Research Assistant/Associate in Plasmonic Catalysis

The University of Cambridge is one of the world's oldest universities and leading academic centres. If you're looking for a new challenge and would like excellent benefits, extensive learning opportunities and a stimulating working environment in return for your skills and contribution, there could be a job here for you.

Applications are invited for a 2-year Research Assistant/Associate (PDRA) under the supervision of Dr Bart de Nijs (Physics for Sustainable Chemistry group, Cavendish Laboratory, Department of Physics at the University of Cambridge).

The Project will support the development of hybrid nanomaterials for novel photochemical synthesis of organic chemicals. Self-assembled plasmonic nano-architectures will be designed to harvest optical energy to convert c low value compounds, such as CO2, plastics and biowaste, into useful chemical products. You will be part of an interdisciplinary team working at the interface between Chemistry and Physics, and will be working closely with the Reisner Lab (Yusuf Hamied Department of Chemistry at the University of Cambridge). You will join a dynamic, interdisciplinary and diverse team dedicated to developing a new generation of photocatalytic nanomaterials for sustainable chemistry.

Project: Self-Assembled Plasmonic Nanoreactors This project aims to develop new self-assembled catalytic nanomaterials to enable novel photon-to-chemical conversion technologies. This will continue our work on plasmonic nanoarchitectures for photochemical applications. The candidate will self-assemble plasmonic materials into hybrid nano-architectures and test their photocatalytic performance using a range of state-of-the-art characterisation techniques. This research will require the ability to work in a team and a strong knowledge about electrochemistry and catalysis and ideally experience with photocatalysis. We therefore welcome applications with a suitably aligned scientific background. In addition, any experience with plasmonics, vibrational spectroscopy, and colloidal self-assembly would be advantageous.

The PDRA should have (or be about to obtain) a PhD in Physics or a closely related discipline. A strong background in Optics, Photonics, Self-Assembly or Catalysis will be required for the position.

A 2nd PDRA position is advertised separately for the Chemistry side of the project on account of the interdisciplinary nature of the research, which will ensure complementary expertise is available. If you are interested in this role, you can find it on, the reference number is: MA39490 and the closing date 07.01.2024

Appointment as a Research Associate is dependent on having a PhD (or equivalent experience). Those who have submitted but not yet received their PhD degree, will initially be appointed at Research Assistant level (amended to Research Associate when the PhD is awarded). The Research Assistant salary (Grade 5) falls within the range £32,982 - £33,966. The Research Associate salary (Grade 7) falls within the range £36,024 - £44,263

Start date: February - June 2024

Fixed-term: The funds for this post are available for 2 years in the first instance.

Once an offer of employment has been accepted, the successful candidate will be required to undergo a health assessment.

Click the 'Apply' button below to register an account with our recruitment system (if you have not already) and apply online.

Please ensure that you upload your Curriculum Vitae (CV), a cover letter and 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.

Informal enquiries about the position can be addressed to Dr Bart de Nijs via email on

The closing date for applications is 7th January 2024

Please quote reference KA39533 on your application and in any correspondence about this vacancy.

The University actively supports equality, diversity and inclusion and encourages applications from all sections of society.

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

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