Research Associate in Low-Carbon Electrochemical Processes and CO2

Edinburgh, United Kingdom
21 Jun 2018
End of advertisement period
23 Jul 2018
Contract Type
Fixed Term
Full Time

Heriot-Watt University has five campuses: three in the UK (Edinburgh, Scottish Borders and Orkney), one in Dubai and one in Malaysia. The University offers a highly distinctive range of degree programmes in the specialist areas of science, engineering, design, business and languages.

With a history dating back to 1821, Heriot-Watt University has established a reputation for world-class teaching and practical, leading-edge research, which has made it one of the top UK universities for business and industry. We connect with industry at every level and develop programmes to match their needs – so employers get work-ready industry-fit graduates.

Heriot-Watt is also Scotland's most international university, boasting the largest international student cohort.

We have an established set of values that help us to nurture innovation and leadership, and show our commitment to continuous improvement and development in all our activities.

For full details on our University please view our Careers at Heriot-Watt http://www.hw.ac.uk/about/careers-at-heriot-watt.htm

The Research Centre for Carbon Solutions (RCCS) is an international,leading engineering centre, inspiring and delivering innovation for the wider deployment of technologies needed to meet necessary carbon targets. Research is cross-disciplinary bringing together engineers and physical scientists. RCCS collaborates and is supported by industries, international energy policy advisors, government organisations, regional development agencies, national and international universities and research centres. RCCS has contributed and is currently active in a large number of collaborative research and development programmes. Our extensive international networks help us to accelerate the technological innovation needed for the wider deployment of CCS. RCCS has extensive state-of-the-art laboratory facilities covering the whole CCS chain,including equipment for capture, transport, storage, utilization and monitoring. RCCS has over 50 members (staff and PhD students) and Prof Mercedes Maroto-Valer is the Director of RCCS. The team’s research portfolio has a total value of active projects of £17 million, including funding from EPSRC, EU H2020, EU-ERC and industries. A growing area for RCCS is carbon dioxide utilisation and low-carbon systems, where several team members are collaborating on a wide range of national and international projects.

The holder of this post will work on our project on the development on low-carbon aviation fuels that must be developed to help the UK to transition to a low carbon future. This multidisciplinary project unites leading engineers and scientists from several universities, including Heriot-Watt, Oxford and Edinburgh to realise our vision of production of low carbon jet fuels through the integration of novel technologies for co-valorisation of carbon dioxide and biomass.

For more details http://rccs.hw.ac.uk/ and https://lcjf.hw.ac.uk/

We are seeking a motivated and enthusiastic postdoctoral research associate to work on our EPSRC funded project “Low Carbon Jet Fuel through integration of Novel Technologies for Co-Valorisation of CO2 and Biomass”. More specifically, the tasks relevant to this post focus on solid oxide electrochemical systems based on functional ceramic materials to electrolyse steam, CO2 or a mixture of both (co-electrolysis) to produce syngas (H2 and CO mixture).

The successful post holder will focus on developing and executing laboratory experiments and modelling analysis of solid oxide co-electrolysis (SOCE) at the system level (around 100 W) and provide the required information (electrochemical properties, syngas production rate, cell degradation) for their integration with other key technologies developed in this project.

The successful applicant must hold a PhD (or about to obtain) in mechanical, chemical engineering or related discipline with background and expertise in solid oxide cells systems. The role holder will work in a multidisciplinary team to conduct frontier research on laboratory experiments on solid oxide co-electrolysis system design, build up,integration, optimisation and modelling analysis.

The project will be carried out in close collaboration between the different project partners and travel to coordinate the research project will be necessary.

There are also opportunities to participate in our other projects in CO2 utilisation and low carbon systems (see http://rccs.hw.ac.uk/).

Interested applicants must submit via theHeriot-Watt on-line recruitment system: (1) Cover letter describing their interest and suitability for the post; (2) Full CV, including names of 3 referees; and (3) List of Publications.

