Research Fellow (105117-0122) . Job Reference: 1882324

University of Warwick

United Kingdom

February 23, 2022


Vacancy Type/Job category

Research Only




£31,406 - £40,927 per annum


University of Warwick, Coventry

Vacancy Overview

Start Date: 1 April 2022, with some flexibility Full-time, Fixed-term for 15 months, with a possibility of renewal.

Applications are invited for a Research Fellow to work on a major Royal Society funded project under the supervision of Dr. Sebastian Pike. The research will involve synthesis and characterisation of inorganic metal-oxo cluster molecules and cluster-based materials. These systems will be studied to understand their electronic structure and photoredox reactivity. The clusters, and materials built from them, will then be tested as photocatalysts for solar fuel production and/or sustainable organic transformations.

In this project you will use a variety of synthetic techniques including the use of Schlenk line and glovebox techniques for air sensitive processes, and a range of characterisation techniques including single-crystal and powder X-ray diffraction, UV-vis spectroscopy and cyclic voltammetry.

The candidate will have completed (or be soon to complete) a PhD in inorganic chemistry and will be skilled in the synthesis and characterisation of inorganic molecules, including the use of air-sensitive techniques. You will have expertise in spectroscopic and diffraction-based characterisation techniques. Prior experience of advanced or specialised molecular characterisation techniques is highly desirable, which could include the study of paramagnetic inorganic molecules by magnetic studies, electrochemical characterisation, or EPR spectroscopy. Prior experience of studying molecular clusters and/or photoactive metal oxide (nano)materials is also desirable.

You will be an excellent communicator capable of working effectively, both independently and as part of a team. You will possess excellent planning and time management skills. You will assist in the supervision of research students, in addition to ensuring your own research objectives are achieved effectively. You will prepare regular presentations and written reports detailing your research progress and present your research results at national and international conferences.

For more information, please contact Dr Seb Pike:

Interview Date: TBC.

What we offer

We will provide you with a great range of benefits, which include an attractive pension scheme, 30 days' holiday plus Christmas closure, excellent learning and development opportunities, and savings on a wide range of products and services. We offer a generous maternity/paternity/adoption/parental leave policy, onsite childcare facilities. We recognise the importance of a healthy work/life balance and offer you access to flexible working, for more information visit our Rewards and Benefits webpage. We also have an excellent relocation package; to assess whether you may be entitled, please see details on the following page https: //

Athena SWAN Silver Award

We are committed to supporting staff to achieve their potential. Both the Department of Chemistry and the University of Warwick hold Athena SWAN silver awards, a national initiative that recognises the advancement of gender equality, representation, progression, and success for all in academia. We provide a welcoming and inclusive working and learning environment, recognising that everyone is different in a variety of visible and non-visible ways, and that those differences are to be recognised, respected, and valued. We welcome applications from individuals who identify with any of the protected characteristics defined by the Equality Act 2010. We are supportive of staff with caring responsibilities.

Job Description


To carry out a project at the interface of inorganic and materials chemistry, involving synthesis of novel metal-oxo clusters and cluster-based materials, evaluation of their physical and electronic structures, and study of their photoredox reactivities.


1. To synthesise reactive metal-containing precursors, novel metal-oxo clusters and cluster based materials, using air sensitive techniques where necessary.

2. To characterise new molecules using single-crystal X-ray diffraction, cyclic voltammetry and a range of spectroscopic techniques.

3. To characterise new materials using powder X-ray diffraction and a range of spectroscopic techniques.

4. To prepare regular oral and written reports on research progress and to present results at national and international conferences.

5. To contribute to the preparation of manuscripts for publication

6. To contribute to and assist in the running of weekly group meetings.

7. To assist in the supervision and training of research students.

8. To act with professionalism at all times and show respect to their colleagues and to understand and adhere to the University's value of dignity at work; they are also expected to work collegially and to support all the teams with which they have contact in achieving the University's objectives.

9. Any other duties commensurate with the grade and level of responsibility of this post, for which the post holder has the necessary experience and/or training.

Person Specification

The Person Specification focuses on the knowledge, skills, experience and qualifications required to undertake the role effectively. This is measured by (a) Application Form, (b) Test/Exercise, (c) Interview, (d) Presentation.

