Postdoctoral Research Associate
The School of Chemistry at the University of Edinburgh is seeking a Postdoctoral Research Associate in Chemistry Education to work under the supervision of Professor Michael Seery, an international leader in the field. This is a rare opportunity for a highly motivated and creative individual to work in chemistry education at a very exciting time in the School's history. The impact of COVID-19 and our immediate responses to the pandemic are transforming the teaching of chemistry. The PDRA will play a central role in our ongoing work on a large-scale curriculum transformation project within a School that provides a supportive and collegiate environment. The successful applicant will also engage in mission-critical activities associated with ongoing teaching operations, to ensure that their work in curriculum development is appropriate for our requirements. Across the University, curriculum reform is high on the strategic agenda led by the Vice Principal for Students, and this position will play a key role in contributing to the School's response to that work.
This is a full time, fixed term post for 24 months.
Salary: £33,797 to £40,322 per annum.
Closing date is 5pm (GMT) on 23rd September 2020.
1. Job Details
Job title: Postdoctoral Research Associate
School/Support Department: School of Chemistry
Line manager: Professor Michael Seery
2. Job Purpose
The post holder will develop and research curriculum transformation in major aspects of the chemistry curriculum as part of an ongoing large scale transformation of Chemistry teaching within the School. We have already achieved several major milestones, and the post-holder will make substantial contribution to this ongoing project. The post holder will also contribute to mission-critical activities including delivery and organisation of teaching.
3. Main Responsibilities (Approx. % of time)
- Develop research led curriculum reform in the undergraduate chemistry curriculum, and conduct research into reform. (60%)
- Engage in mission-critical operations within the School such as completing teaching activities and/or leading organisation of key aspect of teaching within the School, including the supervision and interaction with undergraduate and postgraduate students working in chemistry education. (30%)
- Keep up to date with relevant literature in education and chemistry education. (5%)
- Contribute to the writing and peer-reviewing of research and review articles for international peer-reviewed journals. (5%)
4. Planning and Organising
• The post holder will be responsible for the day-to-day organisation of their work, and will be expected to contribute to the planning of strategies and approaches in consultation with the PI. They will be expected to assimilate information from published literature and apply it to curriculum design, and prioritise activities in order to meet agreed milestones and deadlines. The post requires an organised person with good record-keeping skills and an ability to multi-task and manage time effectively, to ensure that the work is conducted in accordance with the planned timetable.
• The post-holder will assist and mentor postgraduate and undergraduate students with their planning and organisation of work as related to the project.
5. Problem Solving
• The post holder will design and implement curriculum developments agreed upon in consultation with the PI, and will be expected to consult published literature and use their own experience and initiative in order to ensure pragmatic and realistic implementation, trouble-shooting any problems that arise.
• The post holder will be responsible for analysing, collating and interpreting data and designing follow-up analyses based on conclusions drawn, and will be encouraged to use their creativity in order to identify potential new lines of inquiry.
• The post holder will also be expected to contribute to the progress of the team by helping other members to overcome problems in their own projects.
6. Decision Making
Decisions on the overall development and implementation of the strategy will be made in consultation with the PI. The post holder will be expected to make day-to-day decisions about design and organisation in order to ensure that objectives are met in an effective and timely manner. They will also be expected to engage with the broader teaching community and decide on the best approaches for the project based on their conclusions.
• Taken independently: Organise own workload according to priority and adapt as necessary, setting of short-term time-lines.
• In collaboration with others: Problem solving, curriculum design and discussion of short-term research aims and potential new research strategies
• Referred to manager: Overall timelines, changes of direction, response to serious and unexpected events, identification of the best way forward as barriers to progress arise (although input to these areas is expected).
• Level of Direction Given: Line manager will offer general orientation and advice, in addition to support in developing and implementation of strategy, there will be an appropriate degree of independence. Significant mentoring in chemistry education research is available.
7. Key Contacts/Relationships
The post holder will be supervised by the line manager and PI, Professor Michael Seery. They will be expected to interact with relevant teaching staff in the School as needed, contribute to the mentoring of undergraduate research students, and lead and contribute to regular meetings, as well as to liaise with collaborators both within the University and externally as required.
