Research Computing Support Assistant Manager (QLM & CMP)

Updated: 3 months ago
Location: Durham, ENGLAND

Research Computing Support Assistant Manager (QLM & CMP) (
Job Number:
Department of Physics
Grade 6: - £29,605 - £36,024 per annum
Fixed Term - Full Time
Contract Duration: 2 years
Contracted Hours per Week: 35
Closing Date
: 01-Dec-2023, 6:59:00 PM
Disclosure and Barring Service Requirement: Not Applicable. 

The University      

At Durham University we are proud of our people.  A globally outstanding centre of educational excellence, a collegiate community of extraordinary people, a unique and historic setting – Durham is a university like no other.    

Across the University we have a huge variety of roles and career opportunities, which together make us a large and successful community, which is a key hub of activity within our region and nationally.  Whether you are at the very start, middle or end of your career, there is a role for you. We believe everyone has their own unique skills to offer.    

We would be thrilled if you would consider joining our thriving University.  Further information about the University can be found here

The Role and the Department      

The Department of Physics at Durham University is one of the top UK Physics departments with an outstanding reputation for excellence in teaching, research and employability of our students. Ranked in the top 10 in REF2022 in terms of power, 96% of Durham Physics research was considered either to be of “internationally excellent quality” or “world leading”.

The Department of Physics is committed to building and maintaining a diverse and inclusive environment.  It is pledged to the Athena SWAN charter, where we hold a silver award, and has the status of IoP Juno Champion.  We embrace equality and particularly welcome applications from women, black and minority ethnic candidates, and members of other groups that are under-represented in physics.  Durham University provides a range of benefits including pension, flexible and/or part time working hours, shared parental leave policy and childcare provision.

A Research Computing Support Assistant position is available to support two research groups within the Department of Physics - Quantum Light and Matter (QLM) and Condensed Matter Physics (CMP). CMP research hard and soft condensed matter physics using experimental and theoretical methods. In the QLM group experimental and theoretical techniques are used to study state-of-the art problems in atomic, molecular and optical physics. Each of these groups maintains a diverse computing environment consisting of a mixture of servers, storage devices and custom equipment built to support individual experimental research projects, and the use of high-performance computing.  In addition, there is a variety of end user systems such as desktops, laptops and other mobile devices. 

The post holder will work closely with the computer systems technical managers. They will also have significant interaction with all members of CMP and QLM groups including PhD students, Postdoctoral Research Assistants, Technical and Administrative staff, Experimental Officers and Academics. The post holder is therefore expected to have experience and familiarity with MS Windows and Apple operating system. This should also include a basic understanding of network computing and cyber security essentials. Any experience of programming or scripting knowledge would be beneficial (but is not essential) ideally in Python. 

Working at Durham     

  • A competitive salary is only one part of the many fantastic benefits you will receive if you join the University: you will also receive access to the following fantastic benefits:         
  • 27 Days annual leave per year in addition to 8 public holidays and 4 customary days per year – a total of 39 days per year.  The University closes between Christmas and New Year.
  • No matter how you travel to work, we have you covered.  We have parking across campus, a cycle to work scheme which helps you to buy a bike and discount with local bus and train companies.   
  • Lots of support for health and wellbeing including discounted membership for our state of the art sport and gym facilities and access to a 24-7 Employee Assistance Programme.   
  • On site nursery is available and access to holiday camps for children aged 5-16 throughout the year.
  • Family friendly policies, including maternity and adoption leave, which are among the most generous in the higher education sector (and likely above and beyond many employers).   
  • There is a genuine commitment to developing our colleagues professionally and personally.  There is a comprehensive range of development courses, apprenticeships and access to qualifications and routes to develop your career in the University.  All staff have dedicated annual time to concentrate on their personal development opportunities.    
  • The opportunity to take part in staff volunteering activities to make a difference in the local community.   
  • Discounts are available via our benefits portal including; money off at supermarkets, high street retailers, IT products such as Apple, the cinema and days out at various attractions.    
  • We offer generous pension schemes.       

Durham University is committed to equality, diversity and inclusion

Our collective aim is to create an open and inclusive environment where everyone can reach their full potential and we believe our staff should reflect the diversity of the global community in which we work.       

As a University equality, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) are a key part of the University’s Strategy and a central part of everything we do.  We also live by our values and our Staff Code of Conduct.  At Durham we actively work towards providing an environment where our staff and students can study, work and live in a community which is supportive and inclusive. It’s important to us that all of our colleagues are aligned to both our values and commitment to EDI.      

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.  If you have taken time out of your career, and you feel it relevant, let us know about it in your application.  If you are a candidate with a disability, we are committed to ensuring fair treatment throughout the recruitment process. We will make adjustments to support the interview process wherever it is reasonable to do so and, where successful, reasonable adjustments will be made to support people within their role.    

What you need to demonstrate when you apply/Person Specification  
When you apply it is important that you let us know what skills/experience you have from a similar role and/or what skills/experience you have which would make you right for this role.  Further information about the role and responsibilities is at the end of this job description.  Where a criteria has an asterisk* next to it, it may be given additional weighting when your application is considered.    
Your application should cover the following criteria:  

Essential Criteria


1.     Five GCSE’s at least Grade C or level four (or equivalent) including English Language and Mathematics or a Post-16 qualification or equivalent experience.

