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Research Associate in Tribology - King's Climate & Sustainability project

London (Greater) (GB)
£43,205 - £46,732 per annum, including London Weighting Allowance
Closing date
25 Jan 2025

Job Details

Job description

This post is for an experienced post-doctoral Researcher in the Green Tribology Lab at King’s College London. The successful candidate will deliver multiple experimental research streams over the course of nine months, as part of a King’s Climate and Sustainability Project on the topic of ‘Developing alternative fats for healthier, more sustainable food products’.

King’s College is uniquely positioned to become a major contributor to tackling food security and establish its leadership in plant/fermented food research. Through our Green Tribology Lab, recently built on the Strand campus (central London), we have acquired first-of-its kind testing equipment to investigate food ingredient performance during oral processing, which will enable rapid screening of new foods prior to more cumbersome sensory panels.

The proposed work streams include characterising the mechanisms of saliva-fat lubrication during oral processing (using a state-of-the-art Bruker TriboLab tribometer and employing methods such as optical microscopy, laser-induced florescence and infrared thermal imaging), as well as determining correlations between lab measurements and taste assessments from a trained human panel using machine learning.

The postholder will have the exceptional opportunity to develop expertise in the cutting-edge, high-impact research area of food tribology. They will be exposed to multi-disciplinary research (oral tribology, oral biology, salivary research, optics etc.) and work alongside experts in these fields. Upon completing the study, the Researcher will be invited to publish results in a high-impact journal and apply to other funding streams as a member of the Green Tribology Lab.

This post will be offered on a fixed-term contract for 9 months.

This is a full-time post - 100% full time equivalent.

Key responsibilities

  • Conduct multiple research work streams in aspects of oral tribology, with a focus on investigating saliva-fat interactions and oral delubrication mechanisms by measuring frictional behaviour using a modified Bruker TriboLab and visualising underlying processes using a custom-made, in-situ optical microscopy technique.
  • Analyse results, including visualising corelations between frictional behaviour and recorded images using Matlab scripts, and drawing relevant insights.
  • Develop machine learning models to determine correlations between taste perception and scientific measurements (secondary focus).
  • Support day-to-day activities of the Green Tribology Lab and communicate with industry project partners.
  • Assist with writing of reports to research sponsors.
  • Present findings to collaborators.
  • Provide advice to other members of staff and students.
  • Take the lead on the publication of findings.
  • Develop contacts with the College and wider academic and industry community.
  • Promote the reputation of the Green Tribology Lab and the Department of Engineering.

The above list of responsibilities may not be exhaustive, and the post holder will be required to undertake such tasks and responsibilities as may reasonably be expected within the scope and grading of the post.

Skills, knowledge, and experience

  • Have had exposure to bio-tribology research and have at least a basic understanding or oral processing mechanisms
  • Have significant expertise and experience in running CETR UMT / Bruker TriboLab experiments, or other similar ball-on-disc tribometer
  • Have employed optical microscopy techniques (high speed imaging) in previous research
  • Have strong expertise in using Matlab, particularly for image processing
  • Have significant expertise and experience in using surface analysis instruments including WLI and confocal microscopes
  • Have the ability to work independently, prioritise own work in response to deadlines and organise own activities with limited supervision
  • Be proficient in English and demonstrate excellent verbal and written communication skills

Essential criteria

  1. Hold a PhD or equivalent in Tribology or a closely related discipline, or be able to demonstrate equivalent research experience in an academic or commercial setting
  2. Exposure to Tribology
  3. Expertise in using ball-on-disc tribometers
  4. Expertise in using Matlab
  5. Expertise with optical microscopy techniques
  6. Image processing knowledge
  7. Ability to work independently
  8. Proficient in English
  9. Excellent verbal and written communication skills

Desirable criteria

  1. Machine learning knowledge

* Please note that this is a PhD level role but candidates who have submitted their thesis and are awaiting award of their PhDs will be considered. In these circumstances the appointment will be made at Grade 5, spine point 30 with the title of Research Assistant. Upon confirmation of the award of the PhD, the job title will become Research Associate and the salary will increase to Grade 6.

Further Information

This is a fixed term position for 9 months.

This position is not eligible for a hybrid working structure, as experiments must be conducted on site.

For any enquiries please contact

This post is subject to Occupational Health clearance.

Applicants must have the right to work in the UK. We are unable to offer sponsorship for this post.


King's College London is one of the top 20 universities in the world and among the oldest in England. King's has more than 27,600 students (of whom nearly 10,500 are graduate students) from some 150 countries worldwide, and some 6,800 staff.

King's has an outstanding reputation for world-class teaching and cutting-edge research. In the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF) King’s was ranked 6th nationally in the ‘power’ ranking, which takes into account both the quality and quantity of research activity, and 7th for quality according to Times Higher Education rankings. Eighty-four per cent of research at King’s was deemed ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’ (3* and 4*). The university is in the top seven UK universities for research earnings and has an overall annual income of more than £684 million.

King's has a particularly distinguished reputation in the humanities, law, the sciences (including a wide range of health areas such as psychiatry, medicine, nursing and dentistry) and social sciences including international affairs. It has played a major role in many of the advances that have shaped modern life, such as the discovery of the structure of DNA and research that led to the development of radio, television, mobile phones and radar.

King's College London and Guy's and St Thomas', King's College Hospital and South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trusts are part of King's Health Partners. King's Health Partners Academic Health Sciences Centre (AHSC) is a pioneering global collaboration between one of the world's leading research-led universities and three of London's most successful NHS Foundation Trusts, including leading teaching hospitals and comprehensive mental health services. For more information, visit:

King’s £600 million campaign, World questions|KING’s answers, has delivered huge global impact in areas where King’s has particular expertise. Philanthropic support has funded new research to save young lives at Evelina London Children’s Hospital; established the King’s Dickson Poon School of Law as a worldwide leader in transnational law; built a new Cancer Centre at Guy’s Hospital; allowed unique collaboration between leading neuroscientists to fast-track new treatments for Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, motor neurone disease, depression and schizophrenia at the new Maurice Wohl Clinical Neuroscience Institute; created the Cicely Saunders Institute: the first academic institution in the world dedicated to palliative care, and supported the King’s Sierra Leone Partnership in the Ebola crisis. Donations provide over 300 of the most promising students with scholarships and bursaries each year. More information about the campaign is available at

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