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Senior Research Associate for Drone Medical Logistics

University of Portsmouth - Faculty of Technology - School of Mathematics and Physics

Location: Portsmouth
Salary: £31,406 to £35,326 per annum
Hours: Full Time
Contract Type: Fixed-Term/Contract
Placed On: 1st October 2021
Closes: 7th November 2021
Job Ref: ZZ007191

Employment type: Fixed-term (until 30 June 2024)

Interview date: 19 November 2021 

Applications are invited for a Senior Research Associate (SRA) position to work on the Future Transport Zone (FTZ) programme, a £28.75 million project funded by the Department for Transport to trial innovative and sustainable ways to move people and freight. 

This is a multidisciplinary project in collaboration with the University of Southampton and Solent Transport, comprising Southampton City Council, Portsmouth City Council, Isle of Wight Council, and Hampshire County Council. The University of Portsmouth will trial drones for medical deliveries for the NHS to move medical supplies between three hospitals in Hampshire - Southampton General Hospital, Queen Alexandra Hospital in Portsmouth and St Mary’s Hospital on the Isle of Wight. Using drones for medical deliveries has the potential to significantly reduce the time it takes to get crucial medical test results for hospital patients, or deliver life saving medicines to remote parts of the country. 

Detailed information about the project: Further Particulars

The SRA will lead on the implementation of a stochastic optimisation-simulation environment for optimising and evaluating multimodal supply chains involving land-to-UAV and UAV-to-land logistics interchanges, and the optimal scheduling of UAVs for deliveries and collections. The optimisation-simulation tool will aid logistics planners understand how multiple freight transport modes involving various land-to-UAV interfaces could be adopted into their existing operations, focussing on the NHS case study. This could include interfaces such as direct-to consignee (including land-and-deliver and in-flight drop), through micro-consolidation points to consignees or through dynamic drop-off points served by sustainable transport modes. 

The researcher will also lead on the simulation and evaluation of the impacts of potential drone-land and land-drone logistics operating scenarios.

Applicants should have a PhD (or equivalent research experience) in Operational Research (OR) and logistics, or a related discipline. Experience is required in applied OR, simulation, freight logistics and desirable in drone logistics; proficiency in computer programming is also required; and the ability to work with academics, local authorities and stakeholders. 

The models and algorithms developed are expected to be of sufficient scientific novelty that they will lead to articles published in leading OR and transport scientific journals. SRA is also expected to disseminate the research findings at project meetings, international conferences, and industrial events. 

They will also support the research activity at the University of Portsmouth, and encourage junior researchers such as PhD students in their research work.

Informal enquiries can be directed to Prof. Djamila Ouelhadj (, mobile: +44 (0)7818453756  

We believe this role may be eligible for sponsorship under the Skilled Worker Route visa. Please read the requirements before applying for this role. If you’re unable to meet the requirements you'll need to confirm details of an alternative visa to work in the UK when applying for this role.

As an equal opportunities employer, we welcome applications from all suitably qualified persons and appointments are made on merit. As we are committed to the principles of the Race Equality Charter Mark, we’d particularly welcome applicants from Black, Asian, or from other ethnic groups.

More about us: Working at Portsmouth 

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