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Job ID: 225433

Research Associate in Fluid Mechanics
University of Edinburgh

Date Posted Nov. 9, 2023
Title Research Associate in Fluid Mechanics
University University of Edinburgh
Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Department Vortex Interaction Laboratory
Application Deadline Open until filled
Position Start Date Available immediately
  • Research Scientist/Associate
  • Mechanical Engineering
    Ecological and Environmental
    Engineering Mechanics

Research Associate in Fluid Mechanics

Job Ref: 8830

Full time, Fixed term

Location: Sanderson Building, Edinburgh, EH9 3FB, GB (100% On-campus)

Salary: £37,099.00 - £44,263.00

The Opportunity:

A Research Associate position is available to contribute to the research on the fluid mechanics of small flyers within the Vortex Interaction Laboratory (VOILAb) at the University of Edinburgh. The project is funded by the European Research Council via the Consolidator Grant 2020 (H2020 ERC-2020-COG 101001499). The post holder will have specialist expertise in either computational or experimental fluid dynamics. The position is at UE07 and available on a fixed term basis for up to 24 months.

This bio-inspired project aims to investigate the unsteady aerodynamics of centimetre-scale wings to underpin the development of flying sensors that remain airborne transported by the wind. In the next decade, distributed sensor network systems made of small flying sensors, from dust-scale to insect- scale, will enable a step change in monitoring natural disasters and remote areas. They will contribute to protecting the environment by providing data on the contamination of physical and biological systems and on the impact of human activities. To date, a key limitation of this technology is that small sensors can remain airborne only for a few tens of minutes. By contrast, some natural flyers such as the dandelion fruit, travel unpowered for days and hundreds of kilometres. Recent work led by Dr Nakayama and Prof. Viola, and published in Nature (, reveals that the dandelion adopts a highly porous wing to form a new fluid vortex that has never been observed before, the separated vortex ring. This five-year project aims to unveil the underlying fluid mechanics mechanisms that allow the dandelion to remain airborne scavenging wind energy.

The post holder will join a team of Research Associates and PhD students working within the same project and will undertake either computational fluid dynamics simulations with OpenFOAM of free-falling bodies, or particle image velocimetry of free-falling bodies in a bespoke vertical wind tunnel.

Your skills and attributes for success:

• Knowledgeable in, and passionate about, fluid mechanics

• Experienced in computational or experimental fluid mechanics

• Being strongly driven and self-motivated

As a valued member of our team you can expect:

An exciting, positive, creative, challenging and rewarding place to work. We give you support, nurture your talent and reward success. You will benefit from a competitive reward package and a wide range of staff benefits, which includes a generous holiday entitlement, a defined benefits pension scheme, staff discounts, family friendly initiatives, flexible working and much more. Access our staff benefits page for further information and use our reward calculator to find out the total value of pay and benefits provided.

The University of Edinburgh holds a Silver Athena SWAN award in recognition of our commitment to advance gender equality in higher education. We are members of the Race Equality Charter and we are also Stonewall Scotland Diversity Champions, actively promoting LGBT equality.

If invited for interview you will be required to evidence your right to work in the UK. Further information is available on our right to work webpages.

The University is able to sponsor the employment of international workers in this role. If successful, an international applicant requiring sponsorship to work in the UK will need to satisfy the UK Home Office’s English Language requirements and apply for and secure a Skilled Worker Visa.

Unless stated otherwise the closing time for applications is 11:59pm GMT. If you are applying outside the UK the closing time on our adverts automatically adjusts to your browsers local time zone. 

Closing date: 23rd November 2023

To apply, please click “Apply Now”.

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