Research Fellow (Clean Cold)

Contract Full-time University of Birmingham
  • Post Date : June 3, 2021
  • Salary: £30942 - £40322
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Job Description

Research Fellow (Clean Cold) – School of Chemical Engineering – 97391 – Grade 7

– (210000QN)


Position Details

Area: School of Chemical Engineering in the College of Engineering and Physical Sciences
Salary: Full time starting salary is normally in the range £30,942 to £40,322 with potential progression once in post to £42,792
Band/Grade: Grade 7
Hours: Full time
Duration: Fixed-term for up to 18 months
Location: University of Birmingham, Edgbaston, Birmingham, UK
Closing Date: 13 June 2021


Pathways to net-zero cold-chain – Opportunity to join major new global research team at Centre for Sustainable Cooling.

Temperature controlled supply chains are central to many aspects of a modern society and underpin socio-economic well-being as well as a population’s health – access to pharma and vaccines; access to nutritional food and prevention of food loss within the supply chains; protection and increase of farmer/rural incomes. Cold-chains are though energy intensive and currently reliant on both diesel, for example in a wide range of transport, weak grid and off-grid applications, and in many cases coal and/or natural gas based power grids.

Led by University of Birmingham, a collaboration of UK Universities with world-class expertise in clean cooling and cold-chain have secured £multi-million funding to work across a series of significant research projects to transform the cold-chain sector in developing and developed markets into a more efficient and sustainable system from ‘manufacturer to arm’ and ‘farm to fork’.

This includes the design and establishment of the new African Centre of Excellence in Sustainable Cooling and Cold-chain in Rwanda with the Governments of Rwanda and the United Kingdom (UK), the United Nations Environment Programme’s United for Efficiency initiative.

We are looking to a Research Fellow to work in the global Centre for Sustainable Cooling at University of Birmingham, contributing to work packages of the African Centre for Sustainable Cooling and Cold-chain (ACES) and UK Sustainable Food Cold-chain research programmes.

This post is focused on techno-economic analysis and design of sustainable cooling and cold-chains and technology selection. This includes emissions modelling and defining pathway to net-zero solutions.

A core goal will be to help design the Africa Centre of Sustainable Cooling and Cold-chain to be hosted at the University of Rwanda.

Summary of Role


  • Conducting own and original research
  • Cooling needs assessments (include future assessment)
  • Develop technology database of cooling and cold-chains
  • Techno-economic analysis of cooling and cold-chain technologies and systems
  • Techno-commercial business models and design
  • Develop and model roadmaps to net-zero emissions
  • Identify and create strategies to address in-country capacity gaps


  • Organise and deliver impact and dissemination activities with a wide range of stakeholders including policy-makers, inter-Governmental Development Agencies and NGOs
  • Collaborate with partners and universities in data collection and analysis, workshop organisation, writing reports and academic publications
  • Contribute to writing bids and generating funding
  • Developing and making substantial contributions to knowledge transfer, enterprise, business engagement, public engagement activities, widening participation or similar activities within the University and through the Centre for Sustainable Cooling (a multi-University collaboration)

Main Duties/Responsibilities

  • Collect research data, both quantitative and qualitative data; this may be through a variety of research methods, such as literature reviews, research interviews and workshops
  • Robust analysis of data, following ethical guidelines for data collection and analysis
  • Contribute to technology selection based on, inter alia energy resources, social and economic criteria
  • Contribute to developing new models, techniques and methods
  • Write up research output into high quality reports and academic papers for publication
  • Present findings in high quality conferences, workshops and meetings both in the UK and overseas
  • Contribute to the administration/management of activities associated with the project
  • Contribute to writing bids for research funding
  • Provide guidance, as required, to support staff and any students who may be assisting with the research including in collaboration partners in-country
  • Deal with problems that may affect the achievement of research objectives and deadlines
  • Contribute to Departmental/School research-related activities and research-related administration
  • Contribute to enterprise, business development and/or public engagement activities of manifest benefit to the College and the University, often under supervision of a project leader
  • Promotes equality and values diversity acting as a role model and fostering an inclusive working culture.

Person Specification

  • Academic qualifications at the doctoral level in a relevant academic discipline and deep understanding of sustainable cooling and cold-chains and technologies. Specific skills sets could include one or more of

o quantitative data analysis and modelling, including skills and experience in using programming software such as Python, and Input-Output model on emissions calculation.
o in-depth technical expertise on cooling and energy technologies, ideally with interdisciplinary background and whole-system knowledge and skills.
o strong econometrics background and skills, and experience in developing technoeconomic modelling and familiar with CAPEX, OPEX, levelized cost of energy etc. Experienced in technoeconomic analysis comparing different technology/system options.

  • Interdisciplinary research experience linked to understanding complex social, economic and technical challenges
  • An understanding of a range of influences from business drivers to cultural context and appreciation of whole systems models, techniques or methods
  • High level analytical capability, experienced in quantitative and qualitative data collection and analysis
  • Experienced in public engagement and workshop organisation with high level policymakers and stakeholders
  • Track record of academic publications, proven delivery of reports and papers that are recognised within the field
  • Proven ability to work both under guidance as part of a team, but also independently
  • Ability to communicate complex information clearly
  • Ability to assess resource requirements and use resources effectively
  • Knowledge of the protected characteristics of the Equality Act 2010, and how to actively ensure in day to day activity in own area that those with protected characteristics are treated equally and fairly

Informal enquiries can be made to Prof Toby Peters;

Valuing excellence, sustaining investment
We value diversity and inclusion at the University of Birmingham and welcome applications from all sections of the community and are open to discussions around all forms of flexible working.

Primary Location GB-GB-Birmingham
Job Academic Non-clinical
Organization Chemical Engineering
Schedule Temporary
Job Posting 11.05.2021, 6:00:00 PM
Grade (for job description) Grade 7
Salary (Pay Basis) 30,942.00
Maximum Salary 42,792.00
Advert Close Date 13.06.2021, 5:59:00 PM
Fixed Term Contract End Date 29.09.2022

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