Research Assistant - Product Development

Job Identification: 2392
Job Category: Research
Locations: Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh, EH14 4AS, GB
Apply Before: 29/11/2022, 23:59
Degree Level: First Degree
Job Schedule: Full time
Salary: Grade 6 (£27,929 - £32,348)
Contract: 18 month Fixed Term, Full-time (35 hours per week)

Heriot-Watt University has established a reputation for world-class teaching and leading-edge, relevant research, which has made it one of the top UK universities for innovation, business and industry.

Heriot-Watt University has five campuses: three in the UK (Edinburgh, Scottish Borders and Orkney), one in Dubai and one in Malaysia. The University offers a highly distinctive range of degree programmes in the specialist areas of science, engineering, design, business and languages. Heriot-Watt is also Scotland's most international university, boasting the largest international student cohort.

The School of Energy, Geoscience, Infrastructure and Society

The School of Energy, Geoscience, Infrastructure and Society is one of the UK’s leading institutions for multidisciplinary research and teaching in areas critical to economic development and societal equity. We aim to attain excellence in the teaching of the core disciplines that contribute to a sustainable, resource and energy efficient society and are committed to undertaking high value, high impact research and knowledge transfer in topics of relevance to global challenges.

The School enjoys facilities consistent with its location in modern, purpose-built accommodation on the Edinburgh campus. The School is well equipped in respect of laboratories for materials, structures, engineering, building services and hydraulics research and teaching. Our research and teaching facilities in Dubai and Malaysia are contained within purpose-built campuses in Dubai Academic City and Putrajaya, respectively.


The School’s undergraduate teaching on our Edinburgh campus covers civil and structural engineering, architectural engineering, construction project management, quantity surveying, geography, urban studies, interior design and the biology suite. On our Dubai campus we teach civil & structural engineering, architectural engineering, architecture, construction management, quantity surveying and interior design. On our Malaysia campus we teach civil engineering, construction project management, quantity surveying and geoenergy engineering. We offer a high quality educational experience underpinned by practical and laboratory teaching, and informed by contact with professional practice. Most of our degree programmes hold the appropriate accreditation from the relevant professional body. This educational philosophy ensures excellent employment prospects for all of our graduates.

Programmes of postgraduate study are aligned to the expertise contained in each of our research institutes. Our postgraduate students therefore benefit from state-of-the-art knowledge in their chosen study area. You can find further information about the School’s postgraduate programmes at


The School is one of the leading research centres in the UK. It has sustained a high reputation for the international standing of its research over two decades.

Research within the School is organised into six Institutes:

  • Institute of Life and Earth Sciences (ILES)
  • The Urban Institute (TUI)
  • Institute of Geoenergy Engineering (IGE)
  • Institute for Infrastructure and Environment (IIE)
  • Institute for Sustainable Building Design (ISBD)
  • Institute for Social Policy, Housing, Equalities Research (I-SPHERE)

All academic staff based on the Edinburgh and Dubai campuses contribute to the research activities of one of our Institutes.

These Institutes support a wide range of research activities of relevance to a sustainable, resource and energy efficient society. Institute staff undertake research funded by research councils, charitable foundations, local and national government. Research outcomes are published in leading international and national journals and key findings are widely disseminated through other media and forms of output.

Detailed Description

Key Duties and Responsibilities

An opportunity has arisen for an enthusiastic, dynamic, and well-qualified researcher to work on the industry-funded project: Defective Trap Identification System (DETIS). The patented DETIS technology was developed at Heriot-Watt University as an approach for minimising the risk of disease transmission from a building wastewater system (an issue of global impact following the SARS and COVID-19 pandemics).

Based on the reflected-wave technique, the DETIS technology uses low-amplitude air pressure waves to monitor the status of water trap seals within the wastewater system; allowing depleted trap seals to be detected and located. The DETIS technology was also shown to have potential to be extended to detect and locate blockages within the wastewater and local underground network.

This research will advance the DETIS technology to the state-of-the-art, incorporating the latest technological developments and data analysis techniques. Our vision is that the DETIS technology is developed into an automated and integrated maintenance tool offering regular and routine monitoring of the building wastewater system; helping to identify system anomalies, and safeguard the health and wellbeing of the building occupants.

This 18 month, full-time, position is funded by our industry partner, Aliaxis, who is a global leader in sustainable and innovative solutions for building water and wastewater systems. The successful appointee will be a highly motivated researcher with a strong background in fluid mechanics, data analysis, and product development. They will be required to work closely with the existing research team and industry partners.

The successful appointee will be expected to undertake the following:

  • Investigate and implement the advancement of the DETIS technology and data analysis techniques to the state-of-the art.
  • Design and set-up extensive laboratory experiments and field tests to evaluate the accuracy, robustness, and repeatability of the advanced DETIS technology.
  • Lead the analysis and interpretation of research data, and develop required outputs drawn from the research findings.
  • Plan and manage the research activity for the project in line with the identified research programme.
  • Contribute to, and lead, research paper development for publication.
  • Actively participate in the activities of the School and Institute.
  • Work closely with the existing research team and industrial partners.

Please note that this job description is not exhaustive, and the role holder may be required to undertake other relevant duties commensurate with the grading of the post. Activities may be subject to amendment over time as the role develops and/or priorities and requirements evolve. A flexible working schedule may be required to meet all key duties and responsibilities.

We will measure applicants based on the essential criteria, not by the key duties.

Education, Qualifications and Experience



  • A first degree in fluid mechanics, mechanical engineering, civil engineering, aeronautical engineering, or product development.


  • Experience of conducting laboratory experimentation
  • Experience of conducting field tests
  • Experience of data analysis
  • Experience of working as part of a multi-disciplinary team

Competencies, Skills and Knowledge

  • Excellent IT skills
  • Good report writing skills
  • Excellent communication skills
  • Good team player with good interpersonal skills



  • A PhD in fluid mechanics or other related discipline, such as mechanical engineering, civil engineering, aeronautical engineering, built environment engineering.


  • Experience in the area of product development
  • Experience of working with new mechanical and electrical technologies
  • A developing track record of publications

Competencies, Skills and Knowledge

  • Good coding and programming skills

How to Apply

Applications can be submitted up to midnight UK time on the 29th of November 2022.

Please submit via the Heriot-Watt on-line recruitment system (1) Cover letter describing their interest and suitability for the post

Candidates can make informal enquiries about this position to Dr David A Kelly []


riot-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.

posted: 09 November 2022     Please mention EARTHWORKS when responding to this advertisement.