Postdoctoral Research Associate at School of Chemistry University of Edinburgh, School of Chemistry United Kingdom

Postdoctoral Research Associate

Vacancy Ref: : 043714

Closing Date : 22-May-2018

Contact Person : Dr Stephen P Thomas Contact

Number : N/A

Contact Email :

Applications are invited for a Postdoctoral Research Associate position to work under the supervision of Dr Stephen Thomas and GSK on a project funded by the EPSRC and GSK through the Impact Acceleration Account. The appointment will be for an initial fixed-term period of 12 months.


The successful candidate will work on Earth-abundant metal catalysed arene borylation. You can find out more about the Thomas research group at


The posts will be based in the School of Chemistry at the University of Edinburgh and at GSK, Stevenage.


The position is available for 12 months from 1 June 2018.


1. Job Details

Job title: Postdoctoral Research Associate
School/Support Department: School of Chemistry
Line manager: Dr Stephen Thomas


2. Job Purpose

The successful applicant will be the lead experimentalist working on a project focused on the development of novel catalytic arene borylation methodologies. The successful applicant will also be expected to give practical, administrative, scientific and project managerial support to other group members.


3. Main Responsibilities (Approx. % of Time)

Conduct and facilitate research on the development of novel borylation reactions. Responsibility for delivering core elements of the research program and interacting on a day-to-day basis with other group members and the PI. (70%)


Ensure the smooth running of the laboratory and the research group by assisting with maintenance and upkeep of the laboratory and its equipment. Attend group meetings. Assist PI to identify opportunities for adding value to scientific ideas. (10%)


Maintain accurate and up-to-date records to document the research project and its progress. Regular reporting of progress, both written and oral, to the PI and other members of the research team. Manage Health and Safety risk assessments. (5%)


Take a lead role in writing up data for publication. Contribute to the dissemination and publication of own/research team’s research findings. ( 5%)


Continually update knowledge and understanding in the field or specialism, and update skill base within the defined research area. (5%)


Provide guidance and supervision for student projects and/or instruction of students in the use of equipment/demonstration of techniques (5%)


You may be asked to perform other duties occasionally which are not included above, but which will be consistent with the role.


4. Planning and Organising
As required for the completion of Main Responsibilities.


5. Problem Solving
Critical thinking and problem solving as relevant to completion of main responsibilities, specifically focusing on problem solving with respect to:
(a) Devise synthetic routes to key intermediates and target compounds, complex characterisation methods.
(b) Development of research ideas and agendas.


6. Decision Making
Independent decision making as part of day-to-day laboratory operation. Decision making, in conjunction with PI, with regards to major developments, publication of results and research direction.


7. Key Contacts/Relationships
Principle Investigators: Dr Stephen Thomas and GSK Supervisor Dr Andrew Dominey.
Interactions with members of the Thomas group and GSK API group, and external persons at scientific conferences, as described in main responsibilities above.


8. Knowledge, Skills and Experience Needed for the Job

Essential Criteria
• Applicants should have a PhD in catalysis, synthetic organic or synthetic inorganic chemistry (or have submitted a PhD thesis prior to taking up the appointment).
• Expertise in developing catalysis and/or synthesis projects.
• A demonstrable record of success in previous research, as judged by publications in high-quality peer-reviewed journals, with evidence supporting intellectual and practical contributions to previous work.
• Be experienced in using and analysing the data from different spectroscopic techniques for the characterisation of organic and inorganic molecules.
• Proven commitment and ability to keep abreast of contemporary developments in the area of catalysis.
• Be able to communicate – verbally and in writing – to a high standard in English
• Be able to work collaboratively in a laboratory environment, in particular to supervise and educate junior co-workers.
• Be able to participate in collaborative projects through cooperation and the exchange of information, skills and reagents, where the project requires it.
• Willingness to split location between Edinburgh & Stevenage.


Desirable Criteria
• Experience in main-group chemistry.


