Research Assistant in Synthetic Chemistry

Research Assistant in Synthetic Chemistry

Job description and selection criteria

Job title

Research Assistant in Synthetic Chemistry

Research topic

Biocatalytic Oxidation, Purification, Characterisation, and Elaboration of the Products


Environment and Biotechnology

Reporting to

Professor Jeremy Robertson

Group website

Salary Range

A competitive remuneration package will apply


Full time

Start date

1st November 2021 (negotiable)

Application closing date

30th September 2021

Vacancy reference


Additional information

Provision of technical support for the equipment and operations associated with synthetic organic chemistry and analytical chemistry laboratories

The role

The OSCAR Research Assistant (RA) will work with OSCAR Research Scientists (RSs) on the selective oxidation of organic compounds by engineered variants of cytochrome P450 enzymes for applications in the synthesis of high-value intermediates and active ingredients for the agrochemical and pharmaceutical industries. The RA will report to Professor Jeremy Robertson, the joint-PI (with Professor Luet Wong) of the programme.


The RA will support the work of the RSs whose research concerns the synthesis and biocatalytic oxidation of a variety of classes of small molecules. The RSs’ research is conducted primarily within synthetic chemistry and microbiology laboratories, and a third laboratory housing the on-site analytical (e.g. HPLC, GC, SFC) and spectroscopic (e.g. MS, NMR, IR, UV, polarimetry) equipment required to confirm the identity of all compounds prepared. Thus, additionally, the RA will work with the Lab Manager and RSs to ensure, collectively, that equipment in the synthetic chemistry and analytical laboratories is maintained in good order, arranging repair and replacement where necessary, and helping to arrange the use of off-site facilities. The RA will also support the purchase and provision of laboratory reagents, gases, and items of consumable equipment; will assist in the preparation of routine stock solutions and the purification of reagents where necessary; and will work within local protocols for short- and long-term storage of research samples and the disposal of liquid and solid waste. Full training will be provided on techniques and procedures if necessary.



  • Run enzymatic hydroxylation reactions at screening scale, isolate products by extraction, analyse by GC/SFC, report results to RSs.
  • Run enzymatic hydroxylation reactions at preparative scale, isolate crude product mixtures, separate components by manual or automated silica gel chromatography or by SFC, analyse and identify components by MS and NMR, report results to RSs.
  • Conduct limited synthetic organic chemistry reactions, including purification and product characterisation under supervision.
  • Assist the Lab Manager, RSs and RAs to maintain tidy and efficient laboratory space, reporting any equipment or facility malfunctions.

Selection criteria


  • Hold a Masters (MSc) degree in Chemistry or Chemical Biology (or have submitted an MSc thesis in a relevant area prior to taking up the appointment).
  • Have research experience in synthetic organic chemistry.
  • Have relevant experience with techniques such as distillation, recrystallisation, and manual chromatography (column and plate).
  • Be familiar with analytical techniques such as GC and HPLC, and compound characterisation techniques such as NMR, IR, UV and MS.
  • Communicate well in English in writing and in oral presentations.
  • Be viewed as a motivated, enthusiastic, organised member of a team who can work with a minimum of supervision.
  • Show the ability to work supportively in a laboratory environment and take part in joint projects through co-operation and the exchange of information, skills and reagents.
  • Maintain detailed records of work completed and report on this at regular intervals.



  • Be familiar with techniques in microbiology and molecular biology.
  • Be willing to learn new techniques and apply them in an interdisciplinary research environment to expand and improve technical and theoretical knowledge.
  • Have a track record of delivering project objectives against deadlines.


About OSCAR (Oxford Suzhou Centre for Advanced Research)  

OSCAR, the University of Oxford’s first overseas research centre, works closely with the Suzhou Industrial Park and both academic and industrial collaborators in China to progress a range of exciting societal and economic development opportunities.

As a multidisciplinary research, innovation and technology centre, OSCAR focuses on research challenges and technologies that complement the Centre’s location in Suzhou Industrial Park and capitalise on current Oxford research strengths. Current research is focused around the areas of biomedical engineering, biomedicine, advanced functional materials, electronic/ optoelectronic/ photonic devices, environmental technology, energy, mathematical and computational applications in finance and in health, and other related science and engineering disciplines.

The Centre is positioned in Suzhou Dushu Lake Science and Education Innovation District (SEID), a district in southern SIP with a high concentration of science, education and innovation activity. SEID is the archetype of higher education internationalisation in China which hosts 32 local and foreign universities and institutions. The Centre, housed in a nine-storey building with a gross space of 20,000 m2, offers flexible access to facilities for multi-functional activities such as labs, seminars, workshops, training, public events, and administration, etc. 

Guidance for Applicants

Thank you for your interest in applying for posts at the Oxford Suzhou Centre for Advanced Research (OSCAR).

Before applying: 

Please read the job description and selection criteria carefully to determine whether you have the required skills, knowledge, and experience for the advertised role. Please DO NOT apply for the posts which are currently unavailable. We typically receive many applications for each post, so your cover letter should be used to show how you meet the essential and desirable criteria in order to be shortlisted for interview.

How to apply:

Send your application to

  1. Email subject should be the title of the post for which you are applying
  2. Include your contact information, name, telephone number and your availability for interview in the email
  3. Attach a cover letter and CV (both in English) as PDF documents.


Cover letter (no longer than one page):

Use the cover letter to explain your motivation for joining OSCAR, and state how your skills and experience match these requirements. Provide evidence that you have the skills, knowledge, experience, qualifications to meet the requirements of the post, with examples from previous work.

Curriculum Vitae (no longer than 8 pages):

Check that your CV is up-to-date, tailored to the job for which you are applying, and within the page limit. Highlight the skills and experience that are relevant to the post for which you are applying. Give details of your education, employment history, publication record, lists of prizes, and voluntary experience.


After applying:

The information you supply on your application will be provided to a selection panel, who will use it to assess your suitability for the post against the published selection criteria. You may be contacted via e-mail at any date regarding your application.

Your information is held securely in a database owned by OSCAR. The data will not be passed to external organisations or individuals other than those acting in a capacity as agents for OSCAR for software support purposes, or where an external body is party to the recruitment process.

When you submit an application to OSCAR you confirm that you agree to these Terms and Conditions of Use, including the following declarations:

  • The information provided in the application materials is true and complete. I understand that any offer of employment may be conditional upon satisfactory screening. 
  • I consent to be contacted by OSCAR at any date regarding my application. 
  • I consent to the information given in this application being stored and processed in accordance with the data protection rules at OSCAR. 

Thank you again for your interest in applying for a post at OSCAR.


Recruitment Office, Oxford Suzhou Centre for Advanced Research