Research Assistant/Associate Imperial College School of Chemical Engineering United Kingdom

Job Title:Research Assistant/Associate

Reference: ENG00840
Date posted :11 June 2019
Closing date :16 July 2019
Key information about the role
Location:South Kensington Campus
Position type:Full time, fixed term
Salary:£34,397 – £40,858 plus benefits

Department :Chemical Engineering



Job summary

Job Title: Research Assistant/Associate. Job Family/Level: Research, Level A/B. Salary Range: £34,397 - £40,858. Contract Type : Fixed term for 12 months. The post relates to the 5-year Programme Grant "Integrated Development of Low-Carbon Energy Systems (IDLES): A Whole-System Paradigm for Creating a National Strategy", funded by EPSRC. IDLES's overarching aim is to develop a multi-scale modelling tool that can indicate...


Job listing information

Department Department of Chemical Engineering Category Researcher / Non Clinical Researcher
Job description
Job summary
Job Title: Research Assistant/Associate. Job Family/Level: Research, Level A/B.

Salary Range: £34,397 - £40,858. Contract Type : Fixed term for 12 months.

The post relates to the 5-year Programme Grant "Integrated Development of Low-Carbon Energy Systems (IDLES): A Whole-System Paradigm for Creating a National Strategy", funded by EPSRC. IDLES's overarching aim is to develop a multi-scale modelling tool that can indicate optimal forms of future multi-carrier energy systems, and propose pathways that can support a transition to a future energy system that is reliable, secure, robust, efficient, sustainable and clean. The RA/PDRA will be split over Projects 1 and 2 of the programme, which involve the following challenges: 1) The development of spatially and temporally explicit whole energy system models to reveal the characteristics and energy mix of future energy systems; 2) The development of detailed physics-based techno-economic models of selected technologies; and 3) The development of methodologies for the integration of these models within the previous whole-system level optimisation framework so that they provide useful insights about the trade-offs of different solutions at a material and component level, and the to employ these approaches for the optimal design and operation of a low-carbon future energy system.

In collaboration with the IDLES team, the RA/PDRA will contribute to the development of a whole energy systems model as part of the effort in Project 1. This will involve detailed models for analysing and optimising whole energy systems, considering spatial resolutions ranging from localised to national systems, and temporal resolutions from real-time operation to long-term planning. Of interest are integrated multi-vector energy system approaches that go beyond electricity to consider heat, transport, etc.


About us


The optimisation objectives will not only involve the minimisation of costs or emissions, but also broader issues such as overall primary energy and water resource use efficiency, security of supply, reliability and resilience, minimisation of waste (e.g. nuclear and other waste) and long-term disposal. Technology modelling, which is part of Project 2, will involve, beyond the conventional power generation and domestic loads (refrigerators, heat pumps, electric heaters, etc.), technologies that connect electrical grids and other energy vectors, i.e. fuels/gas/H2, heating/cooling and transport. The effort will include options for heating (e.g., air-/ground-source and hybrid heat pumps), air-conditioning and cooling, combined heat and power, as well as the decarbonisation of the gas network, storage of all energy vectors (with technologies across scales, such as batteries, compressed air, pumped thermal, power-to-gas, "cold chain" and liquid air/N2 technologies, etc.) including thermal energy (hot/cold) storage, a range of renewable technologies (wind, solar, marine/tidal/wave, biomass/gas, etc.), hydrogen fuel cells, CCS, cross-vector conversions and transport (electric and hybrid vehicles, rail, etc.). A selection of available practices in key industrial sectors for improved energy efficiency will also be considered (i.e. energy saving, waste-heat recovery (e.g. with ORCs), heat/steam generation or cooling via technology implementation). Both centralized and distributed solutions are of interest.

*Candidates who have not yet been officially awarded their PhD will be appointed as Research Assistant within the salary range £34,397- £37,486 per annum.

