Assistant Professor in Organic Chemistry / Chemical Biology CHEM23-2

Durham University

Assistant Professor in Organic Chemistry / Chemical Biology CHEM23-2 (
Job Number:
Department of Chemistry
Grade 8:  Grade 8 £43,414 – £51,805 per annum
Open-Ended/Permanent  Full Time
Contract Duration: Permanent
Contracted Hours per Week: 35
Closing Date
: 23-Apr-2023, 6:59:00 PM
Disclosure and Barring Service Requirement: Not Applicable. 

Working at Durham University  

As one of the UK’s leading universities, Durham is an incredible place to establish your career while enjoying a high-quality work/life balance. We are home to some of the most talented scholars and researchers from around the world who are tackling global issues and making a difference to people’s lives.  

Find out more about the benefits of working at the University and what it is like to live and work in the Durham area on our Why Durham? information page.  

A competitive salary is only one part of the many fantastic benefits you will receive if you join the University: you will also receive access to the following Total Rewards – Grade 8.    


The Department 

The Department of Chemistry at Durham University seeks to appoint a talented individual to the role of Assistant Professor. We welcome applications from those with research and teaching interests in the broad field of Organic Chemistry. We are particularly keen to hear from applicants who will strengthen and/or complement our existing strengths in the broad area of chemical biology including medicinal chemistry, agrochemistry, biomaterials and biocatalysis.

This post offers an exciting opportunity to make a major contribution to the development of internationally-excellent research and teaching. The successful candidate will join a grouping with established links with colleagues in Biosciences, a number of whom are co-located in the Chemistry Department. Staff working at this interface have access to Durham’s superb facilities sited in both Chemistry and Biosciences including molecular and structural biology and biophysical instruments, cell culture laboratories, imaging suite and plant growth facilities. The appointee will be expected to cultivate an internationally-leading research group and to engage in the full Departmental range of teaching at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels, including the development of new postgraduate courses (PGT and PGR) in chemical biology.

A World Top 100 department, the Department of Chemistry at Durham is one of the very best in the UK, with an outstanding reputation for excellence in research, teaching and employability of our students. We are an active and vibrant department, with a strong cohort of early career academics and future leaders. We hold an Athena Swan Silver Award, recognising our commitment to gender equality. Our undergraduate programmes are ranked fifth in the Complete University Guide 2023. At postgraduate level, our students come from all over the world to carry out research.

Durham Chemistry hosts multiple EPSRC Centres for Doctoral Training (CDTs): The Molecular Sciences for Medicine CDT (MoSMed), The Soft Matter for Formulation and Industrial Innovation CDT, (SOFI2) and the CDT in Renewable Energy Northeast Universities (ReNU).

Our research strategy is focussed around three interdisciplinary grand challenge themes: Chemistry for Health; Chemistry for Sustainability; and Chemistry for Change. Within these themes, we have prioritised eight core Research Focus Areas: Synthesis, Catalysis and Process; Sustainable and Resilient (Bio) Chemistry; Soft Matter Materials Discovery; Theory, Computational and Data-Led Chemistry; Polymers and Interfaces; Chemical Photonics, Spectroscopy and Sensors; Drugs and Medicinal Chemistry; and Agritech and Aquaculture. There is a strong culture of collaboration within the department and with other departments, and institutes within the University, including the Biophysical Sciences Institute, the Durham Energy Institute and the Institute for Data Science. There are also other multidisciplinary centres of excellence in the university that the appointee can interact with including the Centre for Global Infectious Diseases, the Durham Crop Centre and centres in Sustainable Chemistry and Soft Matter. We also have strong links with many Universities, Research Centres and Companies in the UK and overseas.   

For more information, please visit our Department pages at  


Assistant Professors at Durham 

Assistant Professors on the Education and Research track are encouraged to focus on research and teaching but also to engage in wider citizenship to enhance their own development, support their department and wider discipline, and contribute to the wider student experience. 

Academic colleagues are supported to develop competitive research grant applications and to publish high-quality research in their area of interest. We will fully support your research needs including practical help such as resources to attend conferences and to fund research activities, as well as a generous research leave policy and a designated mentor.  

Durham University is also committed to ensuring excellent teaching quality, stimulating learning environments, and innovative curricula for all of our students. You will be supported to develop your teaching expertise and to develop innovative teaching. 

