Research Fellow, ANU College of Engineering and Computer Science

Canberra, Australia
Monday, 17 August 2020
End of advertisement period
Monday, 28 September 2020
Contract Type
Fixed Term
Full Time

Work type: Fixed Term
Location: Canberra / ACT
Categories: Academic

Classification: Academic Level B
Salary Package: $99,809 – $113,165 per annum plus 17% superannuation
Terms: Full time, Fixed term (2 years)

  • Join a world-class research group working in high-temperature solar-thermal energy technologies.
  • Participate in lab-based energy technology research, component and system-level modelling, and a wide range of industrial collaborations
  • Work towards the commercial uptake of next-generation technologies that reduce emissions, dispatch green electricity, and decarbonise industry.

College overview

The ANU College of Engineering and Computer Science is dedicated to contributing to The Australian National University’s reputation for excellence in research and research-led education. The College is at the leading edge within numerous fields, including logic, algorithms and data, signal processing, artificial intelligence, computer vision and robotics, computational mechanics, materials, fabrication, big software systems, renewable energy, networked systems and quantum cybernetics.

The Research School of Electrical, Energy and Materials Engineering (RSEEME) brings together the best and brightest researchers, scholars and fosters a vibrant culture that prepares our students for a career in a field central to progress in nearly all aspects of life in the 21st century.

The Solar Thermal Group (STG), part of RSEEME, has a 45-year history of experimentally driven work in the field of solar thermal energy, with around 30 research staff and students. The group maintains the 500 m2 Big Dish as a full-scale experimental CSP facility and operates a new solar thermochemistry laboratory including a 45 kW(electric) high-flux solar simulator and a high-temperature liquid sodium test loop. STG conducts research and education in the broad area of solar thermal energy conversion and related basic and applied disciplines. The main applied research themes are concentrating solar technologies for power generation and production of fuels and commodity materials, solar heating and cooling, and system integration. The basic research spans across optics, photonics, radiative transfer, thermal sciences, chemistry, and materials science.

Our focus on excellence is more than an aspiration, it is embedded in our performance expectations for Academic staff within the College, through the development of the Academic Performance Standards. These standards are an integral component of our vision to reimagine Engineering and Computer Science research and education, and to continue to propel us on our trajectory of becoming a world-class institution in this space.

The CECS Academic Performance Standards provide an overview of key performance indicators they apply to the various academic levels, and support our principles and values of: collegiality, collaborative teamwork, common strategic intent, nurturing early career academics and acting with purpose and professionalism. These have been incorporated into the position description for this role. 

Position overview

There are four research-intensive positions, primarily in the solar-thermal energy field, with focus on different aspects including sodium receiver and thermal storage technologies (simulation, prototyping and testing, materials compatibility testing), and system modelling of entire concentrating solar thermal plants. The positions contribute to research within several ANU-led projects, primarily funded by the Australian Renewable Energy Research Agency (ARENA) via the Australian Solar Thermal Research Institute (ASTRI). The positions are defined by the objectives of the projects but, depending on the capabilities and experience of applicants, there is flexibility to vary the mix of roles. Applicants should apply for one of the positions listed below. Applicants are also encouraged to describe their capabilities across other positions, if they wish to be considered for the other positions as well.

