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Research Associate - Photoreforming of Waste Plastics (Fixed Term)

Fixed-term: The funds for this post are available for 1 year in the first instance.

Applications are invited for a Postdoctoral Research Associate (PDRA) to work in the Reisner group in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Cambridge, UK. Solar-driven reforming (photoreforming) is an appealing strategy to use sunlight for simultaneous fuel production and chemical synthesis from organic waste. The Reisner laboratory has recently demonstrated the feasibility of solar reforming of natural biomass (lignocellulose) and synthetic organic polymers (plastics) to generate clean H2 and a mixture of organic products (DOI: 10.1039/c8ee01408f, DOI:10.1038/nenergy.2017.21). This ambient-temperature technology only requires a suitable photocatalyst, water, sunlight and a suitable waste substrate. This project will directly address the major challenges in photoreforming of waste plastics: Scalable and robust photocatalysts will be developed to replace state-of-the-art materials, a scaled reactor for solar-driven H2 and bulk chemical production from waste plastics will be constructed for rigorous performance testing and techno-economic analysis and selective organic oxidations from plastics will being studied. This EPSRC-funded project will be executed as part of the Centre for Circular Economy Approaches to Eliminate Plastic Waste.

Applicants should have (or be about to obtain) a PhD in Chemistry or a closely related discipline. A strong background in synthetic chemistry, organic chemistry, catalysis and mechanistic chemistry. Candidates are encouraged to think outside of her/his formal field of training to fit into a creative, collaborative and dynamic research environment. A strong record of research productivity, as reflected in a substantial publication record in journals of high impact as well as excellent communication, management and English writing skills will be required. The successful candidate will also be expected to help in coordinating the EPSRC Centre for Circular Economy Approaches to Eliminate Plastic Waste.

More information about the Reisner group, including relevant publications, can be found at

More information about the Cambridge Centre for Circular Economy Approaches to Eliminate Plastic Waste can be found at

To apply online for this vacancy, please click on the 'Apply' button below. This will route you to the University's Web Recruitment System, where you will need to register an account (if you have not already) and log in before completing the online application form.

Please ensure that you upload your Curriculum Vitae (CV), a covering letter and include a publications list in the upload section of the online application. If you upload any additional documents that have not been requested, we will not be able to consider these as part of your application. 

For queries relating to your application or the application process, please contact Inger Lomax via email on

Please quote reference MA17978 on your application and in any correspondence about this vacancy.

The Department holds an Athena SWAN silver award for women in Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics, and Medicine.

The University values diversity and is committed to equality of opportunity.

The University has a responsibility to ensure that all employees are eligible to live and work in the UK.

Further information

Apply online