2.     Industry or professional knowledge/recognition relevant to the role supported by relevant courses or certification.

3.     Enthusiasm and an ability to work as part of a close-knit team. 

4.     Good interpersonal and communication skills and can work effectively with people at all levels and of different nationalities.

5.     Experience of implementing policies and procedures.  

6.     Technical diagnostic skills.

7.     Extensive knowledge and experience of monitoring own activities and others to ensure health and safety regulations are adhered to.  


8.    Good spoken and written communication skills including the ability to develop effective working relationships, both internally and externally.

9.    Strong digital competence across a range digital devices and apps.

10.  Professional Windows knowledge.

11.  Knowledge and experience with MS Windows and Apple operating system.

12.  An understanding of network computing.

13.  An understanding of cyber security essentials.

14.  Knowledge of hardware/software for end user devices such as desktops, laptops. 

15.  Committed to continuing professional development.

16.  Ability to solve problems and decide on and plan appropriate solutions.

17.  Demonstrable ability to deliver high precision technical skills and the operation of standard and complex scientific, technical and creative equipment.

Desirable Criteria 

18.  Experience with enterprise hardware (such as servers and experimental systems). 

19.  Maintenance of research sections GitHub organisation.

20.  Programming/scripting knowledge (ideally Python). 

21.  Understanding of how to scope systems solutions to meet end-users’ requirements.

22.  Experience or ability to provide advice and guidance to a range of customers and colleagues.  

How to apply      

To progress to the assessment stage, candidates must evidence each of the essential criteria required for the role in the person specification above.  Where there are desirable criteria we would also urge you to provide any relevant evidence.  Please don’t forget to check if there is any weighted criteria (see above).      

While some criteria will be considered at the shortlisting stage, other criteria may be considered later in the assessment process, such as questions at interview.        

Submitting your application       

We prefer to receive applications online.  We will update you about your application at various points during the process, via automated emails from our e-recruitment system. Please check your spam/junk folder periodically to ensure you receive all emails.        

What you are required to submit:   

1.     A CV.

2.     A covering letter or statement which shows examples of how you meet all of the criteria within the Person Specification. 

Contact Details       

If you would like to have a chat or ask any questions about the role, Prof Del Atkinson would be happy to speak to you ([email protected] ).   

Typical Role Requirements  

Service Delivery

·       Show a commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion and the University’s values.

·       Ensure that the University’s procedures and values are always reflected in all aspects of the service and adapt ways of working where this is not evident.

·       Provide specialist advice to support the delivery of high-quality research computing support services across the Department of Physics.

·       Provide support to local users by helping to resolve problems relating to the services you are responsible for as and when they occur.

·       Share technical knowledge and expertise to support other team members.

·       Use your experience and problem-solving skills to investigate and resolve issues relevant to your role and make recommendations based on your findings.

·       Provide guidance and expert knowledge to research computer users with respect to the procurement of research computing capital items, to meet end-user requirements.

·       Collect, organise and record data and information accurately to provide reports.

·       Manage, maintain and monitor designated computing facilities and systems to ensure safety, security and compliance.

·       Undertake the monitoring and updating of risk assessments and safety procedures, providing guidance to research computing users and managers. 

Planning and Organising

·       Plan and organise own workload to deliver the role.

·       Schedule, monitor and deliver research computing equipment implementation and installation works, ensuring a high level of accuracy.

·       Seek stakeholder feedback from staff, students and anyone else that you come across as part of your role to help define needs and requirements and the design and planning of services. 

·       Perform maintenance procedures and tasks and identify risks and their management (including cyber security) and contingency planning for research computing users and managers.

Research Support

·       Be an expert in the use of a range of digital machinery and equipment.

·       Provide high-level technical guidance and advice to solve problems and help shape the delivery of research outcomes.

·       Arrange the maintenance of technical and experimental facilities, teaching and research environments.

·       Setup, demonstrate, instruct and supervise the use and operation of specialist computing equipment.

·       Record, monitor and collate information, analyse patterns and trends as part of teaching and research activities.


·       Develop and improve services by contributing to working groups and sub-committees at departmental and operational service levels.

·       Collaborate with other specialists within the Hub.

·       Explain and demonstrate to others how to carry out tasks and use a range of digital services.

·       Create good working relationships, including internal and external networks which allow you to increase your knowledge and skills, while swapping information with peers.

·       Build relationships with research partners to share good practice, exchange information and work together on joint initiatives.

·       Any other reasonable duties.

Useful links 

If you would like further information, you may find the following will help:

Durham Quantum Light and Matter 

Durham Condensed Matter Physics

Please note that in submitting your application Durham University will be processing your data. We would ask you to consider the relevant University Privacy Statement Privacy Notices - Durham University  which provides information on the collation, storing and use of data.    

When appointing to this role the University must ensure that it meets any applicable immigration requirements, including salary thresholds which are applicable to some visas. 

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