GBP 5715 Technical Research Assistant (Sustainable composites, materials science and manufacturing)

  • Job Reference: 00003055-1
  • Date Posted: 16 July 2021
  • Recruiter: University of Exeter (Graduate Business Partnership)
  • Location: Exeter, Devon
  • Remote Working: Some remote working possible
  • Salary: £19,217
  • Sector: Manufacturing Operations, Science & Technology
  • Job Type: Contract, Internship or Placement
  • Duration: 1 year
  • Work Hours: Full Time

Job Description

A full-time Technical Research Assistant is required to support project work carried out within the Centre for Alternative Materials and Remanufacturing (CALMARE) as well as the wider Exeter Technologies Group.  

The role will include desktop / literature research; material / product testing;  material recycling and compounding; and  supporting the industrial partner to investigate circular business options and developing solutions to technical barriers. This role is being recruited through the Graduate Business Partnership scheme and will be for 12 months.

The official work location will be Streatham campus in Exeter, but the role can be undertaken part remote-working (in UK) and part working on campus.


The Centre for Alternative Materials and Remanufacturing (CALMARE), is part of the wider Exeter Technologies Group (ETG) within the College of Engineering, Mathematics and Physical Sciences at the University of Exeter. ETG is an industry focused research group and incorporates 3 different research centres, including the Centre for Additive Layer Manufacturing (CALM).


Purpose of role

The group currently has a number of research projects ongoing and whilst the majority of this role will involve working on a specific research project with an industry partner, it will also include supporting the personnel working on these other projects, with a range of research tasks which may include literature reviews, prototype manufacture (composite manufacturing, compression moulding and 3D printing), material processing, characterisation and testing, helping to ensure projects remain on schedule and produce valuable outputs.

Duties and Responsibilities

The successful candidate will work under the supervision of senior researchers to deliver an Innovate UK funded research project developing a novel sustainable composite solution, and supporting research across a range of other research projects relevant to the group.


The type of work required will be dependent on the specific priorities of the group over the time of the placement, and how the research develops but is likely to include:


  • Desktop / literature research – Background research to discover any existing publically available information and / or academic research, including online searching and contacting suitable suppliers, companies and industry experts.
  • Material / product testing – Use of various testing equipment will be required (prior knowledge not necessary) including material characterization (eg. DSC, DMA, TGA, FTIR etc), physical testing (tensile, compression, 3 point bending, impact etc) and processing (injection moulding, extrusion and compounding, compression moulding, 3D printing).
  • Material recycling and compounding – As part of the project there is a requirement for optimisation of the recycling process and incorporation of in-house manufacturing/post-consumer polymeric waste with R&D in these areas required.
  • Circular Economy – supporting the industrial partner to investigate circular business options and developing solutions to technical barriers.

Clear knowledge of any of these areas would be an advantage, but is not expected. Training will be provided and a keen and enthusiastic approach to learning these techniques is needed. In addition being able to write concise and clear reports that demonstrate work carried out and research findings is an essential skill required.

Other duties and projects may be required as deemed necessary by the line manager which are commensurate with the level of the post.

Support and Training opportunities

Training to operate the multitude of characterisation, manufacturing and testing equipment within the group will be provided by the lab manager and support for all other aspects of the project (technical, commercial and management) will be given to provide a well-rounded training to anyone considering a career in research, engineering or project management. Plus it will provide a great insight into the commercial opportunities for implementing a more circular economy and sustainable solutions.

The placement involves working within a group of researchers (10-15 people in the group, depending on current projects), with daily contact with the supervisor and or lab/manager available and weekly meetings to discuss progress, development opportunities and to agree any additional support requirements. Any further training will be encouraged, including access to all the Universities online training modules.

The University offers online and in-person learning and development opportunities, including mandatory online training in Prevent Duty - Inclusive, Cohesive and Safe UniversitiesEquality and Diversity IntroductionHealth and Safety Introduction and Information Governance.

