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Microsoft UK • Cambridge, United Kingdom

Principal Researcher – AI for Code

Employment type:  Full time

3 days/week at home

Fully flexible hours

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Job Description


We are seeking a Principal Researcher with a background in NLP. The successful candidate will have a passion for empowering spreadsheet users in the context of interactions with LLMs. They will join Calc Intelligence, a multidisciplinary research project that focuses on the future of work with data. The project team works closely with others across Microsoft, including RiSE (MSR Redmond), Excel and PROSE. Calc Intelligence’s impact on many millions of customers features in the history of research collaborations with Microsoft Excel, the Microsoft Wall of Fame, and even XKCD.

This is an exceptional opportunity for an experienced researcher and leader in their respective field to drive ambitious research with an established research group, in collaboration with teams across Microsoft and especially with Excel. The successful candidate will also be expected to share research insights with, and provide strategic guidance to, product teams.

Key research challenges that we are currently tackling include, but are not limited to: How can we help users critically think about their data-driven decisions by leveraging AI affordances? How can we generate code that is safe and interpretable for end-users? How can we extract useful tables from long documents? How can we evaluate code-generating systems?

We are looking for candidates who have:

  • A drive for real world impact, demonstrated by a passion to build and release prototypes;
  • Demonstrated track record of project and team leadership, and excellent management skills;
  • Demonstrated track record of influential projects and publications in top-tier machine learning, NLP or other relevant venues (e.g. AAAI, NeurIPS, ICML, ICLR, EMNLP, NAACL, ACL, and comparable);
  • Demonstrated interdisciplinary experience in applied machine learning, natural language processing, and human computer interaction;
  • Experience in model development, finetuning, evaluation, NL 2 Code;
  • A passion for research in the domain of spreadsheets or other data-centric tasks;
  • A passion for innovation and creativity, evidenced by the ability to generate novel ideas, approaches, and solutions;
  • A team player mindset, characterized by effective communication, collaboration, and feedback skills.


  • Lead a collaborative research effort to advance a long-term research agenda with the multidisciplinary Calc Intelligence team, with a focus on empowering end-users in their work with data;
  • Identify gaps and determine which state-of-the-art insights, tools, technologies, or methods to incorporate into research pipelines to ensure quality, scientific rigor, and ethical best practices;
  • Collaborate with other researchers and engineers across the company to amplify the team’s impact;
  • Publish research findings in peer-reviewed journals, conferences, and other relevant venues, and present research results to internal and external stakeholders;
  • Mentor and guide researchers and engineers in their research and development efforts.



  • PhD in Computer Science or a relevant field, or equivalent experience, AND related research experience.
  • A proven track record of research leadership and project management involving multiple stakeholders;
  • An established research program demonstrated by several high-impact journal and/or conference publications or other forms of outstanding impact;
  • A track record of mentoring researchers;
  • Ability to collaborate, communicate effectively, and present research findings.


  • Demonstrable ability to define an ambitious, original research agenda;
  • Experience leading or working in a multidisciplinary team;
  • Keen interest in real-world applications and impact;
  • Experience in solving deep research challenges relating to LLMs in data-centric tasks;
  • Experience presenting to a wide range of diverse audiences.


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.

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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