Careers

Lead R&D Engineer - Audio

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

Job Introduction

BBC Research & Development is looking for an experienced scientist or engineer to co-lead the Audio Team within the Production applied research area. Our multidisciplinary team of around ten is formed of research scientists, engineers, developers, and producers. Our mission is to use our expertise in audio to help the BBC deliver innovative and high-quality audience experiences.

We work with BBC product teams to make audio more personalised and immersive. For example, we are working with iPlayer to make TV more accessible by allowing the audience to control the level of dialogue. We have a long track record of collaborating with production teams to trial new experiences, and to improve the creative process through cutting-edge technology. Recently, we worked with the BBC’s Natural History Unit to automatically analyse the audio from their live wildlife camera feeds, with Radio 1 to deliver innovative audio experiences for R1 Relax and R1 Dance, and with Casualty to improve the accessibility of the audio mix.

We are recognised as world leaders in broadcast research and our work directly influences the wider industry. We led the development of the Audio Definition Model (ADM) format, which has become the industry standard for object-based audio, and the Web Audio API, which is widely used to deliver audio on the web. Our standards work is supported through the development and publication of high-quality reference software and production tools, such as the EBU ADM Renderer (EAR), Binaural EBU ADM Renderer (BEAR), EAR Production Suite, and Audio Orchestrator. We also run the highly influential “Sounds Amazing” event series to promote innovation in sound.

We collaborate closely with academic researchers through the “BBC Audio Research Partnership”, by sponsoring and hosting PhD students and interns, and through collaborative research projects. Over the past decade, we have sponsored more than thirty students and launched ten collaborative projects worth £30M. Currently, we are involved in the “AI for Personalised Media Experiences” (AI4ME) project which, over the next five years, aims to produce and deliver personalised media at scale. We have published over 65 original research papers in recognised conferences and journals, including AES, ACM, and IEEE.

Finally, we strive to build and maintain an inclusive, positive, and enjoyable team culture. We achieve this through regular self-reflection, and experimentation in new policies and ways of working.

Role Responsibility

You will take a prominent role in setting the strategy of the Audio Team and managing day-to-day work towards the team’s ambitions. You will work closely with teams in other parts of the BBC to develop and transfer work, as well as steering research collaborations with academia and industry. Alongside your role as a team lead, you will be encouraged to continue your own technical research or development activities, and to maintain and grow your external profile.

You will work in collaboration with another Lead R&D Engineer in the audio team and the Head of Applied Research for Production. The division of responsibilities within the Audio Team will depend partly on your skills and interests.

The work of the Audio Team involves:

  • Creating and evaluating prototypes, tools, and trial productions
  • Taking a user-centred approach to research and development, focusing on user requirements, user experience testing, and quality evaluation
  • Maintaining and developing technical audio expertise
  • Working with industry, standardisation bodies, academia, and the wider BBC to transfer R&D output

The Audio Team is currently focusing on:

  • Next generation audio (NGA) systems for delivering personalised and immersive listening experiences, with a key focus on improving accessibility to audio services
  • The development and deployment of the audio definition model (ADM) standards to enable NGA production
  • Novel ways of delivering immersive and interactive audio, whether personal experiences using headphones and headsets, or shared experiences using sound bars and ad hoc arrays of consumer devices
  • Developing and testing innovative production tools to ease the tasks of programme makers and enable creativity
  • Providing expert consultancy on audio technology to the rest of the organisation
  • Exploring personalisation opportunities and new approaches to object-based media production in  the AI4ME partnership

BBC R&D has a worldwide reputation for leading the research and development of many key broadcast, media, and internet technologies. You can read more about BBC R&D on our website https://www.bbc.co.uk/rd, more about the Audio Team’s work at https://www.bbc.co.uk/rd/audio, and also on the R&D blog https://www.bbc.co.uk/rd/blog.

The Audio Team is based across the two BBC R&D labs in London and Salford. However, this role can also be based in Cardiff or Glasgow, with occasional travel to either lab. The BBC now operates under a hybrid working model, with a mixture of home and office working for most staff.

Are you the right candidate?

You will have

  • A strong track record of, and reputation for, R&D work in audio in industry and/or academia
  • Significant experience in leading research and development teams, including people management and/or academic supervision
  • Ideally some experience of working in audio and media production environments
  • Ability to clearly communicate and disseminate research to both specialist and general audiences, such as through conference/journal papers, blog posts, and presentations
  • Experience in forming collaborations with other organisations, such as between industry and academia
  • Time and resource management skills and ability to lead, motivate and direct support staff and contractors contributing to the project
  • Expert knowledge in at least one of the following topics - experimental design and user research, psychoacoustics and perceptual testing, signal processing, machine learning and software development

You’re happy to work within a multidisciplinary team of other researchers, engineers, developers, producers and/or designers.

Even if you don’t meet all of the above criteria but can bring additional diverse skills, please consider applying, as there will be opportunities to grow on-the-job.

Package Description

Band: E
Contract type: Permanent
Location: Salford, London, Glasgow or Cardiff - hybrid working with regular travel to either London or Salford

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.

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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