We are confident that our recruitment process allows us to attract and select the best international talent to Durham. We, therefore, offer a reduced probation period of 1 year for our Assistant Professors and thereafter, subject to satisfactory performance, your position will be confirmed as permanent 


Assistant Professor in Organic Chemistry / Chemical Biology     

Applicants must demonstrate research excellence in Organic Chemistry / Chemical Biology and an ability to teach our students to an exceptional standard and to fully engage in the services, citizenship and values of the University.   The University aims to provide a working and teaching environment that is inclusive and welcoming and where everyone is treated fairly with dignity and respect. Candidates will be expected to demonstrate these key principles as part of the assessment process. 

Key responsibilities:  

  • To pursue and publish research that is high quality in terms of originality, significance and rigour, commensurate with the Department’s on-going emphasis on international excellence.

  • To develop clear plans and applications for national and international funding opportunities to support research and end-user engagement; 

  • To play a role in relevant teaching and research supervision, and contribute to ongoing curriculum development; 

  • To contribute to enhancing the quality of the research environment in the Department, the wider University and beyond through collaborative research activity;  

  • To demonstrate a willingness to contribute to the administrative work, citizenship and values of the Department;  

  • To deliver lectures, seminars and tutorials at undergraduate and taught postgraduate levels, as well as engaging in related activity such as assessment; 

  • To fully engage in and enhance the values of the Department; 

  • To contribute to attracting and supervising research students, and to enhance the Department’s commitment to its vibrant and inclusive postgraduate culture.  

  • To carry out such other duties as specified by the Head of Department. 


Durham University is committed to equality, diversity and inclusion 

Our collective aim is to create an open and inclusive environment where everyone can reach their full potential and we believe our staff should reflect the diversity of the global community in which we work.  

As a University equality, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) are a key part of the University’s Strategy and a central part of everything we do.  We also live by our values  and our Staff Code of Conduct.   At Durham we actively work towards providing an environment where our staff and students can study, work and live in a community which is supportive and inclusive. It’s important to us that all of our colleagues are aligned to both our values and commitment to EDI. 

We welcome and encourage applications from members of groups who are under-represented in our work force including disabled people, women, and black, Asian and minority ethnic communities.  

We are committed to equality: if for any reason you have taken a career break or periods of leave that may have impacted on the volume and recency of research outputs, such as maternity, adoption or parental leave, you may wish to disclose this in your application.  We also understand that the Covid-19 pandemic will have had differential impacts on different people and welcome information on this if you wish to share it. The selection committee will recognise that this may have reduced the quantity of your research accordingly 

The University has been awarded the Disability Confident Employer status. If you are a candidate with a disability, we are committed to ensuring fair treatment throughout the recruitment process. We will make adjustments to support the interview process wherever it is reasonable to do so and, where successful, reasonable adjustments will be made to support people within their role 

Person Specification  

Candidates applying for a grade 8 post must meet all the essential criteria.   


Candidates must have the capacity for and be progressing towards the independent development of internationally excellent research that produces high-quality outcomes, including some work that is recognised as world-class or that has world-class potential.   

Essential Research Criteria – Grade 8 

  • Qualifications – a good first degree and a PhD in Chemistry or a related subject. 

  • Outputs – evidence of high-quality outputs, some of which is recognised as world-class.  Candidates are asked to submit two research papers with their application (as outlined in the How to Apply section below).  Candidates may additionally choose to submit evidence such as external peer review of their outputs.     

  • Personal Research Plan – evidence of a personal research plan in Organic Chemistry / Chemical Biology that supports and enhances the Department’s research strategy. The personal research plan should be no longer than 3 pages.

  • Education 

    Candidates must demonstrate the development and delivery of high-quality teaching that contributes to providing a supportive and enabling learning environment and curricula which encourage students to achieve their potential.

    Essential Education Criteria – Grade 8 

  • Qualification – candidates to hold or have the ability to attain the rank of Fellow of the Higher Education Academy ( ), which is the national body that champions teaching excellence (or Equivalent).  

  • Quality – evidence of the development and delivery of high-quality, effective and engaging teaching. (Candidates may choose to provide student evaluation scores and/or peer reviews of teaching).

  • Innovation – evidence of contribution to new programme development and innovation in the design and delivery of high-quality teaching or assessment of learning including lectures, small group learning and/or using technology or other techniques to enhance learning and/or assessment.

  • Strategic – evidence of strategic teaching development – engagement in the design of excellent teaching programmes which are research-informed and -led.

  • Capability – evidence of the ability to support / contribute to departmental teaching of organic chemistry across the breadth of the curriculum.


    Service, Citizenship and Values 

    Candidates must actively engage in the administrative and citizenship requirements of the Department and positively contribute to University values  and to fostering a respectful environment; and they must demonstrate their commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion. 

