Postdoctoral Research Associate in Quantum Light and Matter

1 day left

Durham, United Kingdom
£33,797 - £40,322
Thursday, 14 January 2021
End of advertisement period
Thursday, 25 February 2021
Academic Discipline
Physical Sciences, Physics & Astronomy
Contract Type
Fixed Term
Full Time

Department of Physics

Grade 7: - £33,797 - £40,322
Fixed Term - Full Time
Contract Duration: 24 months
Contracted Hours per Week: 35
Closing Date: 25-Feb-2021, 7:59:00 AM

The Department

The Department of Physics at Durham University is one of the very best UK Physics departments with an outstanding reputation for excellence in teaching, research and employability of our students. Ranked in the top 10 in REF2014 in terms of grade point average, 96% of Durham Physics research was considered either to be of “internationally excellent quality” or “world leading”.

To create the right platform to advance our research, we have recently invested in physical infrastructure. In 2016, our astronomy groups, the Centre for Advanced Instrumentation, the Centre for Extragalactic Astronomy and the Institute for Computational Cosmology, moved into the new Ogden Centre for Fundamental Physics, designed by the world-renowned Studio Daniel Libeskind. Laboratories for atomic and condensed matter experiments were refurbished to 21st century standard in 2017/18 and the University has recently invested in centralised machine rooms to host our high performance computers.

The Department is committed to research-led and small group teaching. The Complete University Guide ranks Durham's Physics Department in fourth place nationally based on entry standards, student satisfaction, research and graduate prospects.

The Role

Applications are invited for a Postdoctoral Research Associate in Quantum Light and Matter with an emphasis on the experimental investigation of ultracold quantum gases.

The successful candidate will undertake full-time research on quantum degenerate mixtures of Cs and Yb and will play a key role in the experimental study of “Dilute Quantum Fluids Beyond the Mean-Field” as part of a new EPSRC-funded research project led by Professor Simon Cornish. The successful applicant will be expected to have a broad range of knowledge and skills appropriate to the project goals, specifically including some of the following: experience of research using the techniques of laser cooling, optical trapping, evaporative cooling and associated data acquisition and analysis. The successful applicant will be expected to work effectively both independently and as part of a research team. They will be expected to show the initiative, creativity and leadership to assist in the development and planning of the research project at all stages. It is also expected that they will enhance the international contacts of the group through the presentation of work at international conferences and aid in the supervision of graduate students within the group.

This post is considered to be non-independent and will be focused on research on the University’s ‘Research Track’ career path, which provides clearly defined opportunities for progression against defined criteria.


  • To understand and convey material of a specialist or highly technical nature to the team or group of people through presentations and discussions that leads to the presentation of research papers in conferences and publications.
  • To prepare and deliver presentations on research outputs/activities to audiences which may include: research sponsors, academic and non-academic audiences.
  • To publish high quality outputs, including papers for submission to peer reviewed journals and papers for presentation at conferences and workshops under the direction of the Principal Investigator or Grant-holder.
  • To assist with the development of research objectives and proposals.
  • To conduct individual and collaborative research projects under the direction of the Principal Investigator or Grant-holder.
  • To work with the Principal Investigator or Grant-holder and other colleagues in the research group, as appropriate, to identify areas for research, develop new research methods and extend the research portfolio.
  • To deal with problems that may affect the achievement of research objectives and deadlines by discussing 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.
  • To deliver training in research techniques/approaches to peers, visitors and students as appropriate.
  • To be involved in student supervision, as appropriate, and assist with the assessment of the knowledge of students.
  • To contribute to fostering a collegial and respectful working environment which is inclusive and welcoming and where everyone is treated fairly with dignity and respect.
  • To engage in wider citizenship to support the department and wider discipline.
  • To engage in continuing professional development by participation in the undergraduate or postgraduate teaching programmes or by membership of departmental committees, etc. and by attending relevant training and development courses.

This post is fixed term for 24 months duration in the first instance, potentially extendable to the end of the research project on 31/03/2024; the funding for this post is time limited and will end on 31/03/2024.

The post-holder is employed to work on research/a research project which will be led by another colleague. Whilst this means that the post-holder will not be carrying out independent research in his/her own right, the expectation is that they will contribute to the advancement of the project, through the development of their own research ideas/adaptation and development of research protocols.

Successful applicants will, ideally, be in post by 1st December 2020.

The Requirements


  1. Qualifications
    • A good first degree in Physics.
    • A PhD (or be close to submission) in experimental atomic, molecular and optical Physics.
  2. Experience
    • 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 present research papers at national or international conferences and communicate complex information to specialists and within the wider academic community.
    • Experience in optical trapping and evaporative cooling of ultracold atomic gases.
    • Experience of experimental studies of quantum degenerate atomic gases and associated data acquisition/analysis techniques.
  3. Skills
    • Demonstrable ability to work cooperatively as part of a team, including participating in research meetings.
    • Demonstrable ability to produce concise and well-written reports for a range of stakeholders using Latex.
    • Experience in programming using the Python or Matlab programming languages.
    • Ability to work independently on own initiative and to strict deadlines.
    • Excellent interpersonal and communication skills.


  1. Experience
    • Strong publication record in peer-reviewed journals, commensurate with stage of career.
    • A track record of presenting research at conferences, symposia, or meetings, commensurate with stage of career.
    • Demonstrable ability to develop research proposals and designs in collaboration with other academics.
    • Experience of overseeing students with respect to the development of their practical/research skills e.g. acting as a demonstrator; supervising student projects/practicals.
    • Experience in the production of degenerate atomic gases of Yb or Cs.
    • Experience of high-resolution imaging of ultracold atomic gases.
  2. Skills
    • Demonstrable ability to plan and manage independent research

How to Apply

For informal enquiries please contact Professor Simon Cornish, s.l.cornish@durham.ac.uk. All enquiries will be treated in the strictest confidence.

Please Note: Candidates applying via Redeployment are only eligible to apply for a post at the same Grade or lower.

At Durham University, our aim is to create an open and inclusive environment where everyone can reach their full potential and believe our staff should reflect the diversity of the global community in which we work.  We welcome and encourage applications from members of groups who are under-represented in our work force including people with disabilities, women and black, Asian and minority ethnic communities.

We will notify you on the status of your application at various points throughout the selection process, via automated emails from our e-recruitment system.  Please check your spam/junk folder periodically to ensure you receive all emails

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.

What to submit

  1. A CV;
  2. A covering letter which details your experience, strengths and potential in the requirements set out above;

DBS Requirement: Not Applicable.

Similar jobs

Similar jobs