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Research Associate in Membrane Reactor for Glycerol to Acrylic Acid Process
Sackville Street, Manchester

Job reference: SAE-018696

Location: Sackville Street, Manchester

Closing date (DD/MM/YYYY): 09/05/2022

Salary: Grade 6, £33,309 to £40,927 per annum, depending on relevant experience

Employment type: Fixed Term

Faculty/Organisation: Science and Engineering

Division: Chemical Engineering

Hours Per Week: Full Time

Contract Duration: Available from 1 June 2022 until 31 January 2024

School / Directorate: School of Chemical Engineering & Analytical Science

Applications are invited for a fully funded 20-month position as Research Assistant/Associate to be conducted in the Department of Chemical at the University of Manchester to work on the EPSRC project “SPACING: Sustainable Production of ACrylic acId from reNewable waste Glycerol”. ​​​​​​​

The focus of the project is on providing a demonstration and the scale-up study of a new process with the aim of reducing the environmental footprint and operating costs of acrylic acid manufacturing, a key value-added chemical for the production of many modern commodities, using waste glycerol from bio-diesel plants as feedstock. This will involve the design, testing and characterisation of new bi-functional catalytic materials, followed by proof-of-principle of a new membrane fluidised bed reactor concept and process integration to identify the most sustainable options. Conceptual process design simulation and feasibility studies will be performed together with TU Eindhoven, Argent Energy and Johnson Matthey to increase their academic and industrial impact and boost its development towards scale-up and commercialisation.

We are seeking to recruit a Research Associate (PDRA) to work under the supervision of Dr. Vincenzo Spallina in the School of Chemical Engineering of the University of Manchester. The aim of this post is to develop a membrane reactor modelling (both fluidised and packed bed reactors) and process integration study of the integrated new equipment into the overall plant. You are also expected to carry out experimental activity to validate the results of the developed model. Other activities involve supervision of PhD students and undergraduate students working on related project.

You should already hold or be nearing completion of a PhD/DPhil or equivalent in chemical engineering, energy engineering, focused on reactor design and process development with proven experience in reactor modelling and advanced knowledge on membrane and catalysis. You will be expected to present results periodically to the other group members, and project partners, attend progress meetings and actively engage with other team’s members. 

The School/Department is strongly committed to promoting equality and diversity, including the Athena SWAN charter for gender equality in higher education. The School/Department holds a Silver Award which recognises their good practice in relation to gender; including flexible working arrangements, family-friendly policies, and support to allow staff achieve a good work-life balance. We particularly welcome applications from women for this post. All appointment will be made on merit. For further information, please visit:

Our University is positive about flexible working – you can find out more here

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: Vincenzo Spallina


General enquiries:


Technical support:

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.