Research Assistant in Heterogeneous Catalysis
Cardiff University - Cardiff

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Research Assistant in Heterogeneous Catalysis

School of Chemistry

We are looking for a bright, 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. The position is available immediately to carry out research on “ Synthesis of Higher Alcohols from Synthesis Gas: A Structure-Activity Study of CoMoC catalysts for the CO 2 and CH 4 free synthesis of C 2 +alcohols” under the direction of Professor Graham Hutchings and in conjunction SABIC.

Interested applicants should excellent first degree in chemistry and a preferably a PhD in heterogeneous catalysis, or a closely related area, and experience of catalyst synthesis, characterization and performance evaluation.

If you would like to find out more please contact Professor Graham Hutchings , Tel: +44 (0)29208 74059 ; email: wilsonk5@cardiff.ac.uk

The post is fixed-term for 10 months and is available form 01 May 2013.

Salary: £24,766 - £28,685 per annum (Grade 5)

To work for an employer that values and promotes equality of opportunity, please visit www.cardiff.ac.uk/jobs and search for vacancy number: 920BR .

Closing date: 18th April 2013

Job Description
Main Function of Post:
To carry out research in heterogeneous catalysis under the direction of Professor Graham Hutchings . The appointee will also be required to engage in outreach activities and the daily supervision of postgraduate students, along with independent drafting of scientific articles.

Job Description:
  • To undertake the synthesis and screening of heterogeneous solid acid catalysts.
  • To write and maintain accurate records of the research being undertaken.
  • To carry out Synthesis of Higher Alcohols from Synthesis Gas: A Structure-Activity Study of CoMoC catalysts for the CO2 and CH4 free synthesis of C2 +alcohols
  • To undertake surface and bulk characterisation of catalysts
  • To lead experimental design, project management and supervision of postgraduate students.
  • To prepare written summaries of the research undertaken and scientific papers, and participate in public engagement in science communications.
  • To analyse and interpret the results of the research project.
  • To communicate and present research results within the research group, and at national and international meetings, and through other recognised avenues as appropriate.
  • To assist in liaison with academic and industrial collaborators.
  • To ensure compliance with legal and regulatory requirements in respect of equality and diversity, data protection, copyright and licensing, security, financial and other University policies, procedures and codes as appropriate.
  • To take reasonable care for the health and safety of yourself and of other persons who may be affected by your acts or omissions at work in accordance with the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, EC directives and the University’s Safety, Health and Environment Policies and procedures and to cooperate with the University on any legal duties placed on it as the employer.
  • You may be asked to perform other duties occasionally which are not included above, but which will be consistent with the role.

Person Specification
Essential Criteria

  • Research experience in the area of heterogeneous catalysis
  • Proven ability to work as part of a team.
  • Proven ability to conduct quantitative and qualitative research studies.
  • 2:1 or 1 st Class MChem Honours degree (or equivalent) in Chemistry
  • Synthesis and characterisation of heterogeneous catalysts, particularly solid acids and oxide supported catalysts
  • A broad grounding in catalyst characterisation techniques, including XRD, TPR/TPO, Raman, FTIR, BET, XPS and TGA.
  • Knowledge of Liquid and/or gas phase catalytic reaction screening by e.g. GC, IR, MS or LC
  • Supervision of graduate and undergraduate research students
  • Ability to play a leading role in research group in developing independent research pathways
  • Strong track record of publication and preparation/submission of manuscripts to international peer-reviewed journals and excellent oral presentation skills

  • Desirable Criteria

  • Experience of liaising with industrial partners or more preferably a period of experience in an industrial environment
  • Construction and operation of high pressure reactors
  • Investigation of reaction mechanisms and GC or NMR analysis
  • Ability to handle gases under high pressures and autoclaves
  • Experience of using high pressure flow reactors for evaluation of Fischer Tropsch catalysts.
  • Experience of Fischer Tropsch product analysis using GC and expertise in calculating and presenting data.


  • Additional Information
    Project Description
    The process of Fischer Tropsch synthesis is an important process for the production of a wide range of chemicals and fuels. This project will involve the synthesis of a wide range of catalysts using a variety of catalyst preparation techniques. Catalysts will be characterised using a variety of solid-state analytical techniques, to explore the chemistry and structure of the catalysts. The performance of catalysts will be evaluated in high pressure continuous flow microreactors, under industrially relevant conditions. Complex analysis of the reaction products will be required to assess the full potential of new candidate catalysts.

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