Research Associate

Updated: about 1 year ago
Location: Cardiff, WALES
Deadline: The position may have been removed or expired!


Research Associate


The School of Mathematics invites applications for a 2-year full-time Postdoctoral Research Associate (PDRA) position in Applied Mathematics, starting as soon as possible, but no later than 1 January 2020. This is an Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) funded position attached to the EPSRC grant to Dr Angela Mihai, for the research project entitled “Limit analysis of debonding states in multi-body systems of stochastic hyperelastic material”.

Project Description

The aim of this project is to develop mathematical formulations and devise reliable numerical solution procedures for the debonding analysis of multi-body systems of stochastic hyperelastic material subject to large strain deformations. A central challenge in predicting mechanical responses of many synthetic and natural materials is the lack of quantitative characterisation of the uncertainties inherent in the experimental data and in the mathematical models derived from them. In particular, contact problems with large stresses and strains at adjoining surfaces can be found in many important applications, when creases are formed and self-contact takes place in soft materials, or in material structures where the attachment between cells are sufficiently weak so that cells separate and failure through the appearance of gaps between them occurs. By building on existing deterministic approaches, stochastic elasticity introduces stochastic features into the elasticity theory in order to characterise the variability in the elastic responses of materials. Within this framework, stochastic hyperelastic materials are advanced phenomenological models described by a strain-energy function where the parameters are defined by probability density functions. Specific applications include soft biological materials (e.g., plants, articular cartilages, arterial walls, brain tissue) and engineering structures (e.g., soft actuators, 3D printing composites).

Benefits and Responsibilities

You will acquire a wide range of professional skills, and develop you own expertise in cutting-edge mathematical and numerical techniques needed for the Uncertainty Quantification of Stochastic Elastic Systems. You will be part of a vibrant multidisciplinary research community at Cardiff University. You will publish in high-quality/high-impact scientific journal and conference proceedings, and have funds to travel, network and disseminate research at national and international scientific events.

The School of Mathematics

The Applied and Computational Mathematics group at the Cardiff School of Mathematics has a broad range of research interests, and interacts closely with other research groups within the University, particularly with Engineering and Biological Sciences. The group regularly hosts national and international research visitors and runs a weekly research seminar.

The Candidate

Candidates with research interests in computational solid mechanics, nonlinear elasticity, contact mechanics, applied probability, and related areas are encouraged to apply.

We strongly welcome female applicants and those from an ethnic minority group, as they are under-represented in our School. The School of Mathematics has an Athena SWAN Bronze Award that recognises good employment practice and a commitment to develop the careers of women working in science.  The University is committed to ensuring that we sustain a positive working environment for all staff to flourish and achieve. As part of this commitment, the University has developed a flexible and responsive framework of procedures to support staff in managing their work and personal commitments wherever possible.

The Position

This position is full-time, 35 hours per week, and is fixed-term for 24 months.

Salary: £33,199 – £39,609 per annum (Grade 6)

Application Process

Please include a cover letter, CV (including any publication, preprint or work in progress), and a short research statement showing how you satisfy the selection criteria and contribute to the project.

If you have any questions, please contact Dr Angela Mihai at  or Professor Tim Phillips at

Date advert posted: Wednesday, 22 May 2019

Closing date: Saturday, 22 June 2019

Please be aware that Cardiff University reserves the right to close this vacancy early should sufficient applications be received.

Cardiff University is committed to supporting and promoting equality and diversity and to creating an inclusive working environment. We believe this can be achieved through attracting, developing, and retaining a diverse range of staff from many different backgrounds who have the ambition to create a University which seeks to fulfil our social, cultural and economic obligation to Cardiff, Wales, and the world.  In supporting our employees to achieve a balance between their work and their personal lives, we will also consider proposals for flexible working or job share arrangements.

Job Description

Main Function

To conduct research within Applied and Computational Mathematics and contribute to the overall research performance of the School and University. Specifically, to carry out theoretical and computational investigation leading to methodological advances and application of Uncertainty Quantification in Stochastic Elastic Systems. To publish results in high-quality and high-impact scientific journals and conference proceedings.

Main Duties and Responsibilities


  • To conduct research within Applied Mathematics and contribute to the overall research performance of the School and University by the production of measurable outputs including: publishing in high-quality and high-impact scientific journals and conference proceedings, bidding for funding, and supervision of research students.

