Postdoctoral Research Associate

This vacancy is now closed
Job Title Postdoctoral Research Associate
Job Reference 060/18/TH
Post Type Full time, 3 year fixed term (untill March 2021)
Division Physical Science
Salary information £32,805 to £38,593 (Discretionary range to £44,382)
Application deadline 20/06/2018

Job Description

START: Synchrotron Techniques for African Research and Technology

PDRA project: Structural studies of thin film materials for energy

Diamond has recently been awarded a large grant under the UK Global Challenge Research Funding scheme that looks to develop improved interactions with other countries that are eligible to receive official development assistance (Overseas Aid). One aspect of this grant is to use synchrotron radiation together with researchers from Africa to study a range of materials of potential use in energy conversion or storage. This PDRA position will be based at Diamond but will involve overseas visits to partners in other countries to work together on material production, data collection, analysis, publication and outreach. Example materials include organic blends for photovoltaic devices, CdTe structures and perovskite thin films for solar energy capture. Other related material systems will link to energy storage, for example in batteries or fuel cells. The project aims to make use of many synchrotron based techniques, including grazing incidence diffraction (wide angle and small angle scattering), X-ray reflectivity and spectroscopic techniques to study the materials. One aspect of this position will be to help to support these experiments with the other funded PDRA positions from across the START (Synchrotron Techniques for African Research and Technology) programme.

It is important that the PDRA has a focus for their own research and we will tailor the project to the successful candidate’s interests within the remit of the START programme. We are particularly interested in exploiting recent developments at beamline I07 where a new sample environment has been developed to monitor thin film vacuum deposition of organic materials during growth. This will enable improved understanding of the role of ageing and gas environment (including humidity) on the structural aspects of the films. Correlating the structural morphology of the film with important parameters such as efficiency and stability against heat/humidity will be undertaken with partners in the UK (Oxford, Sheffield, Southampton, Cardiff) and Africa (South Africa, Lesotho, Ethiopia and Egypt). This is a unique opportunity to work with leading researchers in the UK and Africa, to exploit the facilities at Diamond and elsewhere and to develop an independent research profile in this important science area. It would suit an experienced post-doctoral researcher who is motivated to develop the international collaboration and drive their own science programme.

The START programme has a second science stream to study protein structures related to diseases that are prolific in Africa, including identifying potential target areas of the protein for drug development. Whilst not the main focus for this position, there will be the opportunity to be involved in some of these studies as well.

Duties - To work within the Beamline team to undertake research. You will be required to devote some time to support the beamline, fulfilling duties such as acting as local contact, taking part in beamline development projects and discussing experiment and data analysis with outside users.

  • carrying out in-house research activities;
  • carrying out experiments, analysing data and publication of results;
  • maintenance of the beamline during operations;
  • development and testing of new equipment and software;
  • support of users in performing their experiments at Diamond;
  • testing of samples sent to Diamond by users;
  • assisting users with data analysis;
  • keeping up with latest results and research directions internationally;
  • developing experimental and data analysis techniques and implementing them on the beamline.

Qualification & Experience - Essential

  • Appropriate Science Degree;
  • Appropriate PhD and proven relevant experience;
  • Experience or knowledge of research area outlined in the project description;
  • Good knowledge of general concepts and techniques available at synchrotron sources;
  • Experience with hardware relevant to the project as outlined in the project description;
  • Good interpersonal, communication and presentational skills;
  • Ability to interact with staff and facility users at all levels;
  • Ability and initiative to get to the heart of the problem and take it effectively through to completion;
  • Ability to work as part of a multi-disciplinary team;
  • Good organisational and planning skills;
  • Self motivation;
  • Ability to work flexibly with occasional weekend and out-of hours working;
  • Must be available to travel occasionally within the UK and abroad, including overnight absences.

Qualification & Experience - Desirable

  • Experience or knowledge of other related techniques;
  • Experience of sample environment equipment;
  • Experience of synchrotrons / x-ray beamlines;
  • Experience with Windows software;
  • Experience with relevant data analysis software and programming.

Further Information

  • Ability to work flexibly with occasional weekend and out-of hours working;
  • Must be available to travel occasionally within the UK and abroad, including overnight absences.

Applying for employment

For further details on applying for employment at Diamond, please visit our 'Application Form' page.

Appointments will be made depending on the skills and experience of the candidate. Electronic Diamond application forms in MS-Word are preferred. These should be emailed to

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