Visiting Research Fellowships

Calling Exceptional Early Career Battery Researchers from Chile and Argentina: Join the Faraday Institution’s Visiting Research Fellowship Programme.

Preannouncement of Applications

Are you an exceptional early-career researcher working in lithium-ion battery research in Argentina or Chile? The Faraday Institution, in partnership with UK universities affiliated with specific research projects, invites you to apply for a prestigious Visiting Research Fellowship (VRF). This scheme offers an opportunity for researchers from Chile and Argentina to work alongside Faraday Institution battery researchers in the UK for up to six months.

Indicative timeline

Applications open around 29 January 2024

Applications close 29 February 2024

Fellowships to commence before 1 September 2024

Further guidance may be issued around application timelines shortly. Please return to this page for further details

Supported by the UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO), the VRF scheme aims to strengthen partnerships between the UK and the lithium triangle countries of Argentina and Chile. Following the success of a partnership between the University of Warwick and Bolivia, the FCDO is generously funding seven fellows from Chile and Argentina.

VRF Research Areas

Following a call open to co-investigators on four of the Faraday Institution main projects, Fellowships are being offered in the following seven topic areas. Links to job adverts will be added to the table below as they become available around the 29th January 2024.

 

VRF topic area Host researcher Host organisation Faraday Institution project Project summary
Investigation into the application of direct lithium extraction technologies for recycling batteries

Application details

Dr Jacqueline Edge Imperial College London ReLiB This study is a collaboration between Imperial College London, the University of Birmingham, and a researcher from South America, to investigate the extent to which these methods can be applied to low concentration brines, such as those found in geothermal deposits across Europe, and to the solutions recovered from recycling batteries. The study will also compare the relative performance of these methods, as well as their environmental and techno-economic impacts.

 

Cracking of next generation advanced lithium-ion battery cathodes – CONGA-LIB

Application details

Dr Rhodri Jervis University College London CATMAT Working at University College London the successful fellow will investigate cracking behaviour of LNO and doped LNO cathode materials using world leading X-ray characterisation suite in the Electrochemical Innovation Lab (EIL), comprising of nano-, micro- and macro-CT, XRD and SAXS.

 

Driving the design of next-generation cathode materials by local structure characterisation

Application details at the bottom of this link

Dr Phoebe Allan University of Birmingham CATMAT Uncover the structural origins of promising electrochemical behaviour in new cobalt-free cathode materials discovered in CATMAT – layered/disordered-rocksalt composites and disordered rocksalt oxyfluorides. The Fellow will gain experience in advanced characterisation techniques including synchrotron techniques such as pair distribution function analysis and X-ray absorption spectroscopy as well as computational data analysis techniques.

 

LAW: Lithium from anode waste

Application details at the bottom of this link

Professor Peter Slater University of Birmingham ReLiB This Fellowship is focused on maximising the potential of anode recycling, by aiming to recover, regenerate, or upcycle the graphite/SiOx anode material, while also recovering any lithium that remains in the anode. The project offers to improve the commercial potential of anode recycling by recovering this valuable Li component, while developing routes to repair/regenerate the anode material itself.

 

Characterisation of degradation effects on intercalation kinetics in the cathode electrode-electrolyte interface

Application details

Professor Dame Clare Grey University of Cambridge Degradation The project aims to examine different cathode battery chemistries (LNO, LFP, LMFP), focusing on how degradation influences lithium-ion intercalation dynamics, working towards linking degradation phenomena with reduced rate capability and energy efficiency. To enhance battery performance, the Fellow will pioneer electrochemical testing methods and advanced data analysis, while learning about a breath of battery characterisation techniques.

 

Recovering kinetically limited capacity loss in single-crystalline Ni-rich NMC-graphite pouch cells for second life

Application details

Professor Louis Piper University of Warwick FutureCat This project aims to quantify the kinetics-related capacity losses in single crystal-NMC811/graphite systems and explore mitigative cycling protocols to recover lost capacity. Industry-format pouch cells will be aged through cycling under varying voltage windows at the University of Warwick. Then, multiple regenerative protocols will be applied to understand the specific effects of cycling rates and temperature on capacity recovery. The regenerated capacity can be quantified using electrochemical testing, with the changes in electrode properties measured via advanced characterisation including operando X-ray and gas analysis techniques in collaboration with the University of Cambridge.

 

Optimisation of phosphate-based cylindrical cell manufacture

Application details

Professor Louis Piper University of Warwick Degradation This proposed collaboration will undertake the manufacturing of LFP/graphite full cylindrical cells at the University of Warwick. Smaller scale cell manufacture (coin, EL-cell) will first be undertaken to optimise parameters such as slurry formulation and coat weight, after which WMG’s pilot line facility will be utilised to produce 21700 cells. The performance of these cells will be assessed via electrochemical testing and benchmarked against similar commercially available cells. Capacity loss will be diagnosed via advanced electrochemical methods, X-ray computed tomography and neutron analysis.

