Organisation STFC
Organisation Detail Science and Technology Facilities Council
Reference Number IRC252071
Location Didcot See on Map
Salary £30782 - £42576
Date Posted 26 November 2019
Grade UKRI-Band E
Contract Type Fixed Term Appointment
Hours Full Time
Closing Date 05 January 2020
Interview Date

Brief Description

Salary: £30,782-£42,576 (depending on experience and grade)
Band: D/E
Contract Type: Fixed Term (3 years)
Hours: Full time
Closing Date: 5th January 2020

About us

The Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) is one of Europe’s largest research organisations. Through combining world-class facilities with major international collaborations, and some of the world’s most talented staff, we’re driving ground-breaking advances in science and technology. The STFC Rutherford Appleton Laboratory (RAL), located near Oxford is home to many of the UK’s large scale facilities, such as the ISIS Neutron and Muon Source, the UK’s third generation synchrotron Diamond Light Source and the Central Laser Facility (CLF). RAL is a thriving campus with a wide range of scientific activity, large scale engineering, innovation and business activity.

Located next to Diamond Light Source is the Research Complex at Harwell (RCaH) – a unique laboratory complex, part research incubator for University groups, hubs and consortia, and part home to national facilities. The CLF has two ultrafast laser science facilities located in RCaH, CLF-Ultra and CLF-Artemis. Both facilities operate densely packed schedules of peer reviewed academic user experiments and industrial work. Collocated with Ultra and Artemis in RCaH are several CLF-based STFC/UKRI fellows and CLF staff running individual research programmes in collaboration with the facilities.

About the role

Postdoctoral research associate, 3 years fixed term. You will join the group of Paul Donaldson, a recently appointed CLF - UKRI Future Leaders Fellow in RCaH who is closely affiliated with the CLF-Ultra team. You will help drive a unique and exciting research programme exploring new applications of ultrafast time resolved infrared spectroscopy to problems in heterogeneous catalysis and/or to fuel cell/battery science. In parallel there will be opportunities to be involved in instrument development. The first phase of the programme comprises a number of well-defined projects using 2D-IR and time-resolved IR spectroscopy to address fundamental questions of ultrafast dynamics/reactivity of guest molecules in Zeolites, protic ionic liquids, battery electrolytes and battery electrode materials. In operando/in-device methods for performing the spectroscopy will be developed. There will be opportunities to be involved in the development of cutting edge ultrafast spectroscopy instruments supporting the science at CLF-Ultra. This includes next level 2D-IR spectroscopy, HD-SFG spectroscopy, microfocus spectroscopy and mixed IR/Raman (EVV) 2D-IR spectroscopy.

About you

You will have a PhD in the Physical Sciences or equivalent experience and be interested in condensed phase chemical physics/physical chemistry, laser spectroscopy, battery or catalysis science and have broader interests in general chemistry, and physics. You will need to be an experimental scientist adept in the key aspects of spectroscopy – managing and modifying complex instrumentation, sample handling and data workup/analysis. Experience in ultrafast spectroscopy, such as 2D-IR, transient IR and IR-Vis SFG is desirable, but strong candidates with evidence of excellence in other areas of spectroscopy or instrument science and a strong motivation to learn all aspects of ultrafast spectroscopy are welcomed. You should have a track record of publication in peer reviewed journals, be experienced in using data acquisition software and have skills in data analysis and simulation.

For recruitment at the higher grade (E), you should have a track record of productive postdoctoral research, be able to demonstrate significant activities conducted on your own initiative, have some experience supervising junior scientists and have the ability/willingness to take on higher level additional projects and roles such as assisting in attracting funding, managing safety in the group and managing collaborative activities.

You will work with and encounter a diverse range of scientists from CLF-Ultra, CLF-Artemis, the UK Catalysis Hub, Diamond Light Source, ISIS neutron source and numerous collaborating Universities. You should be comfortable engaging with and exchanging knowledge with such a range of peers and be able to contribute to a positive, engaging atmosphere in RCaH. You will need to travel to present work at conferences and to conduct experiments in other laboratories.

Organization Description

UK Research and Innovation is a new entity that brings together nine partners to create an independent organisation with a strong voice for research and innovation, and a vision to ensure the UK maintains its world-leading position in research and innovation. More information can be found at

The Science and Technology Facilities Council is a world-leading multi-disciplinary science organisation, and our goal is to deliver economic, societal, scientific and international benefits to the UK and its people – and more broadly to the world.


  • A degree in chemistry, physics or a closely related subject or equivalent experience (S)
  • A PhD in chemistry, physics or closely related subject or equivalent experience (S&I)
  • Experience in scientific instrument development and design (S&I)
  • Experience developing data acquisition and instrument control software (S&I)
  • Experience in spectroscopic measurements of condensed phase samples (S&I)
  • Track record of publication in peer-reviewed journals (S&I)
  • Able to work as part of a team (I)
  • Good command of written and spoken English (S&I)
  • Good communication skills (I)
  • A clear cover letter indicating reasons for interest in position and supplying the names of two referees who may be contacted after interview (S)
  • Responsible approach to health and safety (I).


  • Experience in ultrafast laser spectroscopy (S&I)
  • Experience in battery science (S&I)
  • Experience in heterogeneous catalysis (S&I)
  • Willing and able to travel internationally to conferences and to visit collaborators (I).

For recruitment at band E, essential:

  • Postdoctoral research experience or equivalent relevant experience (S&I)
  • Experience and understanding of non-technical skills such as person management, fundraising and grant writing, project management and safety management (S&I)
  • A vision for original contributions to the project and to its success (I)
  • Proficiency with LabVIEW, MATLAB, Python programming or equivalent (S&I)
  • Willing and able to work flexible hours on projects as necessary (I)
  • Interest in the science areas covered by CLF-Ultra, and a desire to develop your knowledge further (I).

UKRI supports research in areas that include animal health, agriculture and food security, and bioscience for health which includes research on animals, genetic modification and stem cell research. Whilst you may not have direct involvement in this type of research, you should consider whether this conflicts with your personal values or beliefs.

To enable us to hire the very best people we will conduct a full and comprehensive pre-employment check as an essential part of the recruitment process on all individuals that are offered a position with UKRI. This will include a security check and an extreme organisations affiliation check.

Employee Benefits
UK Research and Innovation recognises and values employees as individuals and aims to provide a pay and reward package that motivates staff to the best of their ability. The reward and benefit package includes a flexible working scheme, an excellent Defined Benefit pension scheme, 30 days annual leave allowance and a number of other benefits.

Developing Talent
We are committed to developing employees in their roles throughout their career. Learning and development plans enable employees to continue their professional development through training and development opportunities such as e-learning, classroom training and on-the-job experiences. We encourage our employees to share their learning across teams and organisations.

Equal Opportunities
We strive to make decisions based on individual merit and ability. We welcome applications from all sections of the community and promote equality of opportunity in accordance with the Equality Act 2010. As holders of Disability Confident Employer status, we guarantee to interview all applicants with disabilities who meet the minimum criteria for the vacancy.

Online applications only. Please submit a covering letter and CV ensuring that the IRC reference is included in the filename description of each document uploaded. Please note that failure to address the above criteria or submitted without a covering letter may result in your application not being considered.

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