Location: TCD
Level: PHD

This position is now closed and we are no longer accepting applications.

The FoodCult ERC Project and the ADAPT Centre seek to appoint a Postdoctoral Research Fellow to conduct research in the areas of Knowledge Extraction, Natural Language Processing and Entity Linking.

The candidate will be appointed under Work Package 2 of the FoodCult (www.foodcult.eu) Project: Mapping Diet: Comparative Foodways in Early Modern Ireland, which is designed to exploit the recent boom in archaeological discovery, transforming archaeological grey literature data into knowledge to facilitate the complex interdisciplinary study of comparative regional diets in early modern Ireland. The researcher will be responsible for investigating approaches to the automated extraction of knowledge from various sources, including archaeological site reports, primary historical manuscript sources and historical databases. This research will involve the application of NLP techniques including Named Entity Recognition and Entity Linking to extract and represent the information related to diet in early modern Ireland contained in the collections. Data analysis techniques will be deployed to support the identification of patterns and correlations across the various sources. The postdoc will be involved with a number of other multi-disciplinary researchers, including archaeologists and historians, in the design of a knowledge extraction and integration framework, and will drive the development, usage and evaluation of a range of technologies within the project.

Reporting to the FoodCult Principal Investigator Prof. Susan Flavin and Prof. Séamus Lawless in the ADAPT Centre in the School of Computer Science and Statistics, the successful candidate will work within a group of Postdoctoral Researchers, PhD students and Software Developers. The post-holder will work closely with academics and key research staff to research a range of advanced digital content processing applications that showcase cutting edge language, knowledge and interaction technologies.

Informal enquiries about this post should be made to by e-mail to: Ms Monica Lechea, Office Manager (monica.lechea@adaptcentre.ie)

Standard Duties and Responsibilities

  • Drive the development, usage and evaluation of a range of technologies within the project.
  • Collaborate with multi-disciplinary researchers in the design of a knowledge extraction and integration framework.
  • Investigate approaches to the automated extraction of knowledge from various sources.
  • Apply NLP techniques including Named Entity Recognition and Entity Linking to extract and represent information from the collections.
  • Utilise data analysis techniques to support the identification of patterns and correlations across the various sources.
  • Present and Visualise the extracted knowledge in an easily consumable manner for a broad range of end user cohorts.

Funding Information

This position is funded through the ERC funded project, FoodCult.

Person Specification

The candidate must have a PhD in Computer Science or related area.

Knowledge & Experience (Essential & Desirable)


  • A strong publication record of international peer-reviewed publication and presentation in top-tier conferences and journals.
  • Experience in developing solutions for and applying technologies to Knowledge Extraction problems.
  • Experience in developing scalable and robust software solutions for the processing of digital content in a variety of forms.
  • Strong technical skills
    • Databases: MySQL, MariaDB, Mongo or other Database Technologies.
    • Web development: HTML, CSS, Javascript (NODE.js, JQuery, React, D3.js or other similar libraries).
    • NLP Libraries and Toolkits: StanfordNLP, OpenNLP, NLTK, GATE or similar.
    • Programming Skills: Python and Java preferable.


  • High level of curiosity and passion for Digital Humanities and the application of Computer Science research to humanities research challenges.
  • Technical Skills
    • Search: Experience with Lucene, Solr or similar
    • Experience with Geographic Information Systems
  • Experience in working as part of international collaborative research projects.
  • Experience in conducting large scale evaluations.
  • Experience in attracting research funding.

Skills & Competencies

  • Excellent written and oral proficiency in English. (essential)
  • Strong communication and interpersonal skills, both written and verbal. (essential)
  • Ability to work in highly interdisciplinary and international research environments. (essential)

Further Information for Applicants

URL Link to Area https://www.adaptcentre.ie/
URL Link to Human Resources https://www.tcd.ie/hr/

Background on FoodCult

FoodCult is a five-year project funded by the European Research Council. This Digital Humanities project will develop a ground-breaking interdisciplinary approach, merging microhistorical analytical techniques with cutting edge science, computer technology and experimental archaeology, to examine what was eaten, where, why and by whom, at a level of detail previously deemed impossible for this period in Irish history.

