Manager of the Solid-State NMR Research Service

Durham, United Kingdom
£41,526 - £49,553 per annum
Monday, 21 December 2020
End of advertisement period
Sunday, 24 January 2021
Contract Type
Fixed Term
Full Time

Department of Chemistry

Grade 8: - £41,526 - £49,553 per annum
Fixed Term - Full Time
Contract Duration: 24 months
Contracted Hours per Week: 35
Closing Date: 25-Jan-2021, 7:59:00 AM

Job Family: Technical, Research and Teaching Services

OUR CHARACTERISTICS: We are a globally outstanding centre of teaching and research excellence, a collegiate community of extraordinary people, in a unique and historic setting.

OUR VALUES: We are inspiring, challenging, innovative, responsible and enabling.

Durham University

Durham University is one of the world's top universities with strengths across the Arts and Humanities, Business, Sciences and Social Sciences. We are home to some of the most talented scholars and researchers from around the world who are tackling global issues and making a difference to people's lives.

The University sits in a beautiful historic city where it shares ownership of a UNESCO World Heritage Site with Durham Cathedral, the greatest Romanesque building in Western Europe. A collegiate University, Durham recruits outstanding students from across the world and offers an unmatched wider student experience.

Durham University seeks to promote and maintain an inclusive and supportive environment for work and study that assists all members of our University community to reach their full potential. Diversity brings strength and we welcome applications from across the international, national and regional communities that we work with and serve.

It is expected that all staff within the University:

  • Contribute to our learning culture by engaging in mentoring, training and coaching.
  • Positively contribute to fostering a collegial environment; as well as demonstrating commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion.
  • Have due regard to Health and Safety requirements appropriate to grade and role.

Family key attributes

Roles in this family provide creative and analytical input to facilitate the delivery of world-class teaching, learning and research activities.

Overall family purpose

  • Support stakeholders to ensure the delivery of research, teaching and scholarly activities.
  • Align and tailor services to meet strategic and operational research, teaching and learning objectives.
  • Prepare and set-up equipment, apparatus and resources to ensure the successful delivery of scheduled academic activities.
  • Monitor, manage and maintain teaching, learning or research facilities, workshops, laboratories and experimental environments to ensure compliance with internal and external regulations.
  • Contribute guidance, advice and/or professional expertise to increase intellectual and creative capacity for world-class teaching and research outputs.
  • Actively participate with peers and specialists internally and externally to expand knowledge and practice.
  • Design and construct equipment, environments, tools, techniques and methodologies to meet research and learning objectives.
  • Adapt and develop equipment, techniques and methodologies to meet research and learning outputs and timescales.
  • Engage and network with internal and external specialists and experts to facilitate knowledge exchange and enhance research, teaching and learning activities.
  • Work collaboratively and network across the University with staff in other families to ensure a smooth, timely and high-quality delivery of service.

Link to key strategic plan

  • An economically sustainable approach to delivering technical and experimental support services across the University;
  • Support and facilitate world-leading research across all academic departments;
  • Support and facilitate research that has a positive impact on global, national and regional challenges and which benefits culture, society, health, the economy and the physical environment;
  • Support and facilitate a rewarding research environment and an exceptional research-led learning experience;
  • Support and facilitate programmes that offer intellectual challenge, cohesiveness and a strong sense of progression;
  • A stakeholder-focused orientation, offering satisfying careers to all staff;
  • Ensure that an increasingly diverse workforce is treated equally, fairly and with respect, and that all staff are demonstrably valued and actively engaged.

The Department and role purpose

Durham Chemistry is a world top 100 chemistry department (QS World University Subject Rankings 2020) and has an outstanding reputation for excellence in teaching, research and employability of our students. Ranked fifth overall in REF2014 and first for impact, we are an active and vibrant department with a strong cohort of early career researchers, future leaders, pursuing innovative research agendas. Ranked second in the Guardian University Guide 2021, our undergraduate programmes are highly rated outside of the Department and well received by our students. We offer both 3-year Bachelors (BSc) and 4-year Integrated Masters (MChem) courses, and students can study Chemistry either as a single subject or via Durham’s popular Natural Sciences programme. At postgraduate level our students come from all over the world to carry out research. Durham Chemistry is part of three Centres for Doctoral Training: SOFI (soft matter and interfaces), MosMed(molecular sciences for medicine) and ReNU(renewable energy). Each year we admit around 120 single honours undergraduates and around 40 PhD students. The Department holds an Athena SWAN Bronze Award.

