Job Opportunities

Current vacancies:  

  • Scientific Specialist in Cryo-Electron Microscopy
  • PhD: Making Additive Manufacturing Sustainable Using X-Ray Imaging



Scientific Specialist in Cryo-Electron Microscopy

MRC – 4
£32,005 – £40,769 per annum (depending on experience)
£4,000 per annum, Recruitment and Retention Allowance
Permanent, Full Time Role
Apply Now. Closing date – Sunday 20th June 2021

Job Description

Overall purpose:

To enable world leading research by providing scientific and technical support for a Glacios Cryo-Electron Microscope, which is located at the DLS Electron Bio-Imaging Centre (eBIC). The role will also provide additional support for the transmission and scanning electron microscopes at Research Complex. The role is part of a small, agile team supporting over 200 researchers.

Main duties:

  • Provide operational support for the electron microscopes (principally the cryo-EM) including responsibility for the day-to-day operation of the systems.
  • Provide training and support on cryo-electron microscopy for short and long term Research Complex users.
  • Act as a single point of contact (Local Contact) for a proportion of user experiments providing specialist technical/scientific advice and assistance to Research Complex users with sample preparation procedures and protocol.
  • Provide maintenance and calibration of the cryo-EM equipment (Thermo Glacios), as well as the additional electron microscopy instrumentation at Research Complex (Jeol 2100).
  • Ensure (in cooperation with eBIC) that the cryo-EM facility meets current safety standards and requirements, including sample preparation and user samples.
  • Perform microscope analysis and image processing, such as for example serialEM software analysis.
  • Collaborate with eBIC on upgrades and development projects.
  • Procurement of instrument components, including writing system specifications, the management of contracts and liaison with suppliers.
  • Diagnose and repair faults on the TEM and other electron microscopy instruments and ancillary equipment. The post-holder will be capable of solving problems encountered with such equipment themselves or make use of external support, as appropriate.
  • Keep records of the usage of instruments and manage the booking system to maximise the efficient and effective use of the facility.
  • Liaise with EM users about their experimental samples and material including COSHH and risk assessments.
  • Manage the development, procurement, testing, installation, and maintenance of bespoke scientific equipment and software to perform novel experiments at Research Complex and the peripheral laboratories.
  • Advise on the development of data acquisition, visualization and analysis software and be involved in commissioning of new software.
  • Promote Research Complex externally; including for example public outreach activity and engaging with the scientific community.
  • Personally keep up to date with technical developments in electron microscopy, implement them at Research Complex where appropriate and advise users on such developments and new opportunities.

Key responsibilities:

  • To ensure that users are well trained and have regular access to a well-maintained Research Complex EM instrumentation.
  • To ensure the safe and efficient use of Research Complex EM equipment.
  • To ensure the safety aspects of running EM instruments and of sample preparation equipment and procedures.
  • To liaise with users about EM instrument’s availability and bookings.
  • To complete and organise the services and maintenance of EM facility equipment.

These lists are not exhaustive, and you will be expected to help cover roles when colleagues are away.

Working relationships:

This post reports to the Scientific Support Manager, the role involves interaction with the scientists, students and visitors based at Research Complex, as well as the core team. The post holder will also provide information on equipment usage, and equipment procurement details or forecasts.

Person Specification

Education / Qualifications / Training required:


  • Appropriate scientific degree.


  • Appropriate post-doctoral experience in electron microscopy.
  • Appropriate post-doctoral experience in cryo-electron microscopy.
  • Appropriate PhD in biophysics/physics/material sciences/engineering or related disciplines and proven relevant experience.

Previous work experience required:


  • Experience in running and maintaining electron microscopes, preferably in a research environment.


  • Experience of working in, and assisting in the management and operation of an EM facility

Knowledge and experience:


  • Experience of working with biological samples.
  • Experience with Windows/Linux/Unix.
  • Experience with image processing.


  • Experience preparing biological samples.
  • Experience in scripting (E.g. Python) or programming.
  • Experience with operating, maintaining and troubleshooting an SEM or FIB-SEM.
  • Experience in maintaining and troubleshooting a state-of-the-art cryo electron microscope.
  • Experience co-ordinating manufacturer field service engineers and commissioning novel hardware and software.

Personal skills/behaviours/qualities:


  • Scientific and technical interest in the field of electron microscopy and its applications for various life and physical sciences projects.
  • Ability to establish and maintain effective working relationships with users and supervisors at all levels
  • Ability to work independently and as part of a multi-disciplinary team.
  • Excellent interpersonal, communication and presentational skills.
  • Ability and initiative to get to the heart of the problem and take it effectively through to completion.
  • Excellent organisational and planning skills and methodical record keeping.

Interviews will be held w/c 5th July 2021.

Please apply here.



PhD: Making Additive Manufacturing Sustainable Using X-Ray Imaging

Closing date: 1st August 2021

Additive manufacturing (AM) is an emerging digital manufacturing technology that produces components with complex shapes. For metals, a key AM process is laser powder bed fusion (LPBF) technology, which fuses powder particles into components, layer-by-layer, directly from a digital file. Enabling powder recycling (or reuse) is a key driver to make LPBF sustainable and cost-effective. However, the impact of recycled and reused powder on product quality is not well understood. There are a multitude of factors to consider: oxygen pick-up, powder contaminations, and moisture. This project will use world leading X-ray techniques (laboratory and synchrotron) to gain a better fundamental understanding of the impact of these factors on the properties of AM components. You will be working with Carpenter Additive (CA) – a world-leading powder manufacturer with a 20% global powder market share, who are co-funding the project.

This project is integrated with the UK’s hub for Manufacturing with Advanced Powder Processes ( The PhD research will be based at the Research Complex at Harwell, working in the UCL Materials, Structures, and Materials group at Harwell (MSM@H). You will have access to use advanced characterisation facilities at the Harwell Campus (, UCL Bloomsbury Campus, Henry Royce Institute (, and CA’s research and development facilities.

Studentship Description

This PhD studentship will tackle the above challenge by: (1) characterising the powder quality using CA’s proprietary powder condition analysis technology, (2) revealing their impact on surface dynamics, e.g. spatter, in addition to, the melt pool and defect dynamics during LPBF, (3) using a combination of a unique AM process replicator (developed by UCL), ultra-fast in situ synchrotron X-ray imaging, and advanced image analysis.

The expected research outcomes will provide key insights on which powder quality has the most influence on AM process, e.g. the fluid flow behaviour and defect formation in the melt pool. The extracted information could also be used to develop next-generation powder characterisation technology. Your work will play a crucial role in the qualification of materials and process for AM, helping end-users to decide when powders should be reused or recycled.

Person Specification

Applicants should ideally have a first-class, or equivalent, undergraduate degree in Chemistry, Physics, Materials Science and Engineering, or a related discipline. Excellent organisational, interpersonal, and communication skills, along with a stated interest in interdisciplinary research, are essential. Ideally, you would have experience in one, or more, of the following:

  • Metallurgy
  • Additive manufacturing
  • Image analysis and/or X-ray imaging
  • Matlab and Python programming

Application Process

Eligible applicants should first contact Dr Chu Lun Alex Leung () quoting the job reference. Please enclose a one-page statement outlining suitability for the project and two pages CV (including contact details of two referees). The supervisory team will arrange interviews for short-listed candidates. After interview, the successful candidate will be given instructions to formally apply online via the UCL website. For further information, see

This funding is available for those with Home Student Status. We actively encourage the application of female applicants for this position. Please DO NOT enquire about this studentship if you are ineligible.
Further information is available here.