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Research Assistant/Associate in Complex Materials Mechanics Theory

University of Cambridge - Department of Physics, Cavendish Laboratory - West Cambridge

Location: Cambridge
Salary: £26,243 to £39,609
Hours: Full Time
Contract Type: Fixed-Term/Contract
Placed On: 23rd May 2019
Closes: 24th June 2019
Job Ref: KA19162

Fixed-term: The funds for this post are available up to the 30th September 2021 in the first instance potentially extendable for a further year. It is hoped that the candidate would be in post by 1st October 2019. An earlier start date can be negotiated but no more than 3 months before the mentioned start date.

The Theory of Condensed Matter Group of the Department of Physics, University of Cambridge, invites applications for an EPSRC-funded Postdoctoral Research Assistant/Associate to work on the theory of complex mechanics and geometry of responsive materials.

The Theory of Condensed Matter Group ( in Cambridge has an established track record in statistical mechanics, complex soft matter, and mechanics. The group has a lively range of scientific activities (meetings, journal clubs, internal and external seminars) and has close ties with experimental groups in the Lab.

The role holder will engage in theoretical research related to the groups of Prof. Mark Warner and Dr. John Biggins (Engineering) on shape changing responsive solids for micro actuation and robotics, haptics, microfluidics and related systems.

Our new “metric mechanics” paradigm is patterning the response of liquid crystalline solids to change the effective metric, and hence intrinsic curvature, and (for complete shape control) to change the extrinsic bend.  Strong, stretch actuation arises if metric evolution is impeded. The candidate should have familiarity with theoretical mechanics and (ideally) differential geometry, and with novel materials, for example liquid crystalline solids, hydrogels, and photo-thermally responsive solids.  Some scientific computing experience is highly desirable. Collaboration within the Cavendish and Engineering Department are encouraged. In particular, the post relates to, and derives inspiration from, the parallel experimental programme of Dr JS Biggins of the Engineering Department (micro/bio mechanics, materials).

We value clear communication and presentation of data. The candidate needs to work productively in a team and to manage workload.

Appointment at Research Associate depends on having a PhD in physics, Applied Mathematics, theoretical mechanics, or engineering. We will also consider those who have submitted but not yet received their PhD (in which case appointment is at research assistant and amended to research associate when the PhD is awarded). The research assistant salary (grade 5) falls within the range £26,243 to £30,395. The research associate (grade 7) salary falls within the range £32,236 to £39,609.

To apply online for this vacancy and to view further information about the role, please visit :

Please upload your Curriculum Vitae (CV) including a list of publications in the 'upload' section of the online application. Candidates can also (optionally) upload a brief statement of research interests, past achievements, and suitability for the role. Applicants must provide details of 2 referees whom we can contact. Please submit your application by midnight on the closing date.

For questions about the research topics and environment, please contact Mark Warner (mw141 at or John Biggins (jsb56 at For questions about the application process, please contact the Mott Hub HR Administrator (

Please quote reference KA19162 on your application and in any correspondence about this vacancy.

The University actively supports equality, diversity and inclusion and encourages applications from all sections of society.

The University has a responsibility to ensure that all employees are eligible to live and work in the UK.

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