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Postdoctoral Research Associate in Quantum Light and Matter

Durham University is looking to appoint a postdoctoral research associate in quantum light and matter

  • Closing soon
  • Closing date: 24 Feb 2021
  • United Kingdom | Durham University
  • Date posted: 22 Jan 2021
  • Job type: Academic: postdoc
  • Discipline: Quantum science & technology 

Job number: 20000600
Department of Physics
Grade 7:  £33,797–£40,322
Contract type: fixed term – full time
Contract duration: 24 months
Contracted hours per week: 35
Closing date: 24 February 2021 at 11.00 p.m. 

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 March 2024; the funding for this post is time limited and will end on 31 March 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 1 April 2021.

Visit this link to apply.

For informal enquiries please contact Professor Simon Cornish, 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. As part of the application process, you should provide details of three (preferably academic/research) referees and the details of your current line manager so that we may seek an employment reference.

What to submit

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

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Durham University

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