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Head of Machine Learning

Please Note: The application deadline for this job has now passed.

Job Introduction

This is a unique opportunity to join the BBC Datalab. In this leadership role, you will be key to enabling the BBC to create a better audience and colleague experiences through the clever use of data.

As part of the Datalab team, you will work with Data Scientists, Engineers, Delivery and Editorial team members on initiatives that make content more personal for users, and systems more nimble for BBC team members.

We are looking for someone with a passion for working with data and machine learning systems, and with the vision and drive to make change happen. If you are excited by the idea having a big impact on BBC audiences, and have experience with data products or personalisation at scale, then please get in touch.

Role Responsibility

  • Develop the narrative for the use of machine learning across the BBC, then bring stakeholders along on that journey
  • Run and further develop the Datalab team; a cross-functional team of data scientists, engineer, product, project, architecture and editorial that currently has about 30 members
  • Develop recommendation engines across the BBC product portfolio and ensure that the current customers of Datalab (iPlayer, Sounds, News, Sport, World Service, Voice) are happy with the services developed by the team
  • Push the BBC to evolve their understanding of what recommendations and personalisation can look like
  • Drive the definition and adoption of responsible machine learning across the BBC
  • Build the community of machine learning enthusiasts across the organisation and find ways to use this community to drive forward the ML agenda

Are you the right candidate?

  • Willingness to work in an organisation with plenty of ambiguity and sometimes competing / contradicting priorities
  • Ability to tell a compelling story and to take people along on a journey
  • Patience; and confidence in vision and direction
  • Ability to listen to them team and to support and guide them through mentoring and coaching
  • Ability to see where ML and data can transform and not just extend the BBC product portfolio
  • Comfortable to be ‘one step removed from the user’; ability to think as a platform builder
  • Confidence in letting the team continue to set a big part of the direction and to ‘co-own’ the future of Datalab

Package Description

Band: F
Contract type: Continuing
Location: London 

We’re happy to discuss flexible working. Please indicate your choice under the flexible working question in the application. There is no obligation to raise this at the application stage but if you wish to do so, you are welcome to. Flexible working will be part of the discussion at offer stage.

  • Excellent career progression – the BBC offers great opportunities for employees to seek new challenges and work in different areas of the organisation.
  • Unrivalled training and development opportunities – our in-house Academy hosts a wide range of internal and external courses and certification.
  • Benefits- We offer a competitive salary package, a flexible 35-hour working week for work-life balance and 26 days (1 of which is a corporation day) with the option to buy an extra 5 days, a defined pension scheme and discounted dental, health care, gym and much more.

The situation regarding the coronavirus outbreak is developing quickly and the BBC is keen to continue to ensure the safety and wellbeing of people across the BBC, while continuing to protect our services. To reduce the risk access to BBC buildings is limited to those essential to our broadcast output. From Wednesday 18th March until further notice all assessments and interviews will be conducted remotely. For more information go to

Mae’r sefyllfa gyda’r coronafeirws yn datblygu’n gyflym, ac mae’r BBC yn awyddus i barhau i sicrhau diogelwch a lles pobl ar draws y BBC, gan barhau i warchod ein gwasanaethau hefyd. I leihau’r risg, dim ond y bobl sy’n hanfodol i’n hallbwn darlledu fydd yn cael mynediad i adeiladau’r BBC. O ddydd Mercher 18fed Mawrth ymlaen, bydd pob asesiad a chyfweliad yn cael ei gynnal o bell, nes rhoddir gwybod yn wahanol. I gael mwy o wybodaeth, ewch i

About the BBC

We don’t focus simply on what we do – we also care how we do it. Our values and the way we behave are important to us. Please make sure you’ve read about our values and behaviours in the document attached below.

Diversity matters at the BBC. We have a working environment where we value and respect every individual's unique contribution, enabling all of our employees to thrive and achieve their full potential.

We want to attract the broadest range of talented people to be part of the BBC – whether that’s to contribute to our programming or our wide range of non-production roles. The more diverse our workforce, the better able we are to respond to and reflect our audiences in all their diversity. 

We are committed to equality of opportunity and welcome applications from individuals, regardless of age, gender, ethnicity, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, socio-economic background, religion and/or belief. We will consider flexible working requests for all roles, unless operational requirements prevent otherwise.

To find out more about Diversity and Inclusion at the BBC, please click here


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