Early Stage Researcher

Durham, United Kingdom
28 May 2020
End of advertisement period
11 Jun 2020
Academic Discipline
Physical Sciences, Physics & Astronomy
Contract Type
Fixed Term
Full Time

Department of Physics
Marie Curie: - See advert
Fixed Term - Full Time
Contract Duration: 6 month
Contracted Hours per Week: 35
Closing Date: 11-Jun-2020, 6:59:00 AM

Durham University

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 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”. 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 Department hosts one of the largest research groups in Europe dedicated to particle physics that engages with experiment, the IPPP. The IPPP is housed in a custom-designed building that is part of the Ogden Centre for Fundamental Physics.

The Department of Physics is committed to building and maintaining a diverse and inclusive environment. It is pledged to the Athena SWAN charter, where we hold a silver award, and has the status of IoP Juno Champion. We embrace equality and particularly welcome applications from women, black and minority ethnic candidates, and members of other groups that are under-represented in physics. Durham University provides a range of benefits including pension, flexible and/or part time working hours, shared parental leave policy and childcare provision

The Role

We are seeking applications for an ESR PhD position to start in spring 2020. The successful applicant will be located at Durham University, Department of Physics (UK), and be supervised by Prof. Frank Krauss.

The project is supported through the MCnetITN3 Horizon2020 Marie Curie Initial Training Network, which aims at improving the theoretical description of particle collisions. The aims of MCnetITN3 are to develop the next generation of Monte Carlo event generators; train a new generation of event generator developers and; play a central role in the analysis of LHC data. In addition MCnetITN3 has an ambitious training programme of schools and short-term studentships designed to train our user base in the physics and techniques of event generators. More details about the network’s research and training programmes can be found at http://www.montecarlonet.org.
The EC funding for this position provides for a remuneration starting from £27,125. Actual salary will depend on employer deductions, personal circumstances and the exchange rate applicable to the fellowship. This amount includes an annual living allowance and a mobility allowance (to cover the expenses associated with working in a different country).

Under the terms of the EC funding, which aims to promote mobility within the research community, to be eligible for the post you must not have been resident in the UK for more than a total of 12 months in the past three years.

Allowance eligibility depends on the personal circumstances of the fellow:

Living Allowance: total amount € 44,895.96 per year. This figure is inclusive of the UK country coefficient of 120.3%.

Mobility Allowance: total amount € 7,200 per year.

Family allowance: total amount € 6,000 per year (eligibility depends on supporting evidence that at the time the fellowship starts the fellow is married, in a partnership equivalent to marriage in the country it was formalised or have dependent children).

All payments are made monthly in arrears in Pounds Sterling, including during any secondment periods outside of Durham. The exchange rate used will be the University of Durham’s rate applicable to the ITN project; the exchange rate may be subject to variation throughout the period of the award.

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

This is a full-time position (35 hours per week), fixed-term for 6 months
Eligibility criteria

To satisfy the eligibility requirements set for a ESR funded by Marie Skłodowska-Curie you must be eligible to be appointed as an ESR in the UK - this means:

  • At the time of recruitment, be in the first four years (full-time equivalent) of their research careers and have not yet been awarded a doctoral degree. This is measured from the date when they obtained the degree which would formally entitle them to embark on a doctorate, either in the country in which the degree was obtained or in the U.K., irrespective of whether or not a doctorate is envisaged.
  • At the time of recruitment by the host organisation, must not have resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc.) in the U.K. for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately prior to the reference date. Short stays such as holidays and/or compulsory national service are not taken into account.
  • At the starting time of the position the candidates must have completed the courses that would have allowed them to enrol in a doctorate program either in the country where they are studying or in the U.K.
  • Candidates must be registered for a PhD in experimental or theoretical particle physics where their current research would benefit from a short period of integration into the MCNetITN3 Research Training Network.


  • Perform research in Monte Carlo simulations with the SHERPA general purpose Monte Carlo event generator.
  • Meet the members of the supervisory team on a regular basis.
  • Participate in the activities of the Network as specified in the Grant Agreement and/or required by the node coordinator, including secondments in other network nodes and taking part in the network meetings and in the training activities.
  • Write up the results of the research activity and present research papers and publications at meetings and conferences, as advised by the supervisors.
  • Widen the personal knowledge in the research area and undertake complementary training.
  • Keep records of the activities, such as secondments, visits, leave of absence

The candidate will work to improve the simulation of B meson decays in the Sherpa Monte Carlo event generator. They will identify performance and modeling short-comings and implement improvements in the most relevant places. They will in particular develop methods to improve the modeling of interesting but rare decay modes that typically suffer from small filter efficiencies.

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 July 2020.

The Requirements


  • The successful candidate will have an excellent academic record in physics and related studies
  • A keen interest in pursuing research in particle physics, Monte Carlo simulations and their application to other fields.
  • Demonstrable ability to work independently, and as a member of a research team.
  • The candidate will be undertaking a research project as part of their PhD studies which would be enhanced by the short term studentship in Durham.
  • He/she will play a role in maintaining the Institute as a world-class centre of phenomenology research and be an active member of the H2020 MCNetITN3.
  • Candidate must satisfy the eligibility criteria.
  • Demonstrable research experience in the physics and measurement of B meson decays in the CMS collaboration environment.
  • Demonstrable experience with event generators and their integration in the CMS collaboration software environment.
  • Experience in scientific programming.

How to Apply

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.

DBS Requirement: Not Applicable.