  • Position 1: Requires a materials / metallurgical engineer, with a good grasp on metallurgy of various metals and composites as commonly used high-temperature applications, and with an understanding of corrosion fundamentals (types of corrosion, some knowledge of conditions leading to corrosion, coatings, galvanic coupling, and corrosion mitigation). The appointee will be skilled at conducting materials characterisation using a variety of means including optical and electron microscopy, and be experienced at safely conducting laboratory testing, including sample preparation, test setup, test progress monitoring, data collection, documentation, and reporting. Knowledge and experience with analytical characterisation techniques such as DSC, TGA, SEM/EDS/TEM and electrochemistry would be highly regarded.  Experience handling liquid metals would also be desirable, but not a necessity. The position will involve working on ASTRI Sodium Receiver Technologies. It involves testing of compatibility of materials with liquid sodium at high temperature in static and flowing configurations. The position is also involved in working on ASTRI Thermal Storage Technologies. This includes testing of chemical compatibility between high-temperature sodium and ceramic filler materials, testing of impact of impurities on containment materials.
  • Position 2: Requires a chemical/process/mechanical/systems engineer with strong numerical modelling background such as chemical process modelling, energy systems modelling, system dynamics or control systems design, with strong interest in numerical methods, thermodynamics/heat transfer and applied renewable energy systems design. Experience in computer programming, preferably with a range of languages, will be considered favourably. In the proposed work, Python, Modelica and C/C++ would be the preferred languages, but experience with similar tools is considered sufficient. This position will involve working on ASTRI System Modelling. The position consists of participating in a collaborative energy system modelling project using the Modelica language (via OpenModelica), working with a wide range of researchers to incorporate next-generation solar thermal energy components into overall system models, optimising the efficiency of the overall system and guiding improvement of the various components based on system-level observations. Exergy analysis is a likely component. Techno-economic analysis is an important aspect of the optimisation. Gathering cost data through literature searches and/or discussions with industry experts will be necessary. There is the opportunity to develop improved numerical methods including optimisation and model order reduction, for example where detailed models of components are based on high-cost computational fluid dynamics models. This role requires a research engineer with a strong interest in numerical methods but also with a strong desire to work in a collaborative mode on a range of applied problems.
  • Position 3: Requires a mechanical engineer with strong practical experimental experience and numerical thermal and heat transfer modelling ability (e.g. computational fluid dynamics), and aptitude for experimental data analysis & interpretation.  Experience with numerical modelling methods, such as those mentioned above for Position 2 would also be an advantage. This position will involve working on ASTRI Thermal Storage Technologies. It requires contribution to the development of a high-temperature thermal storage technology based on a packed bed, compatible with ASTRI’s sodium pathway.
  • Position 4: Requires a process metallurgist, with experience in the modelling of ironmaking processes ideally such as direct-reduced ironmaking (DRI) using natural gas, but others any iron-making processes (shaft furnaces, blast furnaces). Skills with relevant process modelling software are expected. Experience in modelling fluidised beds or packed bed reactors is definite plus. Lab-based or industrial experience is considered a definite plus. The position will involve working on ASTRI Decarbonisation of Steelmaking. This project requires an evaluation of novel iron ore beneficiation, sintering or pelletisation processes using concentrated solar power as the energy source. There is scope for experimental work using tube furnaces, TGA, or a high-flux solar simulator. Involvement in the Zero Carbon Energy for the Asia-Pacific project involves the assessment of technical and economic feasibility of a range of prospective hydrogen-based steelmaking processes applied to available Australian hematite and magnetite ores. Of particular interest is fluidised bed hydrogen direct reduced ironmaking.

Appointees may be required to split their time across several projects which will vary throughout their appointment depending on individual project requirements.

For further information please contact Joe Coventry on T: +61 2 6125 2643 or E: 

ANU values diversity and inclusion and believes employment opportunities must not be limited by socio-economic background, race, religion or gender. The University actively encourages applications from women, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and candidates from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. Furthermore, it is policy in the ANU College of Engineering and Computer Science to require selection panels to seek a gender balance when compiling shortlists of candidates for interview. For more information about staff equity at ANU, visit  

The ANU provides attractive benefits and excellent support to maintain a healthy work/life balance and offers generous remuneration benefits, including four weeks paid vacation per year, assistance with relocation expenses and 17% employer contribution to superannuation. This also includes generous parental leave, the possibility of flexible and part time working arrangements, a parental and aged care support program, dual career hire programs, ANU school holiday programs, and childcare facilities on campus. For more information, please visit

Application information

Applicants must apply online via the ANU recruitment portal and should upload the following separate documents:

  • A detailed curriculum vitae including a full publication list and the names and contact details of at least three referees (preferably including a current or previous supervisor). If your CV does not include referees, you can complete these online when prompted in the application form. Please include a link to your Google Scholar or ResearchGate profile if available.
  • A statement addressing the selection criteria in the Position Description.
  • A statement addressing the position overview included in this advertisement explaining your specific capabilities and why you would be suitable. If applying for more than one position you need to explain your capabilities and suitability against each position you are applying for.
  • Statements of results from your coursework activities, if completed within the last seven years.

Applications which do not address the selection criteria may not be considered for the position.

Position Description & Selection Criteria

Applications close: 28 Sep 2020 11:55:00 PM AUS Eastern Standard Time

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