Postdoctoral Research Associate in Integrated Energy System Modelling

Durham, United Kingdom
£34,304 - £40,927 per annum
22 Sep 2021
End of advertisement period
13 Oct 2021
Contract Type
Fixed Term
Full Time

Department of Engineering

Grade 7: - £34,304 - £40,927 per annum
Fixed Term - Full Time
Contract Duration: 24 months
Contracted Hours per Week: 35
Closing Date: 13-Oct-2021, 6:59:00 AM

Durham University

Durham University is one of the world's top universities with strengths across the Arts and Humanities, Sciences and Social Sciences. We are home to some of the most talented scholars and researchers from around the world who are tackling global issues and making a difference to people's lives.

The University sits in a beautiful historic city where it shares ownership of a UNESCO World Heritage Site with Durham Cathedral, the greatest Romanesque building in Western Europe. A collegiate University, Durham recruits outstanding students from across the world and offers an unmatched wider student experience.

Less than 3 hours north of London, and an hour and a half south of Edinburgh, County Durham is a region steeped in history and natural beauty. The Durham Dales, including the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, are home to breathtaking scenery and attractions. Durham offers an excellent choice of city, suburban and rural residential locations. The University provides a range of benefits including pension and childcare benefits and the University’s Relocation Manager can assist with potential schooling requirements.

Durham University seeks to promote and maintain an inclusive and supportive environment for work and study that assists all members of our University community to reach their full potential. Diversity brings strength and we welcome applications from across the international, national and regional communities that we work with and serve.

The Department

The Department of Engineering is consistently one of the very best UK Engineering departments with an outstanding reputation for excellence in teaching, research and employability of our students. The Department is committed to an ethos of research-led teaching at all levels of its taught programmes, and is ranked 4th in The Complete University Guide 2022, 4th in the Guardian and 6th in The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2021 in the UK for General Engineering.  Ranked 4th in the UK for Research impact at REF 2014, where 90% of the Engineering outputs were graded 3* or 4*, this dynamic department is an excellent place to work. The strategic vision for the Department includes a growth plan of over 50% over the next five years, with a significant enhancement of the research challenge portfolio, and a drive to enrich our undergraduate, postgraduate taught and postgraduate research provision. It is an exciting time to join this expanding Department and make your mark.

The Department has an Athena SWAN Bronze Award, recognising our commitment to diversity in STEM academia and reflecting the supportive and positive environment within the Department.

The Role

Applications are invited for four Postdoctoral Research Associate (PDRA) posts in Integrated Energy System Modelling. The applicants will require energy modelling expertise in whole system modelling and analysis and the ability to apply this to exploring the potential of an integrated cooling, heating and power systems.

The successful applicants will be expected to carry out high quality work closely with academic colleagues and industrial partners to ensure projects are successfully delivered on time, within budget and meeting all objectives. The PDRAs will directly work with Principal and Co-Investigators in the Energy Systems Group to contribute to research projects funded by EPSRC.


  • To understand and convey material of a specialist or highly technical nature to the team or group of people through presentations and discussions that leads to the presentation of research papers in conferences and publications.
  • To prepare and deliver presentations on research outputs/activities to audiences which may include: research sponsors, academic and non-academic audiences.
  • To publish high quality outputs, including papers for submission to peer reviewed journals and papers for presentation at conferences and workshops under the direction of the Principal Investigator or Grant-holder.
  • To assist with the development of research objectives and proposals.
  • To conduct individual and collaborative research projects under the direction of the Principal Investigator or Grant-holder.
  • To work with the Principal Investigator or Grant-holder and other colleagues in the research group, as appropriate, to identify areas for research, develop new research methods and extend the research portfolio.
  • To deal with problems that may affect the achievement of research objectives and deadlines by discussing with the Principal Investigator or Grant-holder and offering creative or innovative solutions.
  • To liaise with research colleagues and make internal and external contacts to develop knowledge and understanding to form relationships for future research collaboration.
  • To plan and manage own research activity, research resources in collaboration with others and contribute to the planning of research projects.
  • To deliver training in research techniques/approaches to peers, visitors and students as appropriate.
  • To assist in contributing to support student projects on the use of research modelling methods and techniques. 
  • To contribute to fostering a collegial and respectful working environment which is inclusive and welcoming and where everyone is treated fairly with dignity and respect.
  • To engage in wider citizenship to support the department and wider discipline.
  • To engage in continuing professional development by attending relevant training and development courses.

