NATS-172-22 - Research Assistant/Associate in Biomedical Optics

University of Kent

United Kingdom

October 9, 2022


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Research Assistant/Associate in Biomedical Optics Physics and Astronomy Location: Canterbury

Salary: £28,762 to £40,931 Grade: Grade 6 Research Assistant to Grade 7 Post Type: Full Time Contract Type: Fixed Term - 28 Months - Ends 28/02/2025 Release Date: Tuesday 13 September 2022 Closing Date: 23.59 hours BST on Sunday 09 October 2022 (unless otherwise stated) Reference: NATS-172-22

We are looking for an enthusiastic and ambitious Research Associate or Research Assistant to join the Applied Optics Group (AOG) in the School of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Kent. You will be working on an NIHR project in collaboration with King's College London and Moorfields Eye Hospital to develop image guided robotic regenerative therapies for the retina. A press release providing more background on the project is available here: https: // www. retinal-surgery-robot

Your work will focus on the development of ultra-miniature distance sensors and imaging systems based on optical coherence tomography. The project will require extensive collaboration and involve regular trips to the partner sites in London for project meetings, system integration and testing. Due to the nature of the project, this position would suit a researcher who is comfortable working to tight deadlines and able to collaborate with engineers and clinicians from different disciplines.

The successful candidate will work in the AOG's suite of optics labs in the University's Photonics Centre with access to state of the art equipment and a clean air room, including a Vytran glass processing unit. The work will build on the AOG's highly active research programme and strong track record in optical coherence tomography and biomedical imaging.

As Research Assistant/Associate you will:

  • assemble and test innovative optical configurations to achieve the goals and milestones described in the research plan
  • work with project partners to integrate optical imaging and sensing devices with robotic systems
  • provide practical advice and help to other lab members
  • design and execute experiments, maintaining an up to date log of all research activity undertaken
  • contribute to the dissemination of research results through peer-reviewed publications and conference presentations
  • To be successful in this role you will have/be:

  • a degree in Physics/Optics/ Engineering or other relevant discipline
  • PhD in relevant area or research towards PhD completed and draft PhD thesis in an advanced state
  • experience in undertaking research in an optics lab or equivalent

  • evidence of prior research activity in OCT, fibre sensing or a related field

  • demonstrable experience of high-level programming in at least one of the following: Labview, C++, Matlab, Python or similar

  • Excellent organisational skills

  • Excellent communication skills, both written and verbal
  • You will be supported in your career development through mentorship and access to a range of courses via the Kent Researcher Development Programme. The Applied Optics Group has a regular programme of seminars from internal and external speakers and a journal club, as well as events such as industrial visits organised by the Optica Student Chapter. There are also regular opportunities to participate in outreach activities with the local community.

    For informal enquiries, please contact the co-investigators Professor Adrian Podoleanu Kent Lead (, and Dr Michael Hughes (

    The successful candidate will be appointed at the appropriate level (either Research Assistant or Research Associate), where the essential criteria is met within the person specification.

    The Applied Optics Group (AOG) has 5 permanent full time academics, 5 PDRAs, 8 PG students and several Erasmus students. We have an international reputation in OCT and sensing based on extensive publication, IP protection and a diverse portfolio of grants. Following an investment of £1.8M, the AOG laboratories occupy 700 m2 in the Photonics Centre, part of a University-wide initiative to strengthen its research in Optics, including optical laboratories, a workshop and a clean air room. The AOG is well equipped with state-of-the-art lasers and optical measurement equipment and well supported by technical services and workshops. The group has acquired extensive expertise in extending OCT technology to a wide range of applications in ophthalmology, otolaryngology, dentistry, dermatology, microscopy and embryology. The AOG has been highly active in translating OCT technology to industry and clinics in and outside UK.

    Further information on the AOG group can be found at: https://

    Physics and Astronomy is a friendly, dynamic and innovative department based on the Canterbury Campus of the University of Kent. It has modern teaching and research facilities, a result of sustained investment. We carry out internationally leading research in Astrophysics and Planetary Science, Applied Optics and Physics of Quantum Materials. Our outreach and public engagement activities have been a central part of our operations for many years and are leading across the country, as recognised by an NCCPE Silver Engage Watermark. The curriculum has been recently reviewed and modernised for all our programmes (BSc and MPhys in Physics, Physics with Astrophysics and Astronomy, Space Science and Astrophysics), with the goal of offering an excellent student experience, employability skills and training through research-led teaching.

    Physics and Astronomy forms part of a wider Division of Natural Sciences. This is a thriving academic community with a strong tradition of interdisciplinarity. Our portfolio spans Biosciences, Physics & Astronomy, Chemistry & Forensic Science, Sport & Exercise Sciences, Medway School of Pharmacy and the newly founded Kent and Medway Medical School (KMMS). With a broad portfolio of undergraduate and postgraduate programmes offered at the University's campus, the Division of Natural Sciences provides a truly multidisciplinary community.

    The University of Kent is a distinctive and attractive place to work. We employ around 6,000 staff, including academic and research staff and a full range of support and administration staff. Our stunning main campus in Canterbury, Kent was founded in 1965 and is set among green and tranquil open space overlooking the spectacular Cathedral. The historic city of Canterbury is close to the beautiful Kent coast and is also just an hour by high-speed train to central London. Our staff enjoy competitive salaries, an occupational pension scheme, generous holiday entitlements (43 days per year) and a great working environment.

    Please see the links below to view the full job description and to apply for this post. If you require further information regarding the application process, please contact the Human Resources team on: quoting ref number:

    Further details: Job Description Additional Information

    Apply Online

    Please note that we prioritise applications from current University of Kent redeployees. We will let you know if this post is to be filled by a redeployee as, in this instance, your application will unfortunately not be taken forward.

    Applications must be made via the University's online application system; CVs or details sent directly to the department or via email cannot be considered.

    The University of Kent values diversity and promotes equality at all levels.


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    About the employer

    The University of Kent (formerly referred to as the University of Kent at Canterbury) is a well-known semi-collegiate public research university which is based in Kent in the United Kingdom. It was established in the year 1965 and is recognized...