Research Assistant - Marie Curie Early Stage Researcher

Job summary

This research assistant will work as a Marie Curie Early Stage Researcher as part of the MATHEGRAM MSCA funded by the EU. MATHEGRAM aims to improve our understanding of the thermomechanical behaviour of granular materials. In particular, MATHEGRAM aims to answer the following research questions: 1) How does temperature increase within granular materials without the application of external heating sources? 2) How does temperature affect the...

Job listing information

  • Reference ENG00602
  • Date posted 15 November 2018
  • Closing date 11 January 2019

Job description

Job summary

This research assistant will work as a Marie Curie Early Stage Researcher as part of the MATHEGRAM MSCA funded by the EU.

MATHEGRAM aims to improve our understanding of the thermomechanical behaviour of granular materials. In particular, MATHEGRAM aims to answer the following research questions:

1) How does temperature increase within granular materials without the application of external heating sources?

2) How does temperature affect the physical properties of granular materials? 3) How can the thermomechanical properties of granular materials be effectively utilised in various applications, e.g. additive manufacturing, powder coating, sintering and catalysis?

MATHEGRAM will deliver a timely, concerted research and training programme to address these challenging questions, bringing together a multi-disciplinary and inter-sectorial consortium consisting of 10 beneficiaries (i.e. full partners), and 5 partner organisations. The MATHEGRAM vision is to develop robust numerical models and novel experimental techniques that can predict the performance and measure the properties of granular materials at different temperatures, so that they can be effectively used in various industries.

The researcher will use the recently developed temperature-controlled equipment available at IC to examine the macromechanics of various granular materials, comprised of base materials with differing thermal conductivities, under controlled deformation. These experimental equipment include triaxial cells and oedometers that enable independent variation of stress and temperature. Two of the triaxial cells have a set of specially-designed pedestals and top cap that can be used to apply a temperature gradient across the cell to determine the material’s thermal conductivity and response. Materials with simple geometries, well suited to accurate modelling in Discrete Element Method modelling, will also be considered and the thermal properties will be varied using particles of different materials. The research will involve collaboration with a second MATHEGRAM researcher who will work on Discrete Element Modelling.

This is a fixed term appointment for up to 36 months.

Duties and responsibilities


  • To take initiatives in the planning of research and work as an independent researcher.

  • To develop, implement and verify experimental procedures for thermal testing of materials, including, but not limited to, sample preparation.

  • To develop robust and efficient approaches for analysing experimental data.

  • To interpret and contextualise experimental data.

  • To link appropriately the experimental results with ongoing numerical simulations at Imperial College London

  • To conduct and plan own scientific work with appropriate supervision.

  • To maintain accurate and complete records of all findings and equipment development.

  • To interact positively with the MATHEGRAM community.

  • To engage with the MATHEGRAM mobility programme which will require a secondment outside of Imperial.

  • To assist in organizing project workshops and other MATHEGRAM community events.

  • To present findings to colleagues and at conferences, workshops, and to industry.

  • To submit high quality publications to refereed journals

  • To promote the reputation of the Geotechnics Section, the Department and the College

  • To actively participate in the research programme of the Geotechnics Section.

  • 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 assist in the supervision of undergraduate and postgraduate research students.

Essential requirements

You must have a relevant engineering or scientific education leading to either a Bachelors or Masters degree (or equivalent) in civil, mechanical or chemical engineering, materials science or physics.

You will have previous experience in the following areas:    

  • Knowledge of experimental procedures for soil testing
  • Experience with data interpretation and management
  • Knowledge of MS Excel or MATLAB or Python
  • Understanding of granular material (including soil) behaviour

You will have the following attributes / skills:

  • Ability to present at meetings, conferences and seminars with authority and coherence
  • Willingness to work as part of a team and to be open-minded and cooperative
  • 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, attend conferences and interact with MATHEGRAM community
  • Willingness to work out of normal working hours (including weekends) if the requirements of the project demand.

Further information

Eligibility requirements:

1. Researchers must be ‘early-stage researchers’, i.e. at the date of recruitment (the date on which their employment on the project starts) be in the first four years (fulltime equivalent research experience) of their research careers and have not been awarded a doctoral degree.

'Full-time equivalent research experience' is measured from the date when the researcher obtained the degree entitling him/her to embark on a doctorate (either in the country in which the degree was obtained or in the country in which the researcher is recruited or from where he/she is seconded) – even if a doctorate was never started or envisaged.

2. Researchers may not have resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc.) in the country of their host organisation for more than 12 months in the three years immediately before the date of recruitment.

For informal enquiries about the post please contact Dr David Taborda at d.taborda@imperial.ac.uk.

Further information about the post is available in the job description. 

Any queries regarding the application process should be directed to Lucy Chivers at l.chivers@imperial.ac.uk.

Documents

About Imperial College London

Imperial College London is the UK’s only university focussed entirely on science, engineering, medicine and business and we are consistently rated in the top 10 universities in the world.

You will find our main London campus in South Kensington, with our hospital campuses located nearby in West and North London. We also have Silwood Park in Berkshire and state-of-the-art facilities in development at our major new campus in White City.

We work in a multidisciplinary and diverse community for education, research, translation and commercialisation, harnessing science and innovation to tackle the big global challenges our complex world faces.

It’s our mission to achieve enduring excellence in all that we do for the benefit of society – and we are looking for the most talented people to help us get there.

Additional information

Please note that job descriptions cannot be exhaustive and the post-holder may be required to undertake other duties, which are broadly in line with the above key responsibilities.

All Imperial employees are expected to follow the 7 principles of Imperial Expectations: 

  • Champion a positive approach to change and opportunity
  • Communicate regularly and effectively within, and across, teams
  • Consider the thoughts and expectations of others
  • Deliver positive outcomes
  • Encourage inclusive participation and eliminate discrimination
  • Develop and grow skills and expertise
  • Work in a planned and managed way 

In addition to the above, employees are required to observe and comply with all College policies and regulations.

Imperial College is committed to equality of opportunity, to eliminating discrimination and to creating an inclusive working environment. We are an Athena SWAN Silver award winner, a Stonewall Diversity Champion, a Disability Confident Employer and work in partnership with GIRES to promote respect for trans people.