an Athena Swan Bronze Award holder, driving good employment practice and initiatives to address gender inequalities in Computing higher education and research.

We welcome applications from people in all diversity groups.

Apply Online

Further details:
  • Job Description
  • Person Specification
  • We promote equality of opportunity and diversity within the workplace and welcome applications from all sections of the community.

    Sharing passions, shaping futures

    Similar Jobs

    University of Hull

    United Kingdom Aug 30, 2022

    Add to favorites

    Research Associate (HY0389)

    Wolfson Palliative Care Research Group Salary: £29,619 to £35,333 per This post is Band 6 Research Assistant with a Yorkshire Cancer Research funded The post will be hosted by University of Hull's Wolfson Palliative Care...

    University of Hull

    United Kingdom Aug 30, 2022

    Add to favorites

    Research Fellow (HY0388)

    Wolfson Palliative Care Research Group Salary: £36,386 to £42,155 per conducting a mixed-methods process evaluation in a Yorkshire Cancer Research More people in Yorkshire are diagnosed with lung, breast, and bowel cancer exercise after cancer...

    About the employer

    Established in 1964 by the Royal Charter, Lancaster University is amongst the leading research-intensive universities in the UK. It is among the only 6 collegiate universities in the country and has collaborations with NHS, GCHQ, LEP, CEH, EA, Sunway University,...