ToF-SIMS Research Associate

This role is jointly funded by CMAC and NPL. We seek to appoint a highly motivated, enthusiastic post-doctoral research associate to join the CMAC and NiCE-MSI teams. The role will be based at CMAC and will contribute to research activities in their ToF-SIMS facility. This will involve working with CMAC and NPL researchers and academics as well as supporting collaborations with external academic and industrial partners. The role will contribute to technical and application development of ToF-SIMS to increase impact in medicines manufacturing and the NPL Scotland region. This will include establishing quality procedures and protocols for sample preparation, data collection and analysis. Support for collaborative research projects as well as provision of training for PhD students and other staff members would be key. Whilst the main focus is on supporting the application of ToF-SIMS to a range of pharmaceutical materials science projects, there will also be opportunities to gain experience of relevant preparation and related surface analysis techniques housed in CMAC and NiCE-MSI.

The successful candidate will be appointed at Grade 7, having a PhD in a relevant physical, materials science, analytical or related domain. Experience of ToF-SIMS would be advantageous however training will be provided as necessary by NiCE-MSI. Experience of mass spectroscopy and related surface analytical techniques would be desirable. Good project management skills and experience of effectively managing multiple timelines would be an advantage as would strong oral and written communication skills. A creative drive and flexibility to work accurately in a fast-paced, multi-project environment are essential. The role requires strong problem solving abilities, ability to develop and apply innovative approaches to address the research and measurement challenges associated with application of ToF-SIMS in a range of research projects.

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PhD Vacancy - Linking Digital Manufacturing to a Digital Tablet: Simulating Tablet Disintegration Using Discrete Element and Pore-Scale Modelling

Project Title:
Linking Digital Manufacturing to a Digital Tablet: Simulating Tablet Disintegration Using Discrete Element and Pore-Scale Modelling

Project Details:
4 year project in Strathclyde Institute of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences, University of Strathclyde

Project Description:
The compaction of powder is highly complex, but at the same time its understanding is crucial, especially in manufacturing pharmaceutical tablets as it compresses and consolidates the particles to form interparticulate bonds and pores. The pores in a tablet directly affect the rate at which the physiological fluids enter the tablet, leading to swelling of the particles and eventually causing the break-up of the compact into smaller agglomerates. The size of the disintegrated particles/agglomerates then drives the dissolution rate of the drug. These mechanisms are strongly interconnected as the swelling of particles dynamically changes the internal pore structure which influences the liquid imbibition process. The performance of a tablet can thus only be understood and optimised by considering the interconnection of every step involved in the disintegration and dissolution processes.
The project uses cutting-edge experimental technologies (e.g. X-ray computed nanotomography, terahertz pulsed imaging) and state-of-the art modelling approaches (discrete element modelling, pore-unit assembly approach) to address the two main objectives:
• Characterising particles, granular material and compacts that facilitate the development of models of every step involved in the disintegration and dissolution process.
• Developing a digital tablet to simulate the disintegration and dissolution process.
Research environment: The PhD student will be fully integrated into EPSRC (UK funding body) Future Continuous Manufacturing and Advanced Crystallisation Hub (CMAC). Training of the PhD student is aligned with the manufacturing research vision of CMAC that is informed by the needs of CMAC’s pharmaceutical industry partners GSK, AstraZeneca, Pfizer, Roche, Novartis, Lilly, Bayer & Takeda and technology partners. The PhD student will have access to a dedicated national network of world-class, state-of-the-art facilities including the £34M UK-RPIF funded CMAC National Facility.

How to Apply:
Applications to be sent to Supervisor, Dr Daniel Markl (

Further details can be found here.


PhD Studentship Opportunity at University of Sheffield

PhD Studentship

Title: Understanding fully continuous tablet manufacturing processes using experimental and modelling tools

University of Sheffield: Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering

About the project:

A 4 year PhD studentship (co-funded by AstraZeneca) project to develop model predictive control of a fully continuous tablet manufacturing process.

The pharmaceutical industry is moving towards utilisation of continuous processing for manufacture of formulated medicinal products. This project aims to utilise the new Diamond Pilot Plant at Sheffield as a test bed to couple emerging mechanistic models with online sensors and process control as a basis for optimisation and control of tablet properties and performance, such as tensile strength and dissolution. Experimental methodologies will need to be developed to build and calibrate the models and full system runs will need to be performed to validate and demonstrate potential applications.

During the course of the project the student will be trained on the continuous powder to tablet line and product characterisation equipment available at Particle Product Group at the University of Sheffield and research facilities of AZ in Macclesfield, UK. This will give the student experience of performing research in an industrial environment and working with a well-established global group of experts in the granulation research area.

Candidate eligibility:

Candidates should have a first class or upper second class degree in chemical engineering, control engineering, mathematics, material science, chemistry, or a related discipline.

Studentship value: This studentship is open to students from the UK and the European Union (EU) countries.

Development opportunities

The candidate will be invited to attend the 9th international granulation conference in Switzerland as well as the 10th international granulation workshop and conference. Additionally, the candidate will be encouraged to attend other particle technology conferences locally and internationally.

For more information please contact: Prof Jim Litster ( or Prof. Agba D Salman (

Additional links:

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