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STFC-RCUK Innovation Fellow

The Open University - Faculty of Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics

Location: Milton Keynes
Salary: £40,792 to £48,677 per annum
Hours: Full Time
Contract Type: Fixed-Term/Contract
Placed On: 26th March 2019
Closes: 26th April 2019
Job Ref: 15617

£40,792 to £48,677, Ref: 15617
Two year contract – with potential to be extended to three years
Based in Milton Keynes

The Philae lander captured the world’s imagination when it attempted to land on the comet 67P Churyumov–Gerasimenko. On board was the UK-led Ptolemy gas chromatograph-mass spectrometer which began analysing the chemical and isotopic composition of the comet minutes after touchdown. A key system within Ptolemy was the gas storage and control unit that contained gas canisters and fluid control valves, used to store and meter out gases for the instrument. 

The valve was developed as a fit-for-purpose solution to answer scientific and operational questions and has huge spin-out potential through enabling upstream (satellite-based) developments, and through its application in terrestrial markets.

You are invited to apply for this STFC-RCUK Innovation Fellowship based in our Space Instrumentation Group. You will provide support in research and development of the valve and identify new, terrestrial applications for this technology, whilst providing academic support to achieve knowledge transfer and subsequent economic return for the University, UK industry, and a social benefit to the UK.

You will gain an in-depth knowledge of the valve, its operational characteristics and performance, allowing you to have informed discussions with potential customers. In particular, you will concentrate on how the valve might be used for terrestrial challenge, and will conduct market research and initiate discussions with commercial companies with an interest in the technology.

You will lead interdisciplinary pilot projects to explore and develop new markets with industrial partners and end-user communities resulting in new products and services with a commercial return. You will also explore opportunities with ESA and the STFC and will explore new opportunities for collaboration in research and teaching within the University.

You will have a PhD in Science or Engineering, with the ability to identify problems faced by industry and to develop academic ideas. You will also have an understanding of the operational constraints, price point and performance required and will be able to present the value proposition for each opportunity.

The full summery of duties and person specification can be found within the Job Related Information here.

Closing date: Noon, 26 April 2019. 

Interviews are expected to take place mid-May 2019.

For detailed information and how to apply go to or email the quoting the reference number 15617.

For informal enquires please contact Dr Simon Sheridan (

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