Senior/Research Assistant

Job Req ID:  1287
Employee Category:  Research
Department:  ASD Pillar



Job Position – Research Assistant



The Meta Design Lab (MDL) based in  Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD)  is calling for a researcher for an exciting new role.



Project Description


The project called “Shaping Public Adaptive Capacity For Environmental Infectious Diseases” (SPACE). And aims to investigate the important relationship between building/urban-configurations and its influence on health. 


This role will help contribute to a large 3-year project, with a team in SUTD leading work on understanding design features of building and urban typologies and how they relate to environmental infectious diseases, specifically Dengue and COVID transmission.


The SUTD team will collaborate extensively to develop and connect innovative urban analysis data with virus transmission modelling working with both the National University of Singapore’s Saw Swee Hock School Of Public Health, and Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) Paris. As well as considering its links to public health policy collaborating with Nanyang Technological University and Singapore Management University.


Based on existing evidence that building age has a statistically significant influence on residents Dengue transmission. Our project hypothesises that specific building and urban design features are responsible for this transmission. However, which of these has an influence is still yet to be known. This research aims to take an analytical and design focused approach, linking with the collaborators to build predictive models to predict what effects transmission. And then develop these findings into predictive tools and design guides to help future buildings and refurbishments reduce environmental infections disease transmission. Our innovation is to use our experience of computational urban analytics to explore as wide a range as possible of potential factors effecting transmission.


Researcher Description


We seek an individual who is keen to develop their skills across disciplines and build help to build domain links between them. You ideally would be either a building/urban researcher who wants to explore social, demographic, and health issues. Or a statistics/ML/health-related researcher who wants to engage with issues related to urban-design, buildings, and geography.


The project and thus role will develop over four stages. 1/ Researching and liaising with other researchers to identify, understand, and catalogue possible building features related to disease transmission. 2/ Developing a data set using the catalogue that links buildings and areas in the target research sites in Singapore with the features deemed relevant. 3/ Work with the modelling team to explore correlations between the buildings and aggregated heath data. 4/ Disseminate this information by means of engaging data visualisations. And build tools and guides to allow government agencies, policymakers, designers to leverage the findings and plan better informed cities. You will be expected to assist in this process and learn and develop skills to support the team.


As you will work for a team we are looking for strong cabality in some of the below complimentary skills. 2D or 3D spatial data, deign or modelling capability. For example, GIS, CAD, Rhino, Grasshopper, or similar. Having experience with analytics tools ideally Python, SciPy, and Pandas. Even better if you have experience in spatial scripting such as Geopandas or ArcPy. If you are keen on data visualisation this is a major benefit, especially if you have worked with Observable, or D3 before. At the Meta Design Lab we are supportive of anyone who want to explore, implement, and use technologies such as AI, ML, and computer vision to spatial problems, specifically urban analytics and design. We support those with demonstrated use of NN, TensorFlow, PyTorch, OpenCV etc.


The job aims to give a motivated self-starter the research freedom and space to explore new cross disciplinary investigation, supported and guided within a group of domain experts with strong academic and industrial backgrounds. The SUTD environment is that of a start-up university and so well suited to those with initiative both professionally and socially. We are keen to enable novel research including with support for conferences and publications.


The hire will be directly report to Sam Joyce and act as part of the Meta Design Lab who have experience in spatially applied analytics, AI, ML, and image recognition aspects. Working under other researchers in the group on a day-to-day basis. This project has support to capture data from government agencies and for potential wider implementation based on findings. The project also has funding for research trips to Paris working with collaborators.



Domain Background (one or more of)

Statistics, Data-Scientist, Urban Informatics, Urban Planning, Urban Design, Quantitative Research, Computer Science (ML/AI), Population Health, Medical Research.



            Relevant master’s degree or doctorate with majors in one of the above fields.

Alternatively, someone from the Architectural, Planning or Geography background with demonstrable experience in the above domain areas.


Desired Skills  

Experience in applied data processing and analytics on real problems

            Ability to work individually, as well as collaborate in small teams

A project lead and outcome driven approach

            Open to working in an interdisciplinary way

Interest in architecture, urban planning and design in general

Happy to explain and involve non-domain experts their areas of technical expertise


Required Proficiency


Data science and Analytics

Experience building, processing, and cleaning data


Desired Proficiency (some of these are ideal)

Capability in coding TensorFlow, PyTorch or similar ML frameworks

Data Visualisation such as Observable or D3.js

GIS Platforms

            3D modelling  such as:



                        Unity/Unreal Engine

            Web development



Job Details

Initial one or two-year contract, with potential to extend based on fit and performance

            Salary is competitive

            The role is based primarily in SUTD Singapore

Partial remote work is acceptable based on demonstrated performance

            Workstation/laptop and other hardware and software for the role will all be provided



            Health Insurance

            Time for publication

            Funding for international conferences

Flexible hours



            Letter of interest


            Recent publication (if any) or work portfolio (if relevant)

            Links to current online work / GitHub (if relevant)


Application Process

Applications will be made on a first come basis until the position is filled

Based on suitably of applications they will be asked for an interview



For any research or position enquiries and questions please direct to