Materials Science Engineer (KTP Associate)

Updated: 4 months ago
Deadline: 13 Jun 2023

Faculty of Environment, Science & Economy

The above full--time KTP post is available immeidately (start date must be between July and August 2023) for 2 years with Fiberight UK Ltd and the Engineering department at the University of Exeter.

The successful candidate will be employed by the University of Exeter (with some travel to Exeter involved), but will be primarily based in Swansea, Wales at Fiberight’s premises. 

Summary of the role

This is an opportunity for a Materials Scientist to work as the KTP Associate on a Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) between the University of Exeter and Fiberight Ltd, helping develop new systems, processes and methodologies for materials testing and recycling, with the potential to redefine how people recycle plastics in the UK and how industry analyses them to get maximum value.

Fiberight is helping to enhance the recycling industry in the UK, through establishment and operation of the most advanced recycling plants. Only 7% of flexible plastic packaging placed on the market is collected for recycling, with the rest ending up in landfill or incineration. Using Fiberight’s patented HYDRACYCLETM process, they accept and processes unsorted non-hazardous household and commercial waste, which is not processed by other recycling plants. Resources are recovered and then converted into high-value materials and products. The largest portion of the waste stream processed by Fiberight is unrecycled plastics, including significant volumes of Polyethylene (PE) found in post-consumer packaging. Thus, characterising plastic polymer types and maximising their recovery is key to the economics of the process. This project provides the opportunity to take a lead on developing new systems that help transform material monitoring, data collection and analysis and will increase recycling recovery rates in the UK, transforming our use of materials so that resources stay within a circular economy.

The project will involve a review of materials monitoring and detection methods, such as in-line spectroscopy but also other, as yet unproven, techniques from technology providers.  A process of optimisation of these monitoring methods will then be carried out alongside materials characterisation, and development of appropriate models for collection and interpretation of big data. This is an exciting opportunity to work with a growing company and make a real difference to how much plastic is recycled in the UK, with the potential to change the way we do this and start to influence policy and practice, whilst ensuring maximum quality of the material and benefiting the circular economy. You will bring new and exciting thinking to a growing industry with the chance to develop innovative processes and make a significant impact to both the company and society.

About you

Required attributes of candidates:

  • A materials science or engineering background
  • Self-starter, who is happy to work alone and as part of an embedded team
  • Confidence in own abilities with the ability to work autonomously, with dedication, strong attention to detail and a flexible approach.
  • Excellent communication skills

Desirable attributes of the candidate:

  • A masters’ level qualification in Science or Engineering background
  • Project management experience of a research project
  • Knowledge of various spectroscopy or other monitoring technique

Knowledge Transfer Partnerships are a fantastic opportunity to work with academia and industry and lead on a specific project. Support, guidance and training will be provided and the position includes a £3,000 personal development budget, a two-week residential training course at Ashorne Hill on management skills and 10% of your time dedicated to training and personal development.

The successful candidate will be employed by the University of Exeter (with some travel to Exeter involved), but will be primarily based in Swansea, Wales at Fiberight’s premises. 

Please ensure you read the Job Description and Person Specification for full details of this role.

The University of Exeter

We are a member of the prestigious Russell Group of research-intensive universities and in the top 150 universities in the world (Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2023 and the 2022 Academic Ranking of World Universities released by Shanghai Rankings).  

Our research income in recent years means we’re the fastest growing UK Research University with some of the world’s most influential scientists, and we seek to answer some of the most fundamental issues facing humankind today. More than 99% of our research is of international quality and our world-leading research impact is growing faster than any other Russell Group university (2021 Research Excellence Framework). We are using the power of our education and research to create a sustainable, healthy and socially just future.  Our shared purpose and vision continually moves us forward to make a difference to our people, our communities, our partners and the world around us.  Read about our world leading research on Green Futures and how we are transforming education for a changing world. We are located in a beautiful part of the country and Exeter (a fast growing tech hub) is one of only a few UK cities to have been designated as a UNESCO City of Literature

Our Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Commitment

Whilst all applicants will be judged on merit alone, we particularly welcome applications from groups currently underrepresented within our working community. Reasonable adjustments are available for interviews and workplaces.

With over 30,000 students and 7,000 staff from 150 different countries we offer a diverse and engaging environment where our diversity is celebrated and valued as a major strength. We are committed to creating an inclusive culture where all members of our community are supported to thrive; where diverse voices are heard through our engagement with evidence-based charter frameworks for gender (Athena SWAN and Project Juno for Physics), race equality (Race Equality Charter Mark), LGBTQ+ inclusion (Stonewall Diversity Champion) and as a Disability Confident employer.

For further information please contact Paul McCutchion -

We would like to see both CV and cover letters detailing how you meet the attributes outlined in the personal specification.  Due to the nature of the role, we will only shortlist candidates who clearly demonstrate their suitability for this role via a covering letter and personal statement.

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