VRF Benefits

Being selected as a VRF offers numerous benefits that can significantly enhance your career and research trajectory. As a fellow, you will have the opportunity to collaborate with UK-based researchers and experts in the field of lithium-ion batteries and energy storage. This invaluable experience will broaden your knowledge, expose you to cutting-edge research methodologies, and expand your professional network.

During your Fellowship, you will work alongside researchers at prestigious UK universities affiliated with the Faraday Institution, gaining access to state-of-the-art facilities and resources. This collaborative environment will foster the exchange of ideas, allowing you to contribute to ongoing research projects and develop new lines of inquiry. By engaging with the wider Faraday Institution’s research community (totalling 27 UK universities), you will have the chance to learn from leaders the field and contribute to groundbreaking advancements in energy storage.

The VRFs provide a unique platform for professional development and networking. You will have opportunities to attend conferences, seminars, and workshops, enabling you to showcase your work, share insights, and build connections with fellow researchers and industry professionals. The Fellowship will also provide a platform to disseminate your research findings, enhancing your visibility and reputation in the academic and scientific community.

Beyond the academic benefits, the fellowship offers a chance to experience the vibrant culture and academic excellence of the UK. Immersing yourself in a new academic environment and engaging with colleagues from diverse backgrounds will broaden your perspective and enrich your personal and professional growth.

By participating in the VRF programme, you will gain a competitive edge in your career, strengthening your research portfolio and opening doors to future collaborations and opportunities. This transformative experience will equip you with the skills, knowledge, and connections to excel in your field and make a significant impact in the advancement of lithium and battery-related research.

Value and Duration of the VRF

The funding will enable seven fully supported VRF placements of up to 6-months and includes components to support the research activities along with a generous stipend to cover costs in the UK, including flights, visa processing fees, subsistence, housing allowance and travel. Successful VRF researchers will be embedded in active Faraday consortium projects full time at a host institution working closely with peer Faraday Institution post-doctoral research assistants.

Fellowships are expected to commence before 1 September 2024.

Application Process and Eligibility

We encourage applications from researchers from top Chilean and Argentine university research groups with experience in R&D and National Investigation Institutes/centres researchers in the fields of chemistry, materials science and engineering (and related disciplines) closely related to the lithium-based energy storage.

Eligible researchers are invited to apply to the fellowships directly to host universities by 29th February 2024. For job adverts and contact details of lead researchers please see the links in the table above (which will be added as they become available). Grants will be active from 31st March 2024 for up to six months.

Prospective Fellows will be invited to:

  • provide clear and comprehensive responses to the research topic summary, showcasing how their backgrounds and expertise align with the research topic and how they can contribute to its successful completion,
  • demonstrate home institution and supervisory approval to commit to the fellowship,
  • demonstrate the potential benefits of establishing a relationship with the host university and the Faraday Institution research programme and community, and
  • highlight how this collaboration will be advantageous at their current career stage.

Fellows will be selected through a review process by each host university based on criteria which includes academic merit and fit to the research project.

Eligibility

To be eligible for the VRF, applicants should be early career researchers (i.e., hold a PhD in a relevant discipline) and not hold an academic (or equivalent) permanent position. Applicates with postdoctoral or equivalent status at the time of application are preferred. In exceptional cases, well-qualified individuals in the final stages of their PhD studies may be considered.

Candidates should be based in Chile or Argentina at the time of application and have funding secured throughout the fellowship period. Individuals who are already living, working, or extensively researching in the UK are not eligible for the Fellowship.

Applicants should possess the ability to travel and hold a valid passport.

Applicants will also need to provide a letter of support from their supervisor. Given universities are closed in February this can be provided in early March 2024.

The letter should contain:

          -support of the applicant spending 6 months in the UK,

          -the skills and experience of the applicant as a researcher,

          -confirm the applicant is employed throughout the funding period,

          -the applicant’s ability to speak and present research in English.

The Faraday Institution values diversity and is committed to equality and inclusion. Applications from candidates representing diverse backgrounds and perspectives are encouraged.

Responsibilities of the Fellows

Fellows are expected to conduct collaborative research in the topic area to which they applied and as supervised by the host institution. For the longer term, they should identify potential future research avenues between the two organisations.

It is expected that a report is generated at the end of the Fellowship (joint with the Host Institution supervisor), covering progress and outcomes against the initial project submission, and if the Fellowship has produced any longer-term impact such as further areas of research or a desire for continuation of the collaboration. The expectation is for two sides of A4 as a minimum.

It is expected that Fellows adhere to the Faraday Institution’s Code of Conduct and follow its Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) Charter.

Don’t miss this opportunity to make your mark in the world of lithium and battery-related research. Look out for when applications open for the Faraday Institution’s Visiting Research Fellowships and become part of a dynamic international research community.

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