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Research Assistant / Associate in Biopolymers

Requisition ID:  22921

Newcastle, GB

Contract Type:  Fixed Term
Working Pattern:  Full Time
Posted Date:  05-Oct-2022


We are a world class research-intensive university. We deliver teaching and learning of the highest quality. We play a leading role in economic, social and cultural development of the North East of England. Attracting and retaining high-calibre people is fundamental to our continued success.


What’s in it for you? Newcastle University is a great place to work, with excellent benefits. We have a generous holiday package; plus the opportunity to buy more, great pension schemes and a number of health and wellbeing initiatives to support you.


Newcastle is an inclusive global University community where everyone is treated with dignity and respect.  As a University of Sanctuary, we aim to provide a welcoming place of safety for all, offering opportunities to people fleeing violence and persecution.


Newcastle University is committed to being a fully inclusive Global University which actively recruits, supports and retains colleagues from all sectors of society.  We value diversity as well as celebrate, support and thrive on the contributions of all our employees and the communities they represent.  We are proud to be an equal opportunities employer and encourage applications from everybody, regardless of race, sex, ethnicity, religion, nationality, sexual orientation, age, disability, gender identity, marital status/civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, as well as being open to flexible working practices.



Research Assistant: £29,619 to £31,411 per annum

Research Associate: £32,348 to £34,308 per annum


Closing Date: 06 November 2022


The Role


Do you have a prior background in (bio)polymer chemistry and engineering? The Engineering department at Newcastle University could be the place for you. 


We are seeking to hire a skilled, self-motivated Research Assistant/Associate to join the Research and Innovation team within the school of Engineering. You will be naturally collaborative and focused on conducting high-quality research to develop a series of biopolymer-based materials with tailored structures, properties and functionality, and advanced engineering processes based on 3D printing and producing such materials.


You will demonstrate their experience of academic research and will be able to demonstrate their knowledge and innovative ideas relating to materials characterisation techniques. Prior research experience in the synthesis of functional polymer materials with dynamic bonding and superior properties is highly desirable.


You will be based at Newcastle University but should have an aptitude for engaging with local and international stakeholders as part of the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC). You will uphold excellent written and verbal communication and interpersonal skills with a willingness to present their research findings. 


You should have a PhD awarded (or nearing completion) in the field of Chemical engineering or a closely related discipline.


For more information about the School of Engineering and our research, please click here


We’re celebrating 150 years of Science, Agriculture and Engineering. Although a huge amount has changed over the last 150 years, one thing has stayed the same: our commitment to making a difference. We’re educating the next generation of experts and tackling the biggest challenges facing our planet. Our innovative work has always focused on making a different to people’s lives, and you can be part of it.


We are committed to building and maintaining a fair and inclusive working environment and we would be happy to discuss arrangements for flexible and/or blended working.

The position is fixed term, for 30 months in the first instance with a view for the successful appointee to commence employment in May 2023. The position if offered on a full-time basis (37 hours per week). 


To apply, please complete an online application and upload a CV and cover letter. Your cover letter is a supporting statement, and you should outline how you meet the essential criteria of the role and evidence this with examples.


For informal queries regarding the project or the role, please contact Dr. David Xie, Lecturer in Chemical Engineering at

Key Accountabilities

  • Work on the different tasks in the research project to generate deliverables in a timely manner and meet the project objectives
  • Provide active intellectual contributions to the research project by ways of e.g. literature research, planning for implementation, generating new ideas, conducting lab experiments, writing up reports and publications, and presenting results on different occasions
  • Undertake research on developing innovative functional biopolymer-based materials and advanced engineering processes especially based on 3D printing for manufacturing such materials
  • Prepare clear, well-written reports and draft scientific papers to meet the requirements of high-impact journals on time according to the project timeline and set out by the Principal Investigator
  • To collaborate and engage with other researchers and project partners
  • Contribute to the maintenance and professional and safe operation of the laboratories and all associated instrumentation
  • Contribute to financial matters related to project implementation and lab development (e.g. purchasing chemicals, lab consumables and equipment, and booking for travel)
  • May be involved in teaching and the supervision of research students and projects
  • Ensure compliance with health and safety in all aspects of work


The Person 


Knowledge, Skills and Experience 

  • Sufficient knowledge and research experience in polymer materials-related areas (e.g. polymer chemistry, polymer physics, polymer engineering, and polymer composites)
  • Proven experience in writing fluently and coherently in the preparation of high-quality research publications
  • Skilled in materials characterisation using mainstream state-or-the-art techniques (e.g. thermal, rheological, mechanical, electrochemical and hydrophilicity/hydrophobicity testing, spectroscopy, X-ray scattering/diffraction, electron microscopy, and NMR)
  • Skilled in using mainstream research-related software (e.g. Endnote, Origin and ChemDraw)


  • Research experience in biopolymers (natural polymers), polysaccharides, dynamically bonded polymer materials, 3D printing, electrospinning, modelling, or material functions characterisation 
  • Experience in developing research proposals and securing funding for research 
  • Experience in teaching and/or supervising students


Attributes and Behaviour

  • A developing research profile with an excellent track record of research publications and other outputs considering your career stage
  • Enthusiastic, hardworking and goal-setter
  • Willing to learn and expand your research area and carry out challenging research studies
  • Capacity for original thought and initiating new research ideas
  • Ability to interact with people from different disciplines and in different functions
  • Ability to work independently, as well as to collaborate effectively with other researchers and project partners
  • An ability to communicate effectively via oral and written media (e.g. technical reports, papers and presentations)
  • Ability to manage research data and maintain records in a professional matter for research projects
  • Ability to plan and implement research projects effectively and deliver outputs to meet tight deadlines
  • Maintaining a high level of professional conduct and ethics in research
  • Committed to embedding the values of equality and diversity in all aspects of your work


  • Ability to contribute to the development of funding proposals to generate external funding to support research 
  • Ability to communicate with a wider audience in writing and oral forms (e.g. writing generalised articles for the public, and speaking in outreach events) 



  • PhD or equivalent doctoral qualification awarded (or nearing completion) in relevant disciplines (e.g. polymers, materials, engineering, chemistry, and physics)



The University holds a silver Athena SWAN award in recognition of our good employment practices for the advancement of gender equality. The University also holds the HR Excellence in Research award for our work to support the career development of our researchers, and is a member of the Euraxess initiative supporting researchers in Europe.


Requisition ID: 22921