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Postdoctoral Research Associate in Computational Methods

University of Edinburgh School of Physics and Astronomy
University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, EH9 3FD, GB
UE07 £34,304 - £40,927
Closing date
Dec 21, 2021

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Mineral and Rock Physics, Solid Earth Geophysics
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Job Title: Postdoctoral Research Associate

Location:  University of Edinburgh, UK

Closing Date: Dec 20th at 11:59 pm (GMT / London local time)

Job Purpose

This appointed Postdoctoral Research Associate (PDRA, grade UE07) will develop and apply numerical methods to design and interpret laboratory measurements of transport in geophysical materials and analogues under simultaneous high pressure and high temperature conditions, similar to those occurring in Earth’s interior. They will work closely with an interdisciplinary team performing experiments on minerals and melts, assisting in data reduction and interpretation, including through on site analytical support during experiments at international central facilities. Commensurate with experience, they will also assess implications of measurements for deep Earth geodynamics.


Work will be based at the University of Edinburgh’s Centre for Science at Extreme Conditions, a multi-disciplinary centre for excellence, in affiliation with the University’s School of Physics and Astronomy and the School of GeoSciences, and in collaboration with the British Geological Survey and other institutions including central facilities.

Education, Qualifications & Training

  • PhD in Geoscience, Physics, Chemistry, Engineering, or a related subject.
  • Experience developing numerical solvers for experimental setups or natural systems.
  • Ability to write scientific reports, generate figures and communicate results to the scientific community.
  • Ability to work closely with a team to address multifaceted questions.


Essential (An ideal applicant will have expertise in several of the following areas):

  • Finite Element Models applied to thermodynamics, fluid dynamics and continuum mechanics.
  • Other relevant numerical modelling including statistical analysis, deep Earth geodynamics (core or mantle).
  • Scientific programming for data analysis, advanced data handling techniques, machine learning experience.
  • Laboratory automation and control
  • GUI development
  • Image processing, tomography, or particle velocimetry


  • Background in theoretical and computational modelling for geophysical or planetary applications, e.g. geophysical and geodynamic theory for Earth and planetary deep interiors.
  • Experience with high pressure science or related field (plasma physics, WDM, HED, CM)
  • Experience of participation in laboratory experiments in analytical or hands-on capacity.
  • Familiarity with commercial FEM platforms, especially Comsol Multiphysics.
  • Strong scientific publication record.

Knowledge, Skills and Competencies


  • Computer programming
  • Ability to draft scientific papers for refereed journals.
  • Excellent general communication skills.
  • Experience of working with and supporting PhD and masters students.
  • Ability to communicate complex information clearly, orally and in writing.
  • Availability to spend time working away from Edinburgh at central facilities in EU and USA.


  • Data handling
  • Software development
  • Online presentation skills, web pages etc.
  • Maintenance of websites.
  • Experience of working in a multi-disciplinary team

Personal Attributes


  • Enthusiasm for learning about high pressure geodynamic systems using quantitative methods and ambition to achieve excellent results.
  • Willingness to support laboratory work in an active analytical and hands-on capacity.
  • Ability to think creatively by proposing and developing new ideas.
  • Capability of working without close supervision, exercising a high degree of initiative and demonstrating a pro-active approach to work.
  • Ability to develop and maintain effective working relationships.


  • Ability to adapt to new ideas and willingness to approach new challenges and adjust plans to suit changing priorities.
  • Ability to work hard and organise work so as to perform multiple tasks simultaneously.
  • Ability to set up and maintain a well-organised repository of data.
  • Potential for career advancement as an independent researcher.

Additional Information

This position is funded by the European Research Council project TRIREME (Transport in the Interior of the Earth from Modelling and Experiments) which aims to measure transport behaviour of minerals and melts up to the extreme pressure and temperature conditions of the Earth’s interior, and explore the implications for Earth’s evolution and dynamics.

All applicants should apply online by clicking the apply link at the bottom of this page. The application process is easy to follow, and you will receive email confirmation of safe receipt of your application. The online system allows you to submit a CV and other attachments. 

You will be notified by email if you are selected for interview.

For inquires about the post please contact Dr. Stewart McWilliams (

Apply at (closing date is subject to change):

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