The department houses three dedicated solid-state NMR spectrometers, two 400 MHz instruments in the Solid-State NMR Service, and a 500 MHz instrument supporting the research groups of Prof. Paul Hodgkinson and Dr Karen Johnston.

The Solid-State NMR Spectroscopy Service is housed in a purpose-built suite with a range of state-of-the-art instruments. The Solid State NMR Spectroscopy Service provides solid-state NMR support and advice to a wide range of internationally leading research groups spanning synthetic organic and inorganic synthesis, chemical biology, supramolecular and macromolecular chemistry. An overview of research within the Department of Chemistry can be found at: https://www.dur.ac.uk/chemistry/research/. In addition, the service also offers a flexible and responsive service to industry and external stakeholders with local and national companies, to develop the impact of our research base outside academia. The service also supports solid-state NMR provision for undergraduate research projects and advanced teaching laboratories, thus providing a central research and teaching facility that supports all our research, teaching and impact activities.

The University is committed to developing all of our colleagues to achieve their full potential. We promote and maintain an inclusive and supportive environment to ensure that all colleagues can thrive.

Durham Chemistry and the Durham Solid-State Research NMR Service seeks an experienced and self-motivated expert in solid-state NMR to manage the Service. The Service provides solid-state NMR results and interpretational expertise to a wide variety of users, both as a commercial service to industry and assisting Durham University academic researchers, and covering the entire spectrum of applications of solid-state NMR. As well as maintaining equipment and leading efforts to renew the solid-state NMR infrastructure, the Service senior manager will support new researchers via training and advise existing users on current NMR methodology. A key priority will be maintaining the Service’s successful track record in bringing in commercial income and in supporting Durham researchers in supporting solid-state NMR via grant income. 

The appointment period is for two years, with a preferred start date of 1 April 2021.

Core responsibilities:

  • Manage and develop the Solid-State NMR service, including taking responsibility for providing an external service for industry or commercial users.
  • Provide expert professional subject expertise and problem-solving skills.
  • Act as recognised practitioner within own specialist area or discipline, shaping activities, processes and systems.
  • Responsible for operational activity across different areas.
  • Cross-supervisory oversight of NMR technical staff, taking responsibility for decision making as appropriate.
  • Engage with key stakeholders and internal and external contractors to influence opinion, delivery and reputation of services.
  • Act as specialist point of contact dealing with complexity of data and information sources, interpretation and analysis.
  • Significant input into the scoping and resource planning across a range of activities at operational and possibly strategic level to maintain Solid-State NMR infrastructure.
  • Carry out project scoping, initiation, planning and implementation for large scale/University wide initiatives.
  • Responsible for shaping the development and learning of others outside of team, through the design and delivery of training sessions.
  • Lead on the design, implementation and monitoring of policy and quality standards, procedures and systems ensuring effective working and continuous improvement in experimental Solid-State NMR.
  • Promote and develop a deep understanding of organisational policy and external developments.
  • Promote the improvement and efficiency of departmental services by implementing and managing review and improvement procedures.
  • Ensure all activities, processes and transactions are accounted for accurately and promptly to meet regulatory and professional service and policy standards.
  • Implement processes to manage the integrity and security of all commercially and professionally sensitive and personal data.
  • Proactively represent the Service and the interests of its users at operational service level to influence governance, organisational policy and standards for the service.
  • Allocating and monitor financial budgets and resources.

Role responsibilities:

  • Work within the Solid-State NMR service to provide support to enable internationally leading research.
  • Contribute expert advice and guidance, collaborating with peers and academics to deliver teaching, learning and/or research outputs.
  • Assess and design modifications and implement developments to deliver desired outputs.
  • Lead, design and deliver practical workshops, teaching and training sessions in Solid-State NMR.
  • Ensure continuous improvement and knowledge base development for world class delivery. 
  • Liaise with academic staff to build and maintain high-quality specialist support to underpin excellence in teaching, research and learning.
  • Implement and audit health and safety risk assessments and procedures to ensure compliance with University and statutory regulations.
  • Deliver professional expertise with the design, construction and development of investigative methodologies to achieve teaching, research or learning objectives.
  • Identify and source materials, resources, instruments, equipment and software critical to service delivery and suggest and obtain alternatives where necessary.
  • Contribute creativity and innovation to the teaching, learning and research delivery process and outcomes.
  • Take responsibility for supervising experimental procedures and processes out of normal programmed sessions, proactively maintaining equipment and service support infrastructure.
  • Manage and monitor individual and overall health and safety assessments and procedures, ensuring compliance.
  • Represent the service/Department at promotional events and contribute to the delivery of presentations at conferences.
  • Participate in open days and visit days as required.
  • Lead on activities and participate with others to generate external income, including involvement in research proposals.
  • Deliver the planning, design and implementation of research outputs and prepare teaching/research proposals involving innovate Solid-State NMR.
  • Any other reasonable duties.

