Chair of Synthetic Organic Chemistry

Edinburgh, United Kingdom
05 Jul 2018
End of advertisement period
30 Jul 2018
Academic Discipline
Physical Sciences, Chemistry
Contract Type
Full Time

Heriot-Watt University has five campuses: three in the UK (Edinburgh, Scottish Borders and Orkney), one in Dubai and one in Malaysia. The University offers a highly distinctive range of degree programmes in the specialist areas of science, engineering, design, business and languages.

With a history dating back to 1821, Heriot-Watt University has established a reputation for world-class teaching and practical, leading-edge research, which has made it one of the top UK universities for business and industry. We connect with industry at every level and develop programmes to match their needs – so employers get work-ready industry-fit graduates.

Heriot-Watt is also Scotland's most international university, boasting the largest international student cohort.

We have an established set of values that help us to nurture innovation and leadership, and show our commitment to continuous improvement and development in all our activities.

For full details on our University please view our Careers at Heriot-Watt http://www.hw.ac.uk/about/careers-at-heriot-watt.htm

About our Team

The School of Engineering and Physical Sciences (EPS) has an international research reputation and close connections to the professional and industrial world of science, engineering and technology. Our research ranges from fundamental chemical, physical and biological sciences through to engineering, with applications in biology, medicine, energy, photonics, chemical and biochemical process, and manufacturing, amongst others, all of which are supported by strong external funding. We have around 180 full-time academic staff driving this research activity based in 5 research institutes: Institute of Chemical Sciences (ICS); Institute of Mechanical, Process & Energy Engineering (IMPEE); Institute of Biological Chemistry, BioPhysics & BioEngineering (IB3); Institute of Photonics & Quantum Sciences (IPaQS); and Institute of Sensors, Signals & Systems (ISSS). In line with its ethos, Units of Assessment across the School performed strongly in Impact at REF2014; together with the University of Edinburgh, we represent the “most powerful” General Engineering unit in the UK. In the Chemistry return, > 94% of all outputs submitted were judged 4*/3* (i.e. world leading/internationally excellent).

In addition we deliver teaching across 6 programmes: Chemistry; Physics; Electrical, Electronic & Computer Engineering; Chemical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering and Biosciences. In the 2017 National Student Survey at least 80% of Heriot-Watt students are satisfied overall with their course in 14 of our 21 subject areas. Mechanical Engineering was ranked in the UK top 10 and Chemistry and Mechanical Engineering were both ranked top in Scotland.

The Guardian University Guide 2018 ranked Heriot-Watt University 26th in the UK and 4th in Scotland. The results come as the University is undertaking a significant programme of investment to enhance student-facing services. These include the alteration and refurbishment of the James Watt Centre into a modern state of the art learning and teaching facility, the modernisation of the Student Services Centre, the development of a training room for Assistive Technology and a £6M refurbishment project for the library. In additon the University has invested £19M in a new Discovery and Innovation Centre with a focus on innovative teaching for students in EPS and in Mathematics and Computer Science.

The Institute of Chemical Sciences (ICS) currently has 20 primary and 13 secondary members of academic staff. The primary members are organised within three Research Groupings: Molecular Chemistry; Materials Chemistry and Dynamics & Structure. Two experimental officers operate the analytical services. There were 12 primary PDRAs and 45 primary PGR students at the start of academic year 2017-18. The institute is an active player in CRITICAT – the EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Critical Resource Catalysis, held jointly with Universities of St Andrews and Edinburgh; a holder of substantial additional EPSRC funding, including a Platform Grant in Dynamical Chemical Processes; and attracts significant funding from non-RCUK sources, including early-stage drug discovery as part of investment through Mironid®, joint with University of Strathclyde.

This role is being recruited as part of Heriot-Watt’s Global Platform Initiative which aims to increase the number of Research Leaders in the University by creating new posts when we identify the best talent, in support of the University’s five year strategic plan to build on our position as a leading research and knowledge transfer institution.

Heriot-Watt holds an Institutional Athena Swan Bronze Award as does the School of Engineering and Physical Sciences recognising excellence in championing employment of women in the fields of science and technology, engineering and mathematics.

Detailed Description

To celebrate our 2021 bicentenary of pioneering research, Heriot-Watt University are seeking 100 research leaders who will transform the world.

This role provides a unique opportunity to join a world-leading team increasing research and teaching capacity in the School of Engineering and Physical Sciences with a focus in Chemical Sciences, particularly in the area of organic synthesis and its applications.

Successful applicants will maintain a portfolio of high-quality research that complements the activities of ICS, from winning funding through to sharing relevant and impactful findings, while seeking opportunities to work collaboratively with other members of ICS and adjoining Institutes in EPS in particular IB3 and IMPEE.

The appointee will also perform a teaching role, potentially teaching in both undergraduate and postgraduate programmes as appropriate.

