Postdoctoral Research Associate in Next Generation Wireless / Wired Communications

Updated: about 2 months ago
Location: Durham, ENGLAND

Postdoctoral Research Associate in Next Generation Wireless / Wired Communications (
Job Number:
Department of Engineering
Grade 7: - £37,099 - £39,347 per annum
Fixed Term - Full Time
Contract Duration: 21 months
Contracted Hours per Week: 35
Working Arrangements: This post holder will be full time, but we will consider requests for flexible working arrangements including potential job shares
Closing Date
: 03-Mar-2024, 6:59:00 PM
Disclosure and Barring Service Requirement: Not Applicable. 

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 breath taking 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 Engineering is consistently one of the very best UK engineering departments with an outstanding reputation for excellence in teaching, research and employability of our students.  The Department is ranked 5th in the Complete University Guide 2024, 5th in the Guardian University Guide 2024, and 7th in the Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2023 in the UK for General Engineering.  Ranked in the top six in the UK for overall profile in REF 2021 (with 95% of publications rated as 4* and 3*), this dynamic Department is an excellent place to work.  The strategic vision for the Department includes a growth plan of over 50% over the next five years, with a significant enhancement of the research challenge portfolio and a drive to enrich our undergraduate, postgraduate taught and postgraduate research provision.  It is an exciting time to join this expanding Department and make your mark. 

The Department holds an Athena SWAN Bronze Award, recognising our commitment to diversity in STEM academic and reflecting the supportive and positive environment within the Department. 

This post holder will be responsible to develop next generation wireless/wired communication technologies, including 6G, edge/cloud computing and their applications in critical infrastructures (particularly power grid)  and will be expected to support Prof. Hongjian Sun. The post holder will proactively engage with academic, postdoctoral research and technical support colleagues, as well as students, within and external to the Department, including industry, to ensure that activities are undertaken to an appropriate standard. 

The post holder will be affiliated with The Durham Smart Grid Laboratory. Currently the laboratory has over 20 researchers and is a leading research facility that brings together advanced simulation tools, realistic emulators, and innovative testbeds to revolutionise smart grid research and development. The Laboratory is equipped with an extensive array of resources:

  • Real-Time Digital Simulator (RTDS) for real-time simulation and analysis of power systems enables complex grid interaction studies, validation of protection schemes, and control strategy development.
  • Solar and wind emulators allow for the recreation and examination of various renewable energy generation scenarios, promoting the integration of green energy solutions into power grids.
  • A versatile microgrid testbed provides an ideal environment for modelling, testing, and validating the performance of microgrids, energy management systems, and advanced control algorithms.
  • OPAL-RT, a powerful real-time simulation tool, enhances hardware-in-the-loop testing capabilities and expands the lab's capacity to validate equipment and control algorithms before deployment.
  • Smart meters and smart appliances, such as TVs, fridges, enable researchers to investigate demand-side management strategies, energy efficiency measures, and innovative energy-saving solutions.
  • Specialised AI tools running on high-performance computing systems empower the development and refinement of advanced algorithms for optimal grid management, renewable energy forecasting, and adaptive decision-making. 

The Laboratory is actively involved in multiple research areas, including:

  • Development of advanced energy storage solutions and integration into the smart grid ecosystem.
  • Implementation of machine learning techniques for predictive maintenance and fault detection in power systems.
  • Exploration of vehicle-to-grid (V2G) technologies and their potential impact on grid stability and energy management.
  • Evaluation of wireless communication technologies and cybersecurity measures for secure and reliable smart grid operation.
  • Investigation of advanced demand response programs and their effectiveness in balancing energy supply and demand.
  • Study of peer-to-peer energy trading schemes for enabling efficient renewable energy production and consumption. 

By collaborating with industrial partners, academic institutions, and government organisations, the Smart Grid Laboratory contributes to the development of efficient, reliable, and sustainable power systems worldwide. The cutting-edge technology and dedicated researchers at the facility position the lab at the forefront of smart grid innovation, shaping the future of energy management and making a lasting impact on the global community. 

The Role  

Applications are invited for this Postdoctoral Research Associate post. Funded by UKRI EPSRC, the project “CHEDDAR: Communications Hub For Empowering Distributed ClouD Computing Applications And Research” aims to empower distributed cloud computing applications and develop innovative research ideas to drive research and networking across the UK academic community.  

The successful applicant will be expected to deliver high quality research outputs with publications in journals and leading conferences, prepare and give presentations to wider range of audiences including project partners and other stakeholders of relevant technologies. Detailed responsibilities are given below. 


  • 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 Professor Hongjian Sun.
  • To assist Professor Hongjian Sun with the development of research objectives and proposals. 
  • To conduct individual and collaborative research projects under the direction of Professor Hongjian Sun. 
  • To work with Professor Hongjian Sun and other Co-Investigators 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 Professor Hongjian Sun 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.     
  • To attend conferences, workshops, seminars, summer schools and other dissemination activities for promoting the development of next generation wireless/wired communication technologies, engaging with wider communities, and accelerating the impact of research outputs. 

This post is fixed term for 21 months because the project is time limited 

The post-holder is employed to work on the EPSRC project “Cheddar”. Whilst this means that the post-holder will not be carrying out independent research in his/her own right, the expectation is that he/she will contribute to the advancement of the project, through the development of his/her own research ideas/adaptation and development of research protocols. 

Successful applicant will, ideally, be in post by Monday 3rd March 2024 or as soon as possible.   

The Requirements 

Essential Criteria: 


1.     A good first degree in Electronics Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Math, or Computer Science. 

2.     A PhD (or be close to submission) in Electronics Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Math, or Computer Science or a related subject. 


3.     Experience in conducting high quality academic research.  

4.     Demonstrable ability to write material of a quality commensurate with publication in highly ranked journals. 

5.     Demonstrable ability to present research papers at international conferences and communicate complex information to specialists and within the wider academic community. 

6.     Experience in 5G, 6G, cloud computing, and smart grid. 


7.     Demonstrable ability to work cooperatively as part of a team, including participating in research meetings. 

8.     Ability to work independently on own initiative and to strict deadlines. 

9.     Excellent interpersonal and communication skills.  

Desirable Criteria: 


10.  Strong publication record in peer-reviewed journals, commensurate with stage of career. 

11.  A track record of presenting research at conferences, symposia, or meetings, commensurate with stage of career. 

12.  Demonstrable ability to develop research proposals and designs in collaboration with other academics. 

13.  Experience of overseeing students with respect to the development of their practical/research skills e.g., acting as a demonstrator; supervising student projects/practicals. 

14.  Experience in software programme and simulation, e.g., using Matlab. 


15.  Demonstrable ability to plan and manage independent research.  

How to Apply 

For informal enquiries please contact Prof. Hongjian Sun, [email protected] .  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. 

What to Submit 

All applicants are asked to submit: 

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

2.     Up to 3 representative publications (first page only in PDF format) relevant to the requirements set out above. 

Next Steps 

Shortlisted candidates will be invited to interview and assessment which will take place over Microsoft Teams as quickly as possible.

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