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Research Assistant/Associate

Requisition ID:  8301

Newcastle, GB

Contract Type:  Fixed Term
Working Pattern:  Full Time
Posted Date:  16-Jun-2021


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

            Research Associate £30,942 - £35,845 per annum


Closing Date: 18 June 2021



The Role


This is an exciting opportunity to join a growing interdisciplinary research group developing and using advanced in vivo optical instruments to study human vision. This project is funded by a £1M UKRI Future Leaders Fellowship and will support a talented Researcher, full time for 36 months.


The project involves the development of adaptive optics techniques for studying the effects of eye disorders – from retinal degeneration to refractive errors – on vision. This work includes working with an adaptive optics scanning laser ophthalmoscope to extend its capabilities and the design and development of a new adaptive optics system for simulating refractive errors while participants view stimuli. Within the project there is scope to build a system from the ground up, to develop new ideas and techniques for these instruments and for working with the data and images that are collected from them. You will work with the Principal Investigator, Dr Laura Young, on these goals and within these aims you will have flexibility to tailor your work to match your interests and to explore new research objectives. 


This is an interdisciplinary project and you will work with researchers in the life sciences, particularly in vision science. This could provide cross-disciplinary training for a candidate looking to expand their horizons. There will also be opportunities to work with our NHS partner to gain insights into clinical practice and to get involved with outreach activities.


We are seeking a motivated researcher with high level of technical skill and laboratory experience and the ability to work both independently and collaboratively. You will have strong expertise in any combination of: programming (ideally in Python), optical design, instrument development (including interfacing hardware and working with electronics), optical laboratory work (such as alignment and testing), image processing and/or control theory. While a background in adaptive optics is highly desirable, equivalent expertise in other areas of optics, imaging and related technologies would also be transferable.


We are committed to building and supporting an inclusive working environment. We would be happy to discuss arrangements for flexible working. We appoint on merit and as an organisation we are committed to equality, diversity and inclusion. We would welcome applications from groups that are currently underrepresented in physics, engineering and computing.


This is a full time, fixed term post available for the duration of 36 months.


Further information can be obtained by contacting Dr Laura Young (laura.k.young@ncl.ac.uk).



Key Accountabilities


•    You will research and develop adaptive optics instrumentation for studying human vision, including retinal imaging and visual simulation
•    You will work with other members of the team, including mentoring and supervision of postgraduate and undergraduate students, contributing to data collection and analysis
•    You will communicate effectively with colleagues and to the wider research community through conference presentations and journal papers.
•    You may interact with clinical partners and with research participants
•    You may contribute to public engagement activities


The Person (Essential)


Knowledge, Skills and Experience 

•    Experience with optical instrumentation or clear transferable skills
•    Experience working in an optical laboratory, or clearly related experience
•    Excellent skills in programming in Python, C or similar languages
•    An interest in applying your skills in biomedical applications, particularly within the vision sciences (including ophthalmology)
•    High level of analytical and problem-solving capabilities
•    Excellent written and oral English language skills


•    Experience in developing or working with adaptive optics systems
•    Experience in optical design, for example using programmes such as Zemax
•    Experience building and aligning optical systems
•    Experience interfacing hardware using Python or C
•    Previous experience in developing, or advanced use of, retinal imaging technologies, other ophthalmic instruments or similar systems
•    Experience, or willingness to gain experience, working with human participants
•    Experience writing scientific papers and giving conference presentations
•    Interest in public engagement and science communication


Attributes and Behaviour


•    Ability to work independently
•    Motivation to contribute collaboratively to an interdisciplinary research team
•    Ability to communicate research at conferences and in journal publications and to other members of the research team




•    Good honours degree (or equivalent) and have submitted a complete PhD thesis in the related area for Assistant level
•    A PhD in the related area for Associate level






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.


Requisition ID: 8301