The Horizon 2020-funded Naturvation project at Central European University (CEU) invites applications for a Software Development Coordinator position. Starting from the June 15, 2019, the position is part-time for 17 months, ending on October 31, 2020.
About the Naturvation project:
In the face of global change and growing environmental, economic and social pressures in an increasingly urban world, sustainable development and resilience are more important than ever for cities in Europe and beyond.
The NATURVATION project, funded through the EU's Horizon 2020 program, aims to bring relevant branches of science and expert practitioners together to forge a unique transdisciplinary partnership capable of advancing the use of nature-based solutions in urban environments. The term nature-based solutions (NBS) refers to the sustainable management and purposeful use of nature for tackling socio-environmental challenges (e.g. construction of wetlands for wastewater treatment). NBS are seen to hold significant promise in enabling the urban transition to sustainability and meeting sustainable development goals. They have potential to provide multiple benefits across a range of sustainability challenges facing cities, such as managing flooding, supporting improved health outcomes and increasing resilience in the face of a changing climate, among others.
Central European University is a member of the Naturvation consortium and responsible for a range of tasks, including the development of an extensive database collecting NBS cases across Europe, contributions to the development of an NBS Assessment Framework and case study preparations in various European and overseas cities. The CEU team is also in charge of developing scenario methods that will be used to engage urban stakeholders in a participatory process to envision the systematic integration of NBS into urban spaces and structures.
Duties and responsibilities:
As part of its responsibilities under Naturvation, CEU will be undertaking a scenario exercise to address the potential of NBS to contribute to key urban sustainability goals in different urban contexts. The goal is to understand which combinations of NBS could deliver the most benefits when planning, for example, a new hospital complex, a public park, a community garden, an extensive green roof or green façade. This will be a semi-quantitative process, where participants will choose and characterize a suite of NBS in given urban settings with the help of an open access software tool.
In order to meet the requirements of the project, the Naturvation team at CEU is envisioning a software tool that will (a) help select NBS that fit specific urban development contexts and stakeholder expectations; (b) provide a preliminary estimate of the impacts of the selected NBS; and (c) provide a simple visual representation of the NBS in the given context. In order to address point (a), the use of machine leaning technology is envisioned to help select NBS that are a best match for specific urban settings and structures. The selection of NBS will build on the content of a major database of 1000 urban NBS. In order to address point (b), the software will make use of selected elements of an NBS assessment framework, developed in Naturvation and designed to measure the impacts of NBS on specific urban sustainability priorities. In order to address point (c), the Naturvation team envisions exploring the use of augmented reality (AR) technology. The beta version of the software tool, to be developed by September 2020, will have a simple, intuitive interface and sufficient functionalities so that it can be used in a participatory workshop with urban stakeholders to develop simple NBS scenarios. In order to develop the functionalities under points (a) and (b), CEU will hire a software developer specialized in machine learning. Functionalities related to point (c) will be explored at the proof-of-concept level in consultation with AR specialists.
Considering the conceptual and technological complexity of the task, CEU is hiring a part-time Software Development Coordinator with in-depth technical expertise in the development and integration of functionalities specified above and the management of the process of software development.
Responsibilities of the Software Development Coordinator will include the following:
- Contribute to planning the initial design of the software, in close cooperation with the project team
- Participate in the selection of the programmer, who will execute the development of the machine learning software
- Help define specific technical tasks for and liaise with the machine learning programmer and the Naturvation team
- Assist with the clarification of Naturvation team expectations and their translation into technical solutions related to points (a), (b) and (c) as mentioned above
- Identify potential solutions for visualizing the results (e.g. AR or similar solutions) and help the Naturvation team find and engage a developer who could execute the task
- Regularly interact with and address comments by the Naturvation project team during all stages of the software development process
- Participate in testing pre-beta versions and work with the software developer to implement the necessary adjustments as needed
- Master's degree in software engineering or related field is an advantage
- Demonstrated experience as a programmer
- Demonstrated experience in development of applications that make use of machine learning
- Demonstrated ability to oversee and guide the development of complex software tools that integrate machine learning with other functionalities and require the close collaboration of software developers and clients
- Conversational level of English
- Interest in environmental sustainability or relevant project experience is an advantage
We offer a competitive salary that is commensurate with experience as well as a dynamic and international academic environment. The contract is for 17 months at an average 1 day / week level of intensity. Based on agreement, we can offer an employment or a subcontract.