Essential Criteria 1

PhD (or near completion) in inorganic chemistry with experience of molecular inorganic chemistry. (a)

Essential Criteria 2

A track record in research demonstrating advanced inorganic synthesis methods, including experience of manipulating air-sensitive compounds. (a, c, d)

Essential Criteria 3

A track record in the characterisation of the structure and electronic properties of inorganic molecules. (a, c, d)

Essential Criteria 4

Ability to problem solve and apply new experimental techniques and data analysis procedures in innovative ways. (a, c, d)

Essential Criteria 5

Understanding of the fundamental principles behind the use of semiconductor metal oxide materials in photoactivated processes. (c)

Essential Criteria 6

Ability to present results of research to a wide variety of audiences through verbal and written presentations. (a, d)

Essential Criteria 7

Ability to initiate, plan, implement and deliver programmes of research work to defined deadlines. (a, c)

Essential Criteria 8

Ability to work across an interdisciplinary team. (c)

Essential Criteria 9

Excellent scientific communication skills. (d)

Essential Criteria 10

Communicate well in written and spoken English. (a, c, d)

Essential Criteria 11

An ability to work collaboratively and effectively with academic and administrative colleagues, and with colleagues outside the University to promote collegiality. (a, c)

Desirable Criteria 1

Experience of studying photochemistry. (a, d)

Desirable Criteria 2

Experience of studying inorganic materials or nanomaterials. (a, d)

Desirable Criteria 3

Experience of studying the structure and properties of paramagnetic molecules or materials. (a, d)

Desirable Criteria 4

Experience of using electrochemical methods. (a, d)

Desirable Criteria 5

Experience of advanced spectroscopic measurements, including ultrafast spectroscopies. (a, d)

Further Particulars

This project is funded by the Royal Society as part of a 5-year research programme entitled “Metal-oxo Clusters: Tuneable Building-Blocks for Designing New Photoactive Materials.”

You will work within the Pike group in the Chemistry Department of the University of Warwick based in the interdisciplinary Materials and Analytical Science building. The research group have dedicated lab space well-furnished with fume hoods, Schlenk line and glovebox equipment for synthesis. Alongside the excellent departmental facilities (including NMR spectroscopy and Mass spectrometry) the group have regular access to state-of-the-art X-ray diffraction and spectroscopy equipment through the X-ray diffraction and Spectroscopy Research Technology Platforms. Furthermore, the Group have regular access to specialised single crystal X-ray crystallography experiments at Diamond Light Source. The Pike group is focused primarily on the synthesis and study of metal-oxo cluster molecules and their use in photocatalysis or as precursors to functional materials. Please visit https: // to find out more.

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If you have not yet been awarded your PhD but are near submission or have recently submitted your PhD, any offers of employment will be made as Research Assistant on level 5 of the University grade structure (£30,497 pa). Upon successful award of your PhD and evidence of this fact, you will be promoted to Research Fellow on the first point of level 6 of the University grade structure (£31,406 pa).

Right to work in the UK If you do not yet have the right to work in the UK and/or are seeking sponsorship for a Skilled Worker visa in the UK points-based immigration system please click on this link which contains further information about obtaining right to work in the UK and details about eligibility for sponsorship for a Skilled Worker Visa.

The University of Warwick provides an inclusive working and learning environment, recognising and respecting every individual's differences. We welcome applications from individuals who identify with any of the protected characteristics defined by the Equality Act 2010.

Recruitment of Ex-Offenders Policy

As an organisation using the (DBS) Disclosure and Barring Service to assess applicants' suitability for positions of trust, the University of Warwick complies with the DBS Code of Practice and undertakes not to discriminate unfairly against any subject of a Disclosure on the basis of a conviction or other information revealed. More information is available on the University's Vacancy pages and applicants may request a copy of the DBS Code of Practice.

Closing Date

23 Feb 2022

About the employer

The University of Warwick is a public research university on the outskirts of Coventry between the West Midlands and Warwickshire, England. The university was founded in 1965 as part of a government initiative to expand higher education. The Warwick Business...