Research Associate (Materials Modelling)

Requisition ID:  25501

Newcastle, GB

Contract Type:  Fixed Term
Working Pattern:  Full Time
Posted Date:  17 May 2023


Salary: £33,348 to £35,308 per annum


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.


Closing Date: 08 June 2023



The Role


We are looking to appoint a Research Assistant/Associate in the atomistic modelling of new liquid electrolytes and solid electrolyte interphase (SEI) formation for anode-free batteries as part of the Faraday Institution Degradation project. The successful candidate will be based in the Ion Transport and Interfaces Group of Dr James Dawson at Newcastle University.


The candidate will be responsible for carrying out atomistic simulations based on density functional theory, molecular dynamics, machine learning and other complementary computational methods to improve the current comprehension of SEI formation and identify optimal liquid electrolyte compositions and novel electrolyte systems for anode-free batteries. This project will be carried out in close collaboration with experimental and modelling partners in the Faraday Institution Degradation consortium. 


Despite the potential volumetric energy density and cost benefits of zero-excess lithium metal (anode-free) batteries, their practical application has been limited by interfacial challenges related to the non-uniform deposition behaviour of lithium, which leads to inhibited performance and safety concerns. Understanding and tuning of the interfacial chemistry of anode-free batteries are therefore critically important and require the development of both existing and new experimental and computational tools and strategies. 


The role is a full-time, fixed term position until March 31st 2025 in the first instance. The start date will be as close as possible to June 2023.


For informal enquiries please contact Dr James Dawson at


For further information about the research group, please see the Dawson Group website


Applications should be made through the Newcastle University jobs portal:, where you are invited to provide evidence of how you meet the essential criteria required for the role outlined in ‘The Person’ by uploading a letter of application along with

your Curriculum Vitae (CV). 


Key Accountabilities

  • To design, carry out and analyse computational simulations
  • To liaise with the principal investigator to plan, organise and carry out the work programme
  • To disseminate research results through appropriate media. This will include authoring or co-authoring papers for publication in high-quality academic journals
  • To contribute to existing and new interdisciplinary collaborations
  • To train and assist undergraduate and postgraduate students in theoretical techniques and computational methods
  • Represent the research group and disseminate information about its work at national and international events
  • Contribute to learning and development through the provision of documentation, training and advice
  • Undertake relevant training and development activities in order to develop an awareness of own professional development needs
  • Maintain and develop knowledge to keep abreast of the latest and most relevant technologies
  • Any other duties within the scope and general nature of the grade which may be required


The Person 


Knowledge, Skills and Experience 

  • Experience in classical molecular dynamics and force field design
  • Experience in density functional theory calculations
  • Experience in Python programming
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills
  • High level of problem-solving capacity


Attributes and Behaviour

  • Comfortable working both individually and have good team working skills
  • Capacity for original thought
  • Enthusiasm and a strong work ethic
  • Ability to interact with researchers with different backgrounds
  • Ability to communicate scientific results to a broad or non-specialist audience
  • Ability and willingness to work in interdisciplinary environments
  • Well-developed interpersonal communication skills that enable you to engage external and internal stakeholders and work effectively in a multidisciplinary team



  • An undergraduate degree (or equivalent) in a relevant science subject, such as chemistry, physics or materials science
  • A Ph.D. in the field of computational chemistry, physics, materials science or a related discipline


  •    Experience of developing computer code
  •    Experience in the simulation of energy materials
  •    Experience in the use of machine learning for materials

Newcastle University is a global University 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.


We are committed to being a fully inclusive 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 of our employees and the communities they represent.  We are proud to be an equal opportunities employer and encourage applications from individuals who can complement our existing teams, we believe that success is built on having teams whose backgrounds and experiences reflect the diversity of our university and student population.


At Newcastle University we hold a silver Athena Swan award in recognition of our good employment practices for the advancement of gender equality.  We also hold a Race Equality Charter Bronze award in recognition of our work towards tackling race inequality in higher education REC.


In addition, we are a member of the Euraxess initiative supporting researchers in Europe. 

Requisition ID: 25501