Human Resources

Research Assistant **Internal Only** - QMUL16724

Department: School of Engineering & Materials Science
Salary: £31,054 (Grade 4)
Reference: QMUL16724
Date posted: 05-Nov-2018
Closing date: 12-Nov-2018

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About us

Queen Mary is one of London and the UK’s leading research-focused universities. With over 20,000 students, it is amongst the largest of the colleges of the University of London. Queen Mary’s 4,000 staff teach and research across a wide range of subjects in Science and Engineering, the Humanities, Social Sciences and Laws, and Medicine and Dentistry.

This post is within the School of Engineering and Materials Science, a large School with approximately 70 academic staff and 45 postdoctoral research staff. There are around 1000 undergraduate and taught postgraduate students and 220 PhD students. Circa 40 administrative and technical staff support the staff and students. The staff and student body are international in make-up. The School is partway through a refurbishment project that is upgrading research and teaching space. The School holds a departmental-level Bronze Athena SWAN award and is committed to equality of opportunity.

About the role

The school of Engineering and Materials Science at Queen Mary University of London has a vacancy for two part-time Research Associates to work as a team on an industry led Innovate UK project Worm. The QMUL element of this project will be carried out in the research group of Professor Kaspar Althoefer.

In this project, in collaboration with our partner, Q-bot, a London-based robotic company, we aim to design, manufacture and validate robust, soft robots to remotely apply insulation below the ground floor of domestic dwellings.  For this new project with Q-bot, QMUL team will extend the methods to develop octopus-inspired robot tentacles of larger dimensions with the purpose of finding robust solutions for the application of thermal insulation in built environments especially in areas of restricted access, such as in the void under the house and incavity walls.

Q-Bot specialises in robotics services in the built environment allowing easier, cheaper, safer and more effective repair, maintenance and upgrade of buildings and infrastructure. The initial application is the retrofit of thermal underfloor insulation to buildings at a fraction of the current cost, and with none of the issues of traditional methods using a robot to apply insulation in an environment which is currently inaccessible for human operatives without prohibitive disruption and expense.  This project builds on ground-breaking robotics innovation in the area of soft and flexible robotic manipulators developed by  the Centre for Advance Robotics @ Queen Mary University of London, initially developed for medical applications. It will develop the technology further, with a view of utilising it in extreme and challenging environments of inaccessible areas of buildings. Extensions of the projects will explore the development of robots for infrastructure networks (including sewers) and nuclear site inspection. The project will deliver a stiffness-controllable and flexible robot prototype that will be validated in demanding environments, in collaboration with Q-bot.

During this project the research team will develop a structure of a soft robot for underfloor navigation to apply insulation, using a hybrid actuation method (combining pneumatic and tendon-based actuation) for large scale soft robots, as well as novel motion control algorithms. The research team aims to produce three robot prototypes with increasing capabilities over the period of the project - prototype improvements will be based on the feedback from industrial partners and the results of the field trials.

The focus of this post will be on novel, deployable robot structures: design and fabrication.

In the context of this research focus the RA will strongly contribute to the development of novel deployable robot structures. This will involve the development of appropriate control strategies, as well as the design and fabrication of such structures.

For further details of the role and selection criteria please refer to the job specification attached.

The post is a Part-Time, fixed term appointment until the 31st of March 2020, and is available from 10th of December 2018. Starting salary will be £31,054 per annum pro-rata, inclusive of London Allowance. Benefits include 30 days annual leave (pro rata), defined benefit pension scheme and interest-free season ticket loan.

Candidates must be able to demonstrate their eligibility to work in the UK in accordance with the Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Act 2006. Where required this may include entry clearance or continued leave to remain under the Points Based Immigration Scheme.

Informal enquiries should be addressed to Professor Kaspar Althoefer at or on +44 (0) 020 7882 3419.

Details about the school can be found at

To apply for the role, please click the link below.

The closing date for applications is 12 November 2018. Interviews are expected to be held shortly thereafter.

Valuing Diversity & Committed to Equality


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