Postdoctoral Research Associate in in Soft Matter Physics

Edinburgh, UK
Jun 30, 2020
Jul 30, 2020
Contract Type
Full Time
We seek to recruit a postdoctoral research associate (PDRA) in Soft Matter Physics, to work on a European Research Council funded project "'Living' Colloidal Liquid Crystals", which started in 2020, and it aims to design novel systems of mesoscale particles suspended in active nematic fluids.

The project lies at the intersection of active matter, self-assembly and colloidal liquid crystals, requiring substantial computational simulations. The project will improve nematohydrodynamic solvers to study the effects of non-Newtonian complexities and non-conservative self-assembly pathways in nematic colloidal superstructures.

We seek outstanding candidates with experience in one, or several, of the following areas: biological physics, statistical physics, soft matter simulations, dynamics and emergent phenomena of active systems or continuum modeling, morphology and transitions in liquid matter. We welcome candidates with computational and theoretical expertise, or a combination. Ability to assist in establishing the research group within the Institute for Condensed Matter and Complex Systems (ICMCS) will be seen as beneficial.

The PDRA will be supervised primarily by Dr. Tyler Shendruk and is likely to interact broadly within the ICMCS. This post is a Fixed Term appointment of duration limited to 2 years. The nominal start date is August 2020.

Applicants should supply a CV and cover letter. Informal enquiries may be made to Dr. Tyler Shendruk ( As recognized by our Juno Champion and Athena SWAN Silver awards, the School is committed to advancing gender equality and we aim to ensure that our culture and systems support flexible and family-friendly working. We recognise and value diversity across all our staff and students.

This is a full time and fixed term position for 2 years
Salary: £33,797 to £40,322 per annum
Please quote ref: 052460
Closing date: Tuesday 14th July 2020 at 5pm (GMT)

1. Job Details

Job title: Postdoctoral Research Associate in Soft Matter Physics

School/Support Department: Physics & Astronomy

Unit (if applicable): ICMCS

Line manager: Tyler Shendruk

2. Job Purpose

Conducting research in soft matter physics, relating to colloids suspended within passive and active nematic fluids. The research involves computational simulations and theoretical modelling.

3. Main Responsibilities
  • Contributing to high quality, internationally excellent research in soft matter physics. (Approx 60% of time).
  • Preparing written papers; publishing research work in refereed journals and disseminating the results on the worldwide web, at seminars, conferences and other such activities. (Approx 10% of time).
  • Preparing and delivering oral and poster presentations about the research and attending conferences and workshops. (Approx 5% of time).
  • Contributing to departmental/joint research and impact objectives and/or proposals and collaborating with others to ensure that research and/or knowledge exchange projects are delivered effectively and to time. (Approx 5% of time).
  • Engaging in wider learning and career development activities, developing new research and innovation opportunities and external funding. (Approx 10% of time).
  • Supervising of PhD and undergraduate research students (and student projects) in agreement with line manager. (Approx 10% of time).

  • 4. Planning and Organising

    The job involves planning research tasks on a short-term (daily or weekly) basis as well as on a longer-term basis (1-2 years). Organisation of time will be necessary to ensure that the research is performed productively and written up in a timely fashion. Organisation will also be needed to manage co-supervision of undergraduate and PhD students.

    5. Problem Solving

    As with all research projects, technical problems will arise, so creativity and capacity to solve these independently will be necessary.

    6. Decision Making

    The job involves making decisions on future simulations and project direction. Although any decisions will be made in consultation with the line manager, the jobholder would be expected to take an active part in direct research and in co-supervision of undergraduate and PhD students.

    7. Key Contacts/Relationships

    The central contact will be the line manager, Dr. Tyler Shendruk, who will meet the jobholder on a weekly basis to discuss progress and project direction. Regular contact will made with other academics at the University of Edinburgh and in other institutions. Integrating the research group within the ICMCS unit is an important aspect of the role, as is interacting with international collaborators and contacts. Other contacts will be with other postdocs and PhD students in the local research group, with whom the jobholder is expected to work collaboratively and collegiately. The jobholder will also act in a supervisory manner towards undergraduate project students and PhD students, as appropriate.

    8. Knowledge, Skills and Experience Needed for the Job

    The jobholder must have experience in one, or several, of the following areas: biological physics, statistical physics, soft matter simulations, dynamics and emergent phenomena, fluid dynamics or continuum modelling. These might include research on morphology or transitions in soft matter. We welcome candidates with computational and theoretical expertise, or a combination of both. An ability to assist in establishing the research group within the ICMCS unit would be beneficial.
    A PhD in Physics or Mathematical Physics, with relevant postgraduate research and teaching experience.

    9. Dimensions

    The job encompasses research activity, paper writing, oral presentations, and some supervision of research students.

    10. Job Context and any other relevant information

    This position forms part of the project [LC]2, funded by a European Research Council starting grant, awarded to Dr. Tyler Shendruk. The jobholder will play an essential role in establishing this research programme, simultaneously conducting cutting edge research and laying the groundwork for future projects. Furthermore, the jobholder will be expected to contribute to existing projects, as well as develop new project ideas, which are complementary to existing work.

