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Research Doctoral Assistants/ PhD Positions (Open)

Meru University of Science & Technology (MUST) in collaboration with the Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM) in Germany are implementing a project titled ‘Circular bio-based intelligent organic and oxide engineering ecosystems – From multiple heterogeneous sources to homogeneous high-tech materials supply streams (Circular B-I/O)’. The project is funded by the VolkswagenStiftung Foundation. The project seeks to competitively fill the Research Doctoral Assistants/ PhD Positions.

Project Summary

Currently, petrochemical products and industrial residues are used for cement clinker reduction in concrete. However, they could be replaced more sustainably by unused bio-based agricultural and aquacultural by-products. Compared to industrial residues, however, bio-based residues occur widely dispersed in multiple small deposits and are subject to seasonal fluctuations. Thus, many small heterogeneous material streams must be bundled into a few homogeneous supply streams for the construction industry. The project aims to close this gap and investigates the necessary ecosystems linked to the technological conversion of bio-based by-products to high-performance building material constituents, both before the conversion and in the subsequent utilization in materials and structures. Decision-making systems supported by artificial intelligence will be developed to assess the technologically and socio-economically most sustainable use and to optimize mineral oxides as cement substitutes. The concepts developed in the Kenyan pilot will be extrapolated to the European frameworks and raw materials. The overall goal is to develop sound policy advice for the worldwide application.
The specific project objectives are;

  1. To develop and assess the framework for the waste collection, the livelihoods linked to it and the circularity potentials.
  2. To scale up the three-step conversion process for a large scale and prove the concept.
  3. To assess whether the concept of converting multiple-heterogenous small supply streams into limited homogenous, supplies for the construction industry.
  4. Development of training workshops that inform but also deliver data for the final policy advice derived from the research.
  5. Policy advice, recommendations, tangible, reliable, and scalable data.
Project Location

This is a full-time position based in Meru-Kenya. The PhD fellow(s) will be primarily based at the Institute of Cement and Concrete, Meru University of Science & Technology, Meru-Kenya. The successful applicants will be expected to report directly to the Project coordinator and also work closely with the project partners within and outside Kenya.

Job specifications
  1. Have an MSc. in Cement & Concrete / MSc. in Chemistry / MSc. in Material Science or an equivalent degree recognized by the MUST Senate.
  2. Must be in procession of an admission letter in PhD in Cement and Concrete program from MUST
  3. Have solid knowledge of cement and concrete
  4. Have a good publication record in peer-reviewed journals, commensurate with their research experience.
  5. Having prior research experience with cement and concrete industry would be an added advantage.
  6. Be available to start the Research Doctoral Assistants/ PhD fellowships by 1st September 2024.
Duties and Responsibilities
  1. Lab or Fieldwork: Conduct experiments, collect and analyze data, and maintain laboratory or fieldwork records.
  2. Literature Review: Conduct literature reviews to identify gaps in current research, summarize existing knowledge, and identify potential research directions.
  3. Data Analysis: Assist in the analysis of data, including statistical analysis, data visualization, and interpretation of results.
  4. Grant Writing: Assist in writing grant proposals to secure funding for research projects.
  5. Research Design: Assist in designing research studies, including developing research questions, hypotheses, and methodologies.
  6. Publications: Assist in writing research papers, including drafting, revising, and editing manuscripts. Conduct high-quality research leading to practical impact and publications in high-impact journals (must be ready to work towards publishing a minimum of one quality paper per year).
  7. Presentations: Assist in preparing presentations for conferences, workshops, symposiums, seminars and other events.
  8. Teaching Assistant: Assist in teaching undergraduate or graduate courses, including leading discussion sections, grading assignments, laboratory demonstrations and preparing course materials.
  9. Office Administration: Assist with administrative tasks such as managing email accounts, scheduling appointments, and maintaining records.
  10. Meeting Attendance: Attend regular meetings with the Project Coordinator, research team, and collaborators to discuss project progress, goals, and challenges.
  11. Project Management: Assist in managing projects at all project cycles, including tracking progress, setting deadlines, and coordinating tasks /events.
  12. Communication: Communicate effectively with the Project Coordinator, research team, and collaborators to ensure that everyone is aware of project’s progress and goals.
  13. Budgeting: Assist in managing budgets for research projects, including tracking expenses and ensuring that expenses are within budget limits.
  14. Safety Compliance: Ensure that research project(s) activities comply with relevant safety regulations.
  15. Data Management: Assist in managing and storing data related to research projects, including ensuring that data is secure and backed up regularly.
  16. Collaboration: Collaborate with other researchers, both within and outside the department or institution, to advance research projects.
  17. Capacity building: Contribute to research capacity building by mentoring junior students or postgraduate researchers in their research projects and provide guidance on research techniques and methodologies. Contribute to research capacity building, including the training of undergraduate and M.Sc students in the Project Coordinator’s Department and/or Institute.
  18. Professional Development: Participate in professional development activities such as trainings to stay current with the latest research methods and techniques in the field.
Key skills/ Personal attributes required include:
  1. Strong analytical, organizational and communication (in English, both oral and written) skills.
  2. Highly motivated and independent with strong research skills and the ability to work effectively as part of a team.
  3. Be a person of integrity and a keen eye for details.
Tenure and terms

The Research Doctoral Assistant/PhD Fellowship is for a period of thirty-six (36) months. The position is renewable every semester subject to satisfactory performance, mutual agreement and the availability of funds.

Stipend and benefits

The position offers an attractive stipend in addition to professional and personal development for the duration of the project.

Notes
  • Applicants should email their motivation letter, valid passport (biometric page only), certified copies of bachelor’s degree certificate and transcripts, Master’s degree certificate and transcripts as well as curriculum vitae (CV) giving details of their qualifications, experience, and three (3) referees indicating their telephone contacts and e-mail contacts;
  • Applications and related documents should be forwarded and addressed to the Director, Institute of Cement & Concrete, Meru University of Science & Technology, Meru-Kenya, P.O Box 972-60200, Meru-Kenya
  • A PhD concept aligning with the research theme. The concept should include a background, problem statement, possible research questions /hypotheses, objectives, methodology, work plan and budget (Maximum 15 pages– including bibliography, front: Times New Roman, font size 12pt, margin 1-inch, single line spacing);
  • Applications should be emailed as one file in PDF: icc@must.ac.ke
  • Closing Date: Thursday, 30th July, 2024
  • Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted
  • For inquiries, contact Dr. Joseph Mwiti Marangu, Email: jmarangu@must.ac.ke
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