ML Engineer - Acoustics

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Pivotal is hiring an experienced ML Engineer to join our machine learning team building models to aid the identification of species from passive acoustic monitoring.


Following our €5.6m seed round investment from some of Europe's leading VCs and advocates for a better planet, we are growing our team to support our next stage of growth. We are here to build an institution that changes the way the world collaboratively works on the largest problems our planet is facing, and the only way we can do that is by bringing together a team who is passionate about restoring nature in new and exciting ways.


We collect, among other data types, recordings of birds, bats and frogs which are then processed through an ML pipeline before being passed to ecological experts for final species identification and QA/QC. Tasks include audio segmentation, identifying regions of interest in complex soundscapes, clustering similar sounds and the training of models capable of identifying/classifying species. We also have a team working on similar computer vision pipelines, identifying plants, insects etc. and so an interest in broader ML topics is desirable but not essential.


Role responsibilities

  • Evaluating acoustic algorithms and models suitable for use in our species identification pipelines
  • Creating annotated data sets to train ML models for object detection, clustering and classification tasks
  • Testing and improving methods for annotating spectrographs
  • Developing models and algorithms in Python (pytorch, scikit, numpy, pandas)
  • Deploying components, pipelines and experiments in Azure ML Portal
  • Integrate with data sources (Azure Blob Storage, REST APIs, SQL Databases)
  • Working as part of a small agile team,  integrating ML results into a broader analysis of the state of nature on sites around the world


We're looking for

  • A broad experience in different ML techniques coupled with a love for resolving complex problems and taking a proactive approach to analysing issues and generating solutions
  • An organised, detail orientated and responsive approach to your work with a desire to ‘get things done’
  • Excellent communication skills and a people sensibility which enables you to work with a wide range of internal and external stakeholders across the world to ensure the best possible outcomes
  • A highly analytical and technical mindset with an interest in deploying tech to optimise it to meet our needs
  • A passion for the planet and how technology can support the protection and restoration of the natural world
  • A conscientiousness in your approach to your work that enables you to work independently, or as part of a team, to deliver high quality work on time
  • A default to transparency and trust, ensuring people can debate on best approaches


What we offer you

  • Impact: you will be joining us in the early days of the business giving you plenty of opportunities to contribute to developing an entirely new discipline that will change how value is unlocked from nature
  • Industry competitive compensation and equity in the business
  • Autonomy: we want to build a culture of trust and give you the space to do your best work
  • A fun and diverse team of smart and very driven people
  • A very competitive employee participation program
  • Remote-first company



Location: Remote from UK or EU - you can work from either of these locations, provided you hold eligibility to do so

Start date: March/April

Salary: Negotiable


About us

Pivotal are a team of ecologists and technologists who believe good business must be good for nature. We’re building an economy that puts nature and business in balance by incentivising the restoration of nature at scale.


Economies and societies around the world need our planet’s diverse plant and animal life to create the products and services we take for granted. Protecting and restoring nature is vital to the future of human life as we know it.


For the first time, investment into biodiversity regeneration is being prioritised. Financing is flowing to projects and start-ups that are creating practical, viable solutions. Governments, companies and individuals around the world now need affordable, scalable ways to link biodiversity commitments and actions to real, evidenced outcomes. That’s where we come in.


Our mission is to provide the data people and companies need to invest in positive outcomes for nature. We capture biodiversity data on the ground using a range of technologies. All the data we collect is organised and analysed first with machine learning, then quality-checked by ecosystem experts to provide measured, quality-controlled analytics to show evidence of any biodiversity gains on the ground. We can then link these measured gains to a variety of financial mechanisms – such as sustainability-linked bonds and biodiversity credits – enabling money to flow to those projects and activities that create the most positive change.


We are a remote first diverse team with diverse backgrounds. We expect there will be areas of development so please do apply if you don’t feel that you meet all the criteria. We’re an equal opportunity employer. All applicants will be considered for employment without attention to age, ethnicity, religion or belief, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, family or parental status, national origin, veteran, neurodiversity, disability status or any other basis as protected by applicable law.


Please note: we can only consider applicants that have an established right to work in the UK or EU