Research Associate - Flow Assurance and Mineral Scale

Salary: £32,817 - £40,322
Location: Edinburgh
12 month contract with potential for extension based on funding.
Full time 35 hours per week, though we are open to discussing some part time or flexible working requests.
33 days of annual leave plus 9 buildings closed days over Christmas and Easter holidays. A generous pension contribution.

Job Summary

Applications are invited for a Research Associate to join the Flow Assurance and Scale Team (FAST) in the Institute of GeoEnergy Engineering at Heriot-Watt University - a 20-person strong team that conducts research on the prediction and prevention of oilfield scale. Scale deposits - such as calcium carbonate and barium sulphate - cause production difficulties by growing on metal surfaces such as pipelines and pumping equipment, causing restrictions to fluid flow. The use of chemical scale inhibitors has been widely adopted as a method to control scale formation. This research has been sponsored for many years by over 20 industrial companies and further details can be found at .

Alongside this research activity, there is a commercial applied research and consultancy activity (FASTrac) which undertakes field specific studies and consultancy in Scale Management and Chemical EOR Processes, both in the laboratory and through computational simulation.

The role advertised here requires the candidate to undertake commercial studies for FASTrac, liaising with the funder and develop an area of research within the area of scale and flow assurance in the breaks between commercial projects. In both cases, this will require reviewing the area in question, developing an experimental programme to progress the objectives of the study and reporting the outcomes to the industrial sponsors (as and when commercial studies are complete and at 6 monthly steering meetings for the FAST Joint Industry Research Project - JIP).

Key Duties & Responsibilities

The successful candidate will require to develop several necessary skills - Scale Inhibitor Performance Evaluation, Detailed Core Flooding and Inhibitor/Brine Analysis. Although desirable, these skills are not essential prerequisites. Applicants will have a PhD in a relevant Scientific Discipline or a First Degree in Chemistry or relevant subject with experience in a laboratory-based environment and of organising research projects or equivalent.

Applicants should also demonstrate, attention to detail, a disciplined and methodical approach to completing their workload, computer literacy, excellent communication skills and the ability to write reports, collate information and present it in a clear and engaging manner. A track record of writing papers for international conferences and peer reviewed publications is desirable.

The successful appointee will be expected to undertake the following:

  • Design and completion of laboratory experiments
  • Analysis of experimental data and draw conclusions
  • Reporting and presentation of findings to funders
  • Preparation of papers for conference and peer reviewed publications
  • Seek opportunities for future research funding aligned with the Energy Transition
  • Contribution to all aspects of health and safety within group
  • Potential supervision of PhD students working on related topics
  • Support colleagues and students in delivery of the research and pastoral objectives of group

Education, Qualifications and Experience


  • A first degree in chemistry / relevant scientific subject with experience in a lab-based environment
  • Experience designing and performing detailed experiments, evaluating the data generated and reporting conclusions drawn.
  • Excellent IT skills including familiarity with Microsoft Office.
  • Attention to detail and demonstrative disciplined and methodical approach to workload in order to complete tasks.
  • Ability to collate information and present it in a clear and engaging manner.


  • A PhD in a relevant scientific discipline or near completion
  • Experience in Scale Inhibitor Evaluation Methods - inhibition efficiency tests and scale inhibitor analysis by wet chemical methods and analytical instrumentation.
  • Experience in conducting highly specialised scale inhibitor core floods.
  • Track record of writing papers for international conferences and peer reviewed publications.
  • Supervision experience
  • Leadership experience

Contact for enquiries:

Candidates can make informal enquiries about this position to Mike Singleton at

Heriot-Watt University is committed to securing equality of opportunity in employment and to the creation of an environment in which individuals are selected, trained, promoted, appraised and otherwise treated on the sole basis of their relevant merits and abilities. Equality and diversity are all about maximising potential and creating a culture of inclusion for all.

Heriot-Watt University values diversity across our University community and welcomes applications from all sectors of society, particularly from underrepresented groups. For more information, please see our website and also our award-winning work in Disability Inclusive Science Careers

We welcome and will consider flexible working patterns e.g. part-time working and job share options. Use our total rewards calculator: to see the value of benefits provided by Heriot-Watt University.

Closing date: Tuesday, 5 October 2021

posted: 16 September 2021     Please mention EARTHWORKS when responding to this advertisement.