Vacancy: Research Assistant – Plastics Recycling Supply Chain

Applications are invited for a research assistant in supply chain management with a particular emphasis on mapping and competence profiling of the plastics recycling supply chain.

The project, funded by the ESRC’s Impact Acceleration Account (IAA) and North East of England Process Industry Cluster (NEPIC) aims to conduct a thorough analysis of the organisations across the plastics recycling supply chain of the North East using research developed by the Business School’s academics. To do so, the successful candidate, who will be guided by the Durham team and NEPIC, will identify the key companies and how they are connected with each other, e.g. through the products and services they buy from each other. The resulting supply chain map will then be used to guide an interview process with the member organisations of NEPIC to identify their competences and gaps. This competence analysis will be used by NEPIC and research team to identify the opportunities for supply chain integration and subsequently use for the development of a strategy of cooperation which will strengthen the footprint of the region.

The successful applicant will be expected to:

  • Map the region’s plastics recycling supply chains.
  • Identify the competences of key individual organisations.
  • Work with Durham academics and NEPIC representatives to:
    • Explore barriers limiting collaboration across the plastics recycling supply chain.
    • Explain how collaborations will benefit from integration across the supply chain.
    • Improve the supply chain’s resilience given the current pandemic.


  • To understand and convey information which needs careful explanation to the team or group of people through presentations, discussions and meetings which contribute to the production of research reports and publications.
  • To write up results of research work, present information on research progress and outcomes to bodies supervising research in a clear and accurate manner.
  • To analyse or undertake basic research by deciding how best to apply existing methodology according to overall context and objectives.
  • To deal with problems that may affect the achievement of research objectives and deadlines by discussing with the Principal Investigator or Grant-holder and offering creative or innovative solutions.
  • To liaise with research colleagues and make internal and external contacts to develop knowledge and understanding to form relationships for future research collaboration.
  • To contribute to the planning of the project.
  • To contribute to fostering a collegial and respectful working environment which is inclusive and welcoming and where everyone is treated fairly with dignity and respect.
  • To engage in wider citizenship to support the department and wider discipline.
  • To engage in continuing professional development by attending relevant training and development courses.
  • This post is fixed term for 12 months. The post-holder is employed to work on the above project which will be led by Professor Christos Tsinopoulos. Whilst this means that the post-holder will not be carrying out independent research in his/her own right, the expectation is that they will contribute to the advancement of the project, through the development of their own research ideas/adaptation and development of research protocols.

Successful applicants will, ideally, be in post by the end of July 2020.

Job Description

  • Research Assistant (Job Number: 20000423)
  • Durham University Business School
  • Grade 6: – £26715 – £32817
  • Fixed Term – Annualised Hours (Inc Hols)
  • Contract Duration: 12 months
  • Contracted Hours per Week: 35
  • Closing Date: 25-Aug-2020, 11:59:00 PM

Durham University

Durham University is one of the world’s top universities with strengths across the Arts and Humanities, Sciences and Social Sciences. We are home to some of the most talented scholars and researchers from around the world who are tackling global issues and making a difference to people’s lives.

The University sits in a beautiful historic city where it shares ownership of a UNESCO World Heritage Site with Durham Cathedral, the greatest Romanesque building in Western Europe. A collegiate University, Durham recruits outstanding students from across the world and offers an unmatched wider student experience.

Less than 3 hours north of London, and an hour and a half south of Edinburgh, County Durham is a region steeped in history and natural beauty. The Durham Dales, including the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, are home to breathtaking scenery and attractions. Durham offers an excellent choice of city, suburban and rural residential locations. The University provides a range of benefits including pension and childcare benefits and the University’s Relocation Manager can assist with potential schooling requirements.

Durham University seeks to promote and maintain an inclusive and supportive environment for work and study that assists all members of our University community to reach their full potential. Diversity brings strength and we welcome applications from across the international, national and regional communities that we work with and serve.

The Department

The Department is currently composed of circa 75 academic staff in the disciplines of Strategy, Corporate Social Responsibility and Business Ethics, Entrepreneurship, Human Resource Management, Organisational Behaviour, Marketing, Operations and Technology Management, and International Business. Members of the Department conduct research in all of these areas. In addition, the Department hosts three cross-disciplinary research centres in areas of particular expertise: Innovation and Technology Management, Leadership and Followership, and Organisations and Society.

North East Process Industry Cluster

NEPIC, the North East Process Industry Cluster, is a not-for-profit organisation that supports the needs and interests of the chemical-processing sector in the North East of England. Essentially, they exist to ensure industry in this region thrives – and that there are investments, innovations and a network that creates jobs and opportunities long into the future.

By working closely with member companies, NEPIC forge meaningful business relationships that allow them to identify opportunities, facilitate connections, promote collaboration and best practice sharing, and enable growth. NEPIC also work actively beyond their traditional stakeholder base, engaging with universities, research institutes and public bodies to leverage additional value for the sector.

The Cluster covers a broad sweep of chemistry focussed industries including petrochemicals, polymers & materials, fine & speciality chemicals, minerals, pharmaceuticals, biotechnology and renewables – and with its members and industry leads, work to build upon the already powerful industrial base located here to make this region one of the most competitive and successful chemical-processing locations in Europe.

How to Apply

For informal enquiries please contact Professor Christos Tsinopoulos All enquiries will be treated in the strictest confidence.

We prefer to receive applications online via the Durham University Vacancies Site. As part of the application process, you should provide details of 3 (preferably academic/research) referees and the details of your current line manager so that we may seek an employment reference.

Applications are particularly welcome from women and black and minority ethnic candidates, who are under-represented in academic posts in the University.

Apply here>>

What to Submit

All applicants are asked to submit:
A CV and covering letter which details your experience, strengths and potential in the requirements set out above.

Next Steps

The assessment for the post will include a brief presentation and panel interview. Shortlisted candidates will be invited for interview and assessment, currently anticipated to take place in early August 2020.

The Requirements



A good first degree in Business or Chemical Engineering, or Chemistry of Materials Science.


  • Experience in conducting basic academic research or providing research assistance, including the use of standard research methods.
  • Demonstrable ability to produce concise and well-written reports for a range of stakeholders.
  • Experience in conducting interviews.


  • Demonstrable ability to work cooperatively as part of a team, including participating in research meetings.
  • Ability to manage time effectively and work to strict deadlines.
  • Excellent interpersonal and communication skills
  • Ability to liaise with a range of stakeholders.



A masters in Supply Chain Management or related subject.


Experience of conducting high quality research.
Experience of preparing academic papers and writing reports.
Experience in plastics recycling organisations.


Ability to contribute to the planning and management of independent research.

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© Copyright. North East of England Process Industry Cluster (NEPIC) 2015