Research Associate in Space Technology: Energy Systems and Economic Modelling

University of Glasgow

Postdoctorate Position 5 years Glasgow, UK

Uploaded 29 Jul 2020

Job Description

To make a leading contribution to the SOLSPACE project through the research theme on Energy Systems and Economic Modelling, working with Professor Colin McInnes. 

This is an exciting opportunity to join the five-year SOLSPACE project, supported by an Advanced Grant from the European Research Council. The project will undertake an adventurous programme of research to investigate the use of ultra-lightweight orbiting reflectors to enhance the output of future terrestrial solar power farms. This will involve the integration of four research themes spanning orbital dynamics and mission analysis, attitude control and structural dynamics, reflector design and fabrication and energy systems and economic modelling. The SOLSPACE project will combine modelling and simulation with laboratory-scale technology demonstration. 

The successful candidate will lead the SOLSPACE project research theme on Energy Systems and Economic Modelling. This will involve analysis of the integration of energy inputs from solar reflectors with regional electricity grids, optimisation to deliver energy when spot prices are high and building economic models for the development, launch, fabrication and operation of constellations of solar reflectors. The successful candidate will also be required to work closely with the other theme leads to ensure integration of research outputs into the wider SOLSPACE project and deliver its top-level goals. 

The SOLSPACE project will be embedded within the Space and Exploration Technology Group (SET) and will use the facilities of the Integrated Space and Exploration Technology Laboratory (I-SET). The SET group comprises a broad range of expertise across access to space, orbital dynamics, emerging space technologies, entry, descent and landing and planetary exploration technologies. The I-SET laboratory hosts a range of facilities for technology development and demonstration including a vacuum chamber, Helmholtz cage, 3D printers and a clean assembly area. 

Candidates should have a successful record of research accomplishment in energy systems and economic modelling. Prior experience of space systems while desirable is not essential. 

Main Duties and Responsibilities

  1. Take a leading role in the planning and conduct of assigned research individually or jointly in accordance with the project deliverables and project/group/School/College research strategy.
  2. Document research output including analysis and interpretation of all data, maintaining records and databases, drafting technical/progress reports and papers as appropriate.
  3. Establish and maintain your research profile and reputation and that of The University of Glasgow/ School/ Research Group, including establishing and sustaining a track record of independent and joint publications of international quality in high profile/quality refereed journals, enhancing the research impact in terms of economic/societal benefit, and gathering indicators of esteem.
  4. Survey the research literature and environment, understand the research challenges associated with the project & subject area, & develop/implement a suitable research strategy.
  5. Presentation of work at international and national conferences, at internal and external seminars, colloquia and workshops to develop and enhance our research profile.
  6. Take a leading role in the identification of potential funding sources and to assist in the development of proposals to secure funding from internal and external bodies to support future research.
  7. Take a leading role in developing and maintaining collaborations with colleagues across the research group/School/College/University and wider community (e.g. Academic and Industrial Partners).
  8. Take a leading role in team/group meetings/seminars/workshops and School research group activities to enhance the wider knowledge, outputs and culture of the School/College.
  9. Take the lead in the organisation, supervision, mentoring and training of undergraduate and/or postgraduate students and less experienced members of the project team to ensure their effective development.
  10. Perform administrative tasks related to the activities of the research group and School, including Budgets/Expenditure.
  11. Make a leading contribution, as permitted by the funding body, to Teaching activities (e.g. demonstrating etc) and associated admin assigned by the Head of School and in consultation with Principal Investigator.
  12. Keep up to date with current knowledge and recent advances in the field/discipline.
  13. Engage in personal, professional and career development, to enhance both specialist and transferable skills in accordance with desired career trajectory.
  14. Undertake any other reasonable duties as required by the Head of School/Director of Research Institute.
  15. Contribute to the enhancement of the University's international profile in line with the University's Strategic Plan, Inspiring People Changing The World.

Person Specification

  • A comprehensive and up-to-date knowledge of current issues and future directions within the field of energy systems modelling and economic analysis 
  • Knowledge of project-specific technical models or techniques (e.g. grid integration, energy storage, cost modelling) 
  • Sufficient depth of relevant research experience, normally including sufficient postdoctoral experience in a related field, appropriate to an early career researcher
  • Track record of developing models for energy systems and associated economic analysis, for example modelling large-scale renewable energy systems 
  • Experience of relevant software packages for energy systems modelling and economic analysis and developing custom analysis code 
  • Proven ability to deliver quality outputs in a timely and efficient manner
  •  A track record of presentation and publication of research results in quality journals/conferences 
  • Experience of making a leading contribution in academic activities 
  • Ability to demonstrate a degree of independence as illustrated by identification of project objectives from assessment of the literature, design and analysis of experiments and drafting of papers. 
  • Experience in undertaking independent research