Postdoctoral Research Associate in Gas-Phase Ion Spectroscopy

Durham, United Kingdom
£33,797 - £35,845 p.a
Jan 20, 2021
End of advertisement period
Feb 17, 2021
Contract Type
Fixed Term
Full Time

Department of Chemistry

Grade 7: - £33,797 - £35,845 p.a
Fixed Term - Full Time
Contracted Hours per Week: 35
Closing Date: 17-Feb-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 gas-phase spectroscopy with a particular emphasis on anion photoelectron spectroscopy (imaging) both in the time and frequency domains.  The research project aims to exploit these methods to develop an understanding of electron-driven chemistry in small isolated molecules.

The successful applicant will be work on a specific EPSRC-funded research project entitled “Multi-dimensional Electron Spectroscopy with Photons” which aims to probe electron-driven chemistry in small gas-phase molecules using anion photoelectron imaging. The post-holder will be expected to develop and use molecular beam methods and mass-spectrometry to generate cold isolated anions, to use laser spectroscopy (both nanosecond and femtosecond) to perform photoelectron imaging of the anions, to analyse and interpret the results, and to disseminate the results as needed. This project builds on and extends recent work from the Verlet group in this area, details and publications of which can be found at www.verlet.net.

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.   

This post is fixed term for a maximum of 42 months. Funding is available for this fixed duration only, ending 30/09//2024 at the latest.

The post-holder will be 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 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. 

The Requirements

Essential Criteria:


  • A good first degree in Chemistry, Physics or a related subject
  • A PhD (or be close to submission) in [Chemistry, Physics or a related subject.


  • Experience in conducting high quality academic research.
  • Demonstrable ability to write material of a quality commensurate with publication in highly-ranked journals.
  • Experience in experimental chemical physics relevant to the project.


  • 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.
  • Demonstrable knowledge of spectroscopy and chemical dynamics.

Desirable Criteria:


  • 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.
  • Experience in gas-phase spectroscopy; and/or molecular beams; and/or anion production; and/or photoelectron imaging; and/or operating lasers (nanosecond dye/OPO and/or femtosecond).
  • Experience with computational chemistry.


  • Demonstrable ability to plan and manage independent research. 

How to Apply

For informal enquiries please contact Professor Jan Verlet, j.r.r.verlet@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.

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 a short presentation of the candidate’s skills and suitability as well as an interview. Shortlisted candidates will be invited for interview and assessment February / early March.

DBS Requirement: Not Applicable.