Marie Curie Early Stage Researcher

Location: Reading
Country: United Kingdom
Company Order Number: 4924
# of openings: 1


VACANCY: Marie Curie Early Stage Researcher

Marie Skłodowska-Curie European Training Network "FlowCamp" (H2020-MSCA-ITN-2017) to improve materials for Next-Generation Redox-Flow Batteries

LOCATION:   Johnson Matthey Technology Centre, Sonning Common, Reading, UK

SALARY: Competitive

Subproject Title: Development of air-cathodes for zinc-air redox-flow battery systems

Start Date: 3 April 2018


Marie Skłodowska-Curie European Training Networks (ETNs) are joint research and training projects funded by the European Union.  Funding is provided for postgraduate researchers from both inside and outside Europe to carry out individual project work in a European country other than their own.

The training network “FlowCamp” is made up of 11 partners, coordinated by Fraunhofer ICT in Germany. The network will recruit a total of 15 postgraduates for project work lasting for 36 months.

Renewable energy sources like wind turbines require large-scale, stationary energy storage systems to balance out fluctuations in energy generation.  FlowCamp will advance the development of one of the most promising storage systems: redox-flow batteries (RFBs). The recruited fellows will develop materials (membranes, electrodes, electrolytes, catalysts, sealing materials) and macrohomogeneous models for three next-generation RFBs (hydrogen-bromine, organic and zinc-air systems).  They will then upscale the new systems to prototype level and validate them using the cutting-edge battery testing facilities available for the prestigious German-funded RedoxWind project at Fraunhofer ICT.  The new RFB technologies can be combined in energy storage systems tailored to a wide variety of application scenarios, with lower cost, longer service life and higher efficiency than conventional (e.g. Li-ion) storage devices.

The advertised subproject will be carried out by one postgraduate (“early-stage researcher”) at Johnson Matthey Technology Centre over a period of 36 months working in the Electrochemistry and Materials Group.  The employee will also be enrolled for a PhD at the Department of Materials at Imperial College London supervised by Dr. Ifan E.L. Stephens, ( where they will spend one year in total, including taught courses.

Key responsibilities:                                                                                    

  • Development of synthetic routes for bifunctional electro-catalysts active in oxygen reduction and oxygen evolution, in collaboration with Imperial College, UK.
  • Development and characterisation of inks and coatings to form catalyst layers
  • Design electrochemical protocols for the evaluation of bifunctional air electrodes in a 3-electrode setup in an alkaline environment and in a 2-electrode zinc / air battery.
  • Evaluation of zinc slurries developed by one of the project partners during charge-discharge in a zinc / air battery.
  • Integration of optimised air electrodes into a zinc / air test system, in close collaboration with project partners in Germany and France.
  • The expected results are new, effective bifunctional catalysts, integrated into catalyst layers and demonstrated to give high performance and durability in a zinc / air redox flow battery.

This subproject is fully funded by the Marie Skłodowska-Curie European Training Network "FlowCamp" (H2020-MSCA-ITN-2017).  The recruited researcher will have the opportunity to work as part of an international, interdisciplinary team of 15 postgraduates, based at universities and industrial firms throughout Europe.  She/he will gain a unique skill-set comprising electrochemistry, material science and cell design/ engineering, as well as an overview of different RFB technologies and their implementation at prototype level.  She/he is expected to finish the project with a PhD thesis and to disseminate the results through patents (if applicable), publications in peer-reviewed journals and presentations at international conferences.

Are you the ideal candidate?

  • Early-stage researcher: a researcher without a PhD who is in the first four years (full-time equivalent research experience) of her/his research career, measured from the date when she/he obtained the degree which would formally entitle her/him to embark on a doctorate.

  • Hold (or be expected to obtain) a degree in Chemistry, Materials Science, or Chemical Engineering, achieved or expected, at a level comparable with a UK 2:1, First Class or Distinction. M.Sc. Preferred.

  • Experience in the use of electrochemistry to elucidate electrochemical reaction mechanisms and in the use of potentiostats is desirable.

  • Literate in the use of characterisation techniques to analyse catalyst powders, such as XRD and TEM.

  • Experience in the synthesis of catalyst powders such as supported metal nanoparticles and metal oxides is desirable, but not essential.

  • Good problem solving skills, proven ability to work well in a team environment and excellent communication skills are essential.

  • Attention to detail, computer literacy, accurate data analysis, good laboratory skills and efficient time management are all crucial to this role.


  • The applicant must not have resided or carried out her/his main activity (work, studies etc.) in the UK for more than 12 months in the past three years.

How to apply:

 Please ensure that you attach your up-to-date CV and covering letter to your online application. For enquiries only, please email

Closing date for applications: 28 January 2018

Johnson Matthey Plc is an equal opportunities employer and positively encourages applications from suitably qualified and eligible candidates regardless of sex, race, disability, age, sexual orientation, marriage or civil partnership, pregnancy or maternity, religion or belief.

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