Duties and responsibilities

To undertake research as defined by the research supervisor and take into account recommendations by the project collaborators and sponsors. To work in collaboration with the IDLES research team for the identification of priority technologies which can have significant impact on the whole energy system. To work with the project partners in order to define specifications for the technologies to be modelled and to define system-level requirements based on technical and economic parameters and factors. To work in collaboration with members of the Clean Energy Processes (CEP) Laboratory Research Group to gather models of interested technologies that are already available. To collaborate with Project 1 and 2 team members for the compilation of an energy solutions database, including performance, cost and emission characteristics at different scales and levels of operation. To contribute to the development of techniques that capture the required technology fidelity in whole-system simulations according to the accuracy the system requires. To liaise with collaborators in order to obtain necessary data/models. To develop implement, and when possible test/validate models of the considered technologies. To implement all models within easy-to-use software environments and interfaces to be integrated with the approaches of the other projects of the IDLES programme. To use these models to assess the technical and economic performance of individual components and devices, and of the whole system in different applications. To identify and develop suitable techniques and apparatus for the collection and analysis of data collected from manufacturers. To conduct data analysis. To prepare publications for international journals when suitable. To assist with elements of journal management and editing, and in particular, in relation to journal Applied Thermal Engineering, as requested by the project supervisor. To assist with the analysis of data. To ensure the validity and reliability of data at all times. To maintain accurate and complete records of all findings. To assist with the writing of reports to research sponsors. To provide periodic written progress updates. To present findings to colleagues and at conferences in written and oral form. To provide advice to other staff and students. To comply with College, Division, and Unit safety practices and attend courses on safety as appropriate. To assist with the publication of findings. To attend relevant workshops and conferences as necessary. To develop contacts and research collaborations within the College and the wider community. To promote the reputation of the Group, the Department and the College.

In addition, at Research Associate level : To take initiatives in the planning of research. To direct/co-supervise the work of small research teams with other RAs, PhD and/or Masters students. To write reports for submission to research sponsors if and when requested. To submit publications to refereed journals. To provide guidance to staff and students and to PhD and Masters students. Assist in the supervision of undergraduate and postgraduate research students and research. Contribute to bids for research grants. To conduct and plan own scientific work with appropriate supervision. To maintain highly organised and accurate record of modelling and experimental work. To actively participate in the research programme of the Group. To publish in high quality journals and to present data at national and international meetings. To participate in Group research meetings and internal seminars. To collaborate with other allied scientists within Imperial College and elsewhere in London and abroad, as appropriate. To contribute to the smooth running of the Group's laboratories and, facilities with other scientists, clinicians, technicians and students within the laboratories.

Essential requirements
Education :

Research Associate

Hold Masters and PhD (or equivalent) degrees in Chemical/Mechanical/Electrical engineering, Physics or a closely related discipline, or equivalent research, industrial or commercial experience.


Research Assistant

Hold a Masters (or equivalent) degree in Chemical/Mechanical/Electrical engineering, Physics or a closely related discipline, or equivalent research, industrial or commercial experience.

Experience : Practical experience within a research environment and / or publication in relevant and refereed journals. Relevant experience in a broad range of modelling and simulation techniques for design and techno-economic assessments or relevant energy technologies.

Knowledge : Knowledge of the underlying physical processes related to technologies of interest. Broad knowledge of energy conversion technologies (both conventional and renewable) for heating, cooling and electricity infrastructures (heating, electricity networks), plus storage


Skills and Abilities :


Ability to conduct a detailed review of recent literature. Ability to develop and apply new concepts. Creative approach to problem-solving. Excellent verbal communication skills and the ability to deal with a wide range of people. Excellent written communication skills and the ability to write clearly and succinctly for publication. Ability to organise own work with minimal supervision. Ability to prioritise own work in response to deadlines. Familiarity with modelling and optimisation tools (e.g. Python, MATLAB, GAMS or other). Advanced computer skills, including word-processing, spreadsheets and the Internet. Ability to direct the work of a small research team and motivate others to produce a high standard of work.



Other :


Willingness to work as part of a team and to be open-minded and cooperative. Willingness to support activities relating to journal management and editing. Flexible attitude towards work. Discipline and regard for confidentiality and security at all times. Willingness to undertake any necessary training for the role. Willingness to travel both within the United Kingdom and abroad to conduct research and attend conferences. Willingness to work out of normal working hours (including weekends) if the requirements of the project demand.

Further information
Informal enquiries about the post can be made to Professor Christos Markides ( ).

To apply, please click the Apply Now button at the top of the page.


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