We are seeking to appoint at Full Professor grade, to complement and enhance our existing thematic coverage. The appointment should build capacity in organic synthesis and stimulate both new multi-investigator research projects within ICS and at its interfaces with applied research in other Institutes, particularly Institute of Mechanical, Process & Energy Engineering (IMPEE) and/or Institute of Biological Chemistry, BioPhysics & BioEngineering (IB3). We aim to align with developments in funding policy, particularly at EPSRC, away from chemical synthesis for its own sake towards a strategic aim of addressing ‘immediate and longer-term challenges faced by the UK chemicals manufacturing, materials/electronics and healthcare sectors’. We particularly invite applications with the potential to develop links in two areas:

Energy Materials, which is an EPSRC priority area, spanning a number of fields in which ICS has current activity. These include in particular catalysis, where there is an opportunity to build on the CRITICAT CDT initiative, spanning strengths in ICS in homogenous catalysis and computational modelling and in IMPEE in heterogeneous catalysis. The close structural links between fundamental chemistry within ICS and ‘at scale’ reaction engineering within IMPEE provide unique opportunities to tackle real-world problems across multiple levels. There are active links between ICS and IMPEE in thermoelectric materials, but further, currently largely untapped opportunities exist in areas of strength in IMPEE, including carbon capture and storage and utilisation, and the exploitation of biomass.

Healthcare Technologies, which is also a priority for EPSRC and extends into the life sciences and biomedical interfaces with other RCUK research councils (BBSRC, MRC). There are also opportunities for significant industrial funding. Specific opportunities include drug discovery and toxicology, with which there are potential overlaps with IB3 and in new biomedical diagnostics, with potential overlap with core strengths in sub-cellular imaging in IB3 and developing activity in IMPEE in miniaturisation of analytical technologies.

Key duties and responsibilities          

  • Work activities will vary according to the requirements of the job and individual areas of teaching and research responsibility; however, general responsibilities are typically, but not restricted to, the following:

Provide Research Leadership by

  • Developing cross-Research Institute, School, University and external research links and networks with a view to maximising research funding opportunities and associated activities;
  • Actively engaging in research and actively contributing to the University’s research profile;
  • Publicising research through the preparation and submission of journal and conference papers and participating in academic conferences;
  • Supervising undergraduate students, postgraduate students and research associates’ research work;
  • Actively pursuing research funding through the development of quality grant proposals;
  • Carrying out general research administration as well as contributing to School, Institute and research group strategic planning where required;
  • Managing and supervising research-active staff where required;
  • Establishing collaborative research and teaching links outside the university via funding councils, EU, industry, business and other public bodies;
  • Using research to inform teaching;
  • Representing the institution in a professional capacity, particularly with regard to research dissemination and development e.g. conferences, meetings, with industrial partners, etc;

In addition they will contribute to the School by:

  • Teaching through the delivery of lectures, tutorials and laboratories, assessing the relevant students’ work as well as setting and marking examinations and coursework;
  • Carrying out general academic administration including student recruitment and admissions, participation on committees and exam boards, taking responsibility for key discipline-specific administration tasks and mentoring students;
  • Designing, preparing and developing teaching materials and actively developing and implementing new teaching methods;
  • Undertaking continuous professional development (CPD) and participating in staff development activities.

The above job description is indicative but not exhaustive, and the role holder may be required to undertake other relevant duties commensurate with the grading of the post. Activities may be subject to amendment over time as the role develops and/or priorities and requirements evolve.

Essential Criteria

  • PhD in chemistry or a related subject
  • Track record of internationally high profile and high impact research in a relevant discipline, as evidenced through publications in major international journals
  • Track record of sustained and significant research funding
  • Ability to articulate clear personal future research objectives
  • Demonstrates evidence of willingness to be involved in collaborative research
  • Evidence of strategic vision and the ability to develop and implement a research strategy across a wider group of researchers
  • Good, lucid, clear communicator
  • Good presentation skills
  • Able to articulate complex topics effectively
  • Shows leadership skills

Desirable Criteria

  • Evidence of ability to lead research and collaborative partnerships with other disciplines or with other educational institutions and/or external bodies.
  • Has experience in applications-oriented research.
  • Has acquired background knowledge of the University and the School.
  • Significant experience of teaching and assessment in topics relevant to this role, including experience of curriculum development.

How To Apply

Applications can be submitted up to midnight (UK time) on Sunday 16 September 2018. Interviews will take place on Friday 12th October.

At Heriot-Watt University we understand that being diverse makes us better which is why we support a culture of respect and equal opportunity, and value diversity at the heart of what we do. We want to increase the diversity of our workplace to underpin a dynamic and creative environment.

We welcome and will consider flexible working patterns e.g. part-time working and job share options.

Use our total rewards calculator: https://www.hw.ac.uk/about/work/total-rewards-calculator.htm to see the value of benefits provided by Heriot-Watt University.

Applications from candidates who require sponsorship to work in the UK will be considered alongside other applications. For further information on this please visit the UK visas and immigrations website https://www.gov.uk/browse/visas-immigration/work-visas.