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Research Associate/Fellow in Computational Modelling of Heterogeneous Catalysis (Fixed term)


Location:  University Park
Salary:  £29,762 to £44,414 per annum, depending on skills and experience (minimum £33348 with relevant PhD). Salary progression beyond this scale is subject to performance
Closing Date:  Tuesday 13 June 2023
Reference:  SCI203523

The Metal Atoms on Surfaces and Interfaces (MASI) programme is a comprehensive, interdisciplinary initiative spearheaded by Nottingham and collaborating with three other UK Universities (Cardiff, Cambridge, and Birmingham). By leveraging the distinctive traits and unique possibilities of individual metal atoms and metal nanoclusters (of single or multiple species), MASI aims to tackle urgent worldwide concerns such as sustainability, energy conservation, carbon dioxide utilisation, and the transition towards a circular economy. MASI's integrated research approach is fostering creativity and advancements across various industries, hastening the application of fundamental findings towards cleaner technologies.

 The project consists of four Themes addressing:

  • fundamental aspects of metal nanocluster formation (A),
  • metal-support interactions (B), 
  • imaging & analysis of nanocatalysts in action (C),
  • and harnessing their catalytic/electrocatalytic properties in key reactionsincluding CO2 electroreduction and hydrogen generation by electrolysis (D)

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We seek to appoint an innovative computational chemist with a broad range of experience in ab initio codes, data acquisition, and data analysis methodologies who will join the multidisciplinary MASI team. The post holder will be appointed for two years and will bring expertise in computational modelling of heterogeneous catalysts, including interactions and bonding of small molecules (e.g. CO2, H2, N2) with metal nanoclusters and chemical reactions on metals and hybrid interfaces. The Research Associate/Fellow will become part of the Computational Materials Science group, led by Prof. Elena Besley (

The post holder is expected to use high-performance computing to simulate interfacial chemical reactions and transport phenomena focusing on catalytic activity and selectivity of different metal nanoclusters in a range of chemical reactions. PhD (or close to completion) in Chemistry, Physics, Chemical Engineering, or related field; knowledge of the concepts of density functional theory and first-principles molecular dynamics simulations; experience in the application of first-principles simulations to heterogeneous catalysis and complex reactive interfaces involving metal nanoclusters are essential.

This is a full-time (36.25 hours), fixed-term post for 24 months. 

Requests for secondment from internal candidates may be considered on the basis that prior agreement has been sought from both your current line manager and the manager of your substantive post, if you are already undertaking a secondment role.

Informal enquiries may be addressed to Prof. Elena Besley, e-mail: Please note that applications sent directly to this email address will not be accepted.

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Our University is a supportive, inclusive, caring and positive community. We warmly welcome those of different cultures, ethnicities and beliefs – indeed this very diversity is vital to our success, it is fundamental to our values and enriches life on campus. We welcome applications from UK, Europe and from across the globe. For more information on the support we offer our international colleagues, see our Moving to Nottingham pages.

Please note that applicants for this post will be considered on an equal basis, subject to the relevant permission to work in the UK as defined by the requirements set out by UK Visas & Immigration.  Please visit: for more information.

For successful international applicants, we provide financial support for your visa and the immigration health surcharge, plus an interest-free loan to help cover the cost of immigration-related expenses for any dependents accompanying you to the UK. For more information please see the our webpage on Financial support for visas and the immigration health surcharge.



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