Postdoctoral Research Associate in Fluxional Molecules

Durham, United Kingdom
Oct 13, 2020
End of advertisement period
Nov 12, 2020
Academic Discipline
Physical Sciences, Chemistry
Contract Type
Fixed Term
Full Time

Department of Chemistry

Grade 7: - £33,797
Fixed Term - Full Time
Contract Duration: 30 months
Contracted Hours per Week: 35
Closing Date: 12-Nov-2020, 7:59:00 AM

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 Fluxional Molecules, with a particular emphasis on the synthesis and physical organic analysis of shapeshifting barbaralanes. The researcher will investigate supramolecular control in the shapeshifting rearrangements of barbaralanes in association with Dr Paul McGonigal.

The successful applicant will have specific responsibility for performing multi-step synthesis of fluxional molecules and applying a wide range of analyses, including dynamic NMR, UV-vis spectroscopy and isothermal titration calorimetry. The post-holder will assist with the training of PhD students in the McGonigal research group and will interact closely with the collaborating researchers at Durham.


  • 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.

This post is fixed term for 30 months. The funding is available for this fixed duration only, ending 30/09/2023 at the latest.

The post-holder is employed to work on research 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.

Successful applicants will, ideally, be in post by 01/04/2021.



  • A good first degree in Chemistry.
  • A PhD (or be close to submission) in Synthetic/Physical Organic Chemistry or a related subject.


  • Experience in performing multi-step organic syntheses.
  • Demonstrable knowledge of methods to determine binding constants.
  • Experience in manual use of NMR spectrometers.
  • Demonstrable ability to write material of a quality commensurate with publication in highly ranked journals.
  • Demonstrable ability to present research papers at international conferences and communicate complex information to specialists and within the wider academic community.


  • 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.



  • 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 research skills e.g. acting as a demonstrator; supervising student projects.
  • Experience of performing variable-temperature NMR spectroscopy.


  • Demonstrable ability to plan and manage independent research.

How to Apply

For informal enquiries please contact Dr Paul McGonigal.  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.

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 in-person or phone interviews. Shortlisted candidates will be invited for interview and assessment.

DBS Requirement: Not Applicable.