Research Fellow in Operando Spectroscopy for Catalysis

University of Southampton

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Position type:

Full time


£30,942 to £38,017

29 Oct 2020
01 Dec 2020

Full details:

Reference number: SOU-1299320EB

Research Fellow in Operando Spectroscopy for Catalysis.

Functional Inorganic Materials & Supramolecular Chemistry


You will work on a newly funded EPSRC grant application – Nitridic and Carbidic Interstitial Pd Nanoparticles for Directed Catalysis. This is an interdisciplinary partnership between researchers at the University of Southampton (Dr Peter Wells, Dr Marina Carravetta, and Prof. Chris Skylaris), Queen’s University Belfast (Prof. Alexandre Goguet), and the University of Glasgow (Dr Emma Gibson). The aim of the project is to understand how the dynamic nature of Pd nanoparticles, and their ability to form interstitial structures, can be exploited for enhanced catalysis. To achieve this we have assembled an internationally leading team with skills in heterogeneous catalysis, reactor engineering, operando spectroscopy, and computational methods. This part of the project will be focussed on developing the in situ and operando methods using X-ray absorption spectroscopy (XAS) and solid-state nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy, alongside a strong heterogeneous catalysis work-programme. 

You will be part of the research groups of Dr Peter Wells and Dr Marina Carravetta, within the University of Southampton and you will have regular visits to the Research Complex at Harwell (RCaH), which is associated with the broader UK Catalysis Hub programme. This is a significant opportunity to be part of an established research group with strong links to national and international networks in the field of catalysis. The time spent at the RCaH provides unique possibilities to interact with the world-leading research facilities on the Harwell Campus, e.g. Diamond Light Source and the ISIS Neutron and Muon Source. You will have first-hand experience in advanced spectroscopy measurements and heterogeneous catalysis.


To be successful you will have a PhD or equivalent professional qualification in chemistry or related discipline, and a track record of academic and research excellence. You will also demonstrate an ability to write research papers independently, present your work at international conferences, and be able to work successfully with other research groups.  

Applications will be considered from candidates who are working towards or nearing completion of a relevant PhD qualification. The title of Research Fellow will be applied upon completion of PhD.  Prior to the qualification being awarded the title of Senior Research Assistant will be given.


Equality, diversity and Inclusion is central to the ethos in Chemistry. We particularly encourage women, Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME), LGBT and disabled applicants to apply for this position.  In recognition of our continued commitment to improving equality for women in science we were awarded an Athena SWAN Silver award in 2014 a and a second Silver award in 2017.  Chemistry gives full consideration to applicants that wish to work flexibly including part-time and due consideration will be given to applicants who have taken a career break. The University has a generous maternity policy* and onsite childcare facilities.  For further information please visit


The University of Southampton is in the top 1% of world universities and in the top 10 of the UK’s research-intensive universities. The University of Southampton is committed to sustainability and being a globally responsible university and has recently been awarded the Platinum EcoAward.  Our vision is to embed the principles of sustainability into all aspects of our individual and collective work, integrating sustainable development into our business planning, policy-making, and professional activities.  This commits all of our staff and students to take responsibility for managing their activities to minimise harm to the environment, whether this through switching off non-essential electrical equipment or using the recycling facilities.

 *subject to qualifying criteria


This position is fully funded through the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) until 31/03/2024. For additional information, please contact Dr Peter Wells (

We aim to be an equal opportunities employer and welcome applications from all sections of the community.

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