Postdoctoral Research Associate, Department of Engineering

Durham, United Kingdom
£33,797 - £40,322
11 Sep 2020
End of advertisement period
12 Oct 2020
Contract Type
Fixed Term
Full Time

Department of Engineering

Grade 7: - £33,797 - £40,322
Fixed Term - Full Time
Contract Duration: 14 months
Contracted Hours per Week: 35
Closing Date: 12-Oct-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

Durham University is recognised as one of the leading centres of research in Engineering in the world. The Department’s research covers a wide range of topics, which are divided into three Challenge Areas: Future Energy Systems, Advanced Materials, Electronics & Communications and Sustainable Infrastructure.

Our Research Challenges are important because they encourage interdisciplinary research within the Department and national and international cooperation. The scope of the Department's research is expanded even further through participation in cross-faculty Research Institutes. The Institute of Hazard Risk and Resilience (IHRR) is particularly relevant in this context.

The Role

Applications are invited for a Postdoctoral Research Associate (PDRA) in Bayesian Statistics with a particular emphasis on the development of emulators for flood risk models for medium term flood forecasting and early warning. This post is part of the NERC-funded project entitled “Indonesia: Java Flood One” led by Prof. Simon Mathias. The overall objective of the project is to create social and economic benefits by developing a set of medium term flood forecast tools for the urban centres of Jakarta and Bandung on the island of Java in Indonesia. The PDRA will be part of Work Package 6, led by Dr Camila Caiado, to develop the Bayesian emulation framework necessary to support the forecasting tools to be delivered by the project.

The successful applicant will be expected to work closely with internal and external collaborators across work packages.

Responsibilities :

  • 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 work with 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 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 contribute to fostering a collegial and respectful working environment which is inclusive and welcoming and where everyone is treated fairly with dignity and respect.

This post is fixed term for 14 months on a full-time basis. The project is time limited and will end on March 31st, 2022.

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 October 1st, 2020.

Contact details

For informal enquiries please contact Professor Simon Mathias s.a.mathias@durham.ac.uk

Dr Camila Caiado – c.c.d.s.caiado@durham.ac.uk.

All enquiries will be treated in the strictest confidence.

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. 

Next Steps

Shortlisted candidates will be invited for interview.



  • A PhD (or be close to submission) in Mathematics, Statistics or a closely related subject.


  • 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/international conferences and communicate complex information to specialists and within the wider academic community.
  • Experience in Bayesian statistics; more specifically emulation, and uncertainty quantification techniques. 


  • Demonstrable ability to work cooperatively as part of a team, including participating in research meetings.
  • Ability to work independently on own initiative and to strict deadlines.
  • Excellent interpersonal and communication skills.
  • Advanced programming skills in at least one of the following languages: R, Matlab, Python.



  • 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.
  • Experience in applying Bayesian methodology to areas related to Earth Sciences and Geography.
  • Experience in handling large complex simulators.
  • Experience in deploying jobs to clusters such as Condor or high-performance computing environments.


  • Demonstrable ability to plan and manage independent research.

DBS Requirement: Not Applicable.

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