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Microsoft UK • Reading, United Kingdom

Principal Applied Scientist

Employment type:  Full time


Fully flexible hours

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Job Description


The Microsoft Applied Sciences Group incubates disruptive technologies for Microsoft’s next-gen hardware products and is working on several exciting projects that will shape how computers and other devices perceive the user and the user’s environment. Operating as a dedicated applied science group within the company, this team works closely with several research and product teams to bring compelling new experiences to the market. A lot of these experiences will be powered by machine learning – and as part of this team, you will have the unique opportunity to work on almost every aspect of a shipping a machine learning system: machine learning models, finetuning, data pipeline, camera optics, sensors, responsible AI and of course, developing and implementing the algorithms that make magic happen!
The team is growing, and we have an exciting opportunity for talented research scientists and engineers to drive and lead implementation of state-of-the-art AI algorithms for specific and general-purpose silicon on next generation devices and operating systems. This is a hands-on team lead task. You will have collaboration opportunities throughout the organization and will be building new stuff that really works and has millions of users.

Microsoft offers a competitive base salary plus bonus, excellent benefits package and stock.


• Must be a strong machine learning researcher/engineer.
• Must be passionate about incubating new ideas, solving problems, and building working systems.
• Must be self-motivated, proven collaborators, good communicators, attentive to details, and keen to learn.
• Practical experience working in a highly performant team in an academic or industrial research environment.
• Must be comfortable adapting to the fast-paced changes in generative AI technology landscape and have a growth mindset.


• Train, adapt or fine tune models destined for edge device inferencing.
• Contribute to the technical design, architecture, development, and evaluation of DNN models.
• Collaborate with engineering and product development teams.
• Contribute to a real-time system involving multiple components.
• Assist in identifying and addressing issues in ML frameworks and associated hardware.
• Mentor junior engineers and contribute to team knowledge-sharing sessions.


• A Ph.D. in Computer Science, Math, Physics, Statistics, or related areas or Candidates with master’s degree with 5+ relevant post-PhD industry experience

Must have experience in the following:
• Minimum 3 years of experience in deep learning with familiarity with LLMs like BERT, GPT-3, Llama or VLMs like Vision Transformer, CLIP, Florence
• Experience training foundation models, data collection and model distillation into smaller models.
• Experience with Parameter-Efficient Fine-Tuning methods for foundational models
• Strong demonstrable experience with multimodal foundation models
• Strong programming skills to operationalize research ideas (Python and/or C++) or a record of publishing at top-tier conferences or journals (ICLR, ACL, ICML, CVPR, ICCV, ECCV, NeurIPS, TPAMI, etc.)
• Experience with ML frameworks like Pytorch or Tensorflow
• Experience with ML inference frameworks such as ONNX Runtime or CoreML

Additional or Preferred Qualifications:
• Experience with distributed training libraries like DeepSpeed.
• Awareness or desire to learn about model compression and quantization techniques
• Experience in creating APIs, SDKs and software packages for third parties.
• Experience running large data collection exercises.

Microsoft is an equal opportunity employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to age, ancestry, color, family or medical care leave, gender identity or expression, genetic information, marital status, medical condition, national origin, physical or mental disability, political affiliation, protected veteran status, race, religion, sex (including pregnancy), sexual orientation, or any other characteristic protected by applicable laws, regulations and ordinances. If you need assistance and/or a reasonable accommodation due to a disability during the application or the recruiting process, please send a request via the Accommodation request form.

Benefits/perks listed below may vary depending on the nature of your employment with Microsoft and the country where you work.

Company benefits

Wellbeing allowance
Health insurance
Dental coverage
Gym membership
Mental health platform access
Buy or sell annual leave
Shared parental leave
Matched pension contribution
Charity donation scheme
Employee assistance programme
Employee discounts
Volunteer days
Fertility treatment leave
Open to compressed hours
Open to job sharing
Fertility benefits
Enhanced sick pay
Enhanced sick days
Compassionate leave
Travel insurance
20 days annual leave + bank holidays
Enhanced maternity leave
Enhanced paternity leave
Adoption leave
Childcare credits
Carer’s leave
Cycle to work scheme
Faith rooms
Annual bonus
Annual pay rises
Company car
Open to part-time employees
Pregnancy loss leave
Life insurance
Equity packages
Financial coaching
Relocation packages
Employees are very happy with their working location freedom
Employees are very happy with the flexibility in the hours they work
Employees are largely happy with the benefits their company offers
Work-life balance
Employees feel that they can switch off quite easily from work
Role modelling
Employees feel that most people work flexibly
Employees feel that they can mostly manage how they get their own work done

Working at Microsoft UK

Company employees

Globally: 220,000

Gender diversity (male:female)


Office locations

London, Reading, Cambridge, Romsey, Manchester, Edinburgh

Hiring Countries

United Kingdom

Awards & Achievements

Most flexible companies

Most flexible companies

Flexa100 2024

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