Research Associate

Job summary

Applications are invited for a full-time researcher based in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Imperial College London to work on the development of in-situ sensors in soil for 18 months, with the possibility of extension. The successful applicant will join the Geotechnics research group as a member of research staff and will conduct research on an UKRI/NSF funded project entitled “Sits NSF-UKRUL Rapid deployment of...

Job listing information

  • Reference ENG01254
  • Date posted 25 March 2020
  • Closing date 3 May 2020

Job description

Job summary

Applications are invited for a full-time researcher based in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Imperial College London to work on the development of in-situ sensors in soil for 18 months, with the possibility of extension. The successful applicant will join the Geotechnics research group as a member of research staff and will conduct research on an UKRI/NSF funded project entitled “Sits NSF-UKRUL Rapid deployment of multi-functional modular sensing systems in the soil”. The work will be conducted under the supervision of Professor Catherine O’Sullivan, in collaboration with Prof. Daniele Dini and Dr Tom Reddyhof (Department of Mechanical Engineering) and Prof. Andrew Holmes (Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering).  The project is a collaboration with researchers from Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, US.  This project therefore presents a good opportunity to develop skills in cross-disciplinary working with a highly international team, comprising academic staff, research staff and PhD students.

This research aims to develop sensors to deploy on a Burrowing Robot with Integrated Sensing System.  The focus will be on use of stress wave propagation and acoustic emissions to assess soil stiffness and strength, as well as the frictional resistance developed at the soil-robot interface.  The researcher will also be involved in the development of an anchoring system to optimize the stress level to which the robot can penetrate.  

This is a fixed term appointment for 18 months, with the possibility of extension, from 1st September 2020. Please note that there is limited flexibility to amend the start date of the post.

Candidates who have not yet been officially awarded their PhD will be appointed as Research Assistant within the salary range £35,477 - £38,566 per annum.

Duties and responsibilities


  • DEM simulations to study the processes that govern stress wave propagation in granular materials considering both active wave propagation and passive acoustic emission.

  • DEM simulations to develop optimal anchoring configurations to enable the robot penetrate to large depths.

  • Collaboration in experiments led by the Dept. of Mechanical Engineering and the Dept. of Electrical and Electronic Engineering to test prototype sensors and relate sensor data to soil properties.

  • Communication and engagement with collaborators within Imperial College and at Georgia Institute of Technology.

  • Dissemination of research findings at conferences, workshops, to industry, and to submit high quality publications to refereed journals.

Essential requirements


  • Experience with discrete element modelling: applicants with experience using the LAMMPS or LIGGGHTS open-source codes are particularly encouraged to apply.

  • Applicants with experience of experimental work involving bender elements, shear plates or other laboratory-scale geophysical techniques are encouraged to apply even if their DEM experience is limited.

  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills are also essential as is a strong ability in engineering mathematics and mechanics.

Further information

For informal enquiries about the post please contact Professor Catherine O’Sullivan at cath.osullivan@imperial.ac.uk.

Our preferred method of application is online via our website. Please click ‘apply’ below or go to https://www.imperial.ac.uk/job-applicants/ and search using reference number ENG01254. 

Further information about the post is available in the job description.

Any queries regarding the application process should be directed to Briony Webb at b.webb@imperial.ac.uk.

For technical issues when applying online please email recruitment@imperial.ac.uk.

Closing Date: 26/04/2020

Documents

About Imperial College London

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Additional information

Please note that job descriptions cannot be exhaustive and the post-holder may be required to undertake other duties, which are broadly in line with the above key responsibilities.

All Imperial employees are expected to follow the 7 principles of Imperial Expectations: 

  • Champion a positive approach to change and opportunity
  • Communicate regularly and effectively within, and across, teams
  • Consider the thoughts and expectations of others
  • Deliver positive outcomes
  • Encourage inclusive participation and eliminate discrimination
  • Develop and grow skills and expertise
  • Work in a planned and managed way 

In addition to the above, employees are required to observe and comply with all College policies and regulations.

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