Postdoctoral Research Associate in Liquid Desiccant Systems

Updated: 3 months ago
Location: Durham, ENGLAND

Postdoctoral Research Associate in Liquid Desiccant Systems (
Job Number:
Department of Engineering
Grade 7: - £35,333 - £42,155 per annum
Fixed Term - Full Time
Contract Duration: 14 months
Contracted Hours per Week: 35
Closing Date
: 31-Aug-2022, 6:59:00 PM 

Durham University

Durham University is one of the world's top universities with strengths across the Arts and Humanities, Sciences and Social Sciences. We are home to some of the most talented scholars and researchers from around the world who are tackling global issues and making a difference to people's lives.

The University sits in a beautiful historic city where it shares ownership of a UNESCO World Heritage Site with Durham Cathedral, the greatest Romanesque building in Western Europe. A collegiate University, Durham recruits outstanding students from across the world and offers an unmatched wider student experience.

Less than 3 hours north of London, and an hour and a half south of Edinburgh, County Durham is a region steeped in history and natural beauty. The Durham Dales, including the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, are home to breath-taking scenery and attractions. Durham offers an excellent choice of city, suburban and rural residential locations. The University provides a range of benefits including pension and childcare benefits and the University’s Relocation Manager can assist with potential schooling requirements.

Durham University seeks to promote and maintain an inclusive and supportive environment for work and study that assists all members of our University community to reach their full potential. Diversity brings strength and we welcome applications from across the international, national and regional communities that we work with and serve.

The Department

The Department of Engineering is consistently one of the very best UK engineering departments with an outstanding reputation for excellence in teaching, research and employability of our students.  The Department is ranked 4th in the Complete University Guide, 5th in the Guardian University Guide and 6th in the Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2022 in the UK for General Engineering.  Ranked in the top six in the UK for overall profile in REF 2021 (with 95% of publications rated as 4* and 3*), this dynamic Department is an excellent place to work.  The strategic vision for the Department includes a growth plan of over 50% over the next five years, with a significant enhancement of the research challenge portfolio and a drive to enrich our undergraduate, postgraduate taught and postgraduate research provision.  It is an exciting time to join this expanding Department and make your mark.

Led by Professor Tony Roskilly, the Thermal Energy Systems Node in the Engineering Department consists of 23 staff members ranging from academic, post-doctoral research staff, administration and technical personnel. A number of researchers from Anthropology, Chemistry, Earth Sciences, Biological Science and Durham University Business School also support the Node’s collaborative research activities directly. Over the last two years, the Node has been awarded research projects worth a total of more than £30m primarily from Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council and Innovate UK. The node themes include decarbonisation of heating and cooling; industrial decarbonisation; hydrogen fuelled transportation; engine technology; energy storage; and thermochemical energy systems.

The Department holds an Athena SWAN Bronze Award, recognising our commitment to diversity in STEM academic and reflecting the supportive and positive environment within the Department.

The Role

Applications are invited for a Postdoctoral Research Associate in liquid desiccant systems and thermochemical networks with a particular emphasis on the recovery, storage and use of low-grade waste heat for temperature and humidity control application to join the Thermal Energy Systems Node.

The post holder with be responsible to Dr Janie Ling-Chin and will be expected to carry out high quality work closely with academic colleagues and industrial partners to ensure projects are successfully delivered on time, within budget and meeting all objectives. The post holder will work directly with Dr Janie Ling-Chin and Professor Tony Roskilly and contribute to research projects which require expertise in liquid desiccant systems, thermochemical networks and low-grade heat recovery technologies, covering fundamental concept development, laboratory and modelling work.


