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Research Assistant/Associate

Requisition ID:  5436

Newcastle, GB

Contract Type:  Fixed Term
Working Pattern:  Full Time
Posted Date:  18-Nov-2020


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: Research Assistant: £28,331 - £30,046 per annum, pro rata

            Research Associate: £30,942 - £32,817 per annum, pro rata


Closing Date: 3 January 2021


The Role


This is an exciting opportunity for an enthusiastic Researcher to join the Future Mobility Group (FMG) in the School of Engineering to work on an EU Project ‘SAFETY4RAILS’.  FMG is a merger of TORG (Transport Operations Research Group) and NewRail, both well-established and internationally renowned groups with expertise in road and rail transport systems.  You will be working on the multi-national project which seeks to address combined cyber-physical security threats to rail systems throughout Europe. You will be provided with a great opportunity to work in a consortium of organisations from across Europe, and therefore you will need to travel to EU partner countries for data collection and project meetings. This will provide you with a great opportunity to work with top European companies in the fields of cyber security and software development, as applied to rail transportation systems.


You will be passionate about working in a dedicated, diverse and multidisciplinary team which conducts research in transport technologies including safety and security. You will be an excellent communicator with good interpersonal skills, your research and presentations will enable the group to communicate our findings with local and international stakeholders including academia, government and key industry partners. Knowledge and experience in software development and integration, transportation and data collection & management, will be cardinal in executing your duties.
The post is full time, fixed term basis for 18 months. If preferred, this position is also available on a part time basis for a longer duration OR until the project end date, whichever is soonest. Working hours, contract length and roster to be determined at offer stage. Flexible working requests will be positively considered.


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


For more information about Newcastle University research group NewRail ‘university research, information and training to meet the complex technological and managerial challenges of the rail and transport industry.’ 





For any informal enquiries, please contact Dr Emmanuel Matsika, via email: emmanuel.matsika@newcastle.ac.uk.

Key Accountabilities


  • Accountable to the PI for the delivery of a cyber/physical safety, security risk management and ICT system integration solution with specific focus on rail transportation.
  • Supervise the development team and contribute to the integration of different software tools into a single platform, able to communicate with existing transport ICT systems
  • Identify, categorise and critically analyse different types of safety and security threats to railway critical infrastructure and systems, as well as requirements for railway systems with respect to safety and security issues
  • In collaboration with the wider team, participate in data collection and analyse the identified significant threats (involved in determining the data management tools, and data storage)
  • Review different tools or systems for risk assessment, visualization and communication. This will involve analysis of use cases and subsequent scenarios to identify current and future vulnerabilities and effective risk mitigation strategies or countermeasures
  • Working with the project team, contribute to integration of different safety and security tools into a platform and system that would be developed by the team
  • Contribute to writing of project reports and deliverables
  • Attend and present information on research progress and outcomes at both internal (university) and external (consortium) project meetings
  • Comply with University policies, including financial regulations, equal opportunities policy, Health & Safety policy, promoting race equality policy, information systems security policy, data security, intellectual property rights and safeguarding policies
  • Engage in personal, professional and career development, to enhance both specialist and transferable skills in accordance with desired career trajectory
  • Carry out other duties, commensurate with the grade of the post, as requested by the project


The Person 

Knowledge, Skills and Experience


  • Excellent knowledge and experience in ICT system integration (and microservices)
  • Excellent knowledge and hands-on experience of SW programming (Python, Java, C++, etc.), especially with respect to the amalgamation, integration and debugging of disparate ICT systems
  • Good knowledge and understanding of communication protocols (of transport systems)
  • Knowledge on and understanding of cyber and/or critical infrastructure safety and security (including requirements and specifications for the relevant use cases, threat identification & analysis, vulnerability assessment, risk management and resilience analysis)
  • Good knowledge on and understanding of complex engineering systems that are relevant to transport infrastructures (including mechanical systems and electrical hardware, along with their ICT systems and tools)
  • Knowledge and experience in data management (such as collecting, organising and analysing qualitative and quantitative data, though, e.g. interviews, questionnaires & observations, etc)
  • Good skills in analysis of data in different sizes and formats, through state-of-the-art computing tools (e.g., MATLAB, SPSS, Python, etc.)
  • Excellent skills in communication of science and engineering research and outcomes, both orally and in writing (such as presentations and technical writing)

Attributes and Behaviour


  • Ability to work in a team but also independently. As part of a team, be able to contribute to the development of effective and mutually supportive working relationships and practices
  • Professional approach with a demonstrable commitment to dignity and respect in the workplace
  • Experience of participating in research projects, especially those involving rail technologies
  • Ability to communicate and work with project teams from different EU countries
  • Knowledge of cost benefit analysis
  • Highly developed interpersonal and time management skills
  • Good networking and presentational skills
  • Willing to publish research in quality peer reviewed journals, as lone or co-author
  • Ability and willingness to work outside conventional working hours if required by the opportunities presented by the project
  • Knowledge and experience of Computer Aided Design (CAD)
  • Must be willing to comply with strict General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)




  • Good first degree or postgraduate degree (BSc, BEng, MSc or MEng) in relevant field of engineering (e.g. Software Engineering/Mechatronics Engineering or related engineering degree)
  • A PhD awarded for Associate level (or nearing completion for Assistant level) in a relevant engineering discipline OR the equivalent in professional qualifications and experience in Software Engineering/Mechatronics Engineering or related engineering degree


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.



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.


Requisition ID: 5436