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Research Assistant/Associate in Printable Solar Cell Assembly and Testing (Indoor and Outdoor)

Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences

Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK


  • Posted on: 04th Nov 2021
  • Salary: Research Assistant - £28,756 -£30,497per annum
  • REF: 13167
  • Closes: 01st December 2021
  • Contract Type: Fixed-Term/Contract
  • Hours: Full Time

We are a world class research-intensive university. We deliver teaching and learning of the highest quality. We play a leading role in economic, social and cultural development of the North East of England. Attracting and retaining high-calibre people is fundamental to our continued success.

Salary: Research Assistant – £28,756 -£30,497per annum

Research Associate – ££31,406 – £33,309 per annum

Closing Date: 1 December 2021

The Role

We are seeking a motivated individual to join our dedicated research family working as part of a new Living Lab Project. The project is unique in its integrated approach, using technologies from different disciplines with the common goal of achieving Net Zero for a University Defence partner. You will be part of one of six experiments making up the Living Lab framework: Decarbonise power using integrated solar technology.

This ambitious experiment focuses on finding a practical, UK-specific solution for decarbonising power using integrated solar technology. We are seeking to appoint a researcher with expertise in Chemistry or Chemical Engineering to develop, scale up, test and evaluate printable photovoltaic devices.

You must have expertise in a variety of different methods for the assembly of solution-processed solar cells (perovskites, quantum dot, dye-sensitized solar cells etc.) and characterisation of the materials (e.g. by pXRD, XPS, thermal analysis) and the devices (e.g. J-V, IPCE/EQE, electrochemical impedance, charge transport and lifetime etc). The ability to design and implement bespoke electronic circuitry for experimental control and data acquisition, including experience of programming with MATLAB or Labview, is essential.

The successful applicant will develop strong working relationships with University external partners and their stakeholders. It is an exciting opportunity to be part of a research team that will support an organisation-specific roadmap to Net Zero emissions by 2040. It is imperative that you are able to assume a leading role within the research team and have an aptitude for communicating and collaborating with project partners. You will represent as a colleague of Newcastle University and must possess excellent interpersonal skills and maintain the highest standards of professionalism.

Your primary location will be Newcastle University campus, however you must be available and willing to travel locally and nationally at the direction of the PI. All travel costs associated with the project will be reimbursed as standard.

The appointment available on a full-time, fixed term basis from the 01st February 2022 for 24 months.

Security:As the Living Lab is with a partner in the Defence sector, you should be prepared for security checks if you are selected as the preferred candidate. For example, individuals working with government assets must complete basic personnel security standard checks.

To apply, please complete the online application and upload a CV and a covering letter. Please structure your covering letter as a supporting statement outlining how you meet or exceed the requirements for the role holder as listed below.

For all enquiries, please contact Dr Elizabeth Gibson Elizabeth.Gibson@ncl.ac.uk, about this exciting position

For more information about the research group lead, please clickhere.

For more information about the School of Natural and Environmental Sciences and our research, please clickhere

As part of our commitment to career development for research colleagues, the University has developed 3 levels ofresearch role profiles.These profiles set out the generic competences and responsibilities expected of role holders at each level and the general qualifications and experiences needed for entry at a particular level.

Key Accountabilities

• Develop an automated approach to sequentially monitor the current voltage characteristics of arrays of solution processed solar cells (dye-sensitized, quantum dot and perovskite solar cells).
• Assembly of a testing rig for outdoor monitoring of solar cells on a remote site at a military location.
• Assembly and testing of prototype solar cells on a lab scale, submodule and module scale.
• Collecting and evaluating data iterative cycles of testing and device development
• Effectively communicate and work within an international team composed of staff, postgraduate and undergraduate students and external partners, including regular reporting.

The Person (Essential)

Knowledge, Skills and Experience

• Experienced in solution-processed/printable solar cells assembly and testing, with high reproducibility;
• Proficient in the handling of air sensitive materials in a nitrogen-filled glove box;
• Expertise in the characterisation of solar cell devices (e.g. J-V, IPCE/EQE, electrochemical impedance, charge transport and lifetime etc.);
• Expertise in programming in Labview or Matlab;
• Experience of designing and implementing bespoke electronic circuitry for experimental control and data acquisition;
• A record of publication commensurate with experience level.
• Observational and practical skills consistent with the demands of contemporary scientific research;
• Upholding the highest standard of confidentiality and data security. A clear understanding of GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) compliance for higher educational institutes and the importance of protecting intellectual property in accordance with University policy and external organisations.
• Expertise in the characterisation of solar cell materials (e.g. by pXRD, XPS, thermal analysis, electron microscopy) (Desirable)

Attributes and Behaviour

• A commitment to working with due attention to the safety of themselves and others;
• Punctual and reliable; excellent time-management skills
• Being a trusted and professional ambassador for Newcastle University and promoting the School of Natural and Environmental Sciences;
• Self-motivation, a determination to be successful and a commitment to high standards;
• The capacity to undertake original research and work independently;
• Excellent communication skills both oral and written (e.g technical reports, papers, presentations);
• An ability to interact with professionals from different disciplines and work as part of a multidisciplinary team across various locations, settings and research sites;
• Demonstrated ability in developing strategic partnerships and stakeholder engagement to interface between the academic community and external partners and stakeholders;
• Experience of, or exposure to creating professional connections with potential collaborators and project partners at an international, national, and regional level;
• Professional approach with a commitment to equality, diversity, dignity and respect in the workplace
• The ability and willingness to travel locally between Newcastle University and research sites;
• A willingness to take on the day-to-day supervision of PhD students as requested by the PI (Desirable)


• PhD awarded (or nearing completion) in chemistry/chemical engineering or a closely related discipline
• Driving licence – the ability to drive in the UK with an appropriate driving licence

Newcastle University is committed to being a fully inclusive Global University which actively recruits, supports and retains colleagues from all sectors of society. We value diversity as well as celebrate, support and thrive on the contributions of all our employees and the communities they represent.We are proud to be an equal opportunities employer and encourage applications from everybody, regardless of race, sex, ethnicity, religion, nationality, sexual orientation, age, disability, gender identity, marital status/civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, as well as being open to flexible working practices.

The University holds a silver Athena SWAN award in recognition of our good employment practices for the advancement of gender equality. The University also holds the HR Excellence in Research award for our work to support the career development of our researchers, and is a member of the Euraxess initiative supporting researchers in Europe.

We understand how important the full employment package is to our colleagues at Newcastle University and we are committed to providing a great range of benefits and discounts for all. You can learn more about what is available here on ourBenefitsWebsite page.

Requisition ID: 13167

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