  • To understand and convey material of a specialist or highly technical nature to the team or group of people through presentations and discussions that leads to the presentation of research papers in conferences and publications.
  • To prepare and deliver presentations on research outputs/activities to audiences which may include research sponsors, academic and non-academic audiences
  • To analyse or undertake basic research by deciding how best to apply existing methodology according to overall context and objectives
  • To publish high quality outputs, including papers for submission to peer reviewed journals and papers for presentation at conferences and workshops under the direction of the Principal Investigator or Grant-holder.
  • To assist with the development of research objectives and proposals.
  • To conduct individual and collaborative research projects under the direction of the Principal Investigator or Grant-holder.
  • To work with the Principal Investigator or Grant-holder and other colleagues in the research group, as appropriate, to identify areas for research, develop new research methods and extend the research portfolio.
  • To deal with problems that may affect the achievement of research objectives and deadlines by discussing with the Principal Investigator or Grant-holder and offering creative or innovative solutions.
  • To liaise with research colleagues and make internal and external contacts to develop knowledge and understanding to form relationships for future research collaboration.
  • To plan and manage own research activity, research resources in collaboration with others and contribute to the planning of research projects.
  • To deliver training in research techniques/approaches to peers, visitors and students as appropriate.
  • To be involved in student supervision, as appropriate, and assist with the assessment of the knowledge of students.
  • To contribute to fostering a collegial and respectful working environment which is inclusive and welcoming and where everyone is treated fairly with dignity and respect.
  • To engage in wider citizenship to support the department and wider discipline.
  • To engage in continuing professional development by participation in the undergraduate or postgraduate teaching programmes or by membership of departmental committees, etc. and by attending relevant training and development courses.   

This post is fixed term for 14 months and the funding is available from 1 October 2022 for this fixed period subject to approval.

The post-holder is employed to work on research/a research project which will be led by another colleague. Whilst this means that the post-holder will not be carrying out independent research in his/her own right, the expectation is that they will contribute to the advancement of the project, through the development of their own research ideas/adaptation and development of research protocols.

Successful applicants will commence work as soon as possible from the 1 October 2022.

How to Apply

For informal enquiries please contact Dr Janie Ling-Chin (  All enquiries will be treated in the strictest confidence. 

We prefer to receive applications online via the Durham University Vacancies Site. As part of the application process, you should provide details of 3 (preferably academic/research) referees and the details of your current line manager so that we may seek an employment reference.

Applications are particularly welcome from women and black and minority ethnic candidates, who are under-represented in academic posts in the University.

What to Submit

All applicants are asked to submit:

  • A CV;
  • Covering letter which details your experience, strengths and potential in the requirements set out above
  • Next Steps

    The assessment for the post will include the applicants’ ability to satisfy the essential and desirable requirements. Shortlisted candidates will be invited for interview and assessment on a date to be confirmed.

    The Requirements



  • A good first degree in Engineering with a high thermodynamics’ emphasis and content (equivalent to a UK upper 2nd class/ 2:1 honours degree or higher).
  • A PhD in liquid desiccant systems development.
  • Experience

  • Minimum five-year experience of conducting high quality fundamental and applied research in liquid desiccant technology and thermochemical networks.
  • Solid background and thorough understanding of thermodynamics and heat and mass transfer in gas-liquid systems.
  • Extensive experience in both experimental and computational research on liquid desiccant systems and thermochemical networks: designing systems and networks; selecting and handling working fluids (conventional and innovative); setting up, running and controlling experimental test rigs; modelling and validating results.
  • Specialist knowledge of using desiccant solutions to store and transport energy in thermochemical form for temperature and humidity control applications.
  • Demonstrable ability to publish high quality journal articles (both review and research papers) and well-written technical reports for a range of stakeholders.
  • Experience of working closely with industry and delivering techno-economic feasibility studies.
  • Experience in supporting the development of interdisciplinary research proposals, leading to at least 2 successful funding applications.
  • Skills

  • Ability to work independently on own initiative and to strict deadlines
  • Excellent skills in computer programming using MATLAB, Simulink and EES (Engineering Equation Solver) and other relevant dynamic simulation software.
  • Excellent communication and research dissemination skills as evidenced by oral presentations at multiple stakeholder events.
  • Desirable:

    Additional expertise requirements

  • Knowledge of low-grade waste heat recovery technologies.
  • Excellent organisation skills.
  • Excellent interpersonal skills and demonstrable ability to liaise with a range of stakeholders and work collaboratively as part of an interdisciplinary team.

  • DBS Requirement: Not Applicable.
    View or Apply

    Similar Positions