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Research Associate: Astrophysics

Requisition ID:  23241

Newcastle, GB

Contract Type:  Fixed Term
Working Pattern:  Full Time
Posted Date:  10-Nov-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.


Salary: £32,348 to £42,155 per annum


Closing Date: 22 December 2022


The Role


The School of Mathematics, Statistics and Physics (MSP) at Newcastle University is seeking to recruit a Research Associate in extragalactic astrophysics to join an exciting new UKRI-funded research program designed to test the role of supermassive black holes in galaxy evolution through comparison of novel cosmological, hydrodynamic simulations with new multiwavelength observations.


We are seeking to appoint a Research Associate with an interest in performing new hydrodynamic simulations in close collaboration with Dr. Tiago Costa (joining Newcastle University as a NUAcT Fellow in 2023) and Dr. Chris Harrison (who is leading a UKRI Future Leaders Fellowship that will fund this position).


The project will use hydrodynamic simulations to test theoretical models against multi-wavelength astronomical observations in order to establish how Active Galactic Nuclei (AGN) shape galaxy evolution. The holder of this position will perform and analyse  (radiation-)hydrodynamic simulations to generate observationally testable predictions of the influence of AGN on their host galaxy and, in particular, its interstellar medium.


They will also build upon a range of novel, physical models for black hole accretion and active galactic nucleus (AGN) feedback and apply them to a new generation of (radiation-)hydrodynamic simulations of galaxy evolution and will disseminate their work through publications and presentations at scientific meetings.


The post holder will become a member of a flourishing and brand new, dedicated research group at Newcastle, who are working to bridge simulations and observations (including Tiago Costa, Chris Harrison and David Rosario and the group’s research associates and postgraduate students). This group is embedded into wider international collaborations, including a new collaboration with the Kavli Institute for Cosmology, Cambridge. Therefore, the position holder will closely interact with experts in observations as well as theoretical models.


The group is well-connected and inserted within various international collaborations, including JWST Cycle 1 observing programmes, the Quasar Feedback Survey (, the MOONRISE extragalactic survey on MOONS (, SUPER (, and a new collaboration with the Kavli Institute for Cosmology, University of Cambridge.


In addition to project-specific activities, the Research Associate will be encouraged to pursue their own independent research and training. In addition, they may undertake outreach/engagement activities, particularly those designed to increase accessibility and inclusion to science.


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


We are committed to building and maintaining a fair and inclusive working environment and we would be happy to discuss arrangements for flexible and/or blended working.


The position is offered on a fixed term basis either for three years from employment start date, or tenable until the project end date (28th February 2026), whichever is sooner. Starting dates, flexible and/or blended working can be negotiated. Generous funds are available for travel and training.


To apply, please complete the online application and attach a: (1) CV (no page limit), and (2) a covering letter combined with a research statement (max 3 pages). In your covering letter, please outline how you are either working towards, meet or exceed all of the essential requirements for the role holder as outlined below. The research statement should explain how your research experience is suitable for the post and how your research interests will align with those performed in the group.


For all information enquiries, please contact Dr Chris Harrison via email:


For more information about this research programme and different roles, please click here.


For more information about the wider astronomy and astrophysics research group at Newcastle, please click here.


Key Accountabilities

The main duties and responsibilities are as follows:

  • Conduct the data analysis and research along the lines of the programme of the funded project
  • Work successfully in an interdisciplinary research team and wider collaborators to publish world-leading research
  • Present outputs of the research from the research team to scientific and non-scientific audiences, in written and oral form
  • Contribute to the positive culture and general strengths of the research group and the School; for example, through supervision of project students, participation in outreach, leading initiatives to promote Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI), and organising/ participating in research events
  • 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 technical skills in performing, analysing and interpreting simulations, that can be applicable to galaxy evolution physics and 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, software, research tools etc.)
  • Excellent communication skills, including the ability to write creatively for publications, and concisely for communications
  • A track record of presenting research at conferences, symposia, or meetings, commensurate with stage of career


  • Experience working with (magneto-)hydrodynamic codes (e.g., Arepo, RAMSES, PENCIL etc.)


Attributes and Behaviour

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


  • Demonstrable evidence of promoting a positive and healthy research culture (e.g., by actively supporting/mentoring students, supporting initiatives to improve the work environment etc.)


  • PhD awarded in a relevant discipline (or exceptionally equivalent professional experience)
  • 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: 23241