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Industrial Research Secondment in Zero Emission Transport Refrigeration Systems with Cenex

Industrial Research Secondment in Zero Emission Transport Refrigeration Systems with Cenex

Industrial Sponsor: Cenex

Cenex is an independent not-for-profit research and consultancy organisation specialised in low carbon transport and associated energy infrastructure. We help a wide range of public organisations and private clients to decarbonise their operations and strategies through innovation in transport and energy.

Job Purpose

In the Innovate UK-funded research project SunLink, Cenex is collaborating with Sunswap, a start-up on a mission to decarbonise the cold chain. They are developing a zero emission transport refrigeration unit (TRU) featuring solar panels and batteries to be fitted in articulated trucks. In this project, Cenex plays the role of independent and impartial evaluator of the technology. To that end, we are firstly collecting data from several UK refrigerated transport fleets to understand the real-world duty cycles that area typically observed in the industry. We will then develop dynamic physics-based models of TRU, trailer and tractor unit to simulate the performance of the system under a wide range of duty cycles and ambient conditions.

Within the project, we would like the candidate to support the analysis of duty cycle data collected from fleets using automated processes. We have a suite of in-house routines to perform that task, but the candidate is expected to develop their own routines where necessary. The data analysis exercise will involve, amongst other tasks, marrying drive cycle speed & altitude profiles with trailer door opening and temperature records where available, in order to create UK fleet representative duty cycles. The candidate is also expected to develop a vehicle model that predicts energy consumption from these representative duty cycles, and will be supported by the supervisor in this task based on previous models created in-house within Cenex.

Current diesel TRUs are highly polluting and researching alternative clean solutions is of paramount importance. Understanding these alternative systems and typical duty cycles is key on the path to decarbonise and depollute refrigerated transport. If you want to help us tackle this exciting challenge, please apply!

Benefit to the Researcher Secondee

Secondee will be supported by a dedicated technical specialist and given relevant additional training as required.

Secondment Details

No. of Secondments: This advert is for one secondment.

Duration: The secondment is three months in duration on a full-time basis. Due to project time constraints, this secondment may not be worked part-time.

Location: Flexible hybrid working policy (negotiable). We expect the candidate to work from our Loughborough office at least once a week.

Salary: University Pay Scale Spine 26 to 36 (£31,406 to £40,927 p.a. prorated for duration of post), depending on current postdoctoral researcher salary. Please note that reduced overheads will be paid due to the developmental opportunity this presents to the postdoctoral researcher to be placed at Cenex. Expenses related to authorised travel for this secondment will be covered.

Special Conditions

This industrial secondment is open to postdoctoral researchers based at C-DICE HEIs. (Revised Dec 2021 – this secondment is now open to PhD students.) You will be required to seek permission from your employing organisation to undertake the secondment. The project will commence in January 2022 and end in March 2022. In cases where participation in this secondment would require a no-cost extension to an EPSRC grant, EPSRC has agreed to grant this automatically on request.

All staff have a statutory responsibility to take reasonable care of themselves, others and the environment and to prevent harm by their acts or omissions. All staff are therefore required to adhere to the Cenex Health, Safety and Environmental Policy & Procedures.

All staff should hold a duty and commitment to observing the Cenex Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion policy and procedures at all times. Duties must be carried out in accordance with relevant Equality & Diversity legislation and Cenex policies/procedures.

The selection process is managed by the C-DICE Development Strand, led by Professor Chris Rogers and managed by Amy Beierholm at the University of Birmingham.

After the Secondment

  • Confirmation of expenditure
  • Outcomes (e.g. publications, engagement activities) for impact tracking
  • A report highlighting key findings
  • The postdoc may be asked to engage with C-DICE events (e.g. Annual Conference or Business Engagement Events) and to lead a C-DICE training activity in their area of expertise.


Essential Criteria

  • Working towards a PhD in Engineering or technical subject (minimum 2:1 grade). (Added Dec 2021)
  • Experience of programming in Matlab, VBA, Python or SQL for data analysis.
  • Data analysis and visualisation.
  • Good communicator, with experience of presenting and writing reports.
  • C-DICE target audiences are postdoctoral researchers (postdocs) and early career researchers (ECRs) as defined by “a person professionally conducting research after the completion of their doctoral studies and/or while undertaking research as a member of staff at a collaborating institution”. 
  • The postdoc or ECR (or postgraduate researcher) must be currently employed by (or studying at) a C-DICE HEI (home institution) or C-DICE affiliated partner.
  • This post is not intended for permanent teaching staff / lecturers.

Desirable Criteria

  • PhD in Engineering or technical subject (minimum 2:1 grade). (Revised Dec 2021)
  • Experience of producing vehicle models based on basic physics principles.
  • Automotive engineering experience and / or an interest in zero emission vehicle technologies, in particular, transport refrigeration systems.


Deadline for applications14 Jan 2022 at 16:00
Interviewsw/c 17 Jan 2022

How to Apply

Applications may be submitted at any time prior to the deadline.

  • Sign up to Inkpath and link to C-DICE. For more details on how, click here.
  • Apply via Inkpath using Activity Code DSAB0003 or click the button above.
  • When you sign up for the activity, you will receive a link to an online application form.
  • If you need additional assistance with completing an application or Inkpath, contact Amy Beierholm at
  • You will need:
    • Applicant details (education & employment background)
    • Cover letter stating your available start date (max 500 words)
    • A narrative CV. For guidance, click here

Supporting documents to be emailed to C-DICE at

If you are successful, your supervisor will be contacted for a letter/email of support.

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