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Postdoc to develop methods and tools to estimate transmissibility and forecast case numbers during epidemics

Job summary

Applications are invited for the post of Research Assistant or Associate in the MRC Centre for Global Infectious Disease Analysis within the Department of Infectious Disease Epidemiology, School of Public Health at Imperial College, London.

The ongoing Covid-19 pandemic is a reminder of the constant threat to human populations posed by emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases. Data collected during epidemics is increasingly analysed in real-time to inform policy making. In particular, real-time estimation of transmissibility and incidence forecasting are instrumental to designing, monitoring, and adjusting interventions throughout an epidemic, continuously assist in logistical planning, and for advocacy.

Various epidemic forecasting approaches have been developed, in particular during and since the West African Ebola epidemic. Many of those build on a method implemented in the R package EpiEstim, which has been used by many governments worldwide to monitor transmissibility of covid-19 in real-time. Forecasting approaches developed by our team rely on modelling the epidemic as a branching process and have been shown to perform better than other approaches on simulated data. However, they have never been thoroughly validated using real data, and make a number of sometimes unrealistic assumptions.

Duties and responsibilities

This post provides a unique opportunity to formally quantify the performance of an epidemic forecasting approach on real-life incidence data and to further develop the approach to account for uncertainties in the data, relax some of the underlying assumptions, and ensure the framework involves solely objective, quantitative and data-driven steps. You will also implement the approach in an open source software, ensuring that a reliable, tested and reproducible forecasting tool is available to be used in the ongoing pandemic and in future epidemics to assist policy makers in a robust and timely manner.

Essential requirements

Candidates should have a MSc (for appointment to Research Assistant) PhD (for appointment to Research Associate) or equivalent in one of the following areas: infectious disease epidemiology, population biology, mathematics, statistics, theoretical physics, computer science or a similarly quantitative discipline.

While the position is advertised as Research Assistant / Associate, we require all candidates to have already submitted their PhD, at a minimum.

Further information

This post is full time and fixed term for 15 months in the first instance and will be based at the St Mary’s Campus, Paddington. Imperial College is supportive of flexible working. The College is happy to discuss the possibility of implementing such arrangements for this post, with suitably qualified people, subject to operational requirements.

Candidates who have not yet been officially awarded their PhD will be appointed as a Research Assistant within the salary range £35,477 - £38,566 per annum.

Should you have any queries please contact Dr Anne Cori (

For technical issues when applying online please email

Committed to equality and valuing diversity, we are also an Athena SWAN Silver Award winner, a Stonewall Diversity Champion, a Disability Confident Employer and are working in partnership with GIRES to promote respect for trans people.

Imperial College London
Closing date
November 25th, 2020
Posted on
November 19th, 2020 09:16
Last updated
November 19th, 2020 09:16