Specific lines of investigation include (i) quantitative analysis of elite household accounts, (ii) GIS mapping of archaeological assemblages, (iii) isotope analyses to investigate human mobility and diet, (iv) organic residue analysis to explore the relative role of dietary fats and changes in the material culture of food, (v) experimental brewing to replicate and analyse the components of sixteenth-century beer, (vi) zooarchaeological analysis to assess relative production and consumption of animal products, (vii) qualitative analysis of historical sources to understand food identities and interactions in early modern Ireland. The project will lead to unparalleled cooperation and collaboration across the sciences, humanities and heritage sectors in Ireland, and by nature of the broader popularity and accessibility of food as a theme, will deliver extensive opportunities for public engagement and outreach.

FoodCult is funded by the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Program. The ERC runs an annual competitive call to fund investigator-driven frontier research across all fields, based solely on the criteria of scientific excellence.

In the 2018 Starting Grant Call, the Principal Investigator, Dr Susan Flavin, won an award of just under 1.5 million Euro to support this research (Grant Agreement 803486). This grant will fund Dr Flavin’s research, a team of interdisciplinary collaborators based at institutions across the UK and Ireland, and four post-doctoral researchers, for a period of five years commencing in February 2019.

The Selection Process in Trinity

The Selection Committee (Interview Panel) may include members of the Academic and Administrative community together with External Assessor(s) who are expert in the area. Applications will be acknowledged by email. If you do not receive confirmation of receipt within 1 day of submitting your application online, please contact the named Recruitment Partner on the job specification immediately and prior to the closing date/time.

Given the degree of co-ordination and planning to have a Selection Committee available on the specified date, the University regrets that it may not be in a position to offer alternate selection dates. Where candidates are unavailable, reserves may be drawn from a shortlist. Outcomes of interviews are notified in writing to candidates and are issued no later than 5 working days following the selection day.

In some instances the Selection Committee may avail of telephone or video conferencing. The University’s selection methods may consist of any or all of the following: Interviews, Presentations, Psychometric Testing, References and Situational Exercises.

It is the policy of the University to conduct pre-employment medical screening/full pre- employment medicals. Information supplied by candidates in their application (Cover Letter and CV) will be used to shortlist for interview.

Applications from non-EEA citizens are welcomed. However, eligibility is determined by the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation and further information on the Highly Skills Eligible Occupations List is set out in Schedule 3 of the Regulations https://www.djei.ie/en/What-We-Do/Jobs-Workplace-and-Skills/Employment-Permits/Employment-Permit-Eligibility/Highly-Skilled-Eligible-Occupations-List/ and the Ineligible Categories of Employment are set out in Schedule 4 of the Regulations https://www.djei.ie/en/What-We-Do/Jobs-Workplace-and-Skills/Employment-Permits/Employment-Permit-Eligibility/Ineligible-Categories-of Employment/. Non-EEA candidates should note that the onus is on them to secure a visa to travel to Ireland prior to interview. Non-EEA candidates should also be aware that even if successful at interview, an appointment to the post is contingent on the securing of an employment permit.

Equal Opportunities Policy

Trinity is an equal opportunities employer and is committed to employment policies, procedures and practices which do not discriminate on grounds such as gender, civil status, family status, age, disability, race, religious belief, sexual orientation or membership of the travelling community. On that basis we encourage and welcome talented people from all backgrounds to join our staff community. Trinity’s Diversity Statement can be viewed in full at https://www.tcd.ie/diversity-inclusion/diversity-statement.

Pension Entitlements

This is a pensionable position and the provisions of the Public Service Superannuation (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2004 will apply in relation to retirement age for pension purposes. Details of the relevant Pension Scheme will be provided to the successful applicant.

Applicants should note that they will be required to complete a Pre-Employment Declaration to confirm whether or not they have previously availed of an Irish Public Service Scheme of incentivised early retirement or enhanced redundancy payment. Applicants will also be required to declare any entitlements to a Public Service pension benefit (in payment or preserved) from any other Irish Public Service employment.

Applicants formerly employed by the Irish Public Service that may previously have availed of an Irish Public Service Scheme of Incentivised early retirement or enhanced redundancy payment should ensure that they are not precluded from re-engagement in the Irish Public Service under the terms of such Schemes. Such queries should be directed to an applicant’s former Irish Public Service Employer in the first instance.

Application Procedure

Applicants should submit a full Curriculum Vitae to include the names and contact details of 3 referees (including email addresses), together with a cover letter (1x A4 page) that specifically addresses the application  procedure set out below. The cover letter should demonstrate how you meet the knowledge and experience required, and your capability to meet the responsibilities of the post.