University of Cambridge

Job Opportunities


Post-doctoral Research Associate - Using bio-inspiration to inform the design of swarm technology

A Research Associate position is available in the Marine Behavioural Ecology Group, led by Dr James Herbert- Read in the Department of Zoology at the University of Cambridge. The candidate will be involved in a project using bio-inspiration to inform the design of new and efficient mobile sensor networks.

The candidate will be responsible for quantifying from experimental videos how animal groups (fish schools) collectively search their environment and communicate information that is detected between group members. They will do this using computer vision methods to track the postures and movements of animals in groups, and use this information to reconstruct individuals' visual fields. This information will be used to infer the sensory range of groups, as well as the topology and strength of their communication networks. The candidate will quantify how these network properties change when animal groups are exposed to environments where information is difficult to detect. This will be done by analysing videos of animal groups immersed in 'noisy' environmental conditions. Using agent-based simulations, the candidate will test whether the network properties animal groups adopt in increased levels of environmental noise increase the likelihood that groups detect and relay information in sensory demanding environments. This information will be used to design self-organising protocols for mobile sensor networks that can adapt their network configurations in response to changing environmental conditions, thereby increasing their efficiency.

The role will largely be computationally focussed, but the candidate will work closely with experimental biologists and will have input into the design and running of experiments. The candidate will have a background in computer science, applied mathematics, engineering or the natural sciences, and will be highly skilled in data analysis, computer programming and modelling. The position would be highly suitable for a candidate looking to apply their passion for data analysis to biological questions with bio-inspired applications. The position is funded through an award from the Office of Naval Research Global.

Applications should include a motivation letter (one side of A4) and a CV with contact details for two referees. We are committed to increasing diversity, equity and inclusiveness in STEM and encourage applications from underrepresented groups.

Interview dates: Remote interviews with dates to be confirmed.

Fixed-term: The funds for this post are available for 1 year in the first instance with the possibility of extension for a further 2 years subject to project status and funding.

We welcome applications from individuals who wish to be considered for part-time working or other flexible working arrangements.

We particularly welcome applications from women and /or candidates from a BME background for this vacancy as they are currently under-represented at this level in our department.

Click the 'Apply' button below to register an account with our recruitment system (if you have not already) and apply online.

Please quote reference PF25616 on your application and in any correspondence about this vacancy.

The University actively supports equality, diversity and inclusion and encourages applications from all sections of society.

The University has a responsibility to ensure that all employees are eligible to live and work in the UK.

Further information

Apply online