Research Fellow in School of Engineering
University of Birmingham School of Engineering
United Kingdom

Position Details

School of Engineering

Location: University of Birmingham, Edgbaston, Birmingham UK

Full time starting salary is normally in the range £30,395 to £39,609. With potential progression once in post to £42,036 a year.

Grade 7

FTC – up to 24 months

Closing date: 21 July 2019


Job Summary

This post will be directly linked to the National Buried Infrastructure Facility (NBIF) (https://www.birmingham.ac.uk/research/activity/ukcric/national-buried-infrastructure-facility.aspx),which is part of the national UK Collaboratorium for Research on Infrastructure and Cities, a Government funded, multi-university capital investment programme (UKCRIC, http://www.ukcric.com/ ). The successful applicant will be based in the Department of Civil Engineering (part of the School of Engineering), and will work within a world-leading research group with extensive academic collaborations, thereby gaining a rounded experience. This Research Fellow post forms a key part of the business plan for the development of NBIF and the post-holder will therefore be expected to work collaboratively with academics at Birmingham and with industrial partners.

NBIF is currently under construction and access will be obtained in November 2019. It is a unique facility for research into all aspects of buried infrastructure and the associated ground, in relation to its construction, maintenance and long-term performance. The facility consists of a number of key areas:

A main test hall containing a 25 m long x 10 m wide x 5 m deep pit and associated loading frame (the pit base also contains a computer controlled 10 m x 5 m moving floor actuator system to simulate ground movements at depth);
The test hall also has areas of strong floor for constructing bespoke testing frames;
Hydraulic actuator systems for loading applications that can utilise the load frame over the pit to allow loading of the ground surface in the pit area (200 tonne and 50 tonne static actuators and 4 x 20 tonne dynamic actuators, and the associated hydraulic pump facilities to run these), and a hydraulic actuator system (50 actuators) associated with the moving floor in the main test pit;
A mini-geotechnical (300g) centrifuge facility (0.75 m radius);
A material characterisation room containing a number of specialist soil testing equipment (the equipment includes a dynamic triaxial system, a back-pressure shear box, a large shear box, an unsaturated triaxial test system and automatic oedometers).
The overall aim of this important post is to initially help academics with the commissioning and the operational processes to ensure the success of the National Buried Infrastructure Facility, and thereafter to support the research activities within NBIF.

Working with academics to help commission NBIF and produce its operational procedures, the postholder will help design suitable commissioning tests for NBIF and incorporate appropriate instrumentation. They will conduct experiments within NBIF, contribute to writing research bids, analyse and interpret research findings and results, and contribute to publications. Alongside the primary focus of the position, the post-holder will be expected to engage with other research projects within the School and contribute to the success of the School through a range of activities such as teaching, open days and industry engagement and external events.

Main Duties


Specific duties:
To help develop, in close collaboration with the academics associated with the National Buried Infrastructure Facility, high-quality research proposals to use the facility, including industry related projects and joint projects with other institutions.
To help develop, with appropriate support from the academics associated with the National Buried Infrastructure Facility and the NBIF Facilities Manager, the operational manuals and method statements for using the main facility and all the ancillary equipment. This will include giving due consideration to health & safety and writing risk assessments associated with such a facility.
To be involved with the commissioning of the facility and the associated equipment when the construction of the facility is complete in (approx.) November 2019, and produce operational procedures.
To conduct experiments within NBIF as required.
More general responsibilities could include:
Planning and carrying out research associated with NBIF as directed by the relevant academics
Collect research data from the NBIF commissioning tests, and analyse and interpret this data
Help supervise students on research related work and provide guidance to PhD students where appropriate
Contribute to developing appropriately designed testing methods within NBIF
Undertake management/administration arising from research
Contribute to Departmental/School research-related activities and research-related administration
Contribute to business development and/or public engagement activities of manifest benefit to the College and the University, often under supervision of a project leader
Disseminate NBIF activities and any research outputs, including drafting academic publications or parts thereof, for example at seminars and as posters
Provide guidance, as required, to support staff and any students who may be assisting with the research
Deal with problems that may affect the achievement of research objectives and deadlines
Knowledge, Skills, Qualifications and Experience Required
First degree in Engineering, or related discipline or equivalent experience
Hold, or be close to completion of, a relevant higher degree or equivalent qualifications/ industrial experience
Experience in developing and conducting laboratory based testing, including small or large-scale physical model testing in geotechnical and/or structural engineering
Demonstrably high level analytical capability
Demonstrable ability to communicate complex information clearly to both internal and external people at all levels


Fluency in relevant methods and the ability to contribute to developing new ones
Demonstrable ability to assess resource requirements and use resources effectively
Proven understanding of, and ability to contribute to, the broader management/ administration processes associated with NBIF
Demonstrable ability to contribute to the planning and organising of the NBIF commissioning tests and support the development of NBIF research programmes
Proven ability to work in a team, including other researchers, academics and technicians
Experience of coordinating own work with others to avoid conflict or duplication of effort
Good organisational and professional skills
Excellent oral and written communication skills
Experience of publishing research findings in leading international journals and conferences
Informal enquiries to Professor David Chapman, d.n.chapman@bham.ac.uk or telephone 0121 414 5150


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