Post Doctoral Research Associate in Mathematical Physics

Grade 7: - £33,797 - £40,322
Monday, 18 November 2019
End of advertisement period
Wednesday, 11 December 2019
Contract Type
Fixed Term
Full Time

Durham University is one of the world's top universities with strengths across the Arts and Humanities, Sciences and Social Sciences. We are home to some of the most talented scholars and researchers from around the world who are tackling global issues and making a difference to people's lives.

The University sits in a beautiful historic city where it shares ownership of a UNESCO World Heritage Site with Durham Cathedral, the greatest Romanesque building in Western Europe. A collegiate University, Durham recruits outstanding students from across the world and offers an unmatched wider student experience.

Less than 3 hours north of London, and an hour and a half south of Edinburgh, County Durham is a region steeped in history and natural beauty. The Durham Dales, including the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, are home to breathtaking scenery and attractions. Durham offers an excellent choice of city, suburban and rural residential locations. The University provides a range of benefits including pension and childcare benefits and the University’s Relocation Manager can assist with potential schooling requirements.

Durham University seeks to promote and maintain an inclusive and supportive environment for work and study that assists all members of our University community to reach their full potential. Diversity brings strength and we welcome applications from across the international, national and regional communities that we work with and serve.

The Department

The Department of Mathematical Sciences is one of the UK’s best Mathematics departments with an outstanding reputation in teaching, research and employability of our students. Ranked 7th in terms of grade point average intensity in the Research Excellence Framework 2014, it has an active programme of internationally recognized research in Pure Mathematics, Applied Mathematics, and Statistics and Probability. The research culture is vibrant, with many visitors, seminars, international conferences and workshops. We aim to provide a supportive and friendly environment with a strong sense of community. The Department, which currently has 65 permanent members of staff, is set to expand significantly over the next ten years.

The Department hosts an active group in mathematical and theoretical physics within the Centre for Particle Theory (CPT), whose research areas include quantum field theory, string theory and gravity, cosmology and solitons. There is a wealth of research expertise in relation to the position, including staff members Dr A. Braun, Dr M. Bullimore, Dr S. Cremonesi, Dr M. Del Zotto, Dr D. Dorigoni, Dr I. García-Etxebarria, Prof D. Smith, Dr T. Sulejmanpasic and Dr B. van Rees.

The Department holds an Athena SWAN Bronze award. Athena SWAN is a national initiative that recognises the advancement of gender equality, representation, progression, and success for all in academia. The Department also supports the London Mathematical Society Good Practice Scheme, whose aim is to support mathematics departments to embed equal opportunities for women within their working practices.

Durham University is committed to the Concordat to support the career development of researchers.  For further information please visit the Research Staff web pages on http://www.dur.ac.uk/hr/researchstaff/

The Role

The Department of Mathematical Sciences at Durham University invites applications for a 3-year postdoctoral position, beginning in October 2020.

The successful candidate will work with Dr Michele Del Zotto and other members of the CPT group in contributing to the project MEMO - ERC StG 851931.

Candidates with strong track records in quantum field theory and/or string/M/F theory, as well as related areas of mathematics are encouraged to apply.

Applications are particularly welcome from women and black and minority ethnic candidates, who are under-represented in academic posts in the University.

Relationships and Contacts

The job is a full time Postdoctoral Research Associate to work on an ERC funded project within the CPT group in the Department of Mathematical Sciences. Interaction and exchanges of ideas will take place mainly with the members of this group and occasionally with other members of the Departments of Mathematical Sciences or Physics.


  • To play an active role in the research activity of the CPT group in quantum field theory and/or string theory, working both independently and collaboratively.
  • To understand and convey material of a specialist or highly technical nature through discussions and presentations within the group.
  • To conduct individual and collaborative research projects under the direction of the Principal Investigator or Grant-holder.
  • To present results at seminars and international workshops / conferences.
  • To publish results in international scientific journals and open access electronic archives.
  • To deal with problems that may affect the achievement of research objectives through discussions with the Principal Investigator or Grant-holder and offering creative or innovative solutions.
  • To liaise with research colleagues and make internal and external contacts to develop knowledge and understanding to form relationships for future research collaboration.
  • To plan and manage own research activity, research resources in collaboration with others and contribute to the planning of research projects.

This position is fixed term for 3 years.

The post-holder is employed to work on a research project led by Dr Michele Del Zotto. The expectation is that the post-holder will contribute to the advancement of the project through the development of their own research ideas and the adaptation and development of research protocols.

Successful applicants will, ideally, be in post by 1st October 2020, an earlier starting date could also be considered if necessary.

The Requirements



  1. Qualifications
  • A PhD in Theoretical Physics or Mathematics.


  1. Experience in conducting high quality academic research.
  • Demonstrable ability to write material of a quality commensurate with publication in highly ranked journals.
  • Demonstrable ability to deliver presentations and communicate research ideas both to specialists and within the wider academic community.
  • Demonstrable ability to respond to research developments and to use new research techniques and methods.


  • Ability to present and exchange ideas as part of a research team.
  • Ability to work independently and to deadlines.
  • Ability to use initiative and creativity to identify areas for research.
  • Excellent interpersonal and communication skills.



  • Strong publication record in peer-reviewed journals, commensurate with career stage.
  • Track record of presenting research at international workshops or conferences, commensurate with career stage.
  • Demonstrable ability to develop research proposals in collaboration with other academics.
  1. Skills
  • Demonstrable ability to plan and manage independent research.


How to Apply

For informal enquiries please contact Dr Michele Del Zotto via telephone on +44 191 33 43073 or via email: michele.del-zotto@durham.ac.uk . All enquiries will be treated in the strictest confidence. 

We prefer to receive applications online via the Durham University Vacancies Site. https://www.dur.ac.uk/jobs/. As part of the application process, you should provide details of 3 (preferably academic/research) referees and the details of your current line manager so that we may seek an employment reference.

Applications are particularly welcome from women and black and minority ethnic candidates, who are under-represented in academic posts in the University.

What to Submit

All applicants are asked to submit:

  • A CV and covering letter which details your experience, strengths and potential in the requirements set out above;
  • A personal research statement of at most two pages. 

Next Steps

Short-listed candidates will be interviewed via Skype and we anticipate that the assessment will take place in late December / early January.