Research Associate in Extragalactic Astrophysics

Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK


  • Posted on: 28th Oct 2021
  • Salary: £31,406.00 - £40,927.00 per annum
  • REF: 13661
  • Closes: 17th December 2021
  • 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.

Salary: £31,406.00 – £40,927.00 per annum

Closing Date:17 December 2021

The Role

The School of Mathematics, Statistics and Physics (MSP) at Newcastle University are seeking to recruit three Research Associates in Extragalactic Astrophysics, joining an exciting UKRI-funded research program managed by Dr. Christopher Harrison.

The project will combine multi-wavelength astronomical observations with hydrodynamic simulations in order to make significant scientific progress in understanding how Active Galactic Nuclei (AGN) influence the formation and evolution of galaxies. You will become a member of a dedicated research group, contributing to the research strategy, planning and implementation. You will perform data analysis and interpretation and disseminate your work, for example through publications and presentations at scientific meetings.

Three Research Associate positions are available covering the following specific areas:

  • 1) MOONS support and related science:

You will become a member of the MOONS extragalactic consortium. You will have experience in optical/near-infrared spectroscopy and/or processing large datasets. The holder of this 3+1 year position will split their work effort halfway between supporting data reduction/software/archiving for the the forthcoming MOONS multi-object spectrograph and on related science projects

  • 2)Multi-wavelength observations of AGN feedback:

You will have relevant skills in observational astronomy. Applicants with expertise in reducing/analysing interferometric radio data are particularly encouraged. The holder of this 3 year position will work on a variety of observational datasets to study how AGN are influencing the properties of their host galaxies

  • 3)Hydrodynamic simulations of AGN feedback:

You will have experience in hydrodynamic galaxy simulations. The holder of this 3 year position will develop hydrodynamic simulations to produce observationally testable predictions of the influence of AGN on their host galaxy’s interstellar medium.

In addition to project-specific activities, you will be encouraged to pursue you own independent research and training. Furthermore, you may undertake outreach/engagement activities, particularly those designed to increase accessibility and inclusion to science. As a representative of the School at events, you must be professional and an excellent communicator with demonstrable interpersonal skills and the ability to engage with non-academic stakeholders (e.g. industry, government and the general public).

We are looking for someone who possesses the ability to use creativity and challenge standard ways of thinking in order to overcome problems. Successful applicants will join the growing astronomy and astrophysics group at Newcastle University, which has wider expertise in galaxy evolution, cosmology, compact objects and magneto-hydrodynamic simulations.

The School values individual differences and the diversity that this brings and we want to ensure that no-one is at a disadvantage because of who they are. Our values are embedded in our research engagement activity and we are therefore looking for someone who has diversity of thought and who embraces equality, diversity and inclusion, ensuring our values are entrenched in our research activity. We particularly welcome applications from community members that are under-represented in physics. If you have demonstrable experience in showing a commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion then please outline this in your application.

We are committed to building and maintaining a fair and inclusive working environment. Each position is offered on a fixed term basis for three years from start date, or tenable until the project end date, whichever is soonest. We would be happy to discuss arrangements for flexible and/or blended working. Generous funds are available for travel, training and other support. Start dates and flexible working are negotiable.

To apply, please complete the online application and attach a CV, research statement (max. 2 pages) and covering letter. Your research statement should be combined as one PDF document with your cover letter and uploaded to the covering letter section. In your covering letter, please outline how you are either working towards, meet or exceed all of the essential requirements for the role holder as outlined below. Please indicate which of the three positions outlined above you are most interested in.

This is a fixed term post for a duration of 36 months.

For all information enquiries, please contact Dr Chris Harrison via email:

For more information about this research programme and different roles, please click here.

For more information about the wider astronomy and astrophysics research group at Newcastle, please click here.

For more information about the MOONS spectrograph click here.

We’re celebrating 150 years of Science, Agriculture and Engineering. Newcastle University wouldn’t be the place it is today without our students, alumni, staff and community. Although a huge amount has changed over the last 150 years, one thing has stayed the same: our commitment to making a difference. We’re educating the next generation of experts and tackling the biggest challenges facing our planet. Our innovative work has always focused on making a difference to people’s lives, and you can be part of it.

As part of our commitment to career development for research colleagues, the University has developed 3 levels of research role profiles. These profiles set out firstly the generic competences and responsibilities expected of role holders at each level and secondly the general qualifications and experiences needed for entry at a particular level.

Key Accountabilities

The main duties and responsibilities are as follows:

  • Conduct the data analysis and research along the lines of the programme of the funded project;
  • Work successfully in an interdisciplinary research team and wider collaborators to publish world-leading research;
  • Present outputs of the research from the research team to scientific and non-scientific audiences, in written and oral form;
  • Contribute to the positive culture and general strengths of the research group and the School; for example, through supervision of project students, participation in outreach, leading initiatives to promote Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI), and organising/ participating in research events;
  • Any other duties that may be required from time to time, commensurate with the grade of the post.

The Person (Essential)

Knowledge, Skills and Experience

•Excellent technical skills in analysing and interpreting datasets that can be applied to the aims of the project and the specific aspects of the positions listed under ‘The role’;
•A track record of high quality research outputs related to the goals of the project (e.g., publications, software, research tools etc.);
•Excellent communication skills, including the ability to write creatively for publications, and concisely for communications;
•A track record of presenting research at conferences, symposia, or meetings, commensurate with stage of career.

•Demonstrable ability to develop research proposals in collaboration with other academics;
•Experience in creating and/or delivery activities designed to make science more accessible and inclusive and/or to promote science to the general public.

Attributes and Behaviors

•Ability to work independently using own initiative and to meet strict deadlines;
•Demonstrable ability to work cooperatively as part of a team, including participating in research meetings and working on joint research projects;
•High level analytical and problem-solving capability;
•A commitment to the values of equality, diversity and inclusion in all aspects of your work;
•Ability to set own research goals, be self-motivated and proactive.

•Demonstrable commitment to promoting a positive and healthy research culture (e.g., by actively supporting/mentoring students, supporting initiatives to improve the work environment etc.);
•An interest in student supervision (postgraduate and undergraduates).


•PhD awarded in a relevant discipline (or exceptionally equivalent professional experience);
•Honours Degree in a relevant discipline.

Newcastle University is committed to being a fully inclusive Global University which actively recruits, supports and retains colleagues 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.

We understand how important the full employment package is to our colleagues at Newcastle University and we are committed to providing a great range of benefits and discounts for all. You can learn more about what is available here on ourBenefitsWebsite page.

Requisition ID: 13661

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