University of Leeds

University of Leeds

Research Assistant in Characterisation of the Mineral Polyhalite

Research Assistant in Characterisation of the Mineral Polyhalite

Do you have a background in chemical science and engineering, and industrial research experience, with knowledge in the crystallography and particle technology aspects associated with the processing and performance of inorganic materials, then this position will interest you.

Polyhalite is an evaporite mineral, specifically a hydrated ternary sulfate of potassium, calcium and magnesium with formula: K2Ca2Mg(SO4)4·2H2O. It is an important commodity chemical feedstock, with particular utility as a low chloride containing fertiliser. The only polyhalite currently being mined in the world comes from below the North Yorkshire National Park which extends off the North Sea coast in the UK. Polyhalite is the first natural potassium bearing mineral to be utilised at scale, for crop production in 75 years.

The Anglo American Company is currently working closely with the School of Chemical and Process Engineering to unlock the full potential of such a promising mineral, through collaborative research which encompasses examining the interplay between the mineral's characterised physical and chemical properties, its downstream processing behaviour and its subsequent performance as a formulated product.

As a Research Assistant, you will carry out some crystallographic and crystallisation/dissolution science studies on this mineral to gain an in- depth understanding of its physical and structural chemical properties with the aim to understand the interplay between its solvated state in solution, its particulate surface properties and its overall purity within the mineral in relation to how these attributes are impacted by the downstream processes associated with product formulation and subsequent performance.

We are open to discussing flexible working arrangements.

What we offer in return

  • 26 days holiday plus approx.16 Bank Holidays/days that the University is closed by custom (including Christmas) – That's 42 days a year!
  • Generous pension scheme options plus life assurance.
  • Health and Wellbeing: Discounted staff membership options at The Edge, our state-of-the-art Campus gym, with a pool, sauna, climbing wall, cycle circuit, and sports halls.
  • Personal Development: Access to courses run by our Organisational Development & Professional Learning team.
  • Access to on-site childcare, shopping discounts and travel schemes are also available. And much more!
  • To explore the post further or for any queries you may have, please contact:

    Professor Kevin Roberts, Brotherton Professor of Chemical Engineering (email: [email protected])


    Dr Xiaojun Lai, Lecturer in Chemical Engineering (email: [email protected])

    Location: Leeds - Main Campus

    Faculty/Service: Faculty of Engineering & Physical Sciences School/Institute: School of Chemical & Process Engineering Category: Research Grade: Grade 6 Salary: £30,487 to £36,024 p.a. Working Time: 37.5 hours per week Post Type: Full Time Contract Type: Fixed Term (Upto 6 months - to complete specific time limited work) Release Date: Wednesday 01 May 2024 Closing Date: Wednesday 15 May 2024 Interview Date: To be confirmed Reference: EPSPE1106 Downloads: Candidate Brief

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    Job details


    Research Assistant in Characterisation of the Mineral Polyhalite


    University of Leeds


    United Kingdom


    May 02, 2024

    Application deadline

    May 15, 2024

    Job type



    Agricultural Science,Chemistry,Engineering,Physics

    About the employer

    The University of Leeds is a public research university in Leeds, West Yorkshire, England. It was established in 1874 as the Yorkshire College of Science. In 1884 it merged with the Leeds School of Medicine (established 1831) and was renamed Yorkshire College. It became part of the federal Victoria University in 1887, joining Owens College (which became the University of Manchester) and University College Liverpool (which became the University of Liverpool). In 1904 a royal charter was granted to the University of Leeds by King Edward VII.

    The university has 36,330 students, the 5th largest university in the UK (out of 169). From 2006 to present, the university has consistently been ranked within the top 5 (alongside the University of Manchester, Manchester Metropolitan University, the University of Nottingham and the University of Edinburgh) in the United Kingdom for the number of applications received. Leeds had an income of £789.6 million in 2019/20, of which £139.9 million was from research grants and contracts. The university has financial endowments of £82.1 million (2019–20), ranking outside the top ten British universities by financial endowment.

    Notable alumni include current Leader of the Labour Party Keir Starmer, former Secretary of State Jack Straw, former co-chairman of the Conservative Party Sayeeda Warsi, Piers Sellers (NASA astronaut) and six Nobel laureates.

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