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Senior AI/ML Data Scientist, Natural Language Processing (Hybrid)



Software Engineering, Data Science
Kirkland, QC, Canada
Posted on Tuesday, June 4, 2024

Job Description

The Senior AI/ML Data Scientist – Natural Language Processing (NLP) role involves helping to develop and deploy production-grade NLP products for unstructured and semi-structured data from across our company’s research and development pipeline. These models and workflows will help solve real-world problems and contribute to Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning (AI/ML) in therapeutic research and development. Key focus areas will include the scalable deployment of ML and Generative AI approaches (such as Large Language Models, or LLMs) for surfacing insights from proprietary unstructured research data and biomedical literature, as well as developing fit-for-purpose approaches for the likes of text classification, relation extraction, and entity linking. The position is embedded in a cross-disciplinary team of data scientists, bioinformaticians, and engineers that are all focused on using cutting-edge software, AI/ML, and data science techniques to drive drug discovery and development.

You enjoy:

  • Building novel tools that enable the discovery, development, and delivery of new therapeutics to patients in need

  • Understanding real-world challenges and developing automated data solutions for them

  • Opportunities to directly interact with users of your data science, ML, and AI products

  • Evaluating, developing, testing, and deploying new techniques for natural language understanding

  • Freedom to propose projects that interest you and to collaborate cross-functionally on delivery

  • Staying updated on the newest methods in NLP, ML, and generative AI

  • Sharing the approaches you implement and their impact with internal company audiences and externally

You have:

The following are preferred skills and experience, not strict requirements

  • Fluency in Python programming, version control and collaboration with git, environment management (e.g., poetry, conda, docker), standard Python packages (e.g., pandas, numpy, matplotlib), and at least one ML framework (e.g., pytorch, tensorflow, fairseq)

  • Experience with scalable data engineering frameworks such as Apache Spark and orchestration frameworks such as Airflow, and/or experience with semantic search and retrieval frameworks (e.g., development and benchmarking of embedding models and retrieval approaches in the context of Retrieval Augmented Generation, RAG).

  • Experience with ML model deployment and operations (e.g., DevOps, MLOps, LLMOps), including CI/CD workflows and tooling (e.g., Github actions)

  • Experience with standard operations on non-relational (e.g., Elasticsearch/Opensearch, MongoDB, Neptune), relational databases (e.g., PostgreSQL), and vector databases (e.g., pgvector, Elasticsearch dense vectors) and deployment of APIs and web applications (e.g., flask, fastAPI, django, or dash)

  • Working knowledge of statistical learning, such as supervised, unsupervised, and weakly supervised learning, particularly in NLP contexts.

  • Working knowledge of NLP and/or Generative AI libraries (e.g., regular expressions, spacy, langchain), text annotation tools, and/or semantic frameworks (e.g. RDF triplestores, property graphs, ontology management).

  • A demonstrated ability to engage cross-functional teams and stakeholders, including an eagerness to acquire a level of domain knowledge

  • Excellent communication, teamwork, didactic, and leadership skills, including skills for scientific communication (authoring scientific articles and presenting) and guidance and mentorship of junior employees and less experienced collaborators

Minimum Requirements:

  • A PhD in data science, AI/ML/LLM engineering, computer science, semantic engineering or a related discipline OR M.S. with 2 years industry experience OR B.S. with 5 years industry experience focused on NLP, data science, AI/ML/LLM engineering, computer science, semantic engineering or a related discipline

  • 2 years experience with Python, Spark, or related frameworks in AI, machine learning, data science, data engineering, or similar context

  • 1 years experience with Natural Language Processing, Generative AI, or related techniques for machine understanding of natural language (i.e., written text, omics data, or similar).

Additional job details:

The types of datasets we focus on are both internal (e.g., electronic lab notebooks, safety reports, regulatory documents, clinical results) and external (e.g., public literature and Electronic Medical Records). In addition to new tool development, we often consult with some of our 5,000+ stakeholders (scientists, engineers, regulatory liaisons, data scientists, etc.) on their own projects, as well as additional stakeholders from across our multi-national company. We strive to enhance data science, NLP, and AI literacy across these groups. As part of our work, we have opportunities to coauthor presentations, reports, manuscripts, and/or public code releases.


In accordance with Managers' Policy - Job Posting and Employee Placement, all employees subject to this policy are required to have a minimum of twelve (12) months of service in current position prior to applying for open positions.

