Accessibility Tools

Job details

Research Associate in Business and Plastics
Sackville Street, Manchester

Job reference: SAE-015932

Location: Sackville Street, Manchester

Closing date (DD/MM/YYYY): 14/12/2020

Salary: £32,816 to £40,322 per annum depending on relevant experience

Employment type: Fixed Term

Faculty/Organisation: Science and Engineering

School/ Directorate: Department of Mechanical, Aerospace & Civil Engineering

Hours per week: Full Time

Contract Duration: Fixed term from as soon as possible until 31 October 2023

Applications are invited for the above position, ideally starting as soon as possible, to join the ‘One Bin to Rule Them All’ project funded by the UK Research & Innovation’s Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund – Smart Sustainable Plastic Packaging. ‘One Bin to Rule Them All’ aims to improve compliance with recycling by developing ‘one bin’ to hold all plastic-like items and improving recycling infrastructure to create more valuable recycled plastics that can be fed back into a circular economy. To achieve this, The University of Manchester has brought together a cross-sector consortium of 17 industry partners and local authorities to help solve three key challenges in the plastics life cycle: improving methods of chemical and mechanical recycling; developing business models to derive value from reused plastic for industry; and understanding consumer practices that lead to enhanced recycling compliance.

Led by Prof Michael Shaver (Director of the Sustainable Materials Innovation Hub and Sustainability Champion for the Henry Royce Institute), Dr Maria Sharmina (Senior Lecturer in Energy and Sustainability, Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research) and Dr Helen Holmes (Lecturer in Social Science, Sustainable Consumption Institute), the project will draw upon the University’s uniquely diverse research community, bringing together expertise from materials science, economics and social science.

The post-holder will explore how innovations in business models and policies can help maximise the value of recovered plastic packaging. The Work Package (WP) will involve workshops with the project partners from across a plastics packaging supply chain; working with the companies to commercially test the business models designed during the workshops; and mapping and critiquing policies on single use packaging and related circular-economy regulations. The business models part of the WP and the policies part of the WP can be delivered separately if two researchers with complementary expertise are recruited.

The post-holder will be based within interdisciplinary and collegiate teams of researchers at the Sustainable Materials Innovation Hub (SMI Hub) and the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, with additional collaborations with the Sustainable Consumption Institute, all at the University of Manchester. We are looking for a person with a passion for research and a demonstrable skill to work in a highly interdisciplinary environment. Aligned with the SMI Hub’s and Tyndall Centre’s missions, you will contribute towards the research team’s efforts to conduct research with genuine impact on policy and practice, and to publish in the very highest quality journals (indicatively, these might be Nature Materials, Nature Sustainability, and Journal of Environmental Science & Policy). This is a 36-month post in the first instance, with a possibility of extension. Flexible working arrangements will be considered.

More detailed information about the responsibilities of the post and selection criteria can be found in the ‘Further Particulars’ document attached at the bottom of this advert.

The Sustainable Materials Innovation Hub (SMI Hub)

The Sustainable Materials Innovation Hub (SMI Hub) sits within the Henry Royce Institute at the University of Manchester. The new facility supports innovations in waste management and more sustainable plastics. World class, interlinking laboratories are equipped with capability to characterise, synthesise and test polymers, including evaluating their performance at end-of-life, facilitating innovation in new sustainable materials, improved methods of recycling, and validation of emerging processes with our industrial partners.

Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research

Tyndall Manchester conducts interdisciplinary research in the fields of energy, decarbonisation, circular economy, and climate change mitigation. Based in the Faculty of Science and Engineering, Tyndall Manchester also enjoys excellent links to departments across the University including the Alliance Manchester Business School, the Centre for Atmospheric Science and the Dalton Nuclear Institute. It brings together engineers, scientists, social scientists and economists, working together to develop sustainable responses to climate change through interdisciplinary research and dialogue at a local and national level.

Sustainable Consumption Institute

The Sustainable Consumption Institute is an established research centre for the study of sustainable consumption in the context of environmental change. It incorporates scholars from across the faculty of Humanities, including Sociology, Politics and Business Studies. The current research agenda of the Institute is focused on ‘Materialising Sustainability and Re-Imagining Futures’ including research on resource use within planetary boundaries, unequal access to goods and services, and digital futures. This agenda aims to deepen and extend academic thinking about the urgent socio-technical and political challenges of our time.

The post holder will be part of both the Tyndall Manchester and Sustainable Materials Innovation Hub teams. The post will provide the researcher with a direct link to both the Tyndall and Henry Royce communities and allow the researcher to be part of a supportive and diverse team within the University of Manchester.

The School is committed to promoting equality and diversity, including the Athena SWAN charter for promoting women’s careers in STEMM subjects (science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine) in higher education. The School holds a Bronze Award for their commitment to the representation of women in the workplace and we particularly welcome applications from women for this post. All appointments will be made on merit. For further information, please visit:

Happy to talk flexible working.

Blended working arrangements may be considered

Please note that we are unable to respond to enquiries, accept CVs or applications from Recruitment Agencies.

Enquiries about the vacancy, shortlisting and interviews:

Name: Dr Maria Sharmina


General enquiries:


Technical support:


Tel: 0161 850 2004

This vacancy will close for applications at midnight on the closing date.

Please see the link below for the Further Particulars document which contains the person specification criteria.


The closing date for this job has now passed.