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Research Assistant/ Associate in Polymer and Composite Engineering

Department of Aeronautics

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Imperial College London, Exhibition Road, London, UK


  • Posted on: 27th Jan 2021
  • Salary: £36,045 - £48,340
  • REF: ENG01532
  • Closes: 28th February 2021
  • Contract Type: Fixed-Term/Contract
  • Hours: Full Time

Job description

Job summary

The Department of Aeronautics is seeking a Research Assistant/Associate to work with Dr Koon-Yang Lee to manufacture “artificial wood”, i.e. cellulose microfibril-reinforced lignin composites with the native cellulose-I structure preserved (mimicking wood cell wall), using simple and intrinsically scalable manufacturing concepts.

There is currently a timely need to design and manufacture renewable materials for high volume structural applications and decouple our economy from fossil-derived non-renewable resources. Cellulose-based natural fibres are the prime candidate for the production of low-cost high-performance renewable composites. However, there is still a property-performance gap between natural fibre-reinforced polymers and traditional fossil-derived engineering materials. It is envisaged that the resulting “artificial wood” will target engineering applications that cannot be achieved by conventional bio-based polymers or renewable natural fibre-reinforced polymers alone and could serve as alternative to traditional glass fibre-reinforced polymers.

In this project, you will be (i) manufacturing “artificial wood” from (low cost) ionic liquid, (ii) design and manufacture of unidirectional and continuous “artificial wood” fibre-reinforced renewable composites and (iii) optimising the techno-economics and lifecycle of “artificial wood” manufacturing.

This post is available immediately and the appointment is for 24 months.

Duties and responsibilities

The post holder will be expected to undertake and deliver high quality research that is published in high impact peer-reviewed journals and presented at local, national and international meetings, as well as assist with the supervision of undergraduate and postgraduate students. The successful applicant is also expected to work in a multi-disciplinary research environment and interact with researchers from various departments.

Essential requirements

Those appointed at Research Associate level

Applicants should have a genuine passion and excellence in research via their track record and hold a PhD in a relevant subject.

Those appointed at Research Assistant level

Near completion of a PhD in a closely related discipline.

*Candidates who have not yet been officially awarded their PhD will be appointed as Research Assistant within the salary range £36,045-£39,183 per annum

For both levels

The applicant should also have extensive knowledge on:

  • Physics and chemistry of polymeric materials, cellulose and nanocellulose (essential)
  • Polymer and composite processing (essential)
  • Wood science (essential)
  • Physical and chemical characterisations of cellulose, polymer and/or polymer composites (essential)
  • Composite design (desirable)
  • Synthesis of ionic liquids (desirable)

Further information

Informal enquiries – Dr Koon-Yang Lee (koonyang.lee@imperial.ac.uk)

Queries relating to recruitment process: Lisa Kelly: l.kelly@imperial.ac.uk

Technical issues when applying: recruitment@imperial.ac.uk

The College is a proud signatory to the San-Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA), which means that in hiring and promotion decisions, we evaluate applicants on the quality of their work, not the journal impact factor where it is published.For more information, see https://www.imperial.ac.uk/research-and-innovation/about-imperial-research/research-evaluation/

The College believes the use of animals in research is vital to improve human and animal health and welfare. Animals may only be used in research programmes where their use is shown to be necessary for developing new treatments and making medical advances. Imperial is committed to ensuring that, in cases where this research is deemed essential, all animals in the College’s care are treated with full respect, and that all staff involved with this work show due consideration at every level.

http://www.imperial.ac.uk/research-and-innovation/about-imperial-research/research-integrity/animal-research /

Additional information

Please note that job descriptions cannot be exhaustive and the post-holder may be required to undertake other duties, which are broadly in line with the above key responsibilities.

All Imperial employees are expected to follow the 7 principles of Imperial Expectations:

  • Champion a positive approach to change and opportunity
  • Communicate regularly and effectively within, and across, teams
  • Consider the thoughts and expectations of others
  • Deliver positive outcomes
  • Encourage inclusive participation and eliminate discrimination
  • Develop and grow skills and expertise
  • Work in a planned and managed way

In addition to the above, employees are required to observe and comply with all College policies and regulations.

Imperial College is committed to equality of opportunity, to eliminating discrimination and to creating an inclusive working environment. We are an Athena SWAN Silver award winner, a Stonewall Diversity Champion, a Disability Confident Employer and work in partnership with GIRES to promote respect for trans people.

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