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Research Assistant/ Associate in Polymer and Composite Engineering

Imperial College London - Department of Aeronautics

Location: London
Salary: £36,045 to £48,340
Hours: Full Time
Contract Type: Fixed-Term/Contract
Placed On: 16th April 2021
Closes: 16th May 2021
Job Ref: ENG01652

Location: South Kensington

Job Summary

The Future Materials Group at Imperial College London, led by Dr Koon-Yang Lee is seeking a Research Associate to manufacture “artificial wood”, i.e. cellulose microfibril-reinforced lignin composites with the native cellulose-I structure preserved (mimicking wood cell wall), using simple and intrinsically scalable manufacturing concepts.

There is currently a timely need to design and manufacture renewable materials for high volume structural applications and decouple our economy from fossil-derived non-renewable resources. Cellulose-based natural fibres are the prime candidate for the production of low-cost high-performance renewable composites. However, there is still a property-performance gap between natural fibre-reinforced polymers and traditional fossil-derived engineering materials. It is envisaged that the resulting “artificial wood” will target engineering applications that cannot be achieved by conventional bio-based polymers or renewable natural fibre-reinforced polymers alone and could serve as alternative to traditional glass fibre-reinforced polymers.

In this project, you will be (i) manufacturing “artificial wood” from (low cost) ionic liquid, (ii) design and manufacture of unidirectional and continuous “artificial wood” fibre-reinforced renewable composites and (iii) optimising the techno-economics and lifecycle of “artificial wood” manufacturing.

This post is available immediately and the appointment is for 24 months.

Duties and responsibilities

The post holder will also be expected to undertake and deliver high quality research that is published in high impact peer-reviewed journals and presented at local, national and international meetings, as well as assist with the supervision of undergraduate and postgraduate students.

Essential requirements

Those appointed at Research Associate level

Excellence in research via their track record and hold a PhD in a relevant subject.

Those appointed at Research Assistant level

Near completion of a PhD in a closely related discipline.

*Candidates who have not yet been officially awarded their PhD will be appointed as Research Assistant within the salary range £36,045 to £46,345 per annum

For both levels

The applicant should also have extensive knowledge on:

  • Physics and chemistry of (ligno)cellulosic materials
  • Polymer and composite processing involving (ligno)cellulosic materials
  • Physical and chemical characterisations of (ligno)cellulosic materials
  • Synthesis of, or able to demonstrate relevant knowledge on the use of, ionic liquids for (ligno)cellulosic materials processing

Further Information

Informal enquiries: Dr Koon-Yang Lee: 

Queries relating to the recruitment process: Lisa Kelly: 

For technical issues when applying online: 

The College is a proud signatory to the San-Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA), which means that in hiring and promotion decisions, we evaluate applicants on the quality of their work, not the journal impact factor where it is published. For more information, see

The College believes that the use of animals in research is vital to improve human and animal health and welfare. Animals may only be used in research programmes where their use is shown to be necessary for developing new treatments and making medical advances. Imperial is committed to ensuring that, in cases where this research is deemed essential, all animals in the College’s care are treated with full respect, and that all staff involved with this work show due consideration at every level.

Closing date: 16th May 2021

To apply, visit and search by the job reference ENG01652.

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