University of Cambridge

Department of Physics

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Applications are invited for a postdoctoral position investigating the application of Bayesian inference and machine-learning methods to seismic data analysis at the Cavendish Laboratory (Department of Physics, University of Cambridge).

The successful candidate will join the research group in Astrophysical Data Analysis, led by Professor Michael Hobson. The group’s research focuses on the development of Bayesian inference and machine-learning methods, and their application to the analysis of complicated astronomical data-sets. These techniques are also applicable to general inference problems beyond astrophysics. In particular, the multinational energy company Shell has funded this position to investigate how such methods may be used in probabilistic seismic inversion problems and to build on existing work already completed as part of this collaboration.

The role holder will be expected to conduct independent research and participate actively in the scientific exploitation of seismic data analysis with Shell. In particular, the projects will focus on the further development of a systematic approach for detecting microseismic events, consisting of forward simulation for elastic wave propagation, learning sparse seismic patterns using surrogate regression models, and Bayesian inference of the microseismic sources using nested sampling algorithms.

We are looking for a candidate with a proven track record in independent research and scientific exploitation of data with a PhD in Physics, Mathematics, Engineering, Computer Science, or another relevant scientific discipline. Experience in Bayesian inference, machine-learning and general data analysis is also essential. Applicants will also be expected to spend significant time (several weeks per year) at Shell Amsterdam to receive proper support and maintain the connection with the Shell researchers.

Appointment at Research Associate is dependent on having a PhD (or equivalent experience), including those who have submitted but not yet received their PhD (in which case appointment will initially be made at Research Assistant and amended to Research Associate when the PhD is awarded). The Research Assistant salary (grade 5) falls within the range £26,243 to £30,395. The Research Associate (grade 7) salary falls within the range £32,236 to £39,609.

Where the successful applicant does not yet have a PhD, he/she will normally be under-appointed as a Research Assistant in a Research Associate post (on the understanding that he/she will be appointed as a Research Associate upon successful completion of his/her PhD).

Applications will be reviewed after the closing date and interviews conducted during the subsequent two weeks. The candidate would ideally start as soon as possible after. The work will be funded by a grant from Royal Dutch Shell.

Fixed-term: The funds for this post are available until 31 March 2022 in the first instance.

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

Please ensure that you upload your Curriculum Vitae (CV) and a covering letter in the Upload section of the online application. If you upload any additional documents which have not been requested, we will not be able to consider these as part of your application. Submit your application by midnight on the closing date.

Informal enquiries can be addressed via email to

Please quote reference KA22650 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.

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