9. Job Context and any other relevant information

Application Procedure

All applicants should apply online by clicking the apply link at the bottom of this page and submitting an up to date CV. The application process is quick and easy to follow, and you will receive email confirmation of safe receipt of your application. The online system allows you to submit a CV and other attachments.
We anticipate interviews will be held within three weeks of the closing date. You will be notified by email whether you have been shortlisted for interview or not.

The closing date is 5pm GMT on 22 May 2018.


Eligibility to Work
In accordance with the Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Act 2006 the University of Edinburgh, as an employer, has a legal responsibility to prevent illegal working and therefore must check that all employees are entitled to work in the United Kingdom (UK).


To do so, the University of Edinburgh requires to see original documents evidencing right to work in the UK before commencement of employment and this is normally carried out at interview. Details will be provided in any letter of invitation to interview.


For further information on eligibility to work please visit our eligibility to work website


In the circumstances where the vacancy does not meet the Home Office and Visa Services advertising, salary and/or qualification level criteria for sponsorship the successful applicant must have the existing right to work in the UK.


Conditions of Employment

Pension Scheme
This role is grade UE07 and therefore the post holder is automatically included in membership of the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS), subject to the USS membership criteria, unless they indicate that they choose not to join the Scheme.


For further information please visit our Pensions website.


The role is grade UE07 and attracts an annual salary of £32,548 to £38,833 for 35 hours each week. Salary is paid monthly by direct transfer to your Bank or Building Society account, normally on the 28th of the month. Salaries for part-time staff are calculated on the full-time scales, pro-rata to the Standard Working Week.


The University reserves the right to vary the candidate information or make no appointment at all. Neither in part, nor in whole does this information form part of any contract between the University and any individual.


The School of Chemistry

The School of Chemistry at the University of Edinburgh has a long and distinguished history. The first Chemistry Professor was appointed to the Chair in 1713 and the Edinburgh University student-led Chemical Society is regarded as the oldest chemical society in the world. The School is run as a single academic unit with approximately 50 academic staff, 40 professional support staff and 250 research students and post-doctoral workers and a first year intake of 135 Chemistry undergraduates. The School of Chemistry at Edinburgh holds a Gold Athena SWAN award, in recognition of excellence in science, engineering and technology employment in higher education relating to supporting women in Science.


Research and EaStCHEM

In the latest Research Excellence Framework (REF 2014) ‘Power Table’, EaStCHEM, the joint research school of Edinburgh and St Andrews Chemistry departments, is ranked the 2nd best Chemistry Department in the UK, and 1st in Scotland. Overall, 95 % of our research is classed as world leading or internationally excellent and the EaStCHEM research School has grown to over 80 academics (99% of which were submitted to REF), a testament to both the breadth and strength of our research. More specifically, 100 % of our research environment, which includes factors such as our facilities, grant income, and awards and prizes, is rated as 4* or 3*, and more than 95 % of our research papers submitted for the exercise have been rated as 4* or 3*.


Chemistry at the University of Edinburgh has over £34M of current research grants, and has an international research reputation with many of our staff holding prestigious national and international awards. This world-class centre for chemistry has four research groupings: the Chemistry/Biology Interface; Experimental and Theoretical Chemical Physics; Molecular Synthetic Chemistry; and Materials Chemistry. Many academics are involved in more than one research area, and this breadth of activity is exemplified by our research collaborations with our EaStCHEM partner across a variety of disciplines.


