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Research Fellow in Experimental Fluid Mechanics

Southampton, United Kingdom
£34,980 to £36,024 per annum
Closing date
8 Dec 2023

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Civil, Maritime & Environmental Engineering

Location:  Boldrewood Campus
Salary:   £34,980 to £36,024 per annum
Full Time Fixed Term
Closing Date:  Friday 08 December 2023
Interview Date:   To be confirmed
Reference:  2514523DA

Postdoctoral Research Fellow in mechanics of plastic pollutants in turbulent flows

Plastic pollution of marine ecosystems is one of the most pressing global environmental issues. A main pathway by which plastic pollution enters the oceans is rivers, which transport litter from the world’s cities to the sea. However, research carried out so far on the transport and fate of plastics in bodies of water has focused almost exclusively on the marine environment, and on micro-plastics in particular. This leaves an important research gap to be explored; namely: understanding the mechanics of (larger) plastics transported by rivers, the hydrodynamics of which are markedly different from those of oceans. 

In this project, which is a collaboration between Dr Sergio Maldonado’s lab at the University of Southampton and Prof. Filippo Colletti’s lab at ETH Zurich, we will aim to uncover the fundamental mechanics of plastic particles transported by river-like flows. Experiments will involve the study of different types of model pollutants (particles varying in size, shape, density, etc.) subject to homogeneous turbulence and wall-bounded (open channel) turbulent flow. Experiments will be carried out both at ETH Zurich and Southampton. 

As successful candidate, you will have a strong background on experimental fluid dynamics, with a PhD on this field (or must be close to completion). Familiarity with Particle Image/Tracking Velocimetry and particle-laden turbulent flows will be particularly advantageous. You must be strongly motivated to carry out ground-breaking research and publish in top journals. To this end, you will have access to state-of-the-art and unique research facilities at both institutions.

Applications will be considered from candidates who are working towards or nearing completion of a relevant PhD qualification.  The title of Research Fellow will be applied upon completion of PhD.  Prior to the qualification being awarded the title of Senior Research Assistant will be given.

While the position is based at Southampton, some short trips to Zurich and a several-weeks-long visit to ETH are anticipated, so availability to travel is an important requirement. Your responsibilities include the planning and execution of experiments, drafting of papers, attending conferences and some outreach activities. You may also assist with the supervision of MSc and undergraduate student projects in environmental fluid mechanics and hydraulics at the University of Southampton’s School of Engineering.

The post is available from 8-January-2024 and is full-time for a fixed term of 12 months.

The University of Southampton is in the top 1% of world universities and in the top 10 of the UK’s research-intensive universities. The University of Southampton is committed to sustainability and being a globally responsible university and has recently been awarded the Platinum EcoAward. Equality, diversity and inclusion is central to the ethos in the School of Engineering. In recognition of our continued commitment to improving equality for women in science we were awarded an Athena SWAN bronze in 2013 and 2016.  We give full consideration to applicants that wish to work flexibly including part-time and due consideration will be given to applicants who have taken a career break. The University has a generous maternity policy (subject to qualifying criteria) and onsite childcare facilities.

For informal enquiries, please contact Dr Sergio Maldonado (

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