Specific role requirements

Some weekend working may be required to support Departmental activity such as pre-application open days and post-offer visit days.

Recruiting to this post 

In order to be considered for interview, candidates must evidence each of the essential criteria required for the role in the person specification above (including those listed in the section ‘Realising Your Potential Approach’). The recruiting panel will also consider the desirable criteria, so we recommend you also include evidence for the desirable criteria, where possible, in your application.

Please note that some criteria will only be considered at interview stage.

How to apply

We prefer to receive applications online.

Please note that in submitting your application Durham University will be processing your data. We would ask you to consider the relevant University Privacy Statement https://www.dur.ac.uk/ig/dp/privacy/pnjobapplicants/ which provides information on the collation, storing and use of data.

What you are required to submit

  1. A CV; 
  2. A covering letter which details your experience, strengths and potential in the requirements set out above;
  3. The Person Specification and Realising Your Potential Approach grids. Please copy and paste the grids from this job description into a separate Microsoft Word document, complete the evidence columns and submit this alongside your other application material.

Please ensure that you submit all documentation listed above or your application cannot proceed to the next stage.

Contact details 

For further information please contact;

For further information please contact Prof. Paul Hodgkinson (paul.hodgkinson@durham.ac.uk) or Dr Karen Johnston (karen.johnston@durham.ac.uk).

At Durham University, our aim is to create an open and inclusive environment where everyone can reach their full potential and believe our staff should reflect the diversity of the global community in which we work.  We welcome and encourage applications from members of groups who are under-represented in our work force including people with disabilities, women and black, Asian and minority ethnic communities.

We will notify you on the status of your application at various points throughout the selection process, via automated emails from our e-recruitment system.  Please check your spam/junk folder periodically to ensure you receive all emails.

Person specification - skills, knowledge, qualifications and experience required

Essential Criteria:

  • Excellent oral and written communication skills and the ability to develop excellent working relationships both internally and externally. 
  • Proven IT skills, including use of Microsoft Office.
  • Masters / PhD in a relevant discipline (or equivalent experience)
  • Professional practitioner in solid-state NMR with specialist knowledge and expertise.
  • Ability to solve problems and resolve issues, plan solutions and make pragmatic decisions.
  • Application of expertise in multiple areas of technical specialism, resulting in new and innovative research outputs.
  • Application of expertise in multiple areas of technical specialism, resulting in new and innovative research outputs.
  • Extensive knowledge and experience of ensuring compliance with regulatory and organisational policy and guidelines, including health and safety.
  • Ability to teach or train others with specific technical skills
  • Experience of providing specialist advice and guidance to a range of customers and colleagues, including more senior colleagues.  
  • Experience in managing resources, including budgets.

Desirable Criteria

  • Continuing engagement with state-of-the-art in subject area.
  • Experience of being able to network effectively and develop strong and productive working relationships both internally and externally.
  • Experience of proposing and implementing policy and procedures resulting in service improvements
  • Ability to contribute to planning at operational and strategic levels.

Realising Your Potential Approach

Respecting Others- 

  • Acting fairly and respectfully towards others in both verbal and non-verbal communication
  • Working Together - 
  • Working across boundaries to develop relationships with other teams
  • Reflecting the principles of the University values in dealing with people and conducting business
  • Finding Solutions - 
  • Being open to and applying good practice and fresh ideas from inside and outside the University
  • Exercising judgement in line with University strategy and priorities
  • Actively seeking new ideas and approaches from outside the University
  • Identifying and pursuing opportunities to work in partnership with external organisations to generate and develop ideas

DBS Requirement: Not Applicable.

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