Research Associate

Updated: about 2 months ago
Location: Cardiff, WALES


Research Associate
School of Mathematics
Cardiff University


Applications are invited for the position of a Postdoctoral Research Associate (PDRA) in the School of Mathematics at Cardiff University to work on the project “Mathematical modelling and smart coatings: fighting the COVID-19 pandemic”.
This is a fixed-term post starting as soon as possible but not later than 1st February 2021 and ending in May 2021 (duration of 5 months). The position is funded by the Welsh Government (Sêr Cymru “Tackling COVID-19” call) through a grant to Dr Katerina Kaouri (Senior Lecturer).  The successful candidate will work with Dr Katerina Kaouri, Prof Ian Griffiths at the University of Oxford and the company Smart Separations Ltd (SSL). Another PDRA and a junior researcher have already been recruited for the project; the new PDRA will be expected to also work closely with them. It is anticipated that all the research will be undertaken via teleworking.

Project Description

The aim of the project is to develop comprehensive mathematical models of the transmission of COVID-19 in indorr spaces, focusing on airborne transmission. The novel modelling framework will involve numerical and analytical solutions of advection–diffusion equations and Computational Fluid Dynamics to model air flow and contaminant transport. The results will enable quick investigations into the effects of air-conditioning, ventilation and masks.  A novel antiviral nano-coating technology has been developed by SSL and it has been shown to destroy a broad range of microorganisms: bacteria, fungi and 99.9% of viruses, including SARS-CoV-2. This antiviral coating can be used to coat most surfaces such as masks and gloves and air filters in air-conditioning units, portable air sanitisers and respirators. In July, SSL launched Gino, a novel personalised air sanitizer coated with their antiviral technology and antiviral stickers; other products are currently being tested. Successful deployment of antiviral coating technologies could significantly reduce transmission, allowing safer return to everyday activities. The models will be used to quantify the reduction in viral transmission when antiviral coatings are applied to locations with a high risk of transmission, such as healthcare locations, schools, universities, nursing homes, supermarkets and on public transport.

Benefits and Responsibilities

You will acquire a wide range of professional skills, and develop you own expertise in cutting-edge mathematical modelling and simulation for understanding transmission of COVID-19 in closed spaces. You will publish in high-quality/high-impact scientific journals and conference proceedings and will be part of a vibrant interdisciplinary team.  Funds will be available for purchasing a laptop and for (online) conference attendance.

The School of Mathematics at Cardiff University

The School of Mathematics is a research-led School at Cardiff University, one of the UK’s leading universities, with a reputation for internationally excellent research and high-quality teaching. In the most recent Research Excellence Framework, REF 2014, Cardiff University was ranked 5th in the UK in terms of the grade point average of its overall quality profile. This project is based in the Applied and Computational Mathematics Group, which encompasses researchers with interests in continuum mechanics, mathematical biology, PDEs and stochastic simulations. The group runs an active programme of seminars and visitors and has strong research links with other research centres in the UK, in Europe and worldwide.


Candidates with research expertise in the mathematical modelling and simulation of Multiphysics problems are encouraged to apply. Applicants should have a record of or potential to produce research that reaches the highest standards of excellence in terms of originality, significance and rigour.

Candidates should have, or be close to completion of, a PhD in Applied Mathematics, Engineering, Physics, Computer Science or other related disciplines.

In their application, candidates should include a CV (including details of all publications, preprints and papers in preparation) and a short statement outlining their previous research activities and a brief statement (couple of paragraphs) on how they would tackle the particular COVID-19 challenge.

The Position

This position is full-time, 35 hours per week, and is fixed-term for 5 months.

Salary range: £33,797 – £40, 322 per annum (Grade 6).  Please note that it is not expected that we will appoint above grade 6.30 currently £33,797 per annum.

The project started on 1st November 2020 and has to end in May 2021.  The post is available as soon as possible and no later than 1st February 2021, at a mutually agreed date.

We particularly welcome applications from females as they are under-represented within Cardiff University in this field.
Informal enquiries may be made by email to Dr Katerina Kaouri at (cc: Prof Ian Griffiths,, and Cath Noble (PA to the Head of School, who can advise about working in the School and Cardiff)

Date advert posted: Friday, 13 November 2020

Closing date: Monday, 30 November 2020

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 Functions

To conduct research within the scope of the research project “Mathematical modelling and smart coatings: fighting the COVID-19 pandemic” funded by the Welsh Government and contribute to the overall research performance of the School and University, carrying out research leading to the publishing of work in high-quality journals. To pursue excellence in research and to inspire others to do the same.

Main Duties and Responsibilities


  • To conduct research within the scope of the research project “Mathematical modelling and smart coatings: fighting the COVID-19 pandemic” funded by the Welsh Government and contribute to the research profile of the School and University by the production of measurable outputs, including publishing in international academic journals.
  • To collaborate with the project research partners at the University of Oxford and Smart Separations Ltd., holding frequent meetings with them.
  • To develop research objectives and proposals for the underlying research topic, including grant applications.
  • To attend and/or present work at conferences and seminars.
  • 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 review and synthesise existing research literature within the field.
  • To participate in School research activities, including participation in the supervision of research students.
  • 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 other academic institutions and learned societies 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 international profile.
  • To undergo appropriate personal and professional development to enhance performance of the role.
  • To participate in School administration and activities which 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

1.   Postgraduate degree at PhD level (or nearing completion / submission) in a related subject area (Applied Mathematics, Engineering, Physics, Computer Science or other related disciplines).

Knowledge, Skills and Experience

2.   An established expertise and proven portfolio of research, or proven academic competence, within the following research fields: (a) mathematical modelling, (b) numerical solutions of Partial Differential Equations

3.   Experience of scientific computing (e.g. MATLAB, COMSOL Multiphysics, CFD software) and experience of computational mathematics.

4.   Knowledge of current research in the specialist field and a wider knowledge of mathematical analysis.

5.   Proven ability to develop original techniques/methods in the specified research area.

6.   Proven ability to publish in high-quality journals.

7.   Knowledge and understanding of competitive research funding to be able to develop applications to funding bodies.

Communication and Team Working

8.   Proven ability to communicate new and complex information effectively, both verbally and in writing, engaging the interest and enthusiasm of the target audience

9.   Ability to work effectively in a team.


10. Ability to travel nationally and internationally (subject to current restrictions from the University related to the COVID-19 pandemic) and deliver high-quality scientific presentations at seminars and conferences.
Desirable Criteria

1.   Knowledge of agent-based modelling and simulations

Additional Information

Additional Information
Applications for the post will be considered from candidates who are working towards or nearing completion of a relevant PhD qualification

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

View or Apply

Similar Positions