Postdoctoral Research Associate in Computational Diagnostics and Inverse Mechanics

Postdoctoral Research Associate in Computational Diagnostics and Inverse Mechanics 

Job Description


Job Title: Postdoctoral Research Associate in Computational Diagnostics and Inverse Mechanics
Accountable to:

Department of Biosciencesis

Responsible for Durham University
Appointment: -
 £33,797 to £40,322

Location Durham, United Kingdom
Overview of Durham University:

Durham University is one of the world's top universities with strengths across the Arts and Humanities, Sciences and Social Sciences.

The Department of Biosciencesis committed to an ethos of research-led teaching at both BSc and MBiol levels, and was ranked 5th in the UK for Biological Sciences Departments in the Complete University Guide 2018.

The deptartment was also ranked in the top ten UK Biology Departments for research impact in the REF2014. Our basic science underpins applications across each-and-every sector of the bio-economy, including Biotechnology, Ecology and Agritechnology. Research programmes are grouped in the following areas: Molecular Plant Sciences; Biomolecular Interactions; Ecology, Evolution and Environment; and Animal Cells and Systems.

The Department holds an Athena SWAN Bronze award. Athena SWAN is a national initiat ive that recognises the advancement of gender equality, representation and progression. The Department embraces excellence in all of its forms and invites all qualified applicants to apply. We particularly welcome applications from women and black and minority ethnic candidates who are under-represented in the academic sector.

Overview of the project:

A highly motivated researcher is sought for this unique opportunity to develop complementary experimental and computational procedures to evaluate mechanical properties of cell/tissue constructs. This project is supported by Procter & Gamble and is specifically focused on quantifying relationships between the mechanical properties and the biological function of skin cell constructs. There is also strong potential to develop fundamental tools and knowledge in the fields of inverse material characterization and mechanobiology with significant impact to both research areas. The project will be co supervised by Dr Tim Hawkins (Biosciences - Durham University) and Dr John Brigham (Computational Diagnostics and Inverse Mechanics – University of Pittsburgh).

  • 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 1 year duration. Funding is available from Proctor and Gamble for this fixed period only.

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.



  •  A good first degree in a relevant STEM discipline.
  • A PhD (or be close to submission) in a relevant STEM discipline.


  • 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 international conferences and communicate complex information to specialists and within the wider academic community.
  • Expertise in computational mechanics and numerical methods.
  • Experience in coding with one or more software languages (e.g., Python, C++, Fortran, and/or MATLAB).


  • 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.
  • Have a strong work ethic and time management.



  • 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 with pattern recognition and machine learning as well as numerical optimization is highly desirable.
  • Experience of tissue and cellular responses to mechanical stress.
  • Experience in the use of microscopy technologies.

Application Process 

For informal enquiries please contact Dr Tim Hawkins ( or Dr John Brigham (

All enquiries will be treated in the strictest confidence. 

We prefer to receive applications online via the Durham University Vacancies Site. 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.  We are committed to equality: if for any reason you have taken a career break or periods of leave that may have impacted on your career path, such as maternity, adoption or parental leave, you may wish to disclose this in your application.  The selection committee will recognise that this may have reduced the quantity of your research accordingly.

All applicants are asked to submit:

  • A CV and covering letter which details your experience, strengths and potential in the requirements set out in the person specification.
  • A one page statement of your career goals and how this position will help you achieve your goals.

For more information, please visit the webpage here