Research Fellow/Senior Research Fellow in Modeling and Optimisation of Turbulent Flows

Southampton, United Kingdom
£31,406 to £40,927 per annum
Wednesday, 15 September 2021
End of advertisement period
Tuesday, 19 October 2021
Contract Type
Fixed Term
Full Time

Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering

Location:  Boldrewood Campus
Salary:   £31,406 to £40,927 per annum
Full Time Fixed Term for 42 months
Closing Date:  Tuesday 19 October 2021
Interview Date:   To be confirmed
Reference:  1498921DA

There is a research opening for a Research Associate at the post-doctoral level (or a researcher who is close to obtaining their PhD), to work on new optimisation and model order reduction techniques for scale-resolving turbulent flow simulation in the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics at the University of Southampton, UK.

You will join a team of several PhD students working in this area with the principal investigator, Dr Davide Lasagna at the University of Southampton. Additional collaborations that will be developed during the project include Imperial College London, MIT and the University of Reading.

This post is offered on a full-time, fixed term basis for 42 months due to funding expectations. The starting date is flexible, but ideally the project should before the end of 2021.

Project Description

In many applications, knowledge of how time-averaged quantities of a turbulent flow respond to small perturbations of design/control parameters can be useful for, e.g., design optimisation or uncertainty quantification. However, standard methods to compute these sensitivities (such as adjoint analysis) are not applicable to scale-resolving turbulent flow simulations, due to the chaotic nature of turbulence, a phenomenon popularly known as the ’butterfly effect’. However, in a recent breakthrough a robust method has been proposed, based on the Shadowing Theory of dynamical systems. The method holds the potential to transform our approach to addressing fundamental and applied questions in fluid dynamics and in the longer term underpin the next generation of optimisation tools to be used in industrial applications. However, current state-of-the-art numerical implementations of the shadowing method do not scale to high Reynolds number turbulent flows. To break this impasse, this project proposes to combine shadowing methods with recent advances in modal decomposition methods for fluid flows, such as Resolvent Analysis and Spectral Proper Orthogonal Decomposition. The overall aim of this project is to develop new scalable algorithms that can be used in applications of practical interest.

Duties and responsibilities

Your key responsibilities will be to:

  1. Develop new mathematical methods for sensitivity analysis,
  2. Implement computationally efficient numerical methods suitable for large-scale flow simulation and 
  3. Validate the approach by designing novel structured surfaces for wall-bounded flows. 

In addition, you will take part in collaborative work with the project partners, take part in and contribute to the research group's activities, publish new findings in peer-reviewed literature and disseminate results at national and international conferences. There will also be an opportunity to gain experience in teaching and student supervision.


To be successful, you must have a PhD or equivalent professional qualification in Fluid Mechanics, Applied Maths, Computational Sciences or a related subject. In addition, you should demonstrate expertise in developing mathematical/computational methods for analysis, modelling or simulation of fluid flows. It is essential you have good analytical skills. Proficiency in computing and/or numerical simulation of fluid flows is highly desirable. 

Applications for Research Fellow positions will be considered from candidates who are working towards or nearing completion of a relevant PhD qualification. The title of Research Fellow will be applied upon successful completion of the PhD.  Prior to the qualification being awarded, the title of Senior Research Assistant will be given.

Application and Further Information

Please attach to your application a single PDF file including:

  • A cover letter that explains your motivation to work on this research and how you think your profile fits the job description
  • Your CV, including your job history and your academic qualifications
  • A full publication list, with the best (or most relevant to this project) publication clearly highlighted

Should you require any further details on the role, please contact Dr Davide Lasagna -

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion is central to the ethos in the School of Engineering. We particularly encourage women, Black, Asian and minority ethnic, LGBT and disabled applicants to apply for this position. In recognition of our continued commitment to improving equality for women in science we were awarded an Athena SWAN bronze in 2013 and 2016. We give full consideration to applicants that wish to work flexibly including part-time and due consideration will be given to applicants who have taken a career break. The University has a generous maternity policy* 

The University of Southampton is in the top 1% of world universities and in the top 10 of the UK’s research-intensive universities. The University of Southampton is committed to sustainability and being a globally responsible university and has recently been awarded the Platinum EcoAward.  Our vision is to embed the principles of sustainability into all aspects of our individual and collective work, integrating sustainable development into our business planning, policy-making, and professional activities.  This commits all of our staff and students to take responsibility for managing their activities to minimise harm to the environment, whether this through switching off non-essential electrical equipment or using the recycling facilities.

 *subject to qualifying criteria

Application Procedure 

You should submit your completed online application form at The application deadline will be midnight on the closing date stated above. If you need any assistance, please call Hannah Nash (HR Recruitment Team) on +44 (0) 23 8059 4043 or email  Please quote reference 1498921DA on all correspondence.

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