Postdoctoral Research Associate in Chemistry

Durham, United Kingdom
£33,797 - £40,322 per annum
Wednesday, 15 September 2021
End of advertisement period
Wednesday, 22 September 2021
Academic Discipline
Physical Sciences, Chemistry
Contract Type
Fixed Term
Full Time

Department of Chemistry

Grade 7: - 33,797 - 40,322
Fixed Term - Full Time
Contract Duration: 7 months - grant end date 14/05/22
Contracted Hours per Week: 35
Closing Date : 22-Sep-2021, 6:59:00 AM 

Job Description - External

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 departments with an outstanding reputation for excellence in teaching, research and employability of our students.  Ranked 5th in REF2014 in terms of grade point average and 1st for research impact, the Department has a strong research profile in synthetic inorganic and organic chemistry, photophysics, and the development of luminescent materials.

The Role

A Postdoctoral Research Associate position is available to synthesise and evaluate the luminescence properties of molecular metal complexes, designed to display efficient emission in the near-infrared (NIR) region of the spectrum.  The work will involve a significant amount of synthetic chemistry to prepare ligands and their platinum/palladium complexes, together with luminescence measurements, electrochemistry, and theoretical studies.

The project is interdisciplinary, involving close collaboration with physicists in Durham, and with synthetic and computational partners at nearby Northumbria University and Newcastle University, respectively. It forms part of an EPSRC-funded project, spanning the three institutions, that seeks to develop efficient NIR organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs).

The work will be supervised by Professor J. A. Gareth Williams (www.dur.ac.uk/chemistry/staff/profile/?id=205) . 

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 and papers for presentation at conferences and workshops under the direction of the Principal Investigator or Grant-holder.
  • To assist with the development of research objectives and proposals.
  • 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 is available from 1st November 2021 for 6 months. Funding is available for this fixed period only: there is no flexibility.

The post-holder is employed to work on 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 he/she will contributre to the advancement of the project, through the development of his/her contribute to the advancement of the project, through the development of his/her own research ideas and through adaptation and development of research protocols.

How to Apply

For informal enquiries please contact Professor J. A. Gareth Williams (j.a.g.williams@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 essential and desirable requirements set out above;

Next Steps

The assessment by a panel for the post will include an interview and we anticipate that the assessments will take place late September or early October.​​​​​​​

The Requirements



  • A good first degree in Chemistry A PhD (or be close to submission) in Chemistry (or be close to submission of a PhD thesis) 


  • Experience in the synthesis and purification of organic ligands and metal complexes and their characterisation by methods such as NMR spectroscopy.
  • Experience in the preparation and study of multinuclear metal complexes.
  • Demonstrable ability to write material of a quality commensurate with publication in highly- ranked journals.
  • Demonstrable ability to present research papers to other scientists, and to communicate complex information both to specialists and within the wider academic community.
  • Experience of OLED design and fabrication.

Technical Skills

  • Practical expertise in molecular design and multi-step synthesis.
  • Hands-on expertise of in-depth interpretation of NMR and mass spectra.
  • Hands-on expertise of sample preparation of optical spectroscopy and/ or solution electrochemistry.
  • High level structure-property analysis.


  • Demonstrable ability to work cooperatively as part of a team, including participating in research meetings.
  • Ability to work independently on own initiative and to strict deadlines.
  • Excellent interpersonal and communication skills.
  • Well-organised and highly-motivated with good time-management skills and the ability to focus on the project objectives.



  • Strong publication record in peer-reviewed journals, commensurate with stage of career.
  • A track record of presenting research at conferences, symposia, or meetings, commensurate with stage of career.
  • Demonstrable ability to develop research proposals and designs in collaboration with other academics.
  • 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 of obtaining absorption, steady-state and time-resolved photo-luminescence spectra of aerated and deoxygenated samples and proven ability to analyse the obtained results. Fabrication of light-emitting devices.
  • Hands-on expertise in TD-DFT calculations.
  • Demonstrable ability to plan and manage independent research.

DBS Requirement: Not Applicable.