Postdoctoral Research Associate

Postdoctoral Research Associate in Modelling and Optimization of Versatile Adsorption Processes for the Capture of Carbon Dioxide from Industrial Sources.

A 3 year, fixed term postdoctoral appointment is available in the School of Engineering at the University of Edinburgh to work on the FlexICCS EPSRC-funded collaborative project (EP/N024613/1).

The objective of the project is to develop advanced simulation tools for rapid pressure swing (RPSA) and rotary thermal swing (RWA) adsorption processes that will be coupled to optimization methods to develop novel solutions for carbon capture applications from industrial emissions. This work is part of broader activities of the FlexICCS project which includes novel material development (EastChem groups of Professors Campbell – Edinburgh – and Wright – St Andrews). Prof. Brandani, Dr Friedrich (RPSA) and Dr Mangano (RWA) will supervise the research programme.

The successful candidate will be responsible for all aspects of the project associated with the implementation of the models for the adsorption processes and their validation based on experimental systems (RWA, DPPSA and 6-Column PSA units) available at the University of Edinburgh. The validated models will then be incorporated into an optimization framework which will be used to design modular versatile units that can be used for carbon capture applications from various industrial sources. The project includes several industrial partners who will provide data for the specific case studies.

The successful candidate for this position should have a PhD in Chemical Engineering or other relevant field and have extensive experience in modelling dynamic systems. Experience with process optimization is desirable. The post is expected to start in September 2016. Candidates invited for interview will be informed no later than two working weeks after the close of applications. Informal enquiries to:
Prof Stefano Brandani; and Dr Daniel Friedrich

Job Details

Job title: Postdoctoral Research Associate in Modelling and Optimization of Versatile Adsorption Processes for the Capture of Carbon Dioxide from Industrial Sources.

School/Support Department: School of Engineering

Unit: Institute for Materials and Processes

Line manager: Prof. Stefano Brandani

Job Purpose

The primary responsibility includes all aspects of the project associated with the modelling and optimization of adsorption processes. This includes the development of efficient and accurate models for rapid adsorption processes; validation of the models using bespoke in-house systems; and coupling of the process modelling tools with optimization frameworks to design novel carbon capture processes with pre-defined footprint.

Main Responsibilities

1. Models for rapid adsorption processes – rapid PSA and rotary wheel TSA – and their validation. (35%)

2. Definition of feasible layouts and process performance for base case. (15%)

3. Development of two-stage optimization framework for modular units, including liaising with industrial partners to define case studies. (35%)

4. Dissemination and publication activities, including (but not limited to) writing peer-reviewed journal papers and attending relevant conferences to ensure that results are available in a timely and accessible format for a range of audiences. This includes activities associated with the Pathway to Impact programme (15%)

As part of a Research Staff member’s career and professional development as an early career academic, the School has the expectation that the appointee will undertake some limited teaching duties. Not only is teaching experience valuable in developing communication skills, but it leads to a deeper understanding of the subject area.

Planning and Organising

• Determine aims, objectives and deadlines for short to medium term work plan, in discussion with line manager (particularly for medium term planning)
• Contribute to long-term strategic planning and development of group activities, in discussion with line manager and other researchers
• Participate in career development activities to support personal longer term planning

Problem Solving

• Identifying and develop the modelling and optimization tools for the project.
• Validation of dynamic adsorption models with experimental systems.
• Identify and liaise with key contacts (industrial and academic partners on the project) who are able to provide technical and advisory support and respond appropriately to questions that arise when working with these contacts. As above, the job holder should be able to make significant progress independently, although some support and guidance through discussions with line manager and other researchers can be expected.

Decision Making

• Manage day-to-day work load, making independent decisions about immediate priorities to meet short and medium term targets that have been agreed with line manager
• Determine when it is best to continue working on a problem independently and when further help should be sought, supported by regular meetings with line manager

Key Contacts/Relationships

• Frequent (daily to weekly) contact with academic staff, other researchers and PhD students in related groups
• Regular (monthly) contact with academic and industrial partners on the project

Knowledge, Skills and Experience Needed for the Job


• PhD in Chemical Engineering other related field.


• Experience in modelling of dynamic adsorption processes
• Experience in the determination of the physical parameters needed to model adsorption processes
• Relevant experience in modelling and experimental methods for adsorption separation processes.
• Experience in dynamic modelling of experimental systems to obtain kinetic and equilibrium parameters.

