Research Associate

Cardiff, Wales
33,199 - 39,609
Nov 03, 2018
Dec 01, 2018
Contract Type
Full Time


Research Associate
Cardiff School of Engineering

Applications are invited from highly motivated researchers for a postdoctoral research position immediately available in the Cardiff University Structural Performance Laboratory working on the design and optimisation of lightweight structures with a focus on nonlinear postbuckling performance. Thin walled structures such as those used in the aerospace sector are prone to instability when subject to compressive loads. Historically therefore, the design of such structures has been based on their critical or initial buckling load. Many of these structures however, have considerable postbuckling reserve of strength with often only a small decrease in stiffness following initial buckling. There is therefore, an increasing interest in utilizing this reserve in order to further optimise these structures and reduce weight. Advances in optimisation techniques and manufacturing technologies such as Additive Layer Manufacturing (AML) and Tow Steering for the manufacture of Variable Angle Tow (VAT) composites provide the potential to design and manufacture more complex materials and structures in order to facilitate this. This post will explore these possibilities to design and manufacture structures with significant postbuckling strength and stiffness.
Candidates must have a strong background in nonlinear mechanics and aerospace structures. The post requires a track record of research in experimental and numerical analysis of lightweight structures, experimental design and techniques (Digital image correlation, thermography, laser vibrometry) and finite element modelling including nonlinear analysis. Good team working and communication skills are essential and should be demonstrated in the application.
We work closely with aerospace industry partners including Airbus, Rolls Royce and NASA. This is an exciting research opportunity with exposure to the international academic environment as well as the engineering industry. The candidate should also be prepared to travel internationally.
Interested candidates are encouraged to visit the Mechanical and Structural Performance Group The role will also liaise closely with the Applied and Computational Mechanics Group, the M2DO Group and the Advanced Manufacturing Group
This post is full-time, available immediately and is fixed term until 1 July 2020, funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council.
Salary: £33,199 - £39,609 per annum (Grade 6)
For informal discussions about the post please contact Professor Carol Featherston at
For informal enquiries about working for Cardiff University please contact David Brown at
Date advert posted: Friday, 2 November 2018

Closing date: Monday, 3 December 2018

Please be aware that Cardiff University reserves the right to close this vacancy early should sufficient applications be received.
The School of Engineering holds an Athena SWAN Bronze Award that recognises good employment practice and a commitment to develop the careers of women working in science. Cardiff University is an equal opportunities employer and positively encourages applications from suitably qualified and eligible candidates regardless of sex, race, disability, age, sexual orientation, gender reassignment, religion or belief, marital status, or pregnancy and maternity. For this vacancy we actively encourage women to apply. We will also consider proposals for flexible working or job share opportunities.

Job Description:

 •To conduct research in the optimisation of lightweight structures for aerospace applications (analytical, numerical and experimental) concentrating on postbuckling behaviour and contribute to the overall research performance of the School and University by the production of measurable outputs including bidding for funding, publishing in national academic journals and conferences, and the recruitment and supervision of postgraduate research students. 
•To develop research objectives and proposals for own or joint research including research funding proposals.
•To attend and or present at conferences/seminars at a national and international level 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 review and synthesise existing research literature within the field.
•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., as guided by the line manager.
•To undergo personal and professional development that is appropriate to and which will enhance performance.
•Any other duties not included above, but consistent with the role.

Additional Information:
IMPORTANT: Evidencing Criteria

Candidates should evidence that they meet ALL of the essential criteria as well as, where relevant, the desirable criteria.
As part of the application process you will be asked to provide this evidence via a supporting statement. Please ensure when submitting this document / attaching it to your application profile you name it with the vacancy reference number, in this instance, 7954BR.

Person Specification:
Essential Criteria

Qualifications and Education

1. Postgraduate degree at PhD level (or nearing completion / submission) in nonlinear mechanics in aerospace structures.

Knowledge, Skills and Experience

2. An established expertise and proven portfolio of research and/or relevant industrial experience within the following research fields: 

i. Structural mechanics of thin-walled structures
ii. Experimental design.
ii. Experimental techniques (Digital image correlation, thermography, laser vibrometry).
iii. Finite element analysis of geometrically nonlinear structures.

3. Knowledge of current status of research in the postbuckling in aerospace structures.
4. Proven ability to publish in international journals and high-impact conferences.
5.  Knowledge and understanding of competitive research funding to be able to develop applications to funding bodies.

Communication and Team Working

6. Proven ability in effective and persuasive communication.
7. Ability to supervise the work of others to focus team efforts and motivate individuals.


8. Proven ability to demonstrate creativity, innovation and team-working within work.
9. Proven ability to work without close supervision.

Desirable Criteria

1. Relevant professional qualification(s) and experience in one or more of the following areas:

i. Additive Manufacturing
ii. Composite manufacturing techniques
iv. Damage modelling and detection
v. Computer programming skills
vi. Multiphysics modelling

2. Evidence of collaborations with industry.
3. Evidence of ability to participate in and develop both internal and external networks and utilise them to enhance the research activities of the School.