    Application Procedure

    All applicants should apply online by clicking the apply link at the bottom of this page and submitting an up to date CV. The application process is quick and easy to follow, and you will receive email confirmation of safe receipt of your application. The online system allows you to submit a CV and other attachments.

    We anticipate interviews will be held within two weeks of the closing date. You will be notified by email whether you have been shortlisted for interview or not.

    The closing date is 5pm on Tuesday 14th July 2020.

    Right to Work

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    To do so, the University requires to see original documents evidencing right to work in the UK before commencement of employment and this is normally carried out at interview. Details will be provided in any letter of invitation to interview.

    For further information on right to work please visit our right to work website

    In the circumstances where the vacancy does not meet the UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) criteria for sponsorship the successful applicant must have the existing right to work in the UK or individual circumstances which enable permission to work to be obtained.

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  • Conditions of Employment

    Pension Scheme
    This role is grade UE07 and therefore the post holder is automatically included in membership of the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS), subject to the USS membership criteria, unless they indicate that they choose not to join the Scheme.

    For further information please visit our Pensions website .


    The role is grade UE07 and attracts an annual salary of £33,797 to £40,322 for 35 hours each week. Salary is paid monthly by direct transfer to your Bank or Building Society account, normally on the 28th of the month. Salaries for part-time staff are calculated on the full-time scales, pro-rata to the Standard Working Week.

    The University reserves the right to vary the candidate information or make no appointment at all. Neither in part, nor in whole does this information form part of any contract between the University and any individual.
    var links = document.querySelectorAll(".targetLink"), i, j, aTags, string; for(i=0; i Institute for Condensed Matter and Complex Systems (ICMCS) ICMCS deals with the emergent behaviour from many interacting objects. The traditional application of this is to Condensed matter physics (CMP), which is concerned with the study of liquids and solids, and 'viscoelastic' materials (such as polymers and suspensions) with properties in between. In essence, condensed matter physics is about discovering and characterising the behaviour of these materials in the laboratory, and understanding such behaviour in terms of the microscopic constituents (atoms, molecules, colloidal particle, etc.). Experimentally, the determination of structure, and the characterisation of static and dynamic optical, electrical, magnetic, mechanical, high pressure and other properties calls upon a very wide range of tools. To gain conceptual understanding of phenomena uncovered in the laboratory requires the methods of quantum, classical and statistical mechanics, applied both analytically and by computer simulations.

    We have special expertise in extreme conditions physics (high pressures, high magnetic field, low temperature), and in soft matter, unravelling the complex behaviour of suspensions and polymers. Finally, we are now applying the methods and results of CMP to the study of non-equilibrium complex systems. This includes biological systems which are, after all, specialised forms of condensed matter. It also includes evolving and social systems such as ecosystems, economics and linguistics.

    Applications of the Institute's work are very broad, ranging from life on mars, through terrestrial ecosystems, materials for nuclear reactors, antimicrobial drugs, crystallography at extreme conditions, synthesis of superhard materials, liquid crystals, paints, shampoo to tomato ketchup. It is therefore not surprising that more physicists work in CMP than in perhaps any other single sub-discipline of physics.

    Further information can be viewed at
      The School of Physics & Astronomy The School of Physics and Astronomy is in the College of Science & Engineering and comprises the Institute for Particle and Nuclear Physics (IPNP), the Institute for Condensed Matter and Complex Systems (ICMCS) and the Institute for Astronomy (IfA).

    The School has around seventy academic staff, over 100 research staff and around 50 professional services staff.

    In the most recent Research Excellence Framework the School was ranked 2nd of the large Physics departments in UK universities and 4th overall. The submission was a joint exercise with St Andrews University (PHYESTA).

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    The School of Physics and Astronomy holds Athena SWAN Silver and IoP Juno Champion awards, in recognition of our commitment to advance gender equality.   College of Science and Engineering ( ) The College of Science and Engineering (CSE) is one of the largest and highest-ranked science and engineering groupings in the UK. Headed by Professor David Robertson, CSE comprises seven Schools (Biological Sciences, Chemistry, Engineering, GeoSciences, Informatics, Mathematics, and Physics and Astronomy) as well as a national supercomputing centre (the Edinburgh Parallel Computing Centre) and the Bayes Centre for interdisciplinary data science and innovation. We extend beyond the University through many joint activities - for example we host the cross-Scotland DataLab innovation Centre, we are a founding partner in the Scottish Industrial Biotechnology Innovation Centre, and we are a partner in UK-wide collaborations including the Alan Turing Institute and the Rosalind Franklin Institute. Most Schools are located 2 miles south of the city centre at the King's Buildings whilst Informatics, EPCC and Bayes are located in the University's Central Area near George Square. The College has over 3,000 academic and support staff, and educates some 6,000 undergraduates, over 1000 taught postgraduates and more than 2,000 research students. It is in the front rank of UK university science and engineering groupings for research quality and income, and is a key player in many European and international research consortia.

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    In the 2014 REF over 95% of our staff were submitted. Of our seven submissions, four of which were as a joint research school in combination with a strategic research university partner through pooling, 3 were ranked top in the UK and all 7 were in the top 5 in their discipline in the Times Higher Power rankings.
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