If you have been offered a separation benefits package, but have not yet reached your separation date and are offered a position within the salary and geographical parameters as set forth in the Summary Plan Description (SPD) of your separationpackage, then you are no longer eligible for your separation benefits package. To discuss in more detail, please contact your HRBP or Talent Acquisition Advisor.

Employees working in roles that the Company determines require routine collaboration with external stakeholders, such as customer-facing commercial, or research-based roles, will be expected to comply not only with Company policy but also with policies established by such external stakeholders (for example, a requirement to be vaccinated against COVID-19 in order to access a facility or meet with stakeholders). Please understand that, as permitted by applicable law, if you have not been vaccinated against COVID-19 and an essential function of your job is to call on external stakeholders who require vaccination to enter their premises or engage in face-to-face meetings, then your employment may pose an undue burden to business operations, in which case you may not be offered employment, or your employment could be terminated. Please also note that, where permitted by applicable law, the Company reserves the right to require COVID-19 vaccinations for positions, such as in Global Employee Health, where the Company determines in its discretion that the nature of the role presents an increased risk of disease transmission.

Current Employees apply HERE

Current Contingent Workers apply HERE

US and Puerto Rico Residents Only:

Our company is committed to inclusion, ensuring that candidates can engage in a hiring process that exhibits their true capabilities. Please click here if you need an accommodation during the application or hiring process.

We are an Equal Opportunity Employer, committed to fostering an inclusive and diverse workplace. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, age, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, protected veteran status, or disability status, or other applicable legally protected characteristics. For more information about personal rights under the U.S. Equal Opportunity Employment laws, visit:

EEOC Know Your Rights

EEOC GINA Supplement​

Pay Transparency Nondiscrimination

We are proud to be a company that embraces the value of bringing diverse, talented, and committed people together. The fastest way to breakthrough innovation is when diverse ideas come together in an inclusive environment. We encourage our colleagues to respectfully challenge one another’s thinking and approach problems collectively.

Learn more about your rights, including under California, Colorado and other US State Acts

U.S. Hybrid Work Model

Effective September 5, 2023, employees in office-based positions in the U.S. will be working a Hybrid work consisting of three total days on-site per week, generally Tuesday, Wednesday and either Monday or Thursday, although the specific days may vary by site or organization, with Friday designated as a remote-working day, unless business critical tasks require an on-site presence. This Hybrid work model does not apply to, and daily in-person attendance is required for, field-based positions; facility-based, manufacturing-based, or research-based positions where the work to be performed is located at a Company site; positions covered by a collective-bargaining agreement (unless the agreement provides for hybrid work); or any other position for which the Company has determined the job requirements cannot be reasonably met working remotely. Please note, this Hybrid work model guidance also does not apply to roles that have been designated as “remote”.

Under New York State, Colorado State, Washington State, and California State law, the Company is required to provide a reasonable estimate of the salary range for this job. Final determinations with respect to salary will take into account a number of factors, which may include, but not be limited to the primary work location and the chosen candidate’s relevant skills, experience, and education.

Expected salary range:

$122,800.00 - $193,300.00

Available benefits include bonus eligibility, long term incentive if applicable, health care and other insurance benefits (for employee and family), retirement benefits, paid holidays, vacation, and sick days. A summary of benefits is listed here.

Search Firm Representatives Please Read Carefully
Merck & Co., Inc., Rahway, NJ, USA, also known as Merck Sharp & Dohme LLC, Rahway, NJ, USA, does not accept unsolicited assistance from search firms for employment opportunities. All CVs / resumes submitted by search firms to any employee at our company without a valid written search agreement in place for this position will be deemed the sole property of our company. No fee will be paid in the event a candidate is hired by our company as a result of an agency referral where no pre-existing agreement is in place. Where agency agreements are in place, introductions are position specific. Please, no phone calls or emails.

Employee Status:




VISA Sponsorship:


Travel Requirements:


Flexible Work Arrangements:



1st - Day

Valid Driving License:


Hazardous Material(s):


Required Skills:

Business Intelligence (BI), Database Design, Data Engineering, Data Modeling, Data Science, Data Visualization, Machine Learning, Project Management, Software Development, Stakeholder Relationship Management

Preferred Skills:

Job Posting End Date:


*A job posting is effective until 11:59:59PM on the day BEFORE the listed job posting end date. Please ensure you apply to a job posting no later than the day BEFORE the job posting end date.

Job Posting End Date:06/24/2024

A job posting is effective until 11:59:59PM on the day BEFORE the listed job posting end date. Please ensure you apply to a job posting no later than the day BEFORE the job posting end date.

Requisition ID:R292116