Research Associate in Synthetic Organic Chemistry & Catalysis

Updated: 30 days ago
Location: Cardiff, WALES


Research Associate in Synthetic Organic Chemistry & Catalysis
Cardiff School of Chemistry
Cardiff University

We seek to recruit an enthusiastic, highly motivated scientist with proven intellectual and technical abilities to work on a synthetic organic chemistry and catalysis project. The overall focus of the programme is the productive merger of organocatalysis with electrochemistry to develop novel electroorganic catalysis using both batch and flow technologies. Experience with air-sensitive synthetic techniques and a range of characterisation methods are essential, whilst some experience with electrochemistry and/or flow chemistry would be beneficial.

Applicants must hold a postgraduate degree at PhD level (or nearing completion/ submission) in synthetic organic chemistry or relevant industrial experience.

Further information is available at the following group webpages:
Dr Louis Morrill
Prof. Thomas Wirth

For informal enquiries about the role and the School of Chemistry, please contact Dr Louis Morrill: e-mail ; Tel. +44 (0)29 2087 5840 .

For further details about working at Cardiff University, please contact Ms Alison Blake: e-mail ; Tel. +44 (0)29 2087 4805 .

This position is full time (35 hours per week) and is available immediately for 4 months.

Salary: £33,797 - £40,322 per annum pro rata (Grade 6). It is not anticipated that an appointment be made above £34,520 per annum pro rata (Point 32).

Important note: It is the University’s policy to use the person specification as a key tool for short-listing. Candidates should evidence that they meet ALL of the essential criteria as well as, where relevant, the desirable. As part of the application process you will be asked to provide this evidence via a supporting statement.  Please ensure that the evidence you are providing corresponds with the numbered criteria outlined below. Your application will be considered based on the information you provide under each element.

When attaching the supporting statement to your application profile, please ensure that you name it with the vacancy reference number, e.g. Supporting Statement for 10466BR.

Date advert posted: Wednesday, 2 December 2020

Closing date: Saturday, 19 December 2020

This post has previously been advertised to employees of Cardiff University only.  We now invite external applications.

Cardiff University is committed to supporting and promoting equality and diversity and to creating an inclusive working environment. We believe this can be achieved through attracting, developing, and retaining a diverse range of staff from many different backgrounds who have the ambition to create a University which seeks to fulfil our social, cultural and economic obligation to Cardiff, Wales, and the world. In supporting our employees to achieve a balance between their work and their personal lives, we will also consider proposals for flexible working or job share arrangements.

Job Description

Main Function

To conduct research in the area of in synthetic organic chemistry and contribute to the overall research performance of the School and University, carrying out research leading to the publishing of work in high-quality journals. To pursue excellence in research and to inspire others to do the same.

Main Duties and Responsibilities


  • To conduct research in the in the area of in synthetic organic chemistry and contribute to the overall research performance of the School and University by the production of measurable outputs including bidding for funding, publishing in national academic journals and conferences, and the recruitment and supervision of postgraduate research students;
  • To co-supervise students at undergraduate and postgraduate level;
  • To review and synthesise existing research literature within the field;
  • To participate in School research activities;
  • To develop research objectives and proposals for own or joint research including research funding proposals;
  • To undertake administrative tasks associated with the research project, including the planning and organisation of the project and the implementation of procedures required to ensure accurate and timely reporting;
  • To participate in activities to promote the School and its work to the wider University and externally;
  • To prepare research ethics and research governance applications as appropriate;
  • To build and create networks both internally and externally to the university, to influence decisions, explore future research requirements, and share research ideas for the benefit of research projects.
  • To engage effectively with industrial, commercial and public sector organisations, professional institutions, other academic institutions etc., regionally and nationally  to raise awareness of the School’s profile, to cultivate strategically valuable alliances, and to pursue opportunities for collaboration across a range of activities. These activities are expected to contribute to the School and the enhancement of its regional and national profile;
  • To undergo personal and professional development that is appropriate to and which will enhance performance;
  • To participate in School administration and activities to promote the School and its work to the wider University and the outside world;
  • To ensure that an understanding of the importance of confidentiality is applied when undertaking all duties;
  • To abide by the University policies on Health and Safety and Equality, Diversity & Inclusivity;
  • Any other duties not included above, but consistent with the role.

Person Specification

Essential Criteria

Qualifications and Education

  • Postgraduate degree at PhD level (or nearing completion/ submission) in synthetic organic chemistry or relevant industrial experience;
  • Knowledge, Skills and Experience
  • An established expertise and proven portfolio of research or relevant industrial experience within the following research fields:
    • Organic synthesis
    • Catalysis
    • Product analysis
  • Knowledge of current status of research in synthetic organic chemistry, including experience of a range of characterisation techniques including Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR), Fourier Transform Infrared (FT-IR), High-Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC), Gas Chromatography GC, Mass Spectrometry (MS) and X-ray Crystallography;
  • Proven ability to publish in international journals;
  • Knowledge and understanding of competitive research funding to be able to develop applications to funding bodies;
  • Communication and Team Working
  • Proven ability in effective and persuasive communication;
  • Ability to supervise the work of others (in particular the co-supervision of postgraduate and undergraduate research students) to focus team efforts and motivate individuals;
  • Other
  • Proven ability to demonstrate creativity, innovation and team-working within work;
  • Proven ability to work without close supervision.

  • Desirable Criteria
  • Experience with electrochemistry or flow chemistry;
  • Experience with air-sensitive synthetic techniques e.g. Schlenk-line, glovebox;
  • Evidence of collaborations with industry;
  • Proven ability to work without close supervision;
  • Proven ability to adapt to the changing requirements of the Higher Education community;
  • A willingness to take responsibility for academically related administration;
  • Fluency in Welsh, written and oral.

  • Additional Information

    Project Description

    The combination of electricity with chemical reactions has a long history. The ability to use a single electron from an electric current in order to trigger a chemical reaction is an exciting concept, especially from the perspective of sustainability. Electrons are one of the cleanest possible chemical reagents (i.e. there is no waste generated from their use) with photons of light representing a complementary alternative. It is surprising therefore that organic chemistry, the branch of chemistry involved with creating molecules for society, such as pharmaceuticals, crop-protection agents, dyes, pigments, flavours, fragrances and polymers does not often use such electro-chemical methods at both the discovery and manufacture stages.

    This project will explore an area of catalysis known as organo-catalysis, where a small amount of an organic molecule is used to accelerate the rate of reactions (this is in contrast to a precious metal-based system). Here the electro-chemistry approach will help to sustain and maintain the catalytic cycle. Notably, in all other organo-catalytic processes of this type an equal amount of an additional chemical is needed to maintain the catalytic activity. This chemical is purely sacrificial in nature and is thus extremely wasteful. A preliminary hit from the UK has already demonstrated that organo-catalytic reactions can be sustained using electro-chemical methods. This proposal aims to greatly diversify the application of this observation. The combination of an organo-catalytic, electro-chemical and continuous flow approach will serve to amplify the sustainability of the processes that we use to deliver these industrially useful reactions.

    Job Category

    Academic - Research

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