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Research Assistant/Associate

Requisition ID:  1181

Newcastle, GB

Contract Type:  Fixed Term
Posted Date:  25-Nov-2019


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.


Salary: £28,331 - £40,322

Closing Date: 10 January 2020


The role

We are advertising an 18 month position for a Research Assistant/Associate who will lead on the development of this computational model integrating data from individual genes to forces through large volumes of soil and visualising the 3D results of our system at multiple scales.

Imagine a column of sand saturated with billions of engineered bacteria cells. As a force is applied to the top of the column, bacteria in the sand detect an increase in pressure. The bacteria respond by synthesising a new biological material to bind the grains together and resist the load. The resulting structure would consist of a material where sand grains are only cemented where the forces through the material require. Our research proposes a proof of concept where the material itself acts as manufacturer and designer, modelling and responding to its environment.

We are currently running a 3 year project, funded by the EPSRC on this research. This follows an initial pilot project, which attracted wide coverage across the scientific and popular media, including Science, The Times and Mail Online. As part of this initial project, we have developed a simple computational model which links gene response with geotechnical behaviour, to show how such a pressure-responsive, biocementation method might behave.

We are looking for creative, highly motivated and adaptable numerical modelling specialist. The appointee will join one of the UKs leading groups on Biotechnology for the Built Environment and work alongside Designers, Engineers and Biologists. 


For more information of the research group and projects see our websites:



The post is full-time and fixed-term for 18 months, beginning as soon as possible after the interviews have been held.

We request the standard application documents (including CV and cover letter) indicating your skills, knowledge and fit to the project.

As part of our commitment to career development for research staff, 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.


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.


Please be advised that due to the minimum salary thresholds imposed by the UKVI, this post may not qualify for University sponsorship under Tier 2 of the points based system.


Key Accountabilities

  • Lead in the development of computational models and visualisations using relevant software (for example MATLAB, Python and Java) based on data from the project.
  • Work closely with biologists and designers to develop the computational model as a project demonstrator.
  • Publish original research in international conferences and journals.
  • Help develop new funding bids and support the growth of the research group.
  • Coordinate multidisciplinary research group activities.


The Person (Essential)

Knowledge, Skills and Experience

  • Substantial experience in computational modelling using relevant software (for example MATLAB, Python and Java).
  • Demonstrable interest in Biology/Microbiology/Biotechnology (desirable)
  • Skills in additional design and visualisation environments especially Computer Aided Design (desirable)

Attributes and Behaviour

  • Communication skills and ability to describe complex concepts to non-experts
  • Good team working ability to work with people across many different fields
  • Flexibility and adaptability to a challenging research environment



  • 2.1 degree (or equivalent) in a relevant Engineering discipline
  • Master in a relevant Engineering discipline
  • PhD in a relevant Engineering discipline (desirable)

Newcastle University is committed to being a fully inclusive Global University which actively recruits, supports and retains staff 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.


Requisition ID: 1181