Postdoctoral Research Associate, Department of Chemistry

Durham, United Kingdom
£34,304- £36,382 (per annum)
Monday, 13 September 2021
End of advertisement period
Tuesday, 12 October 2021
Academic Discipline
Physical Sciences, Chemistry
Contract Type
Fixed Term
Full Time

Department of Chemistry

Grade 7: - £34,304- £36,382 (per annum)
Fixed Term - Full Time
Contract Duration: 36 months
Contracted Hours per Week: 35
Closing Date: 12-Oct-2021, 6:59:00 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

The Department has been awarded an Athena SWAN Bronze Award recognising our commitment to advancing women's careers in STEM academia and reflecting the supportive and positive environment within the Department.

The Role

Applications are invited for a Postdoctoral Research Associate in synthetic organic chemistry with emphasis on the synthesis of polymers. The associate will join a multi-disciplinary research team, funded by a UKFI Future Leaders Fellowship entitled “PolyForm: a unified approach to biodegradable polymers for fabric care formulations.” The project will involve the design and synthesis of biodegradable polymers, and the study of their function in complex, multi-component formulations. The successful applicant will be expected to work closely with the PolyForm team in Durham University, and with industry partners Procter and Gamble.


  • To plan and conduct the synthesis of a range of novel monomers and polymers, with a view to designing new biodegradable polymers.
  • To work within a wider, multi-disciplinary team to deliver research objectives.
  • To assist with the development of research objectives and proposals.
  • To prepare and deliver presentations on research outputs/activities to audiences which may include: research sponsors, academic and non-academic audiences.
  • 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 publish high quality outputs, including papers for submission to peer reviewed journals and papers for presentation at conferences and workshops under the direction of the Principal Investigator or Grant-holder.
  • 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.

The post-holder is employed to work on research/a research project which will be led by another colleague. 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.

This post is fixed term for 36 months because the UKRI funding is available for this fixed period only.

Start date flexible from 1st November 2021.

How to Apply

For informal enquiries please contact Dr Clare Mahon (clare.mahon@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/.

What to Submit

All applicants are asked to submit:

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

Next Steps

The assessment for the post will include the candidate being asked to give a short presentation on their previous research followed by a panel interview. Shortlisted candidates will be invited for interview and assessment

The Requirements



  1. A good first degree in Chemistry or Natural Sciences
  2. A PhD (or be close to submission) in Chemistry or a related subject.


  1. Experience in synthetic organic chemistry.
  2. Experience in conducting high quality academic research.
  3. Demonstrable ability to write material of a quality commensurate with publication in highly-ranked journals.
  4. Demonstrable ability to present research papers at national conferences and communicate complex information to specialists and within the wider academic community.


  1. Demonstrable ability to work cooperatively as part of a team, including participating in research meetings.
  2. Ability to work independently on own initiative and to strict deadlines.
  3. Excellent interpersonal and communication skills.  Ability to work as part of a multi-disciplinary team.



  1. Experience in the synthesis and characterisation of polymers.
  2. Strong publication record in peer-reviewed journals, commensurate with stage of career.
  3. A track record of presenting research at conferences, symposia, or meetings, commensurate with stage of career.
  4. Demonstrable ability to develop research proposals and designs in collaboration with other academics.
  5. Experience of overseeing students with respect to the development of their practical/research skills e.g. acting as a demonstrator; supervising student projects/practicals.


  1. Demonstrable ability to plan and manage independent research.

DBS Requirement: Not Applicable.