Research Associate in the ATLAS experiment University of Glasgow, School of Physics and Astronomy United Kingdom

Research Associate

Reference Number



Gilmorehill Campus / Main Building

College / Service




Job Family

Research And Teaching

Position Type

Full Time

Salary Range

£34,520 - £38,833

Job Purpose
We are seeking to appoint an RA to make leading contribution on the ATLAS experiment. Specifically, the role requires expert knowledge in data analysis, Monte Carlo (MC) modelling and operational work on the ATLAS experiment toward measurements of the Higgs boson, associated Standard Model (SM) measurements or searches for new physics. The successful candidate will also be expected to contribute to the formulation and submission of research publications and research proposals as well as help manage and direct this complex and challenging project as opportunities allow.

Main Duties and Responsibilities
Perform the following activities in conjunction with the Principal/Co Investigator:


1. Take a leading role in the analysis of ATLAS data. The group is currently working towards measurement of Higgs bosons decaying to b-quarks in association with vector bosons. This includes work on boosted jet structure methods, including necessary jet, flavour tagging, and MC modelling physics performance work. The work currently incorporates studies of SM boosted bb-production and b-fragmentation, and MC tuning/systematics using that data as well as searches beyond the SM. You would extend and enhance these activities.


2. Document research output including analysis and interpretation of all data, maintaining records and databases, drafting technical/progress reports and papers as appropriate.


3. Establish and maintain your research profile and reputation and that of The University of Glasgow/ School/ Research Group, including establishing and sustaining a track record of independent and joint publications of international quality in high profile/quality refereed journals, enhancing the research impact in terms of economic/societal benefit, and gathering indicators of esteem.


4. Survey the research literature and environment, understand the research challenges associated with the project & subject area, & develop/implement a suitable research strategy.


5. Present work at international and national conferences, at internal and external seminars, colloquia and workshops to develop and enhance our research profile.


6. Take a leading role in the identification of potential funding sources and to assist in the development of proposals to secure funding from internal and external bodies to support future research.


7. Take a leading role in developing and maintaining collaborations with colleagues across the research group/School/College/University and wider community (eg. Academic and Industrial Partners).


8. Take a leading role in team/group meetings/seminars/workshops and School research group activities to enhance the wider knowledge, outputs and culture of the School/College.


9. Take the lead in the organisation, supervision, mentoring and training of undergraduate and/or postgraduate students and less experienced members of the project team to ensure their effective development.


10. Perform administrative tasks related to the activities of the research group and School, including Budgets/Expenditure.


11. Make a contribution to outreach and recruitment activities of The University of Glasgow.


12. Make a contribution to Teaching activities (e.g demonstrating etc) and associated admin as assigned by the Head of School and in consultation with Principal Investigator.


13. Keep up to date with current knowledge and recent advances in the field/discipline.


14. Engage in personal, professional and career development, to enhance both specialist and transferable skills in accordance with desired career trajectory.


15. Undertake any other duties of equivalent standing as assigned by the Head of School and/or PI.


16. To contribute to the enhancement of the University’s international profile in line with the University’s Strategic Plan - Inspiring People – Changing the World.


These key tasks are not intended to be exhaustive but simply highlight a number of major tasks which the staff member may be reasonably expected to perform.

Knowledge, Qualifications, Skills and Experience


A1 Normally a PhD in particle physics experiment or phenomenology (SCQF Level 12) or the equivalent in professional qualifications and experience, with experience of personal development in a similar or related role
A2 Specialist theoretical and practical knowledge of Large Hadron Collider (LHC) physics
A3 A comprehensive and up-to-date knowledge of current issues and future directions within the wider subject area of particle physics
A4 Knowledge of specialist particle physics software (e.g. Root, python, C++) as appropriate
A5 Knowledge of phenomenological models and associated analysis techniques



