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Industrial Secondment: SAO Electrical Fire Prevention System

Industrial Secondment: SAO Electrical Fire Prevention System

C-DICE is delighted to offer a paid six-month industrial secondment for a postdoctoral researcher with SAO Innovation (SI).

The secondment will be ideal for a postdoc with a background in electrical engineering and experience with design, building and testing prototypes. This Electrical Fire Prevention System and Intelligent Conduit will reduce carbon emissions caused by electrical fires.

There are many reasons electrical fires start within any building and any product that uses electricity but the reasons can be divided into 5 categories:

  • component failure
  • wear and tear
  • misuse
  • human error
  • poor quality product

The challenge for SI was to invent a system and product that would take account of all the above fire risk areas within any building or product.  The Electrical Fire Prevention System (EFPS) and the Intelligent Conduit invented by SI was born to eradicate electrical fires cause by any of these means. The system and product have been approved by the UK patent office as innovative with the patent certificate for the UK received July 2021. SI has worked with the Manufacturing Technology Centre Coventry, Wolverhampton University, and the University of Birmingham in developing the EFPS project and products.

The EFPS Innovation was shortlisted for the Electrical Safety Innovation Award 2021.  Even though a product was not presented for the competition, the concept and the product potential were enough for the innovation to be shortlisted. SI has been accepted by Siemens Solid Edge for Start-ups programme for ambitious start-ups to partner with across the engineering design and manufacturing space using their leading-edge innovative software.

The EFPS Innovation contributes to the net zero target as fires around the world contribute significantly to carbon emissions. According to GFAS data, fires in August 2021 released 1384.6 megatonnes of CO2 globally into the atmosphere directly. In addition, the replacement of equipment and reconstruction of buildings damaged by fires lead to more carbon emissions. Preventing electrical fires reduces these potential sources of carbon emissions.

Job Purpose

The key aspects of this project are as shown below. The project work will be under the supervision of Kenneth Freeman, the CEO of SI Limited. The academic supervisor would be Dr Ying Xue from the University of Birmingham.

  • To build and test the Intelligent Conduit (including material specification).
  • Re-build and test the prototype fridge freezer using the Intelligent Conduit, sensor, canister, printed circuit board, etc.
  • Redesign part of the circuit, if required, including the electrical socket, plug and adapter.

Benefit to Researcher / Secondee

  • Academic Mentorship and support from the University of Birmingham.
  • Detailed understanding of the EFPS and the Intelligent Conduit that can eradicate electrical fires.
  • Potentially a publication based on the innovative work.

Secondment Details

Number of secondments: This advert is for one secondment.

Duration: The secondment is six months in duration at 1.0FTE (i.e. full-time), but may be pro-rated for a part-time secondment.

Location: Remote (with intermittent travel to Birmingham).

Salary: University Pay Scale Spine 26 to 36 (£31,406 to £40,927 per annum prorated for duration of post), depending on current postdoctoral researcher salary. Please note that university overheads will not be paid due to the developmental opportunity this presents to the postdoctoral researcher to be seconded at SI Ltd. Expenses related to authorised travel for this secondment will be covered.

Special Conditions

This industrial placement is open to postdoctoral researchers based at C-DICE universities. You will be required to seek permission from your employing organisation to undertake the secondment. The project will commence in June 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 SAO Innovation Ltd Health, Safety and Environmental Policy & Procedures.

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

  • Postdoctoral researcher in an area related to Electrical Engineering
  • Experience with house electrics, and the workings of an electrical plug, socket, adapter, and consumer unit.
  • Ability to design and build a simple basic circuit via a PCB.
  • Access to design software; Solid Edge software by Siemens is available.
  • Must have an open mind to reconfigure electronics.
  • The postdoc must be currently employed by a C-DICE HEI (home institution) or C-DICE affiliated partner.
  • This post is not intended for permanent teaching staff / lecturers.

Desirable Criteria

  • Experience in design, build and testing of prototypes.
  • Understanding of the operations of a fridge freezer.


Deadline for applications17 May 2022 at 16:00 *deadline extended*
Confirmation interviews19-20 May 2022

How to Apply

Applications may be submitted any time before the deadline.

  • Sign up to Inkpath. Then link to C-DICE. For more details on how, click here.
  • Apply via Inkpath using Activity Code DSAB0004 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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