Research Fellow / Research Associate in Advanced in-situ Microscopy of Friction

University of Sheffield - Materials Science and Engineering

Contract Type: Fixed term for three years

Faculty: Faculty of Engineering

Salary: Grade 8: Salary for grade 8 is: £39,992 - £47,722 per annum

Candidates not fulfilling the requirements for a Research fellow position may be offered a Grade 7 position as Research Associate

Salary for grade 7 is: £30,688 - £38,833 per annum.


The Department of Materials Science and Engineering is one of the national leaders in the field: it was rated in the top 5 in the latest Research Assessment Exercise (2014) when accounting for profile and volume, and nationally is 2nd in terms of research income. The Department currently has 38 academic staff including 15 Professors, 5 Readers, 11 Senior Lecturers and 7 Lecturers. They receive excellent support from 21 technical and 25 administrative staff. One of seven Departments in the Faculty of Engineering, the Department of Materials Science and Engineering is growing rapidly, and currently has 58 postdoctoral research staff, 222 PhD students, 95 MSc students and 213 UG students taking taught MEng and BEng degree programmes. The Department’s teaching is underpinned by world-leading research, and facilitated by world-class facilities. Further details on each of the research areas can be accessed via the Departmental web link:

A position is available to work with Professor Beverley Inkson as part of a new £6m EPSRC funded Programme Grant entitled Friction: the Tribology Enigma, which is a joint collaboration between the Universities of Leeds and Sheffield. The project focuses on a fundamental study of friction; developing new tools and techniques to study the underlying principles, exploring mechanistic behaviours under a variety of environments, materials, and applications, and facilitating the prediction of friction. The project will involve implementing tribological testing of materials inside a Scanning Electron Microscope, to evaluate real-time contact tribology and friction mechanisms at the micro- and nanoscales.

The Researcher will be required to implement and develop in-situ SEM tribology methodologies to evaluate the tribological performance of a diverse range of materials, including solid-state lubricants, carbon/metal composites and particulate systems. This will require implementing mechanical testing, in-situ electron microscopy, structural/chemical characterisation, and quantitative image analysis. This will involve close collaboration with a Researcher at Leeds. The post is initially for three years fixed term.

It is essential that applicants have a PhD (or have equivalent experience) in a relevant area of materials characterisation using electron microscopy, evidenced by publication of high quality theses/journal articles/conference papers, or other outputs. Significant experience in in-situ/dynamical electron microscopy, tribology, surface engineering, and/or mechanical properties is also desirable. The applicant should be able to manage a research project and have a track record of delivery on projects to timescales.

We’re one of the best not-for-profit organisations to work for in the UK. The University’s Total Reward Package includes a competitive salary, a generous Pension Scheme and annual leave entitlement, as well as access to a range of learning and development courses to support your personal and professional development.

We build teams of people from different heritages and lifestyles whose talent and contributions complement each other to greatest effect. We believe diversity in all its forms delivers greater impact through research, teaching and student experience.

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Northern England