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Research Engineer for Sensor Development

Mechanical Engineering

Location:  Highfield Campus
Salary:   £30,942
Full Time Fixed Term (for 33 months)
Closing Date:  Monday 24 February 2020
Interview Date:   Friday 20 March 2020
Reference:  1234220DA

Research Engineer for Sensor Development**

You will join a collaborative programme which aims to tackle the grand challenge of decoding nitrogen dynamics in soil through development of novel wireless nitrogen sensing technology, field testing, and data-driven modelling of rhizosphere nitrogen dynamics. This research is a UKRI/NSF-funded “Signals in the Soil” project, bringing together partners from the UK and US with expertise in sensors, microfluidics, modelling, and environmental science.

In this project you will develop new sensor technology for monitoring soil chemistry, building on our recent work developing cutting-edge sensors for water and medical applications based on droplet microfluidics. While a long-established laboratory technique, droplet microfluidics is only now making its way into the first field-deployable devices. In this project your role will be in realising sensor designs and concepts into real working soil sensors, based around our robust droplet generation technique. The post will provide you with an excellent opportunity for interdisciplinary work working across the engineering/sensors/environmental science interfaces and will involve use of Southampton University's advanced microfabrication and engineering facilities. You will work closely with the investigators and their research groups and collaborators from UK and US universities.

After relevant training, the day to day responsibilities will primarily be:

•            Development of mechanical concepts using sketches and 3D CAD.

•            Prototyping of concepts using off-the-shelf components, 3D printing, machining and micromachining.

•            Fabricating microfluidic channel architectures using microfabrication techniques.

•            Fabrication of test and calibration rigs in the workshop.

•            Collaboration with researchers and students within the department, and collaborators from other UK and US universities.

•            Testing of sensors and subsystems in the laboratory.

•            Analysing and presenting the results, writing reports.

•            Laboratory management and maintenance of equipment.

•            Ensuring all Health and Safety protocols are adhered to.

To be successful you will have:

•            Skill level equivalent to the achievement of HND, Degree, NVQ4 or basic professional qualifications in mechanical engineering or Chemical Engineering or a related engineering discipline.

•            Experience of CAD software eg Solidworks, Inventor, AutoCAD.

•            Experience in device development and/or experience with design for manufacture.

Ideally you will also have:

•            Experience of sensor devices.

•            Experience with instrumentation, fluidics, or microfluidics.

Equality, diversity and Inclusion is central to the ethos in the School of Engineering. In recognition of our continued commitment to improving equality for women in science we were awarded an Athena SWAN bronze in 2013 and 2016. We give full consideration to applicants that wish to work flexibly including part-time and due consideration will be given to applicants who have taken a career break. The University has a generous maternity policy*, onsite childcare facilities

The University of Southampton is in the top 1% of world universities and in the top 10 of the UK’s research-intensive universities. The University of Southampton is committed to sustainability and being a globally responsible university and has recently been awarded the Platinum EcoAward.  Our vision is to embed the principles of sustainability into all aspects of our individual and collective work, integrating sustainable development into our business planning, policy-making, and professional activities.  This commits all of our staff and students to take responsibility for managing their activities to minimise harm to the environment, whether this through switching off non-essential electrical equipment or using the recycling facilities.

*subject to qualifying criteria

Informal enquires are welcome, please contact Dr. Xize Niu via email: x.niu@soton.ac.uk

The position commences from 1st April 2020 or as soon as possible thereafter.

**Please note that after appointment your job title will be Specialist Technician.

Application Procedure
You should submit your completed online application form at www.jobs.soton.ac.uk. The application deadline will be midnight on the closing date stated above. If you need any assistance, please call Annabelle Trimm (Recruitment Team) on +44 (0) 23 8059 4043. Please quote reference 1234220DA on all correspondence.

Athena SWAN Bronze Award holder: Faculty of Engineering

The closing date for this job opportunity has now passed, and applications are no longer being accepted for this position

Further details:

We aim to be an equal opportunities employer and welcome applications from all sections of the community. Please note that applications from agencies will not be accepted unless indicated in the job advert.


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