Research Fellow in Microscale Soft Active Matter

University of Birmingham

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Position type:

Full time


£30,942.00 - £42,792.00

13 Aug 2020
30 Sep 2020

Full details:

Reference number: BIR-200002A5

Position Details

  • School of Mathematics - College of Engineering and Physical Sciences
  • Location: University of Birmingham, Edgbaston, Birmingham UK
  • Full time starting salary is normally in the range £30,942 to £33,119, with potential progression once in post to £42,792.
  • Grade 7
  • Full Time
  • Fixed term for 3 years, with the potential to extend to 4 years



The position is part of the newly-funded Leverhulme Trust Award entitled Shape-Transforming Active Microfluidics. The goal of the project is to model, design, and create new smart microfluidic devices from thermoresponsive polymers via soft 3D printing, using ideas inspired by Origami. You will be strongly encouraged to perform some work outside your main discipline, collaborate with industrial partners, and you will be expected to work with an award-winning Origami artist on public engagement work, exhibiting in galleries and Arts in Sciences festivals.


You will be part of a multidisciplinary team comprising 4 Postdoctoral Researchers and 4 PhD students, and you will be responsible for the co-supervision of one PhD student. There are numerous opportunities for international travel to work with project partners in the US and Europe (once it is again safe to travel), as well as contribute to conferences. You will be encouraged and fully supported to develop your career by attending professional development activities and applying for funding. My group is a welcoming, inclusive, and collaborative environment and we work hard to provide an environment where everyone can feel comfortable and do their best science.


As a theoretician/numericist in the group, you will be developing models for the dynamics of microscale active matter, and multiscale multiphysics problems such as the fluid-structure interaction of thermoresponsive hydrogels that are locally heated. You will employ a range of techniques including singularity methods for Stokes flows, Asymptotic Analysis, hybrid Finite/Boundary Element Methods, and Molecular Dynamics. You will be expected to work closely with your experimentalist colleagues in an iterative manner to both verify your models and suggest design improvements.


Main Duties/Responsibilities

  • Analyse and interpret data

  • Disseminate research findings for publication, research seminars etc.

  • Supervise students on research related work and provide guidance to PhD students.

  • Contribute to developing new models, techniques and methods

  • Develop research objectives and proposals for own or joint research, with assistance of a mentor if required

  • Contribute to writing bids for research funding

  • Undertake management/administration arising from research

  • Contribute to Departmental/School research-related activities and research related administration

  • Collect research data; this may be through a variety of research methods, such as scientific experimentation, literature reviews, and research interviews

  • Present research outputs, including drafting academic publications or parts thereof, for example at seminars and as posters

  • Provide guidance, as required, to support staff and any students who may be assisting with the research

  • Deal with the problems that may affect the achievement of research objectives and deadlines


Person Specification

  • High level analytical capability

  • A PhD (or near completion) in Mathematics, Physics, Engineering, Chemical Engineering or similar relevant discipline

  • Ability to communicate complex information clearly

  • Fluency in relevant models, techniques or methods and ability to contribute to developing new ones

  • Ability to assess resource requirements and use resources effectively

  • Understanding of and ability to contribute to broader management/administration processes

  • Contribute to the planning and organising of the research programme and/or specific research project

  • Co-ordinate own work with others to avoid conflict of duplication of effort

  • Knowledge of the protected characteristics of the Equality Act 2010, and how to actively ensure in day to day activity in own area that those with protected characteristics are treated equally and fairly


Informal enquires to Tom Montenegro-Johnson, email:



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