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Research Associate in Ionic Liquids and Catalysis

Based at
University of York - Heslington Campus
Hours of work
Contract status
Fixed term
32,817 - 40,322 a year
Interview Date
Posted Date
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Role Description


The appointee will work with Dr John Slattery and Professor Duncan Bruce, funded by an EPSRC grant. The project aims to understand how the gas-liquid interface of ionic liquids (ILs) is modified by mixing different ILs or using tailored additives. Changes in surface structure will be linked to performance in supported IL-phase (SILP) catalysis to develop more active, selective and/or long-lived catalysts. Work will involve synthesis and characterisation of highly pure ILs, determination of physical properties and investigations of surface structure by surface tension and neutron reflectivity and the investigation of catalysis through collaborations with world-leading experts.

The appointee will also work alongside a second postdoctoral researcher, in the groups of Professors McKendrick and Costen at Heriot-Watt University. They will develop new reactive-atom scattering experiments for studying the ILs prepared in York.

The Department of Chemistry is one of the largest and most successful departments at York, renowned internationally for our research. As a department, we strive to provide a working environment that allows all staff and students to contribute fully, to flourish, and to excel. We are proud of our Athena SWAN Gold Award.


  • To conduct research under the supervision of Dr Slattery and Professor Bruce and to contribute to research within their groups.
  • To work collaboratively with the team at Heriot-Watt University and with collaborators from FAU Erlangen, Montana State University and the ISIS Neutron Source.
  • To synthesise, purify and characterise fully a range of compounds, including high-purity ILs, surface-active additives and organometallic complexes and measure their physical properties
  • To manage experimental visits to national facilities
  • To collect, analyse and interpret a range of research data using appropriate research techniques and methods including catalytic reactions
  • To write up research results and disseminate them through publications, seminar and conference presentations, public engagement and outreach activities.
  • To provide guidance to other staff and students, as required, as well as coordinating the work of small research teams.
  • To assist in the identification and development of potential areas of research and the development of research proposals
  • To assist with undergraduate teaching in own area of expertise

Skills, Experience & Qualification needed

  • First degree in Chemistry and PhD in Chemistry or closely related discipline
  • Knowledge of the synthesis and characterisation of small molecules and relevant research techniques and methodologies
  • Highly developed oral and written communication skills
  • Well-motivated with professional work ethic, commitment to high-quality research, collaborative ethos and willingness to support colleagues and students proactively

Ability to:

  • Synthesise small molecules in high-purity
  • Measure physical properties with high accuracy and analyse the data
  • Write-up research work for publications and to present at conferences
  • Develop research objectives and carry out individual and collaborative projects, planning and prioritising own work in order to meet deadlines
  • Perform practical tasks to a consistently high standard with attention to detail
  • Work closely with others within a team environment and to work independently using own initiative

Interview date: 25 September 2020

For informal enquiries: please contact Dr John Slattery on

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