8. Knowledge, Skills and Experience Needed for the Job
Candidates will have an undergraduate honours degree in chemistry (accredited by the Royal Society of Chemistry, or equivalent) and have completed a PhD in any area of chemistry. They will have extensive knowledge of the UK Higher Education system, and the structures of a UK chemistry degree. The successful candidate will have demonstrable, long-standing interest in chemistry education above and beyond normal laboratory demonstrating duties, and will have familiarity with the key issues relating to modern discourse in education and in chemistry education. We are bold in our vision and we welcome creative thinkers. The post-holder will lead the design of curriculum innovations in one of the following core curricular areas, in line with intentions for university-wide curriculum review: laboratory education, introductory teaching, advanced teaching (in their specialism), employability, assessment; and contribute to other areas of development. Contributions will comprise the combination of development of materials associated with curriculum reform and research into curriculum reform.
Candidates will be highly motivated, planning and prioritizing their own research with appropriate guidance, and provide expertise to the group on their specialism as related to the project. Candidates will work with PhD, undergraduate research students, and summer interns, and lead their contributions to the project. They will draw on their expertise to lead on writing of specialist reports for internal audiences, including student partners and the University community, and publications for external audiences.
Candidates will receive extensive mentoring and career development over the lifetime of the position. The position will likely attract those who are interested in a teaching-focussed career in academia, or more generally a policy-focussed career. This is likely to be a highly competitive position, and candidates whose profile matches the description above are encouraged to apply. Candidates may contact Professor Seery if they wish to discuss the position informally.
For information and background of related research and scholarship carried out in this area, please see
• An undergraduate degree in chemistry (as accredited by the Royal Society of Chemistry, or equivalent)
• A PhD in chemistry (all sub-fields welcome)
• Experience of working with undergraduate students in a formal education setting, such as laboratory demonstrating
• Demonstrated interest in chemistry education, such as experience of contributing to innovative practice in chemistry education, curriculum development, or equivalent
• Knowledge of key issues and debates relating to chemistry education, including knowledge of the UK Higher Education sector
• Excellent level of English language usage, and familiarity in writing technical and non-technical documentation in English
• Ability to work independently
• Effective project and time management skills
• Good interpersonal skills in dealing with students, academics, and professional services staff related to the project
• Knowledge of the chemistry education literature, and other key sources of information relating to chemistry education
• Experience in publishing, including leading writing on publications
• Experience of design of curriculum resources
• E-learning or similar technical skills for curriculum development
This position is for a fixed term of 24 months and the job holder will report to Professor Michael Seery. The project also involves collaborators both within the School and externally.
All applicants should apply online by clicking the apply link at the bottom of this page and submitting an up to date CV (no longer than three A4 pages max) and a one page cover letter outlining why they are applying for the position and what they would like to achieve in the position. 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 cover letter.
You will be notified by email whether you have been shortlisted for interview or not.
The closing date is 5pm 23rd September 2020.
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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 £33,797 to £40,322 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.
var links = document.querySelectorAll(".targetLink"), i, j, aTags, string; for(i=0; i 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 Silver 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 David Robertson, CSE comprises seven Schools (Biological Sciences, Chemistry, Engineering, GeoSciences, Informatics, Mathematics, and Physics and Astronomy) as well as a national supercomputing centre (the Edinburgh Parallel Computing Centre) and the Bayes Centre for interdisciplinary data science and innovation. We extend beyond the University through many joint activities - for example we host the cross-Scotland DataLab innovation Centre, we are a founding partner in the Scottish Industrial Biotechnology Innovation Centre, and we are a partner in UK-wide collaborations including the Alan Turing Institute and the Rosalind Franklin Institute. Most Schools are located 2 miles south of the city centre at the King's Buildings whilst Informatics, EPCC and Bayes are located in the University's Central Area near George Square. 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 consortia.
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 41,000 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 14,500 people spread across a wide range of academic and supporting roles.
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