EBI-Shell Postdoctoral Research Fellowship Program Materials-Based Abatement Pathways Information - Energy & Biosciences Institute

EBI-Shell Postdoctoral Research Fellowship Program Materials-Based Abatement Pathways Information

Announcement 9th Nov, 2022
POSTED: 9th Nov, 2022
Materials-Based Abatement Pathways

In 2023, the EBI with support from Long-Range Research and Shell’s Experimentation program is expecting to release a request for proposals dedicated to Strategies for Materials-Based Abatement Pathways with a goal of developing multiple technologies to remove CO2 from the atmosphere to reach a net-zero future. A portfolio with different abatement routes would allow deployments under multiple scenarios and geographies, creating resilience in the energy system. The permanency of the sequestration, the material size of the abatement solutions, and rigorous protocols for measurement and reporting are all crucial aspects for exploring novel abatement technologies. It is central that the CO2 remain sequestered in a semi-permanent form and that the abatement benefit be quantitively measured, reported, and verified. Sequestering the CO2 into a solid material could be an ideal solution in geographies with limited geological sequestration opportunities: the carbon atoms could be locked in a permanent form. Such approach could also bring additional benefits if the solid materials could provide specific functionalities, beyond the carbon sequestration.

Materials for building and infrastructure offer a potential target to sequester carbon dioxide at large scale, while creating further abatement opportunities in a hard-to-abate sector via product alteration or substitution. The building sector is in fact the only sector matching the materiality scale of the energy sector while accounting for nearly 40% of global energy-related CO2 emissions through the construction and operation of buildings.

Construction materials derived from bio-feedstocks are one example of products with a negative carbon footprint that could create abatement opportunities at large scale. For example, valorization of bio-waste into construction products could be an alternative way to sequester CO2 into buildings, offering integration opportunities with different value chains. Residues from agriculture, bio-refinery and bio-chemical processes could potentially become the feedstock for a materials platform. In this way, the utilization of biomass for construction would fit well in a future scenario with predominant use of bio-based feedstock. Wood is a primary example of a bio-based construction material and in general bio-waste has been used for centuries as a building material (e.g., straw for insulation). Scientific advances in multiple disciplines (i.e., materials science, engineering, biochemistry, etc.) could potentially unlock novel opportunities in this space, driven by the urgency to find effective climate solutions. Other examples might include but are not limited to use of natural organic materials as cement binders, development of catalysts as cement additives to enhance atmospheric carbon capture and sequestration in structures, or development of reactive coatings (biological or chemical) to enhance atmospheric carbon conversions taking advantage of natural electromagnetic radiation. Other areas of interest include development of active carbon capture filter technologies for household air conditioning units or development of carbon-based alternatives for the replacement of gypsum wall board materials.

To immediately initiate this program, Shell has provided $400K current use gift fund to sponsor 3-4 postdoctoral fellowships in the EBI beginning in the first quarter of 2023, supporting exceptional young scientists of great promise who recently received, or are about to be awarded, the doctoral degree.

Application Process
Suitable candidates should be nominated by department chairs, faculty advisors, professors or research scientists at UCB, UIUC, or LBNL. Self-nominations are not accepted. ALL nominations must be submitted by completing the Google form online at the following link: https://forms.gle/ueYrspyynoasw69k9. Applications other than through this template will not be considered. The nomination deadline is Friday, December 9 with the appointment term commencing between January 1 and April 1, 2023.

All applications will be reviewed by the EBI-Shell Technical Steering Committee and award decisions will be based on the merits of the candidates being nominated and the alignment of the projects with the goals of the Materials Based Abatement Pathways research program.
Appointments will include:
• Salary support
• Research fund of $10,000 which includes a travel fund of up to $1,500
• The combined total compensation package will not exceed $100,000 per

EBI-Shell Research Fellowships are intended for exceptional young scientists of great promise who have recently been awarded, or who are about to be awarded the doctoral degree. Selected fellows will be expected to begin their Fellowship shortly after being awarded their Ph.D. A short period as a post-doctoral fellow elsewhere does not exclude eligibility, however, candidates who have already completed substantial postdoctoral training are unlikely to be selected except in unusual circumstances. Postdocs should have no more than two years of prior postdoctoral experience and those employed or with prior employment as an assistant professor, associate professor, or professor titles are ineligible.

Nominees who are non-US citizens must show eligibility for obtaining J-1 Scholar visa status for the duration of the EBI-Shell Fellowship. Non-US citizens will be required to prove English language proficiency prior to the award. The Energy & Biosciences Institute does not support H1B visa status.

Terms of Appointment
• EBI-Shell Fellowships will be granted for a period of eighteen months, beginning between January 1 and April 1.
• Research projects should focus on high-risk/high-reward outcomes related to materials-based carbon abatement pathways.
• The Fellowship will provide a total compensation package of $100,000.
• Benefits including medical, dental, vision, short-term disability and life insurance are provided, with EBI Fellows making a small contribution towards the premium. Long-term disability is voluntary.
• Candidates will be notified of the results between mid-December and early January, and a general announcement of the awards will be made in January.

Nomination Instructions
To be considered, complete nominations must be submitted online by Friday, December 9, 2022. Nominee’s Ph.D. must be awarded (and proof provided to the Energy & Biosciences Institute) before the start of the Fellowship.

Nominators will need the following information about their candidate to complete the online process:
• Nominee’s complete and full legal name
• Nominee’s preferred, correct, and active e-mail address which will be active throughout the competition process
• Nominee’s current institution
• Nominee’s preferred mailing address including postal code
• Nominee’s telephone number
• Nominee’s Ph.D. institution
• Nominee’s (expected) Date of Ph.D. (month and year required). * Ph.D. must
be received by April 1, 2023. *
• Nominees CV, including Publications List: The nominee’s NSF style CV (two- page maximum) should be uploaded as a PDF. The list of publications should only include publications that are published or in press.
• Nominator’s recommendation and judgment of nominee’s potential. The letter must be specific to the EBI-Shell Fellowship research focus, have a current date, and be on institution letterhead or the nomination will be declined. It should then be uploaded as a PDF file. The Review Committee will find it useful in the nomination letter to highlight the candidate’s ability to think creatively and unconventionally, demonstrating their scientific enthusiasm and out of the box research approach. Upon successful submission of your nomination a confirmation email receipt will be sent.
• Research Statement: Submit a clearly articulated maximum two and a half (2.5)-page) statement of the research your nominee will pursue if awarded the fellowship. Your Research Statement should include all images and be separated into the following sections: (i) executive summary, (ii) research objective, (iii) significance, (iv) background, and (v) research methods. A bibliography should be provided, but is not counted within the page limit. The research statement should be submitted as a PDF document including any references or figures, with margins no smaller than 1.0 inch and Arial font no smaller than 11 point.

EBI-Shell Postdoctoral Fellowship application form
Please only use the following form, https://forms.gle/xkRLu1VB28A9a1ZQ7, to submit a nomination for the upcoming year’s 2023 EBI-Shell Postdoctoral Fellowship Program. Please fill out the form completely and make sure any documents you upload are in Adobe PDF format. Partial applications will not be accepted.

For questions or assistance, please contact sbrozenick@berkeley.edu.


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