  • To carry out investigation in the mathematics, computer algorithms, and application of uncertainty quantification in elastic materials.

  • To develop research objectives and proposals for own or joint research including research funding proposals.

  • To review and synthesise existing research literature within the field.

  • To attend and disseminate research at local, national and international scientific events as required.

  • To undertake administrative tasks associated with the research project, including the planning and organisation of the project and the implementation of procedures required to ensure accurate and timely reporting.

  • To participate in School research activities.

  • To build and create networks both internally and externally to the University, to influence decisions, explore future research requirements, and share research ideas for the benefit of research projects.


  • To engage effectively with industrial, commercial and public sector organisations, professional institutions, other academic institutions etc., regionally and nationally, to raise awareness of the School’s profile, to cultivate strategically valuable alliances, and to pursue opportunities for collaboration across a range of activities. These activities are expected to contribute to the School and the enhancement of its regional and national profile.

  • To undergo personal and professional development that is appropriate to and which will enhance performance.

  • To participate in School activities and to promote the School and its work to the wider University and the outside world.

  • Any other duties not included above, but consistent with the role.

Person Specification

Essential Criteria

Qualifications and Education

  • Postgraduate degree at PhD level in Applied Mathematics or a related subject area, or equivalent.
  • Knowledge, Skills and Experience
  • An established expertise and proven portfolio of research and/or relevant industrial experience within the following research fields:
  • Solid Mechanics;
  • Nonlinear Elasticity;
  • Numerical Analysis.
  • Knowledge of current status of research in specialist field.
  • Proven ability to publish in high-quality/high-impact scientific journals.
  • Knowledge and understanding of competitive research funding to be able to develop applications to funding bodies.
  • Communication and Team Working
  • Proven ability in effective and persuasive communication.
  • Ability to supervise the work of others to focus team efforts and motivate individuals.
  • Other
  • Proven ability to demonstrate creativity, innovation and collaboration within work.
  • Proven ability to work without close supervision.
  • Desirable Criteria
  • Expertise and proven portfolio of research and/or relevant industrial experience within the following research fields:
  • Contact Mechanics;
  • Finite Element Method;
  • Applied Probability.
  • Evidence of ability to participate in and develop both internal and external networks and utilise them to enhance the research activities of the School.
  • Proven ability to adapt to the changing requirements of the Higher Education community.
  • When attaching the supporting statement to your application profile, please ensure that you name it with the vacancy reference number and your name - _yourname_supporting_statement.

    Additional Information

    School of Mathematics
    The School of Mathematics is a research-led School in Cardiff University, one of the UK’s leading universities, with a reputation for internationally excellent research and high quality teaching. In the recent Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014, Cardiff University was ranked 5th in the UK in terms of the grade point average (GPA) of its overall quality profile.

    The School has six main research groups: Applied and Computational Mathematics; GAPT: Geometry, Algebra, Mathematical Physics and Topology; Mathematical Analysis; Mathematics Education; Operational Research; and Statistics. We are an internationally recognised centre of excellence for research in the mathematical sciences. In REF 2014 the School was ranked joint 19th out of 53 submissions with a GPA of 3.08 in the Mathematical Sciences Unit of Assessment. All of the research submitted was rated at least ‘internationally recognised’ with 90% rated as either ‘world leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’. A distinctive feature of the submission was that 100% of our research was rated as ‘outstanding’ or ‘very considerable’ for its impact in terms of its reach and significance. We have provided solutions to contemporary issues such as data security and hospital waiting times.

    The School engages with industry, young people and the wider community to make our innovative research accessible to a wider audience. The School has a long-standing culture of applied research and direct engagement with a wide range of industrial, government and commercial organisations such as the NHS, Hewlett Packard and the Office for National Statistics.
    The School is also part of formal collaborations inside Wales through the Wales Institute for Mathematical and Computational Sciences where Cardiff is the largest partner. More recently GW4, the Great Western 4 brings together the Universities of Bath, Bristol, Cardiff and Exeter.

    The School offers a lively postgraduate environment, with a significant number of postgraduates working in its specialist areas.   Undergraduate students are offered a wide choice of degree programmes, covering an extensive and exciting range of mathematics and its applications. All students join a thriving mathematical community where excellent facilities, tuition of the highest quality, and a friendly supporting environment may be enjoyed.

    More details on the School can be found at

    Job Category

    Academic - Research

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