Research Assistant / Associate in Civil Engineering

University of Cambridge Department of Engineering

United Kingdom

A position exists, for a Research Assistant/Associate in the Department of Engineering, to work on a project that aims to develop an anomaly-detection system based on detailed understanding of heat transfer as well as strain development and distribution within cast in-situ structures (diaphragm walls/piles) during the concrete hydration process. An extensive fibre optic sensing system will be developed in this project to investigate the behaviour of model cast in-situ concrete piles/diaphragm walls in minute detail. In addition, theoretical analyses/numerical simulations will be conducted in order to develop a reliable interpretation tool that will enable civil engineering clients, designers and consultants to make informative decisions regarding the integrity of their piles/diaphragm walls.

The post holder will be located in the Civil Engineering Building, 7a JJ Thomson Avenue, Cambridge, UK, CB3 0FA.

The key responsibilities and duties are:

  • (1) Development of an experimental programme (2D and 3D) to study the heat transfer and strain development within model concrete piles/diaphragm walls
  • (2) Development of an instrumentation scheme, based on optical fibre sensing technology, data acquisition, data interpretation and analyses
  • (3) Development of a theoretical/numerical model to gain a better understanding of anomaly size and location detection
  • (4) Combine the experimental data and the theoretical/numerical models to develop a reliable interpretation tool used by different stakeholders in the construction industry
  • (5) Attend secondments with industrial and academic partners
  • (6) Presentation of the details of the research work in management meetings with academic and industrial partners
  • (7) Scientific publications in journal papers and conference proceedings

The skills, qualifications and experience required to perform the role are:

  • Engineering degree in Civil Engineering (or any relevant discipline). The successful candidate will have obtained or close to obtaining a PhD in Civil Engineering from a high ranking university
  • Strong background in experimental work, instrumentation, data acquisition and data interpretation
  • Strong background in theoretical analyses and/or numerical modelling - particularly in relation to concrete hydration and/or heat transfer problems
  • Experience in fibre optic sensing technology is beneficial
  • Experience in software development and/or programming is beneficial
  • Good time management skills as well as verbal and non-verbal communication skills are essential
  • A strong work ethic and a positive and flexible work attitude is required

Appointment at Research Associate level is dependent on having a PhD. Those who have submitted but not yet received their PhD will be appointed at Research Assistant level, which will be amended to Research Associate once the PhD has been awarded.

Salary Ranges: Research Assistant: £26,715 - £30,942 Research Associate: £32,816 - £40,322

Fixed-term: The funds for this post are available for 9 months in the first instance.

Once an offer of employment has been accepted, the successful candidate will be required to undergo a health assessment.

Click the 'Apply' button below to register an account with our recruitment system (if you have not already) and apply online.

Please ensure that you upload your Curriculum Vitae (CV) and a covering letter in the Upload section of the online application. If you upload any additional documents which have not been requested, we will not be able to consider these as part of your application. Please submit your application by midnight on the closing date.

If you have any questions about this vacancy or the application process, please contact: Ms Jemma Andrews (Email:

Please quote reference NM23369 on your application and in any correspondence about this vacancy.

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