Knowledge Transfer Partnership: Postdoctoral Research Associate (R&D Innovation Scientist) in Advanced X-ray Analysis

University of Leeds

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Salary: £30,000 – £35,000 p.a. plus a Personal Development budget of £4,000

This role is based at Infineum International Ltd., Milton Hill Business & Technology Centre, Abingdon, Oxfordshire, OX13 6BB

Having completed your PhD in physical science or engineering, would you like to develop further by leading a project at the industry/academia interface? Do you have a background in advanced X-ray characterisation of materials and their surfaces? This position will enable you to be at the forefront of innovative product development in a prominent and sector leading company, addressing the challenges that arise from uncontrolled surface deposit formation in engines.

The University of Leeds has an exciting opportunity for you to ‘fast-track’ a career in industry by leading a high-profile, strategically important project from start to completion. Through a Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) you will work with a multinational industry-leading company, Infineum International Ltd., and a team of expert academics at the School of Chemical and Process Engineering. You will apply advanced X-ray characterisation techniques (e.g. X-ray absorption and photoelectron spectroscopies, synchrotron X-ray imaging) to determine the fundamental molecular processes governing the formation of unwanted surface deposits that increase engine wear, friction and lubricant degradation. Working in the industrial R&D teams you will use this knowledge to develop new products to combat these challenges.

You will be based at Infineum’s R&D laboratory in Milton Hill, near Abingdon in Oxfordshire, and embedded within an R&D team of technologists who will assist in the development of key project outputs. You will also have access to University of Leeds facilities and will work closely with the academic team at Leeds to develop methodologies and embed key findings into the company. In addition, you will spend some of your time at our collaborative partners Diamond Light Source , the UK’s national synchrotron facility.

The initial challenge in this KTP will be to address recently discovered hard mineral deposits that are formed in hybrid internal combustion engines, which lead to excessive wear and more frequent lubricant changes. Your X-ray analytical work will enable: the determination of the structural and chemical nature of deposits; development of structure-performance relationships; creation of novel chemical additives to meet unmet market needs; and introduce novel methodologies into new product development that will accelerate new product development. These outputs will provide Infineum with a significant technical and commercial advantage over its competitors and demonstrate a clear technical excellence to its customer base. Your work will also establish a new methodology for fundamental research on complex real-world surface and interface processes. Through publications you will push the frontiers of applied surface and interface science and open up new opportunities for similar research in other industry sectors and across academic discipline boundaries.

What are the benefits of being a KTP Associate?

  • All KTP Associates spend 10% of their time on Personal Development (PD), making full use of a £4,000 PD budget 
  • Access to two residential training sessions aimed at developing project management skills
  • Opportunity to gain both management and academic experience
  • Potential for fast-track a career in industry
  • Access to a wealth of academic resources
  • Access to mentoring sessions through Innovate UK

To explore the post further or for any queries you may have, please contact: 


Dr Elizabeth A. Willneff – Senior Research Fellow & Versatile X-ray Spectroscopy Facility Manager

Tel: 0113 343 9791

Email: [email protected]

Professor Sven L. M. Schroeder – Bragg Centenary Chair in Engineering Applications of Synchrotron Radiation

Tel: 0113 343 2401

Email: [email protected]


Ross Green – Technologist (Infineum)

Email: [email protected]


James Hartford – Innovation Support Coordinator (University of Leeds)

Email: [email protected]  

Location:  Other
Faculty/Service:  Professional Services
School/Institute:  Research & Innovation Service
Section:  Knowledge Exchange & Impact
Category:  Research
Off grading structure

£30,000 to £35,000
plus a Personal Development budget of £4,000
Post Type: 

Full Time
Contract Type:  Fixed Term (18 months due to external funding for a fixed period)
Release Date:  Thursday 15 June 2023
Closing Date:  Thursday 13 July 2023
Reference:  CSRIS1285
Downloads:  Candidate Brief

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