• Experience in optimization of adsorption processes
• Experience in using C/C++ in scientific and engineering programming

Knowledge, Skills and Competencies

• Excellent written and oral communication skills, preferably including presentation skills to a high level and ability to write clearly and concisely to a level consistent with publication in highly regarded international journals.
• Excellent ability to work independently and with limited supervision.


• Potential to supervise up to 2-3 Masters project students
• Work collaboratively with industrial and academic partners, PhD students from the participating and related groups and researchers from other universities
• Responsibility for regular progress reporting to project partners
• Keep line manager up-to-date with progress
• Contribute to strategic planning within immediate group
• Contribute to interactions between immediate group and broader communities working in the fields of adsorption and membrane separations, molecular simulations, carbon capture

Job Context and any other relevant information

Throughout the project the post-holder will benefit from multiple contacts in academia and industry, including partners on the project, the Adsorption Research Industrial Consortium (ARIC), the Software Sustainability Institute, UK CCS Research Centre and the Edinburgh-based Scottish CCS Centre.

Application Procedure

All applicants should apply online by clicking the apply link at the bottom of this page. The application process is quick and easy to follow, and you will receive email confirmation of safe receipt of your application. The online system allows you to submit a CV and other attachments.

Closing date is 5pm GMT on 17 August 2016

Eligibility to Work

In accordance with the Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Act 2006 the University of Edinburgh, as an employer, has a legal responsibility to prevent illegal working and therefore must check that all employees are entitled to work in the United Kingdom (UK).

To do so, the University of Edinburgh requires to see original documents evidencing right to work in the UK before commencement of employment and this is normally carried out at interview. Details will be provided in any letter of invitation to interview.

For further information on eligibility to work please visit our eligibility to work website

If you are not currently eligible to work in the UK, the University has the authority to issue a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) to successful candidates who meet the eligibility criteria. The CoS enables candidates to apply for a Tier 2 (general visa) in accordance with current UK Visas and Immigration rules.

For applicants interested in sponsorship information is available on our Working in the UK website

However, if you have previously been sponsored by an employer within the UK but your leave has expired or lapsed and you are no longer in the UK, according to Home Office Visa Immigration rules you cannot apply for sponsorship under any category of Tier 2 for a period of 12 months after the date your visa expired and/or you left the UK.

If you are an academic in the field of sciences; humanities; engineering; medicine; digital technology; or the arts and come from outside the EEA, it may be possible for you to apply for a Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) visa.

The Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) visa route offers a greater flexibility in your employment compared to other UK immigration routes, meaning you can, for example, move organisation, location and/or job role. By contrast with, a Tier 2 visa where you are ‘tied to a UK sponsor’. Tier 1 provides greater flexibility in undertaking additional engagements, such as collaborations and is intended as a route to settlement. Allowed absences from the UK are up to 180 days per year without losing the eligibility to qualify for settlement, with no restriction on the reason for absence (unlike Tier 2, where any absences from the UK must be for a purpose consistent with the person’s employment or economic activity, including paid annual leave, or for serious or compelling personal reasons).

You would initially need to apply to be endorsed as an internationally recognised leader or emerging leader in your particular field by a designated competent body (Arts Council England, British Academy, Royal Academy of Engineering, Royal Society, Tech City UK).

Tier1 (Exceptional and Exceptional Promise) Endorsement Criteria

Once successfully endorsed, you are able to apply for a Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) visa. More information on this entry route is available at UKVI Website.

Conditions of Employment

Pension Scheme

This role is grade UE07 and therefore the post holder is automatically included in membership of the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS), subject to the USS membership criteria, unless they indicate that they choose not to join the Scheme.

For further information please visit our pensions website.


The role is grade UE07 and attracts an annual salary of £31,656 to £37,768 for 35 hours, full time each week. Salary is paid monthly by direct transfer to your Bank or Building Society account, normally on the 28th of the month.

The University reserves the right to vary the candidate information or make no appointment at all. Neither in part, nor in whole does this information form part of any contract between the University and any individual.

UoE Vacancy Ref: 


Closing Date: 

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Contact Name: 

Contact Email: 

Contact Telephone: 

+44(0) 131 6519030