Research Assistant / Research Associate in Secure Electronic Systems

Requisition ID:  26818

Newcastle, GB

Contract Type:  Fixed Term
Working Pattern:  Full Time
Posted Date:  10 Apr 2024



Research Assistant £31,396 to £32,982  per annum

Research Associate £33,966 to £44,263 per annum


Newcastle University is a great place to work, with excellent benefits. We have a generous holiday package; plus the opportunity to buy more, great pension schemes and a number of health and wellbeing initiatives to support you.


Closing Date: 23 April 2024




The Role


This is a new opportunity to join the School of Computing as a Research Assistant/Associate on the Chameleon: Dynamic Device-Unique Confidentiality and Fingerprinting Project, funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC). Chameleon is building the first environmentally-bound platform that preserves code and data confidentiality by design by linking program execution to a platform’s ambient environment. To this end, Chameleon is employing a novel combination of instruction set randomisation (ISR), contextual key generation, and channel creation from shared telecommunication features. 


This project is in collaboration with the Universities of Manchester and Essex.


You will join be responsible for the design, implementation and evaluation of the first generation of Chameleon processors. You will work on a soft-core environmentally-aware CPU design built around the RISC-V instruction set architecture. The platform will initially focus on microcontroller-style targets, e.g. single instruction pipelines, as a proof-of-concept implementation. You will be responsible for addressing the research and development challenges in building such a system.


We are seeking a motivated individual who is consistently meticulous in their approach to research and adept at problem solving. You should be co-operative and capable of producing high-quality research outputs as part of a diverse and interdisciplinary team. You should have excellent interpersonal skills and an aptitude for fostering close working relationships with internal and external stakeholders. You will possess good FPGA development skills (e.g. in Verilog) and microcontroller development experience. A strong grasp of computer architecture concepts and information security will be highly advantageous.


The appointment of successful candidate is subject to security checks conducted by the UK National Security Technology and Innovation Exchange (NSTIx).


For all informal enquiries, please contact Dr Carlton Shepherd


For more information about the School of Computing, please click here


For more information about our research, please click here


This position is available on a full time (37 hours per week), fixed term basis, to start immediately until 31st March 2026. 


To apply, please complete an online application and upload a plain text copy of your CV and covering letter only. In your covering letter, you should evidence how you meet or exceed the essential and desirable requirements for the role. Please note, any other ‘Additional Document’ you upload may not be received by the reviewing panel.


As part of our commitment to career development for research colleagues, the University has developed 3 levels of research role profiles.  These profiles set out firstly the generic competences and responsibilities expected of role holders at each level and secondly the general qualifications and experiences needed for entry at a particular level.


Key Accountabilities

•    Conduct internationally leading research in line with the aims and objectives of the project
•    Work with project colleagues in a cross-institutional team to deliver creative technical solutions culminating in the publication of world-leading research
•    Present outputs from the project in written and oral form to technical and non-technical stakeholders
•    Contribute to the culture and success of the Secure and Resilient Systems (SRS) group and the School of Computing at large


The Person 

Knowledge, Skills and Experience 

•    Development experience using FPGAs and microcontrollers, e.g. commercial, open-source or student projects. Candidates may be requested to provide evidence (e.g. certifications, links to open-source repositories)
•    Skilled in low-level programming, e.g. C/C++, Rust, Assembly. Candidates may be requested to provide evidence
•    Strong verbal and written communication skills
•    Knowledge of applied cryptography
•    Knowledge of CPU design principles
•    Experience of writing and publishing internationally leading research


Attributes and Behaviour

•    Ability to assess/evaluate new concepts and develop original solutions from conception to dissemination
•    Demonstrable interpersonal skills with the ability to liaise with project stakeholders (e.g. other academic institutions, government, and industry) on behalf of the School
•    Professional approach with a commitment to inclusion, ethics, and a strong sense of good scientific conduct
•    An ability to communicate complex scientific information clearly and adapt communication styles to suit the intended audience
•    The ability to work within a diverse team spanning multiple disciplines
•    Willingness to travel locally and internationally, and a readiness to work flexibly by mutual agreement



•    PhD (or close to completion) in Computer Science, Electronic Engineering, Computer Engineering or equivalent professional experience for the position of Research Associate
•    A BSc/BEng/MEng/MSc in Computer Science, Electronic Engineering, Computer Engineering or a related discipline for the position of Research Assistant





Newcastle University is a global University where everyone is treated with dignity and respect.  As a University of Sanctuary, we aim to provide a welcoming place of safety for all, offering opportunities to people fleeing violence and persecution.


We are committed to being a fully inclusive university which actively recruits, supports and retains colleagues from all sectors of society.  We value diversity as well as celebrate, support and thrive on the contributions of all of our employees and the communities they represent.  We are proud to be an equal opportunities employer and encourage applications from individuals who can complement our existing teams, we believe that success is built on having teams whose backgrounds and experiences reflect the diversity of our university and student population.


At Newcastle University we hold a silver Athena Swan award in recognition of our good employment practices for the advancement of gender equality.  We also hold a Race Equality Charter Bronze award in recognition of our work towards tackling race inequality in higher education REC.  We are a Disability Confident employer and will offer an interview to disabled applicants who meet the essential criteria for the role as part of the offer and interview scheme.


In addition, we are a member of the Euraxess initiative supporting researchers in Europe. 

Requisition ID: 26818