The post is available from 1st September 2018 for 18 months in the first instance and can be extended further.

For more information, please visit:



Informal enquiries may be made to Professor Mercedes Maroto-Valer at M.Maroto-Valer@hw.ac.uk

The post holder is required to:

Conduct collaborative interdisciplinary research on solid oxide co-electrolysis system design (approximately 100W), build up, integration, optimisation and modelling analysis and developing other as required laboratory work to support the activities of the team.

Contribute to the design and building experimental set ups for integrated low-carbon jet fuel system experiments.

Have strong experience in operating electrochemical systems.

Strong collaboration with the team to integrate laboratory results and numerical modelling for understanding system level characteristics.

Develop and execute experimental plans to support project objectives.

Analyse results and communicate recommendations to project teams.

Identify opportunities and prepare proposals to support SOCE stack and system development.

Apply problem solving skills to support production and development activities across electrochemical based technologies.

Manage project activities to achieve on-time completion of project milestones and deliverables.

Work colaboratively with the team to achieve the project goals. This includes coordination of interdisciplinary teams, supervision of students/junior researchers and maintenance/support of the facilities/equipment. This will also require travel between the different project partners to coordinate the research project.

Maintain rigorous experimental and analytical records (data collection, quality control and data analysis) and progress generated intellectual property and data analysis as well as comply with safe working practices.

Responsibilities will also include assistance in the day-to-day maintenance of the experimental facilities, liaising with companies and external collaborators.

Prepare technical reports, posters and presentations for progress meetings, advisory board meetings and other as required dissemination activities.

Project coordination with other partners, work both independently and as part of a team to achieve overall programme milestones to time, liaising with team members, collaborating project partners and sponsors.

Take responsibility for progressing a primary research project, whilst also contributing to other projects underway within the team, e.g. supervising the activities of junior group members and PhD students.

Contribute scientifically through scholarly acquisition and dissemination of research through the production of reports, publications, presentations and travel to meetings to outreach to the scientific community and general public.

Analyse and interpret the results of own research and generate original ideas bases on outcomes. Prepare proposals and applications to external bodies, e.g. for funding purposes. Use initiative and creativity to identify areas for research, develop new research methods and extend the research portfolio.

Assist the development of student research skills, and be expected to contribute to the assessment of student knowledge in the context of teaching and supervision duties. Could be expected to contribute to specialist courses such as research methods and equipment.

Develop research objectives and proposals for own or joint research with the assistance of a mentor, if required. Conduct individual and collaborative research projects, making use of relevant research techniques and methods.

Build internal contacts and participate in internal networks for the exchange of information and to form relationships for future collaboration. Work with academic colleagues on areas of shared research interest and contribute to collaborative decision making. Join external networks to share information and identify potential sources of funds. Formalise connections with companies interested in working with RCCS and identify and develop new opportunities.

Contribute, under supervision, to the planning of research projects, including the development of new grant/contract proposals. Make internal and external contacts to develop knowledge and understanding and form relationships for future collaboration.

Good communication skills and an appropriate publication record are essential.

Continue to update personal knowledge and to develop skills within own specialist research area.

The successful candidate is also expected to be involved in our outreach activities, with roles that can be tuned to the specific preferences of the candidate but will involve for example interviews,talks for the general public and preparation of experimental demonstrators.

Applications can be submitted up to midnight (UK time) on 23 July 2018.

Please also submit a cover letter describing your interest and suitability for the post together with a full CV (including names of 3 referees) and list of publications.

At Heriot-Watt University we understand that being diverse makes us better which is why we support a culture of respect and equal opportunity, and value diversity at the heart of what we do. We want to increase the diversity of our workplace to underpin a dynamic and creative environment.

We welcome and will consider flexible working patterns e.g. part-time working and job share options.

Use our total rewards calculator: https://www.hw.ac.uk/about/work/total-rewards-calculator.htm to see the value of benefits provided by Heriot-Watt University.