Postdoctoral Research Associate in Synthetic Organic Chemistry

Updated: 2 months ago
Location: Durham, ENGLAND

Postdoctoral Research Associate in Synthetic Organic Chemistry (
Job Number:
Department of Chemistry
Grade 7: - £35,333 - £37,474 per annum
Fixed Term - Full Time
Contracted Hours per Week: 35
Closing Date
: 25-Sep-2022, 6:59:00 PM 

Postdoctoral Research Associate in Chemistry


Department                             Chemistry

Grade                                      Grade  7

Term                                       36 months Fixed Term Contract

Salary Range                          £35,333 - £37,474


Working Arrangements           This role is full time but we will consider requests for flexible working arrangements including potential job shares


Durham University Chemistry

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.


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.  Our research spans the range of organic, inorganic, physical and theoretical chemistry.  We are an active and vibrant department, pursuing innovative research agendas and hold an Athena Swan Bronze Award supporting the development of women in science.  Athena SWAN is a national initiative that recognises the advancement of gender equality, representation, and progression.  The Department embraces excellence in all of its forms and invites all qualified applicants to apply.  We particularly welcome applications from women and black and minority ethnic candidates who are under-represented in the academic sector.


Find out more about our vibrant community here Chemistry Department - Durham University


The Department has been awarded an Athena SWAN Bronze Award recognising our commitment to advancing women's careers in STEM academia and reflecting the supportive and positive environment within the Department.


Applications are invited for a Postdoctoral Research Associate in synthetic organic chemistry with emphasis on the synthesis of polymers. The associate will join a multi-disciplinary research team, funded by a UKFI Future Leaders Fellowship entitled “PolyForm: a unified approach to biodegradable polymers for fabric care formulations.” The project will involve the design and synthesis of biodegradable polymers, and the study of their function in complex, multi-component formulations, along with the design to new assays to monitor the (bio)degradation of polymers. The successful applicant will be expected to work closely with the PolyForm team in Durham University, and with industry partners Procter and Gamble.



  • To design a range of assays to monitor the (bio)degradation of a range of synthetic polymers, with a view to streamlining the design of new biodegradable polymers.
  • To synthesise required assay components and standards via multi-step organic synthesis (including polymer synthesis).
  • To work within a wider, multi-disciplinary team to deliver research objectives, including industrial partners.
  • To assist with the development of research objectives and proposals.
  • To prepare and deliver presentations on research outputs/activities to audiences which may include: research sponsors, academic and non-academic audiences.
  • 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 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 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 36 months because the UKRI funding is available for this fixed period only.

The post-holder is employed to work on research/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.

Start date flexible from 1st November 2022.

The Requirements


  • Qualifications
    • A good first degree in Chemistry or Natural Sciences
    • A PhD (or be close to submission) in Chemistry or a related subject.


  • Experience
    • Experience in synthetic organic chemistry.
    • Experience in conducting high quality academic research.
    • Demonstrable ability to write material of a quality commensurate with publication in highly-ranked journals.
    • Demonstrable ability to present research papers at national conferences and communicate complex information to specialists and within the wider academic community.



  • Skills
    • 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.  Ability to work as part of a multi-disciplinary team.





  • Experience
    • Experience in the synthesis and characterisation of polymers.
    • Experience in the study of reaction kinetics.
    • 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.


  • Skills
    • Demonstrable ability to plan and manage independent research.


    How to Apply


    For informal enquiries please contact Dr Clare Mahon (  All enquiries will be treated in the strictest confidence. 


    We prefer to receive applications online via the Durham University Vacancies Site. . 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.


    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 the candidate being asked to give a short presentation on their previous research followed by a panel interview. Shortlisted candidates will be invited for interview and assessment in or around September.

    DBS Requirement: Not Applicable.
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