Research Assistant/Associate in Physics

Newcastle Upon Tyne, Tyne and Wear, UK
£28,756 to £40,927 per annum
25 May 2022
24 Jun 2022

This is an exciting position available for an enthusiastic, skilled and highly motivated individual to join our multidisciplinary team (the Metamaterials and Plasmonics Group) led by Dr. Victor Pacheco-Peña based in the School of Mathematics, Statistics and Physics at Newcastle University. You will also work in collaboration with Professor Alex Yakovlev from the School of Engineering.

You will work on our recently awarded project aiming to open new research directions in digital computing using metamaterials and metasurfaces, a project supported by the Leverhulme Trust. The project is multidisciplinary involving researchers and academics from the School of Mathematics, Statistics and Physics and also the School of Engineering.

The project involves the theoretical, numerical and experimental demonstration of metamaterials and metasurface-based designs with the ability to emulate conditional computational statements such as if-then-else. These will be fundamental to the design and demonstration of metasurface-based computing structures emulating digital computing systems. You will play a key role in the project during the different stages where you will develop and support the programme through the provision of theoretical, numerical and (highly desirable) experimental expertise.  

We are committed to support and embrace equality and diversity and particularly welcome applications from community members that are under-represented. If you have experience in showing a commitment/support to equality, diversity and inclusion then please outline this in your application.

To apply, please complete the online application and attach a CV and covering letter. In your covering letter, please outline how you are either working towards, meet or exceed all the essential requirements for the role holder as outlined below, and highlight any expertise relevant to the described project. 

This position is available on a fixed term contract basis for an initial period of 30 months from 1st September 2022. 

For all information enquiries, please contact Dr Victor Pacheco-Pena via email:

Key Accountabilities 

  • Carry out theoretical and numerical calculations as well as to participate in experimental demonstrations of the designed metasurfaces
  • Work successfully in a multidisciplinary research team, with theoretical and experimental colleagues
  • Although working under the general guidance of an academic or Principal Investigator, the postholder will contribute ideas, including enhancements to the technical or methodological aspects of their studies, thus providing substantial 'added value'
  • Develop and carry out the specified project using appropriate techniques and equipment as outlined in the personal requirements
  • Determine appropriate methodologies for research, with advice and support where required
  • Begin to write, with appropriate support, proposals for individual research funding or, where funders do not permit this, contribute to the writing of collective bids
  • Assess research findings for the need/scope for further investigations
  • Contribute to the writing up of their research for publication and dissemination, either through seminar and conference presentations or through publications
  • Present research findings, either at conferences or through publications in reputable outlets appropriate to the discipline
  • Maintain a high level of up-to-date specialist knowledge, by reading relevant journals and participating in relevant conferences, so as to support the programme team in making strategic decisions
  • Any other duties that may be required from time to time, commensurate with the grade of the post

The Person

Knowledge, Skills and Experience  

  • Excellent technical skills in theoretical calculations (such as wave-matter interactions, metamaterials, metasurfaces, photonics) and numerical modelling (with software such as CST Studio Suite, COMSOL Multiphysics, Matlab, Python) that can be applied to the aims of the project and the specific aspects of the position listed under ‘The role’
  • Ability to work well as part of a team and rapidly acquire new skills
  • Likelihood of advanced skills directly related to the research projects
  • High level of analytical and problem-solving capability
  • Background in mathematical/theoretical and/or experimental analysis of metamaterials and metasurfaces, photonic, microwave or plasmonic structures
  • Excellent communication skills, including the ability to write research publications, and to effectively communicate results to the scientific community
  • Solid knowledge in electromagnetism and light-matter interactions


  • Experimental Knowledge in photonic and plasmonics
  • A track record of high-quality research outputs related to the goals of the project (e.g., publications, software, research tools etc.)

 Attributes and Behaviour 

  • Open to teamwork, including collaborators from other disciplines
  • Ability to work independently using own initiative and to meet deadlines
  • Commitment to the values of equality, diversity, and inclusion in all aspects of your work
  • Proven analytical and problem-solving skills and experience
  • Clear evidence of the ability to work as part of a multi-disciplinary research team


  • Willing to co-supervise undergraduate and postgraduate students 


  • PhD awarded (or thesis submitted or being nearing completion) in Mathematics, Physics, Electrical and Electronic Engineering or related area
  • Honours degree (or equivalent) in a relevant discipline