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Research Fellow in Synthetic Organic Chemistry

University of Birmingham - School of Chemistry

Location: Birmingham
Salary: £31,406 to £34,304 with potential progression once in post to £43,434. Grade 7
Hours: Full Time
Contract Type: Fixed-Term/Contract
Placed On: 24th September 2021
Closes: 24th October 2021
Job Ref: 98280

Full time starting salary is normally in the range £31,406 to £40,927 with potential progression once in post to £43,434.  PLEASE NOTE - due to external funding limitations the maximum starting salary that can be offered is £34,304

Grade 7, Full time

Fixed-term for up to 35 months

Location: University of Birmingham, Edgbaston, Birmingham, UK

Closing Date: 24 October 2021

We are looking to appoint a skilled researcher with expertise in synthetic organic chemistry to develop divergent, modular and flexible routes into sp3-rich azacyclic motifs. The appointed researcher will be based in the School of Chemistry and will work under the guidance of Dr Paul Davies and alongside a team of researchers working across the field of gold catalysis.

The researcher will study and develop new catalytic methodology to realise multi-step one-pot and complexity-building processes. The project, which is for three years, will explore catalyst and reactant controlled divergent pathways that exploit new activation approaches in pi-acid catalysis. In addition to exploring the scope of the process, the researcher will develop effective and stereoselective transformations of the resulting polycycles. These resulting structurally diverse azacyclic frameworks will be used as the basis of focused chemical libraries with desirable physicochemical properties for early stage drug discovery. The researcher will build upon the expertise of the Davies group in the area of nitrenoid chemistry, gold catalysis and the use of heteroatom –substituted alkynes for reaction discovery as well as current projects focused on compound library development.

Job share arrangements may be considered. The position is available from 1November 2021, but the person must be able to start before 1February 2022.

Duties include:

  • To prepare and characterise new compounds.
  • To study and develop effective new catalysis-based methodology for efficient complexity-building synthesis.
  • To establish and optimise reaction routes and strategies to achieve the project aims
  • To realise the effective elaboration of functionalised polyclic motifs into diverse and desirable azacyclic scaffolds
  • To realise the design and formation of focused compound libraries to establish structure-reactivity and structure-activity relationships.
  • To design, perform and critically interpret experiments
  • Conduct own and original research

Person Specification

  • First degree in Chemistry and hold, or be close to completing a PhD in Organic Chemistry (suitable areas include, but are not necessarily limited to, homogeneous catalysis-based method development/discovery, natural product or other complex-target synthesis, study of organic reaction mechanisms), or equivalent qualifications/experiences
  • Experienced in the development of effective new methodology for organic synthesis.
  • Fluency in models, techniques or methods and ability to contribute to developing new ones in the fields of transition metal catalysis and/or polycyclisaiton reactions and/or stereoselective synthesis.
  • Effective problem solving capabilities for organic synthesis
  • High level analytical capability (1D and 2D NMR)

Informal enquiries can be sent to Dr Paul Davies (

To download the full job description and details of this position and submit an electronic application online please click on the Apply Online button below or visit our careers website;, please quote Job Ref 98280 in all enquiries.

Valuing excellence, sustaining investment 

We value diversity and inclusion at the University of Birmingham and welcome applications from all sections of the community and are open to discussions around all forms of flexible working. 

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