Research Assistant in Heterogeneous Catalysis

Updated: 4 months ago
Location: Cardiff, WALES


Research Assistant in Heterogeneous Catalysis
Cardiff School of Chemistry
Cardiff University

We are looking for a motivated scientist to join the heterogeneous catalysis research group at Cardiff, which is one of the largest in the UK and has an internationally recognized profile in the design and understanding of catalysis.

Interested applicants should have a degree in Chemistry (or equivalent industrial experience) and preferably a PhD (or nearing completion/submission) in heterogeneous catalysis, and experience of catalyst synthesis, characterization and performance evaluation in both electrochemical cells and also standard batch reactors for redox reactions.

For informal enquiries about the role and the School of Chemistry, please contact: Professor Graham Hutchings, email: .

For further details about working at Cardiff University, please contact Ms Alison Blake ( ; 029 2087 4805).

This position is full time (35 hours per week) and is available from 1 October 2019 for 12 months.

Salary: £27,025 - £31,302 per annum (Grade 5)

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 8787BR.

Date advert posted: Monday, 15 July 2019

Closing date: Thursday, 15 August 2019

Please be aware that Cardiff University reserves the right to close this vacancy early should sufficient applications be received.

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 contribute to research in the field of understanding synergy that can be observed between gold and palladium supported nanocatalysts, carrying out supporting work that helps lead to the publishing of research in high-quality journals. To pursue excellence in research and to inspire others to do the same.

Main Duties and Responsibilities

  • To undertake research, e.g. by planning, preparing, setting up, conducting and recording the outcome of experiments;
  • Actively participate within the research group, communicating and presenting research at meetings, through publications and other recognised avenues as appropriate, ensuring information is communicated to internal and external partners;
  • To contribute and support research publications and presentations as required;
  • To contribute and support research funding bids as required;
  • To analyse and communicate complex ideas, concepts and data using appropriate methods and packages;
  • To resolve issues and support colleagues in devising procedures required to ensure accurate and timely reporting;
  • To generate research output and contribute to the development of independent and original ideas as appropriate;
  • To provide support in research activities for undergraduate courses and research programmes and provide guidance to other members of staff within the research team;
  • To maintain and update area of specialist knowledge, researching and critically appraising relevant literature within the area.
  • To participate in School administration and activities to promote the School and its work to the wider University and the outside world;
  • To undergo personal and professional development that is appropriate to and which will enhance performance;
  • 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 and Inclusivity;
  • Any other duties not included above, but consistent with the role.

Person Specification

Essential Criteria

Qualifications and Education

  • A degree in Chemistry, or equivalent industrial experience
  • Knowledge, Skills and Experience
  • Knowledge and experience of heterogeneous catalysis at an advanced level, particularly catalysis research in collaborative international environments, and of the following techniques: 1) the preparation of nanocatalysts particularly those comprising gold and palladium and synthesis using a range of different methods, particularly by sol immobilisation, of highly dispersed metal catalysts on a range of supports; 2) the use of cyclic voltammetry and other electrochemical techniques to understand how bimetallic catalysts function; (3) the characterisation of heterogeneous catalysts by X-Ray Diffraction (XRD), Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM), Temperature-Programmed Reduction (TPR); 4) the liquid phase catalytic reactor testing for redox using high pressure autoclaves and the analysis of the reaction products, particularly with an advanced knowledge of HPLC and HPLC maintenance; 5) experience in the construction of reactors for catalyst testing
  • Proven ability to analyse complex information and summarise appropriately
  • Knowledge and understanding of competitive research funding to be able to develop applications to funding bodies
  • Proven ability to be successful in the synthesis of high activity and high selectivity materials as oxidation catalysts
  • Communication and Team Working
  • Proven communication skills, including presentation to various audiences
  • Excellent organisational and team-working skills
  • Other
  • Proven ability to demonstrate creativity, innovation and team working within work
  • Ability to supervise day-to-day lab work of graduate/undergraduate research students
  • Ability to assist the preparation/submission of manuscripts to international peer-reviewed journals and excellent oral presentation skills

  • Desirable Criteria
  • Postgraduate degree at PhD level (or nearing completion / submission) in heterogeneous catalysis
  • Evidence of collaborations with industry
  • Proven ability to work without close supervision
  • Proven ability to adapt to the changing requirements of the Higher Education community
  • Fluency in Welsh, written and oral

  • Additional Information

    Project Description

    The aim of this project is to synthesise supported gold and palladium nanoparticles with controlled structure and morphology with utilisation in high impact catalytic applications. We will focus on the development of supported Au and Pd based nanoparticles to gain a detailed understanding of the origin of the synergy that can be observed in redox catalysis with these tow metals. We will also explore other metal combinations and possibly trimetallic combinations such as gold palladium and platinum. To tackle this multidisciplinary proposal, we will use state-of-the-art experimental facilities at Cardiff including (i) a range of well-established and novel methods for the synthesis of size and shape controlled nanoparticles, (ii) batch reactors oxidation reactions and (iii) electrochemistry techniques to fully characterise and correlate structure-activity relationships. The proposed research team has in depth experience in the highlighted areas. Moreover, the proposed work is based on recent experience and proof of concept in the synthesis of materials and catalytic applications and a significant number of high impact papers have been published by the PI and Co-Is. This project gives an excellent opportunity to the PDRA to work in challenging areas and tackling major important catalysis challenges.

    Job Category

    Academic - Research

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