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Research Scientist in Secure and Federated AI for Health

European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL)
Closing date
12 May 2024

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Life Science
Job Type
Employment - Hours
Full time
Fixed term

About the team/job

EMBL is Europe’s life sciences laboratory – an intergovernmental organisation with more than 110 independent research groups and service teams covering the spectrum of molecular biology. It operates across six sites in Heidelberg (headquarters), Barcelona, Cambridge, Grenoble, Hamburg and Rome. Our mission is to perform basic research in molecular biology; train scientists, students and visitors at all levels; offer vital services to scientists in the public and private sectors within the member states; develop new instruments and methods; and engage actively in technology transfer.

The research group of Oliver Stegle is looking for a highly motivated staff scientist to work on the ELSA project ( – European Lighthouse on Secure and Safe AI. The successful candidate will be embedded in our research group and will work closely with colleagues at the EMBL Data Science Center and external partners of the ELSA consortium.

Our research group is pioneering computational methods for deciphering molecular variation across individuals, space, and time. We have a track record in the development of computational methods for high-throughput omics data, machine learning for multi-omics integration and causal discovery. In the context of the ELSA consortium, we seek to address pertinent challenges in secure and safe AI for human health. The EC-funded ELSA project has the goal to deliver novel algorithmic solutions for health by bringing the privacy and health communities together. This specific role will focus on the ELSA health use case, which is coordinated by Oliver Stegle and Nvidia.

Our interdisciplinary and international team is jointly located at DKFZ and EMBL Heidelberg, and is connected to the vibrant local ecosystem for data science, machine learning and computational biology in Heidelberg (including ELLIS Life Heidelberg and AI Health Innovation Cluster).

Your role

Your primary task is to foster novel innovations in the field of safe and privacy-preserving AI for health. The role will entail the development and implementation of novel algorithmic solutions, ideally in collaboration with partners of the ELSA consortium. In addition to theoretical and computational development, we also foresee the definition of challenges and relevant benchmarks to be a significant component of the role. The role can also entail interactions with EMBL data services, such as the European Genome-Phenome Archive, where novel federated learning solutions can be implemented in praxis. Engagement in additional measures of ELSA, for example to stimulate interactions between the privacy and health communities would be welcomed.


You have

    A PhD or equivalent qualification in computer science, statistics, mathematics, physics, and/or engineering, or a degree in biological science with demonstrated experience in computational and statistical development Experience with implementing machine learning or statistical learning (e.g. Bayesian inference, deep-learning), ideally connected to privacy or federated learning Programming skills in Python and experience with frameworks like PyTorch, Keras, Pyro or TensorFlow The Motivation and Dedication to lead a scientific project and you are a supportive, creative and responsible team member.


You might also have

    Experience in health research or genomics are beneficial but not required. The post is equally suited for a scientist with a background in AI for health or with a background in AI for privacy and/or federated learning.

Why join us

This is a fantastic opportunity to work in a highly collaborative scientific environment to advance the state-of-the-art in privacy preserving and safe AI for health. The position will provide ample opportunities to interact with other colleagues at EMBL and in the Heidelberg area. The post will be connected to the Laboratory for Learning and Intelligent Systems ( at multiple levels - via the ELSA project, the ELLIS Health program ( and via the local ELLIS unit Heidelberg (

EMBL is curiosity-driven, community-oriented and international. As an inclusive, equal opportunity employer, we believe that diversity enables us to collaborate more effectively and be innovative in our approaches. We are, therefore, committed to creating an inclusive and flexible culture - one where everyone can realise their full potential and make a positive contribution to our organisation. 

We encourage applications from individuals who can complement our existing team – we believe that success is built on having teams whose backgrounds and personal experiences reflect the diversity of the populations that our science serves. We actively encourage applications from all genders and cultures, ethnic groups and all demographics to help us avoid perpetuating biases and oversights at this transformational point in our people strategy.

EMBL offers attractive conditions and benefits appropriate to an international research organisation with a very collegial and family-friendly working environment. Competitive salary and social security benefits, financial support for relocation, a relaxed culture, professional development, an on-site nursery, canteen and other staff facilities make EMBL a great place to work.

** Don’t meet every single requirement? We are dedicated to building a diverse, inclusive and authentic workplace, so if you’re excited about this role but your past experience doesn’t align perfectly with every qualification in the job description, we encourage you to apply nevertheless.


What else you need to know

We are Europe’s research laboratory for the life sciences – an intergovernmental organisation performing scientific research in disciplines including molecular biology, physics, chemistry and computer science. We are an international, innovative and interdisciplinary laboratory with more than 1900 employees from many nations, operating across six sites, in Heidelberg (HQ), Barcelona, Hinxton near Cambridge, Hamburg, Grenoble and Rome.

Our mission is to offer vital services in training scientists, students and visitors at all levels; to develop new instruments and methods in the life sciences and actively engage in technology transfer activities, and to integrate European life science research. The working language of the institute is English.

In your online application, you will be asked to include a cover letter and CV.

EMBL is a signatory of DORA. Find out how we implement best practices in research assessment in our recruitment processes here.

Please apply online through:

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