Research Associate (Fixed Term)

University of Bath - Chemistry

Postdoctoral research associate in colorimetric sensor development

The United Nations 7th Millennium development goal” set the target of halving the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation (compared to 1990). However, as of now, 663 million people worldwide still rely on “unimproved” water sources (surface water from lakes, rivers, dams, or unprotected dug wells or springs) and the health of these populations is threatened by harmful contaminants that may be present in such water sources. Chemical contaminants such as arsenic, fluoride, mercury, etc., which may enter the water table through natural (geological) or anthropogenic processes (e.g. industrial pollution).

We have recently developed colorimetric sensors that can detect fluoride in water. The sensors consist of an azulene ring functionalised with a boronic acid ester; the former is known for its intense colour and the latter is known to bind fluoride with high selectivity and affinity. The colour of an azulene is very sensitive to the electronic nature of its substituents, hence a pronounced colour change occurs upon exposure to fluoride.

We recently published a proof-of-concept study on the above (Chem. Commun., 2017, 53, 12580, doi:10.1039/c7cc07416f) and have now been awarded funding by the Royal Society’s Global Challenges Research Fund to develop further this technology into a test kit that could be used by residents of affected developing world communities. 

Applicants should have (or be about to obtain) a PhD in chemistry, chemical/environmental engineering or a related discipline. The post requires a strong background in synthetic chemistry and any specific relevant experience is beneficial, e.g. immobilisation of small molecules on supports, relevant analytical techniques, etc. A proven track record in conducting high quality research, evidenced by publications in peer reviewed journal as well as excellent communication skills and the ability to work effectively in multidisciplinary teams are essential. Applications should include a CV and covering letter explaining the interest in and suitability for the position.

This is a fixed term, full time position of 12 months duration, with a start date as soon as possible in 2018, subject to negotiation.

The University of Bath is committed to equality of opportunity. We invite applications from candidates irrespective of their gender, age, disability, ethnicity, sexual orientation or religious beliefs. We particularly encourage applications from under-represented groups, including women.

Informal enquiries may be addressed to Prof Tony James t.d.james@bath.ac.uk or Dr Simon Lewis s.e.lewis@bath.ac.uk. Please note that applications sent directly by email will not be accepted.

Further details:

The University of Bath is an equal opportunities employer and has an excellent international reputation with staff from over 60 different nations. To achieve our global aspirations, we welcome applicants from all backgrounds.

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South West England