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Research Assistant/Associate in Pure Mathematics and Applications to Computing

Requisition ID:  20381

Newcastle, GB

Contract Type:  Fixed Term
Working Pattern:  Full Time
Posted Date:  13-Jun-2022


We are a world class research-intensive university. We deliver teaching and learning of the highest quality. We play a leading role in economic, social and cultural development of the North East of England. Attracting and retaining high-calibre people is fundamental to our continued success.


What’s in it for you? 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.

Newcastle is an inclusive global University community 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.


Newcastle University is committed to being a fully inclusive Global 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 our employees and the communities they represent.  We are proud to be an equal opportunities employer and encourage applications from everybody, regardless of race, sex, ethnicity, religion, nationality, sexual orientation, age, disability, gender identity, marital status/civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, as well as being open to flexible working practices.



Research Assistant: £28,756 to £30,497 per annum

Research Associate: £31,406 to £33,309 per annum


Closing Date: 18 July 2022


The Role


The School of Mathematics, Statistics and Physics (MSP) at Newcastle University is seeking to recruit a Research Assistant/Associate to work on an interdisciplinary programme in Geometric Group Theory and Computing, funded by the Leverhulme Foundation, and led by Dr Andrew Duncan (MSP) in collaboration with investigators Professor Sarah Rees (MSP) and Professor Maciej Koutny (School of Computing).


The underlying idea is to use geometric, topological and language theoretic tools to understand discrete infinite algebraic structures, and study algorithmic problems modelled on them. 

We will develop tools to describe structures given by presentations, building on advances in the theory of groups acting on cubical complexes, of monoids acting on CW-complexes and  on recent work on the theory of step traces (relational structures built from trace monoids) which capture the key behaviour of concurrent processes. These theoretical results will have direct applications to concurrent systems: Petri nets, traces and step traces, which the project team will develop.  


You will work closely with the investigators from Pure Mathematics and from the School of Computing, have an important role in bridging the gaps between these disciplines and nurturing synergies, and have  an integral role in the planning, organisation and direction of the project, while also giving guidance and support to the PhD student on the project.


You will be based in the School of Mathematics, Statistics and Physics which has one of the strongest groups in Geometric Group Theory in the UK, and collaborate with the School of Computing, which is an international centre for research in concurrent processes. There will be many visits from experts in these areas from outside Newcastle and the UK, and opportunities to make research visits to other centers of research. 


In addition to project-specific activities, you will be encouraged to pursue your own independent research and training. Furthermore, you may engage in outreach activities, particularly those designed to increase accessibility and inclusion to science. 


We are committed to building and maintaining a fair and inclusive working environment. We embrace equality and particularly welcome applications from community members that are under-represented in mathematics and computing. If you have demonstrable experience in showing a commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion then please outline this in your application.

The position is offered on a fixed term basis for 36 months from start date. We would be happy to discuss arrangements for flexible and/or blended working. Generous funds are available for travel, training and other support.  Start dates and flexible working are negotiable. 


To apply, please complete the online application and attach a CV and covering letter. In your covering letter, please outline how you are either working towards, meet or exceed all the essential requirements for the role holder as outlined below, and highlight any expertise relevant to the described project.


For all information enquiries, please contact Dr Andrew Duncan:


Key Accountabilities

•    Conduct independent research into the areas outlined in the Leverhulme Foundation project description
•    Work successfully in an interdisciplinary research team and with wider collaborators to publish world-leading research
•    Present outputs of the research from the research to expert mathematics and computing  audiences and to non-scientific audiences, in written and oral form
•    Contribute to the positive culture and general strengths of the pure mathematics research group and of the Schools of MSP and Computing; for example, through supervision of the project student, organising/participating in research events as well as in outreach events;  and by leading initiatives to promote Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI)
•    Any other duties that may be required from time to time, commensurate with the grade of the post


The Person


Knowledge, Skills and Experience 

•    Excellent theoretical and technical ability and skills that can be applied to the aims of the project and the specific aspects of the positions listed under ‘The role’
•    A track record of high quality research outputs related to the goals of the project (e.g., publications,  talks  etc.)
•    Excellent communication skills, including the ability to write research publications, and to effectively communicate results to the scientific community
•    A track record of presenting research at conferences, workshops and other  meetings, commensurate with stage of career

•    Demonstrable ability to develop research proposals in collaboration with other academics
•    Experience in creating and/or delivering activities designed to promote science to the general public and/or to make science more accessible and inclusive

Attributes and Behaviour

•    Ability to work independently using own initiative and to meet deadlines
•    Demonstrable ability to work collaboratively as part of a team, including participating in research meetings and working on joint research projects
•    High level analytical and problem-solving capability
•    Ability to set own research goals, be self-motivated and proactive
•    Commitment to the values of equality, diversity and inclusion in all aspects of your work

•    An interest in the (co-)supervision of undergraduate and/or postgraduate students
•    Demonstrable commitment to promoting a positive and healthy research culture (e.g., by actively supporting/mentoring students, supporting initiatives to improve the work environment etc.) 

•    PhD awarded (or nearing completion) in a relevant discipline 
•    Honours Degree in a relevant discipline


The University holds a silver Athena SWAN award in recognition of our good employment practices for the advancement of gender equality. The University also holds the HR Excellence in Research award for our work to support the career development of our researchers, and is a member of the Euraxess initiative supporting researchers in Europe.


Requisition ID: 20381