    Essential Services, Citizenship and Values criteria – Grade 8 

  • Citizenship contribution – evidence of participation in the citizenship/administrative activities of an academic Department, Faculty or University.  (Candidates may choose to evidence departmental or University roles, mentoring activity, pastoral and academic support of students, engagement with widening participation, involvement in equality and diversity initiatives and membership or engagement with external bodies).  

  • Leadership – engagement in activities that contribute to the administrative functioning of an academic Department, Faculty, University and/or discipline including leadership or responsibilities in an academic context.  (Candidates may choose to detail any leadership roles which they have undertaken, preferably in an academic context).   

  • Communication – candidates must have excellent oral and written communication skills with the ability to engage with a range of students and colleagues across a variety of forums.  


    Desirable Criteria – Grade 8 

    The desirable criteria for this post (for which candidates should provide evidence of some if not all criteria) are: 

  • Research Leadership – contribution to the leadership of research groups and the mentoring of early career researchers.  (Candidates may choose to include information about research group leadership, mentoring of research colleagues, invitations to external events, engagement with international networks or projects). 

  • Research Student Supervision – involvement in the provision of excellent supervision for PhD and other research students.   

  • Research Impact – demonstrable evidence of the impact of the Candidate’s research beyond their institution.    

  • Income Generation – evidence of engagement in the development of successful research projects and quality research grant proposals.  

  • Contact Information 

    Department contact for academic-related enquiries 

    Candidates who require more information or wish to discuss these roles informally should contact the Head of Department, [email protected]


    Contact information for technical difficulties when submitting your application 

    If you encounter technical difficulties when using the online application form, we prefer you send enquiries by email.  Please send your name along with a brief description of the problem you’re experiencing to [email protected]  

    Alternatively, you may call 0191 334 6801 from the UK, or +44 191 334 6801 from outside the UK. This number operates during the hours of 09.00 and 17.00 Monday to Friday, UK time.  We will normally respond within one working day (Monday to Friday, excluding UK public holidays).  

    University contact for general queries about the recruitment process 

    How to Apply  

    We prefer to receive applications online.    

    Please note that in submitting your application, we will be processing your data.  We would ask you to consider the relevant University Privacy Statement  which provides information on the collation, storing and use of data.  

    If you are unable to complete your application via our recruitment system, please get in touch with us on [email protected] .  

    What to Submit 

    All applicants are asked to submit: 

    • A CV  

    • A covering letter which details your experience, strengths and potential in the requirements set out above; 

    • A personal research plan, no longer than 3 pages.

    • Two of your most significant pieces of written work, together with a short summary (100-200 words) of why the work is significant and how you contributed.  Where possible your written work should have been published or submitted since 2019, however work prior to 2019 may be submitted where candidates have had career breaks or other extenuating circumstances . 

    • An EDI & values statement – (of no more than 500 words) which outlines work which you have been involved in which demonstrates your commitment to EDI and our values. I.e. Involvement in equality, diversity, and inclusion activities such as mentoring, volunteering, or attending conferences 

    Where possible we request that you provide accessible web links to your publications, which the hiring Department will use to access your work.  The application form contains fields in which to enter each of the web links. Please note we are unable to access publications behind a paywall.   

    Your work should be uploaded as PDFs as part of your application in our recruitment system. Please ensure that your PDFs are not larger than 5MB. Please note that your work may be read by colleagues from across the Department and evaluated against the current REF criteria.

    Please save all application documents with your name and document type as PDF files. 

    We will notify you on the status of your application at various points throughout the selection process, via automated emails from our e-recruitment system.  Please check your spam/junk folder periodically to ensure you receive all emails.  






    You should provide details of 3 academic referees, which should not (if possible) include your PhD supervisor(s). The majority should be from a University other than your own (save for early career applicants applying for their first post). 

    References will be requested for candidates who have been shortlisted and will be made available to the panel during the interview process. 

    As part of your application, you will be asked whether you give your consent to your academic references being sought should you be invited to attend an interview. We will only request references where permission has been granted.  





    Next Steps 

    All applications will be considered; our usual practice is for colleagues across the Department to read the submitted work of long-listed candidates.   

    Short-listed candidates will be invited to the University, either virtually or in-person and will have the opportunity to meet key members of the Department.  The assessment for the post will normally include presentations to staff and students followed by an interview and we anticipate that the assessments and interviews will take place over two days in June 2023.

    In the event that you are unable to attend in person on the date offered, it may not be possible to offer you an interview on an alternative date. 

    Applicant Guidance  

    For further guidance on your application please see HERE  


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