This post is fixed term for 2 years – the funding on the project is time limited for two years.

The post-holder is employed to work on externally funded research projects which will be led by another colleague. Whilst this means that the post-holder will not be carrying out independent research in his/her own right, the expectation is that they will contribute to the advancement of the project, through the development of their own research ideas/adaptation and development of research protocols.

Successful applicants will, ideally, be in post by 1st October 2021.

How to Apply

For informal enquiries please contact Professor Tony Roskilly (anthony.p.roskilly@durham.ac.uk). All enquiries will be treated in the strictest confidence.

We prefer to receive applications online via the Durham University Vacancies Site. https://www.dur.ac.uk/jobs/. As part of the application process, you should provide details of 3 (preferably academic/research) referees and the details of your current line manager so that we may seek an employment reference.

Applications are particularly welcome from women and black and minority ethnic candidates, who are under-represented in academic posts in the University.

What to Submit

All applicants are asked to submit:

  • A CV and covering letter which details your experience, strengths and potential in the requirements set out above;

Next Steps

The assessment for the post will be of the applicants’ ability to satisfy the essential and desirable requirements. Shortlisted candidates will be invited for interview and assessment on a date to be confirmed.

The Requirements



  • A good first degree in engineering with a high thermodynamics, electrical and control content (equivalent to a UK 2:I honours degree or higher).
  • A PhD (or be close to submission) in energy system modelling.


  • Experience in conducting high quality fundamental academic research in integrated energy system modelling.
  • Demonstrable ability to write material of a quality commensurate with publication in highly-ranked journals.
  • Demonstrable ability to present research papers at conferences and communicate complex information to specialists and within the wider academic community.
  • Evidence of extensive experience of computational research and development.
  • Thorough understanding of thermodynamics and electrical systems and control.
  • Experience in presenting research outcomes.​


  • Solid background in the application of energy system modelling.
  • Excellent skills in computer modelling, such as using ESL, MATLAB, Simulink or other relevant dynamic simulation software.
  • Demonstrable ability to work cooperatively as part of a team, including participating in research meetings.
  • Ability to work independently on own initiative and to strict deadlines.
  • Excellent interpersonal and communication skills.
  • Excellent presentation and dissemination skills.
  • High level of organisation skills.
  • Ability to contribute to the planning and management of independent research



  • An MSc degree in engineering


  • Strong publication record in peer-reviewed journals, commensurate with stage of career.
  • A track record of presenting research at conferences, symposia, or meetings, commensurate with stage of career.
  • Demonstrable ability to develop research proposals and designs in collaboration with other academics.
  • Experience of overseeing students with respect to the development of their practical/research skills e.g. acting as a demonstrator; supervising student projects/practicals.
  • Depending on the assigned project, experience of conducting high quality fundamental research in:
    • Modelling of electrolyser and fuel cell systems
    • Modelling of hydrogen fuelled systems
    • Modelling of heating, cooling and energy storage systems
    • Modelling of multi-vector energy systems
    • Simplified modelling methods e.g. response surface modelling
    • Digital twin development (requirements capture, data preparation, calibration and validation)
    • Modelling of industrial process, power & steam generation plants.


  • Solid background in the modelling and validating electro-chemical systems, including electrolyser and fuel cell systems.
  • Demonstrable ability to plan and manage independent research.

DBS Requirement: Not Applicable.