FTNA Postdoctoral Research Fellowship (Datafication)

The National Archives

Closing date: 5 Mar 2018

Reference number



£30,000 pro rata for 6 months


Higher Executive Officer

Contract type

Fixed Term

Length of employment

Fixed Term Appointment for 6 months

Business area

Research and Collections - Research and Academic Engagement

Type of role


Working pattern

Flexible working, Full-time, Job share, Part-time



Number of posts



Kew, Richmond upon Thames, London, TW9 4DU

About the job

Job description

Would you like to unlock archival collections as data?

Friends of The National Archives, established in 1988, is a charity supporting and assisting the work of The National Archives. This new 6-month postdoctoral research fellowship, generously funded by the Friends, is an exciting opportunity to join The National Archives, which is establishing itself as a centre of pioneering research.

As FTNA Postdoctoral Research Fellow (Datafication), you will focus on The National Archives’ collection of over a million wills proved before the Prerogative Court of Canterbury between 1384 and 1858. The wills are an unparalleled source of information about people, places, possessions and land across England and Wales for a period of nearly 500 years.

You will help us open up new kinds of access to this rich collection in the digital age by showing us how we can transform the content of the wills into reusable data. We are looking for an individual with expertise in one of the following areas:

• Crowdsourcing, user experience design, and the use of automated transcription technology.
• Entity extraction, natural language processing, and data visualisation.

Working in collaboration with a cross-disciplinary team of colleagues, you will undertake one of two research challenges that we have identified. You will also share your results and recommendations both with us and with Friends of The National Archives. Your research will be valuable to us: it will lay the foundations for our future research across many other collections, and help us prepare a major funding bid to build the necessary infrastructure to achieve the datafication of the wills.

Full job description attached below.

To apply:

To submit your application please click the 'Apply now' button on this page, where you will be asked to upload a CV and supporting statement. In your supporting statement please explain how you meet each of the essential criteria below. You may draw on knowledge, skills, abilities, experience gained from paid work, domestic responsibilities, education, leisure interests and voluntary activities. Please note selection for interview will largely be based on the information you provide in this section.

To apply please use the Apply Now button.

Please remove any details that could identify you, from the CV and Supporting Statement

Salary: £30,000 pro rata for 6 months


We'll assess you against these competencies during the selection process:

  • • A doctorate in a relevant specialist field (e.g. digital humanities, computer science, library and information studies, Human Computer Interaction) submitted no more than 5 years before the closing date for applications. Consideration will be given to those who submitted their doctorate more than 5 years before the closing date and have had a disruption to their research career due to maternity/paternity leave, illness, family or caring commitments or other exceptional circumstances.
  • • Demonstrable experience relating to the relevant research challenge: EITHER (for challenge 1) crowdsourcing, user experience design, and the use of automated transcription technology; OR (for challenge 2) entity extraction, natural language processing, and data visualisation.
  • • Active research profile and demonstrable credibility in the academic and research sectors relating to specialist field.
  • • Experience of communicating research through a variety of methods and channels and proven ability to communicate complex subjects in clear and accessible ways.
  • • Excellent interpersonal, communication and negotiation skills, and therefore able to interact well and build effective relationships and networks within the organisation and externally.
  • • Ability to handle a varied and demanding workload, and to manage own priorities within a supportive team environment.



Civil Service pension schemes may be available for successful candidates.


Generous benefits package, including pension, childcare vouchers, sports and social club facilities, onsite gym, subsidised staff restaurant and opportunities for training and development.

Things you need to know


Successful candidates must pass a disclosure and barring security check.
Successful candidates must pass basic security checks.

Selection process details

In the event of second sift the desirable criteria may be taken into consideration:


• Published author and/or professional contacts in specialist area.
• Experience of archive, library or cultural heritage sectors.
• Track record of project delivery on time and on budget.

Please detail how you meet the criteria on the skills section of the CV

Feedback will only be provided if you attend an interview or assessment.

Nationality requirements

Open to UK, Commonwealth and European Economic Area (EEA) and certain non EEA nationals. Further information on whether you are able to apply is available here.

Working for the Civil Service

The Civil Service Code sets out the standards of behaviour expected of civil servants.

We recruit by merit on the basis of fair and open competition, as outlined in the Civil Service Commission's recruitment principles.
The Civil Service embraces diversity and promotes equality of opportunity. There is a guaranteed interview scheme (GIS) for candidates with disabilities who meet the minimum selection criteria.

Apply and further information

Contact point for applicants

For further information please contact the Recruitment Team on 0208 392 5329 or careers@nationalarchives.gsi.gov.uk

Sift/interview dates and location

To Be Confirmed

Further information

Reasonable adjustment

If a person with disabilities is put at a substantial disadvantage compared to a non-disabled person, we have a duty to make reasonable changes to our processes.

If you need a change to be made so that you can make your application, you should:
• Contact The National Archives via careers@nationalarchives.gsi.gov.uk as soon as possible before the closing date to discuss your needs

• Complete the “Assistance required” section in the “Additional requirements” page of your application form to tell us what changes or help you might need further on in the recruitment process. For instance, you may need wheelchair access at interview, or if you’re deaf, a Language Service Professional


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