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Research Associate in Computing with Fungi

UWE, Bristol - Unconventional Computing Laboratory

We are seeking a Research Associate to join the Unconventional Computing Laboratory, UWE, Bristol, to participate in the EC H2020 funded project FUNGATERIA: Enlisting synthetic fungal-bacterial consortia to produce multicellular mycelium-based engineered living materials (ELMs) with computational capability.

Fungateria addresses a development gap in mycelium-based ELMs by developing a portfolio of ELMs that are composed of a synthetic co-cultivation consortium of a filamentous fungus and a bacterial strain. Sensing and adaptive growth of the fungal hyphae are exploited to develop an autonomous bottom-up and scalable manufacturing technology called Growth Composing that enables an engineered morphogenesis of mycelium materials using robotically controlled spray nozzles that generate local air, gas or aerosol flows steering hyphal growth.

In addition, bioprinting is used to deposit inocula of the engineered bacterial strain in specific patterns and at specific times throughout the production process. Various ELM products are developed, ranging from consumer goods to applications in the environmental and construction sector, which become active through environmental cues of light, temperature and chemical attractants. To this end, synthetic biology engineering will be implemented to use the bacterial strain as a chassis for sensor-containing genetic circuits that render advanced functionalities to the ELM throughout its life cycle, either through direct activity or by influencing growth and morphology of the fungal partner. ELM activity is verified with probes that reveal bio-electric signalling in the materials - providing additional dimensions of control, monitoring, functionality and exploitation as actively computing devices.

UWEs part of the FUNGATERIA project, assigned to the Research Associate, aims to verify or disprove our hypothesis that sensing and computing devices can be implemented in fungi-bacteria engineered materials. Therefore, the aim is to develop theoretical designs and experimental laboratory prototypes of the sensing and information processing devices from the engineered living material (ELM). To tackle these aims, we will meet the following measurable objectives: (1) To develop an experimental protocol for recording ELM electrical activity, (2) To classify patterns of endogenous electrical activity of the ELM proteinoids and to catalogue stimuli-to-responses electrical patterns, (3) To implement mapping of binary strings by the ELM and to characterise families of logical circuits implementable by the living composites

An ideal candidate would have PhD or relevant experience expressed in authored publications in peer-reviewed journals in physics, experimental biology, chemistry, electronics.  Some experience in programming and developing computer models would be great. 

The job involves a combination of experimental lab research and mathematical/computer modelling: Models of spiking activity based on concepts of calcium waves, salt-water oscillators and ionic condensation, Design and manufacture experimental setup for recording electrical activity of living composites in a controlled environment, Analysis of electrical responses of proteinoid ensembles to physical and chemical stimulation, Design of finite state machine based on the living composites.

Your publication track record should be consistent with your duration of active research life, and our expectations are three high-impact papers from a RA per year.

The project will be funded for nearly three years.

The Unconventional Computing Laboratory (UWE, Bristol) was founded by Prof Andy Adamatzky in 2001 as a response to an urgent need to develop computers for the next century. We employ complex dynamics in physical, chemical and biological media to design novel computational techniques, architectures and working prototypes of non-linear media based computers. The research is based on an interdisciplinary cooperation in modelling and experimental verification of novel principles of information processing and analysis in distributed large-scale chemical and physical systems. We apply these novel principles to the design of working prototypes of massively parallel computing devices whose intrinsic functions exploit the nontrivial dynamics of nonlinear systems.

This post is based at our lively Frenchay campus where we have invested in the latest facilities and resources to give both our staff and students access to everything they need to succeed – £300m has been invested recently on new state-of-the-art learning spaces and accommodation while we continue to develop incredible new facilities to enhance our offer even further.

Frenchay campus has excellent transport links; as well as being located near the motorway network we are within walking distance of two train stations, our bus terminus connects us to the local bus and metrobus network and we also have a range of cycling and changing facilities.

Bristol is a city that’s famous for its rebellious streak, independent thinking, unique style and edgy creativity. Home to over 460,000 people hailing from 187 different countries – you can find over 91 different languages spoken here, and 45 religions practised. Topping polls on a regular basis, Bristol isn’t just a great place to live, but a great place to work.

Why UWE Bristol?

We are one of the largest providers of Higher Education in the South West with 32,000 students, 250,000 alumni and 4,000 staff from across the globe.

We are both globally connected and regionally embedded, with a strong network of employer and partner connections.We have a lot to be proud of at UWE, our achievements include scoring above sector average for student satisfaction, we are ranked 36th in The Guardian Best UK Universities 2022 and 39th in the latest Times Higher Education 'Table of Tables'.

We are an ambitious and values led university. We're focused on solving future global challenges through outstanding learning, world-leading research and a culture of enterprise and we are looking for people who share our core values to help us achieve those aims. 

With inclusivity as a core value, UWE Bristol recognises the power of a truly diverse university community. We support and celebrate the diversity of our staff and students as a key driver for innovation and success, promoting pathways and achievements to inspire and generate confidence and ambition.

In addition to progressive pay rates, we offer a wide range of employee benefits including: 

  • a generous holiday allowance of 27 days pro rata if part time
  • up to 12.5 bank holiday/closure days per year
  • excellent defined benefit pension schemes
  • access to employee assistance programme
  • ongoing learning and development opportunities
  • family friendly policies and wellbeing initiatives
  • onsite nursery at our Frenchay Campus.
  • Retail savings via the Wider Wallet scheme
  • option to participate in the cycle to work scheme


We also boast an excellent in-house Learning & Development team who provide a wide variety of in-house training courses and development programmes and our Academic Practice Directorate supports our academic colleagues to ensure the highest in professional teaching standards.

Add your individuality to ours

Proud to be part of a vibrant, multicultural city that celebrates diversity, we’re always on the lookout for talented people from all backgrounds to join us. Our people are our strength, and diversity enhances our creativity and leads to better decision-making and problem-solving. Bring your talent and ambition to our growing staff community of over 4,000 individuals and find yourself in a stimulating and supportive environment where you’ll thrive. Add your individuality to ours to help set us apart.

We particularly encourage applications from Black, Asian, Multiple Heritage or Other Minority Ethnic and female candidates as we are currently under-represented in these areas within UWE Bristol however all appointments are made strictly on individual merit.

Further information

If you would like an informal discussion, please contact Prof Andy Adamatzky on email:

This is a fixed-term post until 28th February 2026, and is full-time working on a 100% contract.

This post is available on a job share basis for applicants wishing to work part time.

UWE Bristol is a campus-based University and it is important for our success and the delivery of an outstanding experience for our students that our campuses are dynamic and vibrant places to learn and spend time. This role is therefore campus based.

We may be able to sponsor qualifying candidates for this role under the Home Office Skilled Worker visa route. Please read our Skilled Worker Guidance to assess if you will be eligible to be sponsored under the criteria.

Please also refer to the Home Office Right to Work Checklist which provides details of which documents are acceptable to prove your right to work in the UK. Should you be shortlisted you will be asked to produce your right to work documents at your interview.

Please note that UWE does not cover any visa or health surcharge costs.

Location: Bristol
Salary: £31,412 to £35,333
Hours: Full Time
Contract Type: Fixed-Term/Contract
Placed On: 10th January 2023
Closes: 5th February 2023
Job Ref: R05486
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