We have world class facilities across the breadth of Chemistry with ready access for all researchers. The provision of an excellent equipment base and service infrastructure underpins all of the research within EaStCHEM, and our core strategy is to ensure the complementarity and synergy between the EaStCHEM partners. Each has a suite of analytical equipment that can be regarded as essential infrastructure for every top-class Chemistry Research School and dedicated scientific support. These facilities include recently refurbished laboratories, a full suite of high- and low-field NMR instrumentation, mass spectrometry, single crystal and powder X-ray crystallography, magnetometry, EPR spectroscopy, surface science, thermal analysis and porosimetry, optical spectroscopy, high pressure facilities, fermentation suite, DNA synthesis, protein purification and biophysical facilities, and the EaStCHEM Research Computing Facility. These are coupled with specialised units where cutting-edge characterisation work is led by world-leading scientists. We also work with developers of national facilities in the UK (Diamond, RAL), Europe (ESRF, ILL), USA (ALS, APS, Oak Ridge, NIST) and further afield in, for example, Australia (ANSTO) and Japan (Spring-8).


We also have dedicated in-house business development executives that manage a large portfolio of research and consultancy projects involving industrial partners, and who offer a variety of services from analysis, consultancy, collaborative research, KTP and R&D support to Industrial sponsored projects. Our research staff work closely with the BDEs and with the local University Commercialisation Offices to ensure that industrial engagement activities and IP development opportunities are maximised.

College of Science and Engineering (
The College of Science and Engineering (CSE) is one of the largest and highest-ranked science and engineering groupings in the UK. Headed by Professor Dave Robertson, CSE comprises seven Schools (Biological Sciences, Chemistry, Engineering, GeoSciences, Informatics, Mathematics, and Physics and Astronomy). Informatics is located in the University’s Central Area near George Square, with the other six 2 miles further south at the King’s Buildings. The College has over 3,000 academic and support staff, and educates some 6,000 undergraduates, over 1000 taught postgraduates and more than 2,000 research students. It is in the front rank of UK university science and engineering groupings for research quality and income, and is a key player in many European and international research collaborations.


Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014


In the 2014 REF over 95% of our staff were submitted. Of our seven submissions, four of which were as a joint research school in combination with a strategic research university partner through pooling, 3 were ranked top in the UK and all 7 were in the top 5 in their discipline in the Times Higher Power rankings.

The University of Edinburgh

For more than four centuries, our people and their achievements have rewritten history time and again. They’ve explored space, revolutionised surgery, published era-defining books, paved the way for life-saving medical breakthroughs and introduced to the world many inventions, discoveries and ideas from penicillin to Dolly the sheep. We have believed that anything is possible, we still do.

The latest Research Excellence Framework highlighted our place at the forefront of international research. This adds to our international reputation for the quality of our teaching and our student experience excellence. The University is proud of its success with online teaching initiatives, with 2550 students currently studying its online distance learning postgraduate programmes, and a total to date of more than 2 million enrolments for Edinburgh MOOCs.


As a member of staff, you will be part of one of the world's leading universities, with 20 Schools spread over 3 Colleges that offer more than 1600 undergraduate and 600 postgraduate programmes to over 35,000 students each year. Professional services are critical to this success as well as our world-class teaching, research and student facilities. In fact, we are one of the top employers in Edinburgh, with over 13,000 people spread across a wide range of academic and supporting roles.


As a world-changing, world-leading university, we offer an exciting, positive, creative, challenging and rewarding place to work. We give you support, nurture your talent, develop and reward success and integrate academic, professional and personal career goals, as well as give your career the benefit of a great and distinguished reputation. In addition, our employees benefit from a competitive reward package and a wide range of staff benefits, which include generous holiday entitlement, a defined benefits pension scheme, staff discounts and much more. Access our staff benefits page for further information and use our reward calculator to find out the total value of pay and benefits provided.


The University of Edinburgh holds a Silver Athena SWAN award in recognition of our commitment to advance gender equality in higher education. We are members of the Race Equality Charter and we are also Stonewall Scotland Diversity Champions, actively promoting LGBT equality. The University has a range of initiatives to support a family friendly working environment, including flexible working and childcare vouchers. See our University Initiatives website for further information.


University Family Friendly Initiatives

The University of Edinburgh is a charitable body, registered in Scotland, with registration number SC005336.

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