Research Associate in EPR Characterisation of Heterogeneous Catalysis

Cardiff, Wales
33,797 - 40,322
Jun 22, 2020
Jul 22, 2020
Contract Type
Full Time

Research Associate in EPR Characterisation of Heterogeneous Catalysis
Cardiff School of Chemistry
Cardiff University

We seek to recruit an enthusiastic, highly motivated scientist with proven intellectual and technical abilities to work on a heterogeneous photocatalysis project, with an emphasis on advanced spectroscopy. The 2-year project, funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), is supervised by Dr Emma Richards (Cardiff School of Chemistry).

The overall focus of the programme involves the synthesis of nanocrystalline photocatalyst materials, and their characterisation via advanced Electron Paramagnetic Resonance (EPR) spectroscopy. Experience with catalyst preparation and EPR spectroscopy, including Continuous Wave (CW)/pulsed hyperfine methods, are highly desirable. The successful candidate will join a vibrant research team (>7 PhD/PDRA) and have full access to a suite of six EPR spectrometers (multi-frequency and CW/pulsed) in addition to the facilities within the Cardiff Catalysis Institute.

Applicants must hold a postgraduate degree at PhD level in Physical Chemistry (with an emphasis on spectroscopy) or equivalent or relevant industrial experience.

Further information is available at the following group webpages:
Dr Emma Richards

For informal enquiries about the role and the Cardiff School of Chemistry, please contact Dr Emma Richards: e-mail; Tel. +44 (0)29 2087 4029.

For further details about working at Cardiff University, please contact Mr Alastair Baker: e-mail; Tel. +44 (0)29 2087 4073.

This position is full time (35 hours per week) and is available from 1 August 2020 for 2 years.

Salary: £33,797 - £40,322 per annum (Grade 6). It is not anticipated that an appointment be made above £35,845 (Grade 6.32).

Important note: It is the University's policy to use the person specification as a key tool for short-listing. Candidates should evidence that they meet ALL of the essential criteria as well as, where relevant, the desirable. As part of the application process you will be asked to provide this evidence via a supporting statement.  Please ensure that the evidence you are providing corresponds with the numbered criteria outlined below. Your application will be considered based on the information you provide under each element.

When attaching the supporting statement to your application profile, please ensure that you name it with the vacancy reference number, e.g. Supporting Statement for 9575BR.

Date advert posted: Monday, 22 June 2020

Closing date: Thursday, 23 July 2020

Cardiff University is committed to supporting and promoting equality and diversity and to creating an inclusive working environment. We believe this can be achieved through attracting, developing, and retaining a diverse range of staff from many different backgrounds who have the ambition to create a University which seeks to fulfil our social, cultural and economic obligation to Cardiff, Wales, and the world. In supporting our employees to achieve a balance between their work and their personal lives, we will also consider proposals for flexible working or job share arrangements.

Job Description:
Main Function

To conduct research within the field of heterogeneous photochemistry, studying oxide materials through a variety of advanced characterisation techniques including Electron Paramagnetic Resonance (EPR) and hyperfine spectroscopy.  This role will contribute to the overall research performance of the School and University, carrying out research leading to the publishing of work in high-quality journals. To pursue excellence in research and to inspire others to do the same.

Main Duties and Responsibilities

  • To conduct research within the field of heterogeneous photochemistry, studying oxide materials through a variety of advanced characterisation techniques including Electron Paramagnetic Resonance (EPR) and hyperfine spectroscopy, and contribute to the overall research performance of the School and University by the production of measurable outputs including bidding for funding, publishing in national academic journals and conferences, and the recruitment and supervision of postgraduate research students;
  • To develop research objectives and proposals for own or joint research including research funding proposals;
  • To attend and or present at conferences/seminars at a local and national level as required;
  • To undertake administrative tasks associated with the research project, including the planning and organisation of the project and the implementation of procedures required to ensure accurate and timely reporting;
  • To prepare research ethics and research governance applications as appropriate;
  • To review and synthesise existing research literature within the field;
  • To participate in School research activities;
  • To build and create networks both internally and externally to the university, to influence decisions, explore future research requirements, and share research ideas for the benefit of research projects.
  • To engage effectively with industrial, commercial and public sector organisations, professional institutions, other academic institutions etc., regionally and nationally  to raise awareness of the School's profile, to cultivate strategically valuable alliances, and to pursue opportunities for collaboration across a range of activities. These activities are expected to contribute to the School and the enhancement of its regional and national profile;
  • To undergo personal and professional development that is appropriate to and which will enhance performance;
  • To participate in School administration and activities to promote the School and its work to the wider University and the outside world;
  • To ensure that an understanding of the importance of confidentiality is applied when undertaking all duties;
  • To abide by the University policies on Health and Safety and Equality, Diversity & Inclusivity;
  • Any other duties not included above, but consistent with the role.

Additional Information:
Project Description

Heterogeneous photocatalysis is a promising technology to address the global grand challenges of accelerated energy consumption and increased atmospheric levels of toxic gases. Nanoparticle titanium-oxide materials have shown great potential as powerful photocatalysts, harnessing abundant and clean solar energy to catalyse environmental remediation reactions through the generation of photoexcited charge carriers.

This project aims to provide atomic level information of reactive centres in photocatalytic materials through the application of advanced Electron Paramagnetic Resonance (EPR) spectroscopy, to yield detailed reaction mechanisms and kinetics.  The project will involve synthesis of novel nanocrystalline materials (in collaboration with international partners), and characterisation using multiple advanced spectroscopic techniques (including EPR, Attenuated Total Reflection (ATR), Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM), X-ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy (XPS)). Target applications will be selective decomposition of volatile organic compounds and nitrogen oxides (NOx), both common airborne pollutants which are damaging to human health and implicated in climate change.

Person Specification:
Essential Criteria

Qualifications and Education
  1. Postgraduate degree at PhD level in Physical Chemistry (with an emphasis on spectroscopy) or equivalent or relevant industrial experience
Knowledge, Skills and Experience
  1. An established expertise and proven portfolio of research or relevant industrial experience within one or more of the following research fields:
  • heterogeneous catalysis
  • EPR spectroscopy, including CW and pulsed hyperfine methodologies
  • materials characterisation (e.g. Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM), X-ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy (XPS), UV-Vis Spectroscopy)
  1. Knowledge of current status of research in specialist field
  2. Proven ability to publish in high-impact journals and contribute to international scientific conferences
  3. Knowledge and understanding of competitive research funding to be able to develop applications to funding bodies
Communication and Team Working
  1. Proven ability in effective and persuasive communication
  2. Ability to supervise the work of others to focus team efforts and motivate individuals
  1. Proven ability to demonstrate creativity, innovation and team-working within work
  2. Proven ability to work without close supervision
Desirable Criteria
  1. Relevant professional qualification(s) - e.g. RSC membership
  2. Evidence of collaborations with industry
  3. Proven ability to adapt to the changing requirements of the Higher Education community
  4. Evidence of ability to participate in, develop both internal and external networks, and utilise them to enhance the research activities of the School
  5. Fluency in Welsh, written and oral