CSols Vacancies

The following positions are available :

KTP Associate – Software Engineer AI and Machine Learning

Job Ref: 009074

Department: Development

Type of Position: Full-time

Salary: £27,500 – £35,000 pa

Tenure: 3 years

Location: CSols Runcorn Offices and Department of Computer Science at the University of Liverpool

Closing Date: 16th April 2018


The University of Liverpool (UoL), in collaboration with CSols Ltd., are seeking to recruit a high calibre individual with either an MSc or PhD in Computer Science, or a closely related topic. The successful applicant will also have a 1st class or 2:1 honours degree in a computing-related subject and should be able to demonstrate high-level software engineering and programming skills compatible with the specific requirements for the programme of work. The successful applicant must have the capacity to digest technical work in research papers and demonstrate strong problem-solving abilities in computing (for further detail see person specification).

Programme of Work

CSols manufacture software to provide laboratory instrument connectivity, they provide this as a service to the global laboratory instrument manufacturing industry (a $100B per annum global industry). Typically this instrument connectivity is required so that one instrument can “feed” another, or so that an instrument can be connected to a laboratory PC. These laboratory PCs typically host Laboratory Instrument Management Systems (LIMS). The data produced by analytical instruments is usually collected for a single user/purpose after which it becomes superfluous. It is well understood that data has a substantial value (witness the “Big Data Revolution”); however, in the context of instrument data the ability to utilise this data is poorly served. There is clearly much that can be gained if the data produced by laboratory instruments can be collected and shared, either within a single laboratory environment or across a number of geographically dispersed laboratory environments. However, seamless sharing and utilisation of this data is hampered by the fact that often this data comes from legacy systems or is modelled following some proprietary format accessible only through specific API. In many cases, an additional problem is simply obtaining this data. Hence, there is a need for flexible mechanisms that support the sharing and passing of laboratory instrument data.

To address this issue CSols and The Department of Computer Science at The University of Liverpool have obtained funding, in the form of an Innovate UK Knowledge Transfer Project (KTP) grant, to employ two “KTP Associates” (researchers). CSols’ vision is that of a global interconnected scientific laboratory where data can be access and shared in a global setting (of course taking into consideration data privacy requirements).

CSols are in a unique position to provide such a laboratory instrument sharing capability as they act as a “go-between” for instrument manufacturers that would otherwise be in competition with one another. The proposed solution leverages on AI and semantic technologies to make sense out of the vast amounts of data produced by Lab instrument, that is then integrated and aggregated through a knowledge graph.

The proposed work plan comprises two pathways: (i) Data Acquisition (Pathway A) and (ii) Ontology Generation (Pathway B). Whilst defined independently, the pathways are interlinked and come together at various points during the programme of work. The successful applicant for the advertised post will work on Pathway A, Data Acquisition, directed at extracting data from analytical instruments. The main anticipated outputs are: (i) data collection foundation technology and (ii) schema learning foundation technology, both built using the two-stage process where by an easily manageable subset of the available data is considered first before progressing to a full scale implementation. The expectation is that AI and Machine Learning technologies will be used to realize these foundation technologies. The associate will also be involved in the production of a number Lab Apps (downloadable software application for analytical laboratory applications) built using the developed foundation technologies.

UoL Computer Science and CSols Ltd.

The University of Liverpool is one of the UK’s leading research universities with a reputation nationally and internationally for high quality research. In the course of its history the University has been associated with no fewer than eight Nobel Laureates. As one of Merseyside’s largest employers, the University is a major source for innovation and plays a key role in the economic development of the region in terms of employment, skills, research and technology.

The Department of Computer Science is located in the Ashton Building. Research plays an important role in the life of the Department, and members of the Department are well known internationally for their ongoing contributions to the theory and practice of Computing. In the most recent (2014) UK Research Assessment Exercise (RAE), 97% of research conducted within The Department of Computer Science was rated as 4* or 3*. This was the highest proportion of world-leading or internationally excellent output of any CS department in the UK. The Department has a number of research groups with a focus on Algorithms and Artificial Intelligence. Of note, and with respect to the project to be undertaken, are the Argumentation and Representation of Knowledge (ARK) and the Data Mining and Machine Learning Group.

CSols is a well-established, successful company producing, delivering and supporting software solutions that dramatically improve costs, quality and compliance in Analytical laboratories. Exports represent about 25% of sales currently and are expected to increase rapidly. Key products interact closely with a) the intelligent analytical instruments that generate most of the results the Laboratories report and b) the Laboratory Information Management Systems (LIMS) that oversee the work. The products not only automate manual jobs but also improve the quality of data through a variety of mechanisms including statistical interpretation. CSols works closely with LIMS and Instrument Vendors across the world. Most systems use SQL Server or Oracle databases and the software typically runs on Windows PCs or Servers, though increasingly we are working with ruggedized tablet PCs.

The Company is in a strong competitive position and it plans for rapid growth over the foreseeable future. The Company is innovative and its individuals are knowledgeable. However we all buy into the ideas that we should go the extra mile to make things happen, that as individuals we are all approachable and dependable “doers”. We believe that the Company is an exciting, fun and rewarding place to work.

Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTP)

KTP is a government training scheme designed to facilitate partnerships between business and universities or research organisations, placing graduates (KTP Associates) for 1-3 years, to work on challenging, high profile projects. The KTP scheme is administered by Innovate UK (https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/innovate-uk). All KTP programmes provide excellent training packages. Although a University employee, the successful applicant will spend 90% of their time working as part of a team in the company to implement the project. While the day-to-day work will be supervised by the Supervisor in the company, regular meetings with the Academic Supervisors will take place so as to discuss progress and issues. The holidays and hours of work will be by arrangement with your supervisory team. However, successful applicant will be expected to observe the hours of employment and attendance in place at CSols Ltd.

The post is part of a three-year KTP with potential to lead on to permanent position within CSols Ltd. The post will also entail administrative duties such as preparing reports at regular intervals and making presentations on progress.


The post will provide the successful applicant with an opportunity to work on a ground-breaking laboratory data access and utilisation system that has the potential to revolutionise the way that analytical laboratories operate. Additional benefits of the post include:

  • Access to an annual training budget of £2000 per annum and will be expected, with guidance, to utilise this budget for continuing professional development purpose. Allowances have been made so that the successful applicant can devote 10% of his/her time to training
  • Attendance at two residential managerial workshops (each of one week’s duration)
  • Access to a travel budget, in excess of £2000 per annum, to provide for international travel, for example to support visits to CSols commercial partners and to attended workshops and conferences
  • Work with a company that:
  • Has fast business growth in a highly challenging and exciting commercial sector
  • Is innovative, with a string focus on research and development, and with an ambition to be to be tech. leaders in their sector
  • Is a rewarding and fun place to work
  • The opportunity of a permanent position with the company; 70% of KTP host companies make a permanent job offer to their Associate at the end of the project

Essential Criteria


  • Software engineering and programming experience (either commercial or from academic projects/research)
  • The development of web applications
  • Experience in developing PC\Windows software applications
  • Experience in researching and investigating solutions to IT problems (for example in the context of developing commercial products or conducting academic research/projects)

Education, Qualifications and Training

  • A higher degree (such as an MSc or MComp) in Computer Science or similar
  • 1st class or 2:1 honours first degree in Computer Science or closely related subject

Skills, General and Special Knowledge

  • General knowledge of the theory and practice of information extraction from structured and semi structure sources and named entity recognition
  • Competent software engineering and programming skills
  • Organisational skills, especially with respect to the management of IT projects
  • Presentation skills, written and verbal, in the context of technical subject matter

Personal Attributes and Circumstances

  • Ability to multi-task, prioritise and work in a self-directed and independent manner
  • A desire for continuing professional development and learning
  • Ability to interact well with co-workers and be a good “team player”
  • Good communication skills in English (spoken and written)
  • Be able to produce thorough supporting documentation
  • Good organisational and time management skills

Desirable Criteria


  • Research and/or commercial experience of the building of data extraction technologies
  • Commercial experience of web application development
  • Knowledge of Microsoft Visual Studio and/or a .NET language
  • Writing of academic papers for publication

Education, Qualifications and Training

  • PhD (or PhD thesis submission imminent) in Computer Science or closely related discipline

Skills, General and Special Knowledge

  • Familiarity with machine learning and data mining techniques in the context of schema learning
  • Familiarity with AI techniques for knowledge understanding
  • Knowledge of SQL Server and/or Oracle

Personal Attributes and Circumstances

  • A willingness to travel when necessary
  • An ability Introduce and train other project team members in the context of knowledge exchange

Apply Now

To apply for a Vacancy at the University you must register on the University of Liverpool E-Recruitment site, https://recruit.liverpool.ac.uk

If you have any questions relating to applying for a Vacancy please contact the Recruitment Team by email – Jobs@liverpool.ac.uk

Once you have submitted your application you will receive an automatic acknowledgement. Your application can be viewed at any time in the Application History section of your E-Recruitment Account.

Shortlisting and interviews will be conducted by Professor Frans Coenen, email: coenen@liverpool.ac.uk, Dr Valentina Tamma, email: valli@liverpool.ac.uk, Dr Rebecca Niehaus, email: rebecca.niehaus@csols.com, Dr Phil Goddard, email: phil.goddard@csols.com and Professor Katie Atkinson, email: katie@liverpool.ac.uk after the closing date.

Vacancies at the University often attract a large number of candidates and it is not always possible to respond individually to every application. If you have not heard from the recruiting department by end of April 2018 please take it that your application has not been successful.

Informal enquiries to Professor Frans Coenen, email: coenen@liverpool.ac.uk or Dr Valentina Tamma, email: valli@liverpool.ac.uk or Phil Goddard, email: phil.goddard@csols.com

We thank all applicants in advance for their interest. To make the best use of your time and ours, only those applicants whose profiles closely match our requirements will be contacted directly.

No Recruitment Agencies please