Plus GBPs are offered a ‘how to make the most of your internship’ introductory session, bespoke mentoring, work shadow and career consultancy opportunities.

The University offers extensive support to staff, including a structured Professional Development Review and Wellbeing Service plus GBPs are offered 1:1 support from the Internships Team.

The University offers a wide range of benefits, rewards and recognition, including generous pension and holiday allowance of 39 days a year.


Degree and Attainment

*Bachelor Degree Level, preferably in science or engineering subject


*Practical skills – Ability to quickly learn testing and processing techniques and take logical approach to adapting processes to project requirements

*Mathematical skills – A mathematical approach is important in ordered to be able to understand and interpret the test results and portray those in terms that are understandable to the customer.

*Report writing – Clear and concise report writing is vital

*IT skills – Good IT skills are required in order to analyse and present data and produce reports.

Behavioural Characteristics/ Personal Qualities and Attributes

*Quick learner – interested in learning about new ideas, concepts, industries, testing methods etc

*Independent worker – The variety of the projects will mean that an independent approach to learning about the particular materials, products or industries is vital, with the ability to gain a working and informative knowledge of the subject very quickly.

*Hands on attitude – willing to do desktop research but also to carry out practical work

*Pragmatic approach – Timeframes require a very pragmatic approach in order to recognise what is achievable in the time and with the equipment available

*Ability to multi task and manage multiple projects/tasks at once

*Organised approach to project work to ensure efficient use of time


*Materials knowledge, particularly of plastics and composites would be advantageous

*Previous experience of any materials testing would be advantageous

*Previous processing / manufacturing knowledge would be advantageous (eg, moulding, extruding etc)


Other Scheme Requirements

To be eligible to apply and undertake a GBP role you must meet all of the following criteria:

  • Achieved* (or about to achieve) a full undergraduate degree (or Masters or PhD).
  • Graduated in the UK within the last 3 years of your most recent degree (we will consider extenuating circumstances of potential applicants that may have prevented them from undertaking a graduate role within 3 years of graduation).
  • Attended a British university (or spent time studying at a UK university through ERASMUS)
  • The University of Exeter is committed to developing an environment which promotes equality of opportunity, values diversity and inclusivity. 
    • The University of Exeter is a Disability Confident Employer, committed attracting and recruiting people with disabilities, and retaining and supporting staff with disabilities. If an applicant declares a disability and meets all the essential criteria, they will be invited to interview.  
    • We welcome applications from all eligible students and in particular those from the following underrepresented groups. Selection and recruitment itself will be entirely on merit alone unless there are multiple applicants demonstrating equal merit. In this clear circumstance, preference would be shown to applicants from under-represented groups. This is in line with lawful positive action measures under sections 158 and 159 of the Equality Act 2010.
  • Right to Work in the UK for the duration of the GBP internship evidenced by the ?Intern Guidance- Proving Right to Work the UK. This can includes British citizens; individuals with an EU Pre-Settlement or EU-Settlement Status; and those with a Graduate Route Visa.
  • Current immigration legislation prevents the University to provide sponsorship certificates for GBP roles, as they do not meet the requirements for a Skilled Worker visa as explained on the International Student Support webpages.
  • All graduates need to reside in the UK whilst undertaking this role.
  • You cannot undertake another GBP role if the contract length in total exceeds the maximum duration of 23 months working as a GBP.

*To undertake a GBP role you must achieve your degree. In the unlikely scenario where a degree is not awarded, the GBP hours may be reduced to 15hrs a week (for undergraduates) or 6hrs a week (for postgraduates) to enable to the graduand the capacity to successfully complete their degree. If the graduand fails their degree the GBP role will end early.

 Key Dates:

Closing: 15/08/2021

Interview: 24/08/21

Start: 01/09/21

End: 30/08/22

How to apply:

To apply for this role please complete our internship application form which can be downloaded here

Please send your completed form by clicking apply for this job now, or send it direct to stating that you saw the job advertised on Gradsouthwest.