C1 Ability to perform particle physics data analysis and associated simulations
C2 Ability to develop, validate and maintain high-quality computational physics software in object oriented C++ and Python
C3 Research creativity and strong cross-discipline collaborative ability as appropriate
C4 Excellent communication skills (oral and written), including public presentations and ability to communicate complex data/concepts clearly and concisely
C5 Excellent interpersonal skills including team working and a collegiate approach
C6 Appropriate workload/time/project/budget/people management skills
C7 Extensive IT and data analysis/interpretation skills as appropriate
C8 Self-motivation, initiative and independent thought/working
C9 Problem solving skills including a flexible and pragmatic approach
C10 Good Team Leadership skills including demonstrable supervisory skills



E1 Sufficient depth of relevant research experience, normally including postdoctoral experience in a related field, appropriate to an early career researcher
E2 Experience with particle physics data analysis (real or simulated data)
E3 Extensive experience of C++ and Python software development and use of Unix computers and software
E4 Experience of scientific writing, e.g. experiment notes, PhD thesis, publications and/or scientific reports
E5 Proven ability to deliver quality outputs in a timely and efficient manner
E6 A track record of presentation and publication of research results in quality journals/conferences
E7 Ability to demonstrate a degree of independence as illustrated by identification of project objectives from assessment of the literature, design & analysis of experiments & drafting of papers
E8 Experience in undertaking independent research


F1 Experience of writing analysis software
F2 Experience of physics analysis relating to top quark and/or Higgs boson physics
F3 Experience and interest in either trigger, software or tracking maintenance and operations
F4 Experience of ATLAS data processing and analysis or MC software


Job Features
The aspects described below will be performed in conjunction with and under the guidance of the Principal/Co Investigator.


To carry out a range of research activities and functions within academic environments of the highest national or international quality
Publish and seek funding as appropriate to subject specialism within agreed timescales
Informal supervision and support of less experienced members of the project team e.g. postgraduate and project students
Undertake teaching or other duties in accordance with school policy
Engage in personal, professional and career development to enhance both specialist and transferable skills in accordance with desired career trajectory
Leadership in the design and implementation in your specific research project(s) as appropriate


Planning and Organising
Management of time and prioritisation of research, teaching and administrative duties
Planning, organisation and implementation of research project on a weekly/monthly basis
Plan research directions that are within the available budget
React to varying project needs and deadlines


Decision Making
Undertake decision making on all aspects of research project/activities
Prioritise own, and where appropriate delegate to junior team members’, workload
Decide on research directions and goals within remit of original project proposal
Adjust research approaches to meet project outcomes
Identify best journals for publication and meetings/conferences to attend
Purchase of equipment and materials


Internal/External Relationships
University colleagues: to exchange information to ensure efficient working and to facilitate cross disciplinary working
External bodies/collaborators: proactively maintain co-operation and links at all levels to enhance profile and reputation
Dissemination: Preparation and presentation of reports/results and participation in meetings and conference calls


Problem Solving
Research including technical and theoretical aspects, problem solving and development of novel ideas
Be aware of project and budgetary issues, equipment lead times
Assistance of undergraduate/postgraduate students and junior team members with problems relating to research project


Representation of the University/College/School through presentation at national and international events
Attendance at training events to learn and implement new research technologies
Prepared to travel to work in the UK/Europe and elsewhere as required by the University


Standard Terms & Conditions
Salary will be on the University’s Research and Teaching Grade, level 7, £34,520 - £38,833 per annum.


This position has funding for up to 24 months in the first instance.


New entrants to the University will be required to serve a probationary period of 6 months.


The successful applicant will be eligible to join the Universities' Superannuation Scheme. Further information regarding the scheme is available from the Superannuation Officer, who is also prepared to advise on questions relating to the transfer of Superannuation benefits.


All research and related activities, including grants, donations, clinical trials, contract research, consultancy and commercialisation are required to be managed through the University’s relevant processes (e.g. contractual and financial), in accordance with the University Court’s policies.


Vacancy reference: E20330; Closing date: 16 February 2018.


It is the University of Glasgow’s mission to foster an inclusive climate, which ensures equality in our working, learning, research and teaching environment.


We strongly endorse the principles of Athena SWAN, including a supportive and flexible working environment, with commitment from all levels of the organisation in promoting gender equity. The School of Physics and Astronomy is the proud holder of an Athena SWAN Silver Award. Interviewees will be eligible for carer expenses, which will be covered by the School.


The University of Glasgow, charity number SC004401.

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