Research Assistant /Associate in Model-based and data-driven controller synthesis for hybrid systems

Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences

Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK


  • Posted on: 22nd Jul 2021
  • Salary: Research Assistant £28,331 - £30,046 per annum
  • REF: 9734
  • Closes: 01st January 1970
  • Contract Type: Fixed-Term/Contract
  • Hours: Full Time

We are a world class research-intensive university. We deliver teaching and learning of the highest quality. We play a leading role in economic, social and cultural development of the North East of England. Attracting and retaining high-calibre people is fundamental to our continued success.


Research Assistant £28,331 – £30,046 per annum

Research Associate £30,942 – £35,845 per annum

Closing Date:Thursday 16 September 2021

The Role

This is an exciting opportunity to join the School of Computing as a Research Assistant/Associate in the EPSRC project ‘CodeCPS: Correct-by-Design Estimation and Control of Cyber-Physical Systems’. The main aim of the project is to advance the theoretical foundations of correct-by-design controller synthesis for hybrid/stochastic systems. With the rapid embedding of software in engineering of dynamical systems, traditional design methodologies are lagging far behind in efficient development of multi-layer, multi-objective, adaptive, nonlinear dynamical systems. A promising direction to address this issue is to use correct-by-design methodologies that are founded on mathematical models and provide guarantees on the correctness of the controller once it is implemented. CodeCPS will address three specific challenges faced by correct-by-design synthesis: complex dynamics, large number of interacting components, and presence of uncertainty (lack of precise mathematical models, unpredicted phenomena in the environment, and incomplete state information).

This project will use the class of  hybrid models that can capture the behaviour of components with discrete and continuous variables, and their interactions. Possible application domains for the results include autonomous vehicles and frequency regulation of smart grids.

You will work on the following topics:
Develop methods for synthesising controllers that are correct by design, have incomplete state information and are robust to model uncertainty.
Develop methods for synthesising controllers applicable to systems with large number of components and state variables using decomposition and assume-guarantee reasoning.
Develop AI planning and machine learning methods with formal guarantees (e.g., convergence or sample complexity) for performing synthesis on unknown models or unknown objective functions.
Implement the new approaches as a set of software design tools which support the construction, integration, safety and performance analysis of the system.

For more information on the research in the EPSRC, please click here.

For more information about School of Computing and our research, please click here.

This position is available on a full time and fixed term basis for 24 months. Interested candidates should first contact Dr Sadegh Soudjani at to discuss their application. Please include your full application materials (cover letter, CV, language certificates, all transcripts, awards, etc.) and write “[CodeCPS-PDRA]” in the subject of your email. Suitable candidates will be contacted in due course.

Key Accountabilities

• To understand and convey material of a specialist or highly technical nature to the team or group of people through presentations and discussions that leads to the presentation of research papers in conferences and publications.
• To prepare and deliver presentations on research outputs/activities to audiences which may include: research sponsors, academic and non-academic audiences.
• To publish high quality outputs, including papers for submission to peer reviewed journals and papers for presentation at conferences and workshops under the direction of the Principal Investigator or Grant-holder.
• To assist with the development of research objectives and proposals.
• To conduct individual and collaborative research projects under the direction of the Principal Investigator or Grant-holder.
• To work with the Principal Investigator or Grant-holder and other colleagues in the research group, as appropriate, to identify areas for research, develop new research methods and extend the research portfolio.
• To deal with problems that may affect the achievement of research objectives and deadlines by discussing with the Principal Investigator or Grant-holder and offering creative or innovative solutions.
• To liaise with research colleagues and make internal and external contacts to develop knowledge and understanding to form relationships for future research collaboration.
• To plan and manage own research activity, research resources in collaboration with others and contribute to the planning of research projects.
• To deliver training in research techniques/approaches to peers, visitors and students as appropriate.
• To be involved in student supervision, as appropriate, and assist with the assessment of the knowledge of students.
• To contribute to fostering a collegial and respectful working environment which is inclusive and welcoming and where everyone is treated fairly with dignity and respect.
• To engage in wider citizenship to support the department and wider discipline.
• To engage in continuing professional development by participation in the undergraduate or postgraduate teaching programmes or by membership of departmental committees, etc. and by attending relevant training and development courses.

You will be employed to work on research/a research project which will be led by another colleague. Whilst this means that the post-holder will not be carrying out independent research in his/her own right, the expectation is that they will contribute to the advancement of the project, through the development of their own research ideas/adaptation and development of research protocols.

The Person

Knowledge, Skills and Experience

• Experience in conducting high quality academic research.
• Evidence of being able to conduct research in at least one of the areas of Control Theory, Stochastic Systems, Data-Driven Control (e.g., Reinforcement Learning), Model Checking, Formal Verification and Synthesis.
• Demonstrable ability to write material of a quality commensurate with publication in highly-ranked journals.
• Demonstrable ability to present research papers at national/international conferences and communicate complex information to specialists and within the wider academic community.

• Strong publication record in peer-reviewed journals, commensurate with stage of career.
• A track record of presenting research at conferences, symposia, or meetings, commensurate with stage of career.
• Demonstrable ability to develop research proposals and designs in collaboration with other academics.

Attributes and Behaviour

• Demonstrable ability to work cooperatively as part of a team, including participating in research meetings.
• Ability to work independently on own initiative and to strict deadlines.
• Demonstrate strong mathematical ability, in particular in areas such as: Dynamical Systems, Probability Theory, Model Checking, and Mathematical Optimisation.
• Demonstrate programming ability in languages such as Matlab, C++, or Python.

• Demonstrable commitment to the values of equality and diversity in all aspects of your work.
• Ability to set research goals, be self-motivated and proactive.
• Strong interest in interdisciplinary research.


• A PhD awarded (or nearing completion) in Control Engineering, Mathematics/Statistics, Computer Science, Electrical Engineering, or a closely related subject.

Newcastle University is committed to being a fully inclusive Global University which actively recruits, supports and retains staff from all sectors of society. We value diversity as well as celebrate, support and thrive on the contributions of all our employees and the communities they represent.We are proud to be an equal opportunities employer and encourage applications from everybody, regardless of race, sex, ethnicity, religion, nationality, sexual orientation, age, disability, gender identity, marital status/civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, as well as being open to flexible working practices.

The University holds a silver Athena SWAN award in recognition of our good employment practices for the advancement of gender equality. The University also holds the HR Excellence in Research award for our work to support the career development of our researchers, and is a member of the Euraxess initiative supporting researchers in Europe.

Requisition ID: 9734

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