Research Fellow - Physics and Astronomy

3 days left

University of Birmingham
Birmingham, United Kingdom
£30,942.00 - £42,792.00
Apr 03, 2021
Apr 14, 2021
Organization Type
University and College
Full Time
Position Details

School of Physics and Astronomy, College of Engineering and Physical Sciences

Full time starting salary is normally in the range £30,942 to £40,322 with potential progression once in post to £42,792

Grade 7

Full time

Fixed term contract for up to 12 months


Atom interferometry has become a versatile tool for fundamental research and, more recently, has started to move out of the laboratory to be used within quantum sensors in metrology, geophysics, space, civil engineering, oil and minerals exploration, and navigation. The atom interferometry group at the University of Birmingham is focused on the development of sensors for gravity and gravity gradiometry.

One aspect of our work is the development of atom interferometry for operation on small satellites. Within this position, the successful candidate will develop prototype laser systems for atom interferometry on such platforms, before testing these in an atom interferometer payload and an industry developed atom-chip based payload. This will include collaboration with project partners in industry and academia.

The role will be based in the Technology Transfer Centre at Birmingham where transportable cold atom based sensors for gravimetry and gravity gradiometry are being developed, both for ground-based and space applications. The composition of the wider team is diverse, and includes people with a range of skills across physics and engineering. Our work combines precision metrology with innovation, striving for fast-paced development. We are therefore seeking an individual who is driven by application-focussed research with a keen interest in technology development.

Job Description
  • Work within the atom interferometry research group, with a focus on laser system development, and interaction with industry partners
  • Contribute to research outputs
  • Analyse and interpret research findings and results
  • Contribute to generating funding
  • Contribute to licensing or spin out deals with demonstrated commercial success (such as revenues, asset or company sales, IP generated) and/or public understanding of the discipline or similar

Main Duties

The responsibilities may include some but not all of the responsibilities outlined below.
  • Development and testing of laser systems and associated documentation
  • Project reporting and liaison with industry and academic project partners
  • Management of local project team and activities under supervision of project leader
  • Contribute to writing bids for research funding
  • Analyse and interpret data
  • Apply knowledge in a way which develops new intellectual understanding
  • Disseminate research findings for publication, research seminars etc
  • Supervise students on research related work and provide guidance to PhD students where appropriate to the discipline
  • Contribute to developing new models, techniques and methods
  • Undertake management/administration arising from research
  • Contribute to Departmental/School research-related activities and research-related administration
  • Contribute to enterprise, business development and/or public engagement activities of manifest benefit to the College and the University, often under supervision of a project leader
  • Collect research data; this may be through a variety of research methods, such as scientific experimentation, literature reviews, and research interviews *
  • Present research outputs, including drafting academic publications or parts thereof, for example at seminars and as posters *
  • Provide guidance, as required, to support staff and any students who may be assisting with the research *
  • Deal with problems that may affect the achievement of research objectives and deadlines*
  • Promotes equality and values diversity acting as a role model and fostering an inclusive working culture.

* These indicative responsibilities may also be included in a research role at grade 6.

Person Specification
  • First degree in Physics or related discipline and a higher degree in experimental physics or related discipline, or equivalent qualifications
  • Experienced in relevant cold atomic physics techniques, including laser cooling, spectroscopy and related experimental techniques
  • Experienced in atom interferometry and requirements of laser systems for atom interferometry, with experience focused on accelerometry/gravimetry/gradiometry being highly beneficial
  • Experienced in fibre optic systems, with experience of fibre splicing and maintenance of fibre splicing equipment being beneficial
  • Experience of interacting with industry partners, including related project management approaches is beneficial.
  • Experience of working within well-defined systems engineering protocols and review structures is beneficial
  • High-level analytical capability
  • Ability to communicate complex information clearly
  • Adaptable to project management structures, such as conventional and agile project management approaches
  • Fluency in relevant models, techniques or methods and ability to contribute to developing new ones
  • Ability to assess resource requirements and use resources effectively
  • Understanding of and ability to contribute to broader management/administration processes
  • Contribute to the planning and organising of the research programme and/or specific research project
  • Co-ordinate own work with others to avoid conflict or duplication of effort
  • Knowledge of the protected characteristics of the Equality Act 2010, and how to actively ensure in day to day activity in own area that those with protected characteristics are treated equally and fairly

Informal enquiries can be made to Michael Holynski, email:

We value diversity at the University of Birmingham and welcome applications from all sections of the community

Valuing excellence; sustaining investment

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