University of Derby / Sperry Rail (International) Limited
graduate job
Expires12 days

AI and Data Scientist (Railway Industry)

Job description

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.

Principal accountabilities

  • 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.
  • To work with the academic team to disseminate the outcome and research developed as part of the development process.
  • 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.
  • 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.


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.

What we are looking for

  • 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


  • 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

Accepted degree subjects


Additional job details


for exceptional performers, there is scope for further progression up to £52,000

Contract, dates and working times
Fixed term


How to apply

Click Apply to start your application now. This job will be available on Prospects until 25 April 2024

Don't forget to mention Prospects to employers when you contact them.

Closing date:  25 April 2024

Expires12 days

To stay safe in your job search we recommend that you visit SAFERjobs, a non-profit, joint industry and law enforcement organisation working to combat job scams. Visit the SAFERjobs website for information on common scams and to get free, expert advice for a safer job search.