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Research Associate III, Center for Plastics Innovation

Apply now Job no: 500193
College / VP Area: Research Office
Work type: Staff
Location: Newark
Categories: Research & Laboratory, Full Time

Pay Grade: 30E

Context of the Job:

The Center for Plastics Innovation (CPI) seeks a Research Associate III to join our team. Founded in 2020 at the University of Delaware, CPI brings a fresh focus on the global problem of plastics waste by combining innovations in catalytic technology, chemical functionalization, and polymer design. The Research Associate III will develop innovative polymer processing strategies, novel characterization approaches, and data analysis methods to enable valorization of complex polymer waste streams for a range of projects that serve CPI under the guidance of the Leadership Team, the Center for Research in Soft Matter & Polymers (CRiSP), and related polymer sustainability activities. The Research Associate III must possess a high level of independent judgement, professionalism, initiative, and problem-solving skills.

Major Responsibilities:

  • Develop innovative polymer processing strategies to enable valorization of complex polymer waste streams.
  • Develop new approaches to characterize plastics waste components and products resulting from plastics waste valorization processes.
  • Manage data and material samples related to polymer recycling/upcycling laboratory experiments.
  • Conduct independent research; produce conference publications and journal articles; engage in proposal development; and communicate research findings to the CPI community and externally.
  • Collaboratively engage with scientists, postdoctoral researchers, and graduate students who are conducting research within CPI's and CRiSP's mission and goals.
  • Work effectively with external partners and in a collaborative environment.
  • Represent CPI’s interests in intramural and extramural meetings.
  • Cultivate a culture of effective and safe research practices.
  • Proactively identify and address present & potential issues within CPI labs.
  • Ensure the lab equipment is in working order; perform repair/replacement or contract the work out as appropriate.
    Other duties as assigned.


  • Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering, Materials Science and Engineering, Chemistry, or a related field with at least two years’ experience preferred. Bachelor’s degree and four years’ related experience, or equivalent combination of education and experience.
  • Expertise in polymer physics, characterization, and processing as well as sustainable materials and commodity plastics.
  • Experience in polymer characterization techniques such as Fourier Transform Infrared Spectrometry (FTIR), Differential Scanning
  • Calorimetry (DSC), Dynamic Mechanical Analysis (DMA), Thermogravimetric Analysis (TGA), Gas Chromatography – Mass Spectrometry (GC-MS), and Gel Permeation Chromatography (GPC)
  • Experience in developing and continuing industrial and national lab partnerships that will catalyze interdisciplinary research in CPI.
  • Extensive experience collaborating in a multi-institutional research environment.
  • Good judgment, reliability, and integrity.
  • Strong organizational and leadership skills, especially under rapidly changing conditions.
  • Ability to rapidly learn and apply new skills.
  • Ability to maintain clear and comprehensive records.
  • Ability to investigate and analyze large amounts of information and draw conclusions.
  • Experience analyzing data using modern statistical methods.
  • Effective writing and presentation skills.
  • Ability to maintain and oversee operations of laboratory facilities and/or equipment.
  • Effective interpersonal and communication skills.
  • High level competency with calendaring, collaboration, and communication tools (e.g., Google Suite, Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Microsoft Office Suite).
  • Committed to fostering a workplace culture of belonging, where diversity is celebrated, and equity is a core value.

Notice of Non-Discrimination, Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action
The University of Delaware does not discriminate against any person on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, genetic information, marital status, disability, religion, age, veteran status or any other characteristic protected by applicable law in its employment, educational programs and activities, admissions policies, and scholarship and loan programs as required by Title IX of the Educational Amendments of 1972, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and other applicable statutes and University policies. The University of Delaware also prohibits unlawful harassment including sexual harassment and sexual violence.

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