University of Cambridge

Department of Engineering

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A position exists, for a PhD student/Marie Sklodowska-Curie Early Stage Researcher (ESR) to work with Professor Abir Al-Tabbaa on the EC-funded Marie Sklodowska-Curie ‘SMARTINCS’ European Training Network (ETN). SMARTINCS aims to develop self-healing multi-functional advanced repair technologies in cementitious systems; more information at:

The ESR will embed smart biomimetic advanced functionalities in repair mortar formulations to tackle multi-damage scenario triggers. The postholder will be located at the Civil Engineering Building, JJ Thomson Avenue, Cambridge CB3 0FA.

The key responsibilities include: (1) development of new self-healing repair mortars with smart additional functionalities, (2) laboratory evaluation of the performance and durability assessment under chemical and physical triggers and (3) verification through full-scale trials for sprayed concrete.

In addition, the ESR will be expected to: (1) attend secondments at SMARTINCS academic and industrial partners, (2) attend SMARTINCS training schools, (3) report and present research work at SMARTINCS events and (4) plan and co-ordinate own research activity in collaboration with the other SMARTINCS ESRs.
Salary: €54,857.52 + allowances (GBP converted equivalent)
Applicants should have (or expect to obtain by the start date) a masters degree (or equivalent) in civil/materials/chemical/ construction/structural/environmental engineering or a related discipline including cement technology, chemistry or materials science, with a high II.i Honours or international equivalent. Applicants must have a strong interest in the development, performance and sustainability of cementitious infrastructure materials.

Applicants must (at the time of recruitment by the host organisation) not have more than 4 years’ (full-time equivalent) research experience and not yet hold a PhD. Researchers can be of any nationality and are required to undertake transnational mobility. Researchers must not have resided or carried out their main activity (work or study) in the UK for more than 12 months in the 3 years prior to their recruitment.

The successful candidate will be employed as an ESR from 1 June 2020 or asap after that date and will register for the PhD from 1 October 2020.

Applications should be emailed to with SMARTINCS ESR7 in the email subject line. Please address your submission to the SMARTINCS recruitment co-ordinator Professor Kim Van Tittleboom, Ghent University.

Applications must include the following documents:
– a personal (motivation) letter and a Curriculum Vitae.
– a copy of degree certificates and associated certificates.
– a transcript of records of the bachelor and master curriculum.
– a copy of degree projects and any previous publications.
– proof of English language skills, please see minimum requirements at
– two recommendation letters (or the names and e-mail addresses of two referees).

Applications must arrive no later than 15 February 2020.

Please note that any offer of funding will be conditional on securing a place as a PhD student at the University of Cambridge. Candidates will need to apply separately for admission through the University’s Graduate Admissions application portal; this can be done after applying for this funding opportunity. Note that there is a £65 fee for PhD applications. The applicant portal can be accessed via: The deadline for the PhD applications is 30 March 2020.

The University actively supports equality, diversity and inclusion and encourages applications from all sections of society.

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About Department of Biochemistry, University of Cambridge

The Department of Biochemistry is a member of the School of the Biological Sciences and one of the largest departments in the University of Cambridge. The Department is especially strong in research with investigators of international standing in a wide range of disciplines including structural biology, molecular enzymology, cell signalling and control of gene expression, molecular microbiology, plant molecular biology and bioenergy, cancer and cardiovascular biology. We also have a strong cohort of independent research fellows with funding from the Wellcome Trust, British Heart Foundation, BBSRC and MRC. The Department houses multiple core facilities funded by Wellcome Trust, BBSRC and MRC to support modern biomolecular research, including 800MHz NMR, state-of-the-art X-ray crystallography, protein chemistry, mass spectrometry, metabolomics and advanced services for protein and nucleic acid sequencing. In collaboration with the Department of Genetics we have also established the Cambridge Systems Biology Centre, which hosts genomics, proteomics and associated bioinformatics. We also participate in the Wellcome Trust-MRC Cambridge Stem Cell Institute , the Cambridge Cancer Centre and other major research initiatives.