Postdoctoral Research Associate in Organic Chemistry

Durham, United Kingdom
£33,797 - £40,322 per annum
Wednesday, 17 February 2021
End of advertisement period
Thursday, 18 March 2021
Academic Discipline
Physical Sciences, Chemistry
Contract Type
Fixed Term
Full Time

Department of Chemistry

Grade 7: - £33,797 - £40,322 per annum
Fixed Term - Full Time
Contract Duration: 12 months
Contracted Hours per Week: 35
Closing Date: 18-Mar-2021, 7:59:00 AM 

Durham University

Durham University is one of the world's top universities with strengths across the Arts and Humanities, 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.

Less than 3 hours north of London, and an hour and a half south of Edinburgh, County Durham is a region steeped in history and natural beauty. The Durham Dales, including the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, are home to breathtaking scenery and attractions. Durham offers an excellent choice of city, suburban and rural residential locations. The University provides a range of benefits including pension and childcare benefits and the University’s Relocation Manager can assist with potential schooling requirements.

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. 

The Department

Durham Chemistry is one of the very best UK chemistry departments with an outstanding reputation for excellence in teaching, research and employability of our students. The Department was ranked 5th overall in REF2014 in terms of grade point average and 1st for impact. It routinely features high in national league tables and is 3rd in the Complete University Guide 2020. Our research spans the range of organic, inorganic, physical and theoretical chemistry.

The Role

Applications are invited for a Postdoctoral Research Associate in chemistry with a particular emphasis on developing novel crosslinkers for bioconjugation. More specifically, this  role involves the design and synthesis of cross-linkers for use in bioconjugation of, for example, fluorophores attached to biotargeting entities. Much of the work will be centred in synthetic organic chemistry, scale up and purification of intermediates and products, and working closely with biologists to carry testing, as well as industrial collaborators. The major aim of the RA role is to develop examples for patent exemplification, and hence, the successful applicant will be expected to work towards the translation of current and new research into potential biomedical applications. The key responsibilities will be practical research, report preparation and presentations, liaison with patents lawyers, laboratory supervision and responsibilities working with the rest of the laboratory team, working with external collaborators in the region and internationally, and writing papers and presenting results at conferences.

Responsibilities :

  •  To understand and convey material of a specialist or highly technical nature to the team or group of people through presentations and discussions that leads to the presentation of research papers in conferences and publications.
  • To prepare and deliver presentations on research outputs/activities to audiences which may include: research sponsors, academic and non-academic audiences.
  • To publish high quality outputs, including papers for submission to peer reviewed journals, papers for presentation at conferences and patents under the direction of the Principal Investigator or Grant-holder.
  • To assist with the development of research objectives and applications of the research through translational activities. 
  • To conduct individual and collaborative research projects under the direction of the Principal Investigator or Grant-holder.
  • To work with the Principal Investigator or Grant-holder and other colleagues in the research group, as appropriate, to identify areas for research, develop new research methods and extend the research portfolio.
  • To deal with problems that may affect the achievement of research objectives and deadlines by discussing with the Principal Investigator or Grant-holder and offering creative or innovative solutions.
  • To liaise with research colleagues and make internal and external contacts to develop knowledge and understanding to form relationships for future research collaboration.
  • To plan and manage own research activity, research resources in collaboration with others and contribute to the planning of research projects.
  • To deliver training in research techniques/approaches to peers, visitors and students as appropriate.
  • To be involved in student supervision, as appropriate, and assist with the assessment of the knowledge of students.
  • To contribute to fostering a collegial and respectful working environment which is inclusive and welcoming and where everyone is treated fairly with dignity and respect.
  • To engage in wider citizenship to support the department and wider discipline.
  • To engage in continuing professional development by participation in the undergraduate or postgraduate teaching programmes or by membership of departmental committees, etc. and by attending relevant training and development courses.   
  • To work with external and industrial collaborators to enable the further development and translation of the research programme. 

This post is fixed term for 12 months since funding is available from 1/3/21 for this fixed period only.

The post-holder is employed to work on a research project which will be led by the PI and grant holder. Whilst this means that the post-holder will not be carrying out independent research in his/her own right, the expectation is that they will contribute to the advancement of the project, through the development of their own research ideas/adaptation and development of research protocols.

Successful applicants will, ideally, be in post by 1/3/21

How to Apply

For informal enquiries please contact Professors Andy Whiting andy.whiting@durham.ac.uk  All enquiries will be treated in the strictest confidence. 

We prefer to receive applications online via the Durham University Vacancies Site. https://www.dur.ac.uk/jobs/. As part of the application process, you should provide details of 3 (preferably academic/research) referees and the details of your current line manager so that we may seek an employment reference.

Applications are particularly welcome from women and black and minority ethnic candidates, who are under-represented in academic posts in the University.  We are committed to equality: if for any reason you have taken a career break or periods of leave that may have impacted on your career path, such as maternity, adoption or parental leave, you may wish to disclose this in your application.  The selection committee will recognise that this may have reduced the quantity of your research accordingly. 

What to Submit

All applicants are asked to submit:

  • A CV and succint covering letter which details your experience, strengths and potential in the requirements set out above.

Next Steps

The assessment for the post will include an interview for shortlisted candidates at a date to be arranged as soon as possible after the closing date for applications.

The Requirements



  • A good first degree in Chemistry.
  • A PhD (or be close to submission) in synthetic organic chemistry.


  • Experience in conducting high quality academic research.
  • Demonstrable ability to write material of a quality commensurate with publication in highly-ranked journals.
  • Demonstrable ability to contribute to patent and paper drafting, and communicate complex information to specialists and within the wider academic and/or industrial community.
  • Experience in the design and synthesis of organic compounds and intermediates, small molecule purification and identification using methods that include NMR, UV, IR, CHN analysis, X-ray crystallography and MS.


  • Demonstrable ability to work cooperatively as part of a team, including participating in research meetings and problem sessions.
  • Ability to work independently on own initiative and to strict deadlines.
  • Excellent interpersonal and communication skills both within the team and with external collaborators, especially industrialists.



  • Strong publication record in peer-reviewed journals, commensurate with stage of career or equivalent experience through IP protection via patenting activities.
  • A track record of presenting research at conferences, symposia, or meetings, especially with industrial collaborators, commensurate with stage of career.
  • Experience of overseeing students with respect to the development of their practical/research skills e.g. acting as a demonstrator; supervising student projects/practicals.
  • Experience in the development cross-linker technologies, particularly VOC-free methods.​​​​​​​


  • Demonstrable ability to plan and manage independent research.

DBS Requirement: Not Applicable.