Postdoctoral Research Associate in Mechatronics

Updated: 3 months ago
Location: Durham, ENGLAND
Job Type: FullTime
Deadline: 15 Nov 2022

Department of Computer Science

Grade 7: - £35,333 to £42,155 per annum
Fixed Term - Full Time
Contract Duration: 36 months
Contracted Hours per Week: 35
Closing Date: 15-Nov-2022, 7:59:00 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

Computer Science at Durham is a UK Top 10 Department (Complete University Guide 2023). We are committed to high-quality teaching and research, and the Department increased excellence in all research areas since the last research assessment exercise, moving six places up the ranking to the 20th position for REF 2021. We are proud of our emphasis on equality, diversity and inclusion and are working hard to make our department the no.1 University in the UK for women to study Computer Science.

The Role

As the world’s most successful pollinators, bees play a huge part in every aspect of the ecosystem. Any decline in bee populations could pose a threat to global agriculture. In this context, the EU-funded RoboRoyale project is developing and combining micro-robotic, biological and machine learning technologies into a system that can support the well-being of the honeybee queen, which is responsible for the reproductive success and efficiency of a colony. Specifically, the micro-robotic system will operate around the queen. For instance, this multi-robot system will replace the court bees that are in charge of feeding, grooming and cleaning of the queen as well as the facilitation of pheromone transfer from the queen to the workers.

The successful applicant will be responsible for the mechatronic design, implementation and testing of the robotic system and its appropriate frameworks. This will contain a circuit design, CAD design and modelling, and low-level programming of micro-robots that works inside of honeybees’ hive. You will focus on development of mechatronics for new types of complex bio-hybrid (insect-robot) entities.

We anticipate it will necessitate close working with our European partners. You will not be constrained to using any available hardware and algorithm or approaches, and instead will have a creative approach to problem solving, exploring multiple potential techniques. Ideas will be verified on software systems (e.g. Gazebo, etc) and with real world tests inside of honeybees’ hive, and so, you will be willing to get involved in experimental work for real-world verification with biologists.

The project is an EU-H2020-FET funded collaboration between the University of Durham, Middle East Technical University in Turkey, the University of Graz in Austria, and Czech Technical University in Prague. This role will involve close working with external partners. You will be expected to visit all of these institutions in the course of your work, and will be based in the Department of Computer Science at Durham University.

Responsibilities: 

  • To conduct individual and collaborative research projects under the direction of the Principal Investigator or Grant-holder.
  • To use creativity to design a novel micro-robot with a particular focus on social behaviour of honeybees.
  • 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 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 36 months due to the project’s available funding.

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 January 2023.  

How to Apply

For informal enquiries please contact Dr Farshad Arvin (farshad.arvin@durham.ac.uk ).  All enquiries will be treated in the strictest confidence.

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 a 1-page covering letter which details your experience, strengths and potential in the requirements set out above.

Next Steps  

The assessment for the post will include an interview. Shortlisted candidates will be invited for interview and assessment in November 2022.

The Requirements 

Essential:

Qualifications

  • A good first degree in Computer Science or a related subject.
  • A PhD (or be close to submission) in Mechatronics, Robotics, Electronics, or a related subject.

Experience

  • Experience in conducting high quality academic research in hardware design and control in real-world robotic applications.
  • Strong software development background, especially in low-level microcontrollers.
  • Demonstrated experience of integrating mechanical design into robotic simulation, e.g. Gazebo.
  • Demonstrated ability to write material of a quality commensurate with publication in highly-ranked journals, evidenced by publication record.
  • Demonstrable ability to present research papers at conferences and communicate complex information to specialists and within the wider academic community.

Skills

  • 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.

Desirable:

Experience

  • Experience in programming languages such as C++, Python, MATLAB, etc.
  • Experience of design with CAD software such as Solidworks and Fusion.
  • Experience of working in a multidisciplinary team.

Other

DBS Requirement: Not Applicable.


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