Deadline: 2019-02-15

Location: Edinburgh, UK

External link:

Type: Academic staff

TITLE OF POST: Instrument Scientist (Electron Microscopy)

LOCATION: University of Limerick

REPORTS TO: General Manager of Bernal Institute or nominee

CONTRACT TYPE: Specific Purpose

SALARY SCALE: €37,223 – €48,205 p.a.



  • Doctoral degree (level 10 NFQ) in materials science/electron microscopy/chemistry/physics/ engineering or a related discipline OR  equivalent experience in a research environment (equivalent 4 years fulltime research after primary degree).
  • At least 2 years’ experience in electron microscopy applied to materials characterisation.

To manage and develop the electron microscopy suite at the University of Limerick, to support research activity in the Institute in the area of materials characterisation and to carry out original and significant research in this area. 


The Bernal Institute ( at the University of Limerick, houses a multidisciplinary team of scientists and engineers who generate fundamental research on topics of industrial significance in the fields of materials and surface science. The Institute currently houses a Hitachi SU-70 scanning electron microscope with a thermal field emission source, back scattered electron (BSE) detector, energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDS), wavelength dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (WDS) and an electron back scattered diffraction detector (EBSD); a coupled SEM-Raman system for simultaneous chemical characterisation coupled with high resolution imaging; a FIB HELIOS G4CX; a Tecnai 200 with a field emission source, STEM attachment, which simultaneously obtains bright field (BF) and high angle annular dark field (HAADF) a JEOL JEM-2100F with a field emission source, including bright/dark field imaging, a STEM attachment, with BF and HAADF imaging facilities, an SEI/BSE detector, an energy dispersive X-ray analyser and computer controlled 3D reconstruction high angle tomography.  

The Institute furthermore has a double aberration corrected, monochromated FEI Titan Cubed Thermis 30 TEM with analytical facilities (SuperEDX and QuantumEELS) and sample holders for in-situ TEM measurements under heating, biasing, in liquids and gases as well as under cryo-conditions. This Titan has furthermore an ultra-fast and-sensitive (K2-IS) camera, making a unique capability in Ireland (the only one of its kind  and one of a handful world-wide) for ultra-high resolution as well as in-situ imaging and spectroscopic analysis of materials. 

The Institute requires an Instrument Scientist to support the research activities of the Institute with focus on the area of transmission electron microscopy. The successful applicant will join a team of seven instrument scientists and share responsibility for management of the Bernal microscopy suite and support the management of other instruments. The successful candidate should have a fundamental understanding of material behaviour from the nano- to the macro-scale, the capability to work with complex materials characterisation equipment and a track record of publications in the field of electron microscopy. The candidate will have good communication skills and be expected to contribute to promotional activities of the Institute both within the University and outside. Opportunities to teach advanced techniques in materials characterisation at Masters and PhD level will be provided.

The successful candidate will report to the General Manager, Bernal Institute or the nominee of the General Manager and will support the research activities of the Institute. The academic lead (Bernal Professor of Microscopy and Imaging) will provide scientific directions to the candidate. 


  • Work with Institute academic members to solve materials-science orientated problems.
  • In conjunction with the academic lead, develop methods and techniques in electron microscopy that add to the intellectual understanding of the field.
  • In conjunction with the academic lead and other researchers in the Institute define research objectives and carry out original and significant research which supports research activity in the Institute.
  • Ensure safe and efficient operation of the electron microscopy facility and sample preparation equipment. 

Income Generation/Funding

  • Work with Institute industry partners to solve industrially relevant materials related problems.
  • Contribute to Institute funding bids, as appropriate.
  • Input into identifying and securing research funding (with Institutional support as required).

Research Management

  • Assist in training of research students and others.
  • Organise and conduct meetings (e.g. user groups) to clarify objectives, develop team work plans/timetables for research and support staff, communicate progress.
  • Develop and implement quality assurance measures.
  • Participate in the selection of staff in the Institute.
  • Plan and implement commercial and consultancy activities.

Write Up and Dissemination

  • Write up research work for publication.
  • Write up reports for industry partners.
  • Contribute to patents/commercial application (as appropriate).
  • Contribute to the dissemination of research findings in high quality/impact peer reviewed publications, conference presentations and knowledge share events.


  • Train/devise and supervise the work of students e.g., Final Year Projects and PhD Students, where appropriate regarding work involving electron microscopes.
  • Involvement in devising and carrying out training courses for electron microscopy users.

