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Postdoctoral Research Associate in Planetary Science

Egham, United Kingdom
£39,233 to £46,397 per annum - including London Allowance
Closing date
30 Jun 2024

Job Details

Department of Earth Science

Location: Egham
Salary: £39,233 to £46,397 per annum - including London Allowance
Post Type: Full Time
Closing Date: 23.59 hours BST on Sunday 30 June 2024
Reference: 0624-188

Right to work: Applications from job seekers who require sponsorship to work in the UK are welcome and will be considered alongside all other applications. For further information visit the UK Visas and Immigration website

Full time, Fixed Term (Until March 2027)

Applications are invited for the post of Postdoctoral Research Associate in Planetary Science. The postholder will join the UKRI STFC-supported project ‘Understanding the origin and diversity of water-soluble carboxylic acids in pristine meteorites,’ led by Dr Queenie Chan, which aims to understand the formational pathways of life essential water-soluble organic compounds in meteorites. This is a new STFC Solar Studies and Planetary Studies award in collaboration with Imperial College London (PI: Dr. Queenie Chan, co-I: Prof. Mark Sephton). The successful applicant will lead on characterising the structural diversity of the biologically relevant, water-soluble carboxylic acids, and establishing their synthetic origin, formation mechanisms, and role in the origin of life on Earth.

The postholder will join the Centre for Dynamic Earth and the Solar System (CeDESS) at Royal Holloway University of London, which includes other PDRAs and PhD students, as well as undergraduate and masters-level project students. They will be based in the Royal Holloway University of London, Egham, and collaborate closely with the meteorite and organic geochemistry groups in Imperial College London, Natural History Museum London, and NASA Johnson Space Center and University of Alberta in the US. They are supported and encouraged to develop their own ideas for independent research, and will have the opportunity to attend international conferences and to spend time with researchers in the laboratory at Imperial College Organic Geochemistry.

Applicants should demonstrate the capability of using a diversity of laboratory and analytical equipment (e.g. HPLC, GC and MS). Experience of synthetic pathway design and working in vivo, meteorite handling and the corresponding contamination control, wet chemistry expertise required for the extraction of targeted organic molecules and their derivatisation, will be an advantage. Previous experience of working in a clean laboratory and a knowledge of planetary science, organic chemistry and meteoritics are also important for the role. The candidate should have an excellent academic track record (commensurate with their career stage and experience), ideally including peer-reviewed published work. They are expected to be active in developing the project, to collaborate with all team members, and to contribute to the mentoring/training of PhD students and project students.

We offer a highly competitive rewards and benefits package including:

  • Generous annual leave entitlement 
  • Training and Development opportunities
  • Pension Scheme with generous employer contribution 
  • Various schemes including Cycle to Work, Season Ticket Loans and help with the cost of Eyesight testing.
  • Free parking 

The post is based in Egham, Surrey where the University is situated in a beautiful, leafy campus near to Windsor Great Park and within commuting distance from London.

For an informal discussion about the post, please contact Dr Queenie Chan on or +44 (0)1784 443896.

For queries on the application process the Human Resources Department can be contacted by email at:

Please quote the reference: 0624-188

Closing Date: 23:59, 30 June 2024

Interview Date: To be Confirmed (likely to be July 2024)

Further details: Job Description & Person Specification


Royal Holloway latest



One of the UK’s leading research-intensive universities.

Royal Holloway is one of the UK’s top 20 universities, ranked 129 globally (Times Higher Education World University Rankings, 2015-16). We sit within the top 25% of UK universities for research that is rated world leading or internationally recognised and at 89%, our 2015 National Student Survey satisfaction rating is the highest of the University of London institutions.

The university has 21 academic departments and schools spanning the arts and humanities, sciences, social sciences, management, economics and law. We combine our world-class research and excellence in teaching with a global perspective, creating a close-knit community that inspires success. With some 9,000 students learning from internationally renowned academics and researchers, ours is a unique culture, where our students and colleagues feel recognised as individuals. We have a unique best-of-both-worlds location; a safe, leafy campus in Egham, Surrey, less than 40 minutes by train from central London and just seven miles from Heathrow airport, creating the environment where our community thrives.

Company info
+(44)01784 434455
TW20 0EX

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