Research Associate in Hydrogen Energy and Air Pollution Impacts

Job summary

This post provides an opportunity to contribute to research underpinning future development of hydrogen within the transition to net zero, and explore how this may affect future improvement of air pollution. It is funded under a joint project between UCL and Imperial College named COSH-AIR (Community scenarios of hydrogen energy and impacts on air pollution) as part of a NERC programme on hydrogen emissions....

Job listing information

  • Reference NAT01355
  • Date posted 28 March 2023
  • Closing date 28 April 2023

Job description

Job summary

This post provides an opportunity to contribute to research underpinning future development of hydrogen within the transition to net zero, and explore how this may affect future improvement of air pollution. It is funded under a joint project between UCL and Imperial College named COSH-AIR (Community scenarios of hydrogen energy and impacts on air pollution) as part of a NERC programme on hydrogen emissions.

The post is for 15 months and will be based in the Centre for Environmental Policy within Imperial College, internationally recognised for leading research on climate change and environmental security. You will be reporting to Professor Helen ApSimon and Dr Jeremy Woods, and supported by the Integrated Assessment Unit, which undertakes extensive research for government to support post Brexit policy on air pollution. There will be close liaison with work led by Professor Paul Dodds, Professor of Energy Systems, developing and applying world-leading energy modelling in the UCL Energy Institute. You will also be interacting with wider work on future energy scenarios at Imperial, including through the Energy Futures Lab

The future role of hydrogen towards achieving net zero is of increasing interest, and a growth area of research. The aim of this project is to understand how adopting hydrogen technologies is likely to affect air pollution. There are many potential uses for hydrogen, and the allocation of future uptake is very uncertain. But using hydrogen will enable us to reduce our consumption of fossil fuels such as oil and natural gas, and be an alternative to biomass, where, for example, wood used for domestic heating can be highly polluting.

To understand the consequences for air pollution you will examine a range of hydrogen scenarios up to 2050, with different levels of uptake across different sectors. These scenarios will be produced at UCL with the UK TIMES energy system model, which has been adopted by the UK government as their principal in-house model for developing long-term decarbonisation scenarios. You will work at Imperial College to soft-link these UK TIMES scenarios with the UK Integrated Assessment Model, UKIAM, which has been established to model future air pollution scenarios for the UK to 2050. Current application of UKIAM for Defra has emphasized the strong dependence of future air quality on projected energy generation and use, which will be further explored in this project in conjunction with members of the Integrated Assessment Unit.

The ideal candidate will have a PhD (or be close to completing one), and will need strong analytical and computing skills for development and application of computer models. You will need an established background in future energy systems and energy projections, with an interest in environmental impacts including air pollution.   You will also need to have interdisciplinary capabilities, and good communication skills.

Duties and responsibilities

  • Modelling developments to link the UKIAM and TIMES models, and represent new sources and technologies

  • With the support of the Integrated Assessment Unit applying UKIAM to assess the air pollution impacts

  • Close liaison with UCL; and coordination with other related research at Imperial.

  • Maintaining accurate and complete records of all findings; and reporting of the work, including the writing of reports and conference presentation;, and  the preparation of journal papers for publication

In addition you will be expected to:

  • Participate in the activities of the CEP, observing and complying with College policies and regulations, and promoting it as a centre of excellence for teaching and research in Imperial College.

  • To assist in supervising PhD students and M Sc student projects

  • To contribute more generally to research collaboration in the CEP and with UCL, and development of interdisciplinary and policy relevant research.

Essential requirements

  • A PhD (or equivalent) in energy futures or closely related subject

  • Knowledge of measures to achieve net zero and associated scenarios for energy generation; especially including hydrogen production and use.

  • An understanding of sources of air pollution and synergies with reduction of greenhouse gases

  • Experience in computer modelling (e,g using C, Python, GIS) and adapting/developing software. Knowledge of research methods and statistical procedures; and practical experience within a research environment..

  • Experience in environmental modelling and scenario analysis will be an advantage but not essential

  • Excellent oral and written communication skills. Evidence from existing journal publications or conference papers will be helpful.

  • Ability to interact with other academics, and to assist in supervision of post graduate students and presentation of results to specialist and non-specialist audiences.

  • Ability to organise own work with minimal supervision; and work effectively both independently and collaboratively. Ability to prioritise own work in response to deadlines. Discipline and regard for confidentiality and security.

Further information

This is a full time, fixed term position for 15 months from March 2023. You will be based at South Kensington Campus.

Candidates need to complete an on-line application.

Candidates who have not yet been officially awarded their PhD will be appointed as a Research Assistant within the salary range £38,194 - £41,388 per annum.

Please note this is a re-advertisement; previous applicants need not apply.

Should you require any further details on the role please contact Professor ApSimon

The College is currently trialling a Work Location Framework until early 2023.  Hybrid working may be considered for this role and the role holder may be expected to work 60% or more of their time onsite, with 40% the minimum time spent onsite.  The opportunity for hybrid working will be discussed at interview.

Please note the College is a proud signatory to the San-Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA), which means that in hiring and promotion decisions, we evaluate applicants on the quality of their work, not the journal impact factor where it is published. For more information, see

The College believes that the use of animals in research is vital to improve human and animal health and welfare. Animals may only be used in research programmes where their use is shown to be necessary for developing new treatments and making medical advances. Imperial is committed to ensuring that, in cases where this research is deemed essential, all animals in the College’s care are treated with full respect, and that all staff involved with this work show due consideration at every level.


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.

Imperial College is committed to equality of opportunity and to eliminating discrimination. All employees are expected to follow the Imperial Values & Behaviours framework. Our values are: 

  • Respect              
  • Collaboration
  • Excellence          
  • Integrity
  • Innovation

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

We are committed to equality of opportunity, to eliminating discrimination and to creating an inclusive working environment for all. We therefore encourage candidates to apply irrespective of age, disability, marriage or civil partnership status, pregnancy or maternity, race, religion and belief, gender reassignment, sex, or sexual orientation. We are an Athena SWAN Silver Award winner, a Disability Confident Leader and a Stonewall Diversity Champion.

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