Policy & Standards 

  • Have thorough knowledge and understanding of the policy, practices and procedures, relevant to the role, provision of advice to junior colleagues on policy and standards; training will be provided. 
  • Be aware of/fulfil legal requirements regarding data protection and confidentiality data protection requirements; training will be provided.

Other duties as may be assigned by the General Manager of the Bernal Institute or nominee. 

Essential Criteria

  • Doctoral degree (level 10 NFQ) in materials science/electron microscopy/chemistry/physics/ engineering or a related discipline OR equivalent experience in a research environment (equivalent 4 years fulltime research after primary degree).
  • At least 2 years’ experience in electron microscopy applied to materials characterisation.
  • Hands-on experience in electron microscopy and be able to train new users in this technique.
  • Demonstrable knowledge of materials science, particularly related to the areas of materials for energy and environment, ICT, nanomaterials, pharmaceutical materials, biomedical engineering and biomaterials, and composite materials.
  • Evidence of ability to work individually and as part of a team.
  • Good oral and written communication skills.
  • Potential to write research reports and develop research proposals in the field of materials, in collaboration with other researchers.
  • A strong track record of recent publications in peer reviewed journals, with at least three journal papers indexed on Web of Science.

Desirable Criteria

  • Experience in Raman spectroscopy. 
  • Experience in FIB application.
  • Experience in Atomic Force Microscopy.
  • Experience of working with industry partners to solve industrially relevant materials-science orientated problems. 

Further Information for Candidates:

Recruitment Procedures used at the University of Limerick (UL)

The University of Limerick is committed to the Open, Transparent and Merit-Based Recruitment (OTM-R) of Researchers as detailed in our Recruitment/Appointment Procedures for Research Staff. 

The University of Limerick generally uses a three stage recruitment procedure: screening, shortlisting and interview.  

Screening: Initially applications for an advertised position are screened to determine if applicants have met the ‘Essential Criteria’ as outlined in the advertised job description.  Only candidates who meet the ‘Essential Criteria’ will progress beyond this stage. 

Shortlisting: Depending on the number of applications remaining, it may not be possible to interview every candidate who has passed the screening process.  Therefore, at this stage the Selection Board for this position may review the applications which have passed screening and will select a final shortlist of candidates who in their view were most closely aligned to the post as advertised. 

Interview: Once a shortlist has been finalised, all applicants will be notified of the status of their application.  The final shortlist of candidates will then be invited to interview.  We aim to provide at least one week’s notice to all candidates.  The interview process may take the format of a standard interview and may also include a presentation – if so, you will be provided with details of this in your invitation to interview letter.  Candidates may interview in person or also via our Video Conferencing facilities.

General Recruitment Timelines

Please note that applications for all vacancies must be submitted online at in advance of 12 noon Irish Standard Time on the advertised closing date.  We aim to complete the screening process within one week of the closing date, and the shortlisting process within a further week.  Therefore we aim to be in touch with all candidates within one month of the closing date.   

Please note these timelines may vary based on various factors including the number of applications received.

Benefits at the University of Limerick

Employees of the University of Limerick receive a variety of benefits including:

Equal opportunities at the University of Limerick

The University of Limerick is an equal opportunities employer, is committed to selection on merit and to the developing and maintaining a positive working environment, in which all employees are treated with dignity & respect. In pursuit of this, it is the policy of the University to provide all employees with an environment, which is free from bullying, harassment or victimisation of any form.  You can read more about this in the University’s Equality and Diversity Policy

The UL strategic plan Broadening Horizons 2015-2019 clearly states that UL seeks to exemplify gender equality best practice in all aspects of its activities, reinforcing UL’s position as the leading university in Ireland in terms of female representation in senior academic roles, 31% of women in UL are at full professorial level, compared to the national average of 19%. 

UL is the proud holder of the prestigious Bronze Institution Athena SWAN Award, the first university in Ireland with Trinity College, Dublin to achieve the award.  The AS charter recognises higher education institutions, academic departments, and research institutes that put in place initiatives to address gender inequality, including initiatives aimed at changing culture and attitudes.  The UL strategy explicitly commits the institution to the Athena SWAN process. Further details available on 

Development opportunities at the University of Limerick

A key objective of the University’s Strategic Plan 2015-2019 is to support staff development. In the context of this objective the University is committed to progressive development programmes and opportunities to enable all employees to fully develop their potential.  Further information is available here. The University of Limerick is also has a ‘Performance and Development Review System’ which employees may avail of.

Additional Links:

Link to Human Resources: 

Link to the University of Limerick’s Research Staff Role Profiles

Link to the University of Limerick’s Strategic Plan; ‘Broadening Horizons’