Research Assistant/Associate in Design of Mechanical Metamaterials

Requisition ID:  26809

Newcastle, GB

Contract Type:  Fixed Term
Working Pattern:  Full Time
Posted Date:  10 May 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: 02 June 2024




The Role         

Following recent success in securing an EPSRC New Investigator Award, we are seeking a Research Associate/Assistant to join the Creative Design Engineering Lab (Cdel) within the School of Engineering of Newcastle University. We are looking for an exceptional individual who has a strong background in structural mechanics and mechanical design, particularly the design, finite element analysis (FEA), and experimental testing of novel mechanical metamaterials. This EPSRC-funded 3-year position will be based in our newly renovated Stephenson Building.


Mechanical metamaterials have been of widespread attraction in recent years as a result of their unusual, but often desirable, mechanical properties. Such properties are, in general, not found in natural materials, but are the results of their engineered internal structures. The vision for this research programme is to systematically utilize the well-established science of crystallography as a paradigm for the design and development of novel architected mechanical metamaterials which outperform existing conventional designs. In particular, this project will focus on zero or negative stiffness (ZNS) metamaterials which manifest single or multiple phases of zero or negative stiffness during their deformation process. Such metamaterials could have desirable structural properties such as reversible deformation to be used for recoverable impact resilience as well as extreme damping properties. The main aim of this project is to develop a robust design methodology for the optimal design and performance evaluation of new ZNS metamaterials. This project could facilitate the discovery of completely new ranges of metamaterials with potential applications in various fields including sports engineering, impact engineering, vibration control, and soft robotics. The project is supported by our industrial partner QinetiQ, as well as the UK Metamaterial Network and the Knowledge Centre for Materials Chemistry.


We are keen to hear from applicants who have a keen interest in the design, simulation, manufacturing, and experimental testing of innovative zero or negative stiffness metamaterials. You should have (or shortly be obtaining) a PhD in mechanical, aerospace, or structural engineering or a closely related field, ideally with experience in analytical, numerical, and experimental mechanics and design. We are particularly interested in hearing from applicants who can demonstrate good organisational skills with the demonstrable experience of working independently and in a team.


This position is full time (37 hours) and fixed term, available with an immediate start date and ending on the 31st March 2027, with a view to extend.


To apply, please complete an online application and upload a CV and letter of application which outlines specific examples of how you can evidence the knowledge, skills and experience of the person specification.


Please contact the project’s Principal Investigator (PI) Dr Pooya Sareh at to discuss this opportunity further.


You will benefit from working with academics and industry experts across the transport sector. We follow the Researcher Development Concordat. We enable all staff to fulfil their research potential regardless of career stage. This commitment secures our thriving research culture and vibrant research environment. Our offer to each individual and their researcher development involves: mentoring, annual research planning discussions, pooled research funding to support career development and research activities, peer review support for the development of research and innovation funding applications.


As an EPSRC funded role, the successful applicant may be eligible for the Endorsed Funder Route of the Global Talent Visa. We can provide an interest free loan scheme to support applicants who need to apply for a visa.  


Key Accountabilities

•    Conduct research in the field of mechanical metamaterials, including all negative-index mechanical metamaterials (e.g. auxetics), with particular focus on zero- or negative-stiffness metamaterials
•    Securing all resources necessary to undertake research
•    Managing research work and the efficient use of resources
•    Manage various research activities simultaneously
•    Ensuring project plans are completed and reviewed
•    Monitoring project progress and delivering results within given schedules
•    Providing regular research project performance update reports to the management

Knowledge, Skills and Experience 

•    Extensive experience in mechanical design, computer-aided design (CAD), and parametric modelling

•    Knowledge in testing, collection of large data, and data interpretation
•    Ability to work in collaboration with a multi-disciplinary team
•    Must have several years of work experience either in academia or in industry
•    Experience in using Finite Element Analysis tools and related software
•    Experience in using manufacturing facilities (e.g. 3D printing and laser cutting) machines and mechanical testing (e.g. Instron machine)
•    Experience in conducting mathematical and numerical optimisation studies
•    Demonstrable understanding of mechanical metamaterials and their potential applications in engineering and robotics
•    The ability to build prototypes and experiment on systems and structures
•    Experience of, or exposure to article publications in high-profile journals
•    Experience of, or exposure to the dissemination of research outputs to a range of audiences in a variety of formats and settings (e.g. peers, students, public; journal papers, conferences, and web material)


•    Good understanding of crystal structures and group theory
•    Very good communications, writing and negotiation skills
•    Demonstratable teaching and supervision skills
•    Knowledge in proposal writing

Attributes and Behaviour

•    Good inter-personal skills and the ability to liaise with local and international stakeholders (government, industry, general public) as a representative of the University
•    Experience of, or exposure to presenting and explaining research outputs in different ways to different stakeholders
•    Willingness to travel locally, nationally or internationally at the discretion of the Principal Investigator
•    Ability to work independently, and flexibly as part of multi-disciplinary team
•    Ability to work with a diverse stakeholder group including industry, academia, and other partners
•    Committed to embedding the values of equality and diversity in all aspects of your work
•    Potential for leadership in research and innovation



•    PhD awarded (or nearing completion for Research Assistant) in mechanical, aerospace, or structural engineering or a closely related field for Research Associate
•    Good underpinning engineering honours degree (or equivalent) in a relevant discipline for 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: 26809