Tuesday, September 28, 2021

The 2022 Faculty Jobs List: 279 research/teaching positions and 18 teaching positions

The 2022 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List (curated by Andrew Spaeth and myself) has 279 research/teaching positions and 18 teaching positions. 

Want to help out? Here's a Google Form to enter positions.

On September 29, 2020, the 2021 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List had 99 research/teaching position and  9 teaching positions. On October 1, 2019, the 2020 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List had 354 research/teaching positions and 8 teaching positions.

To see trending, go to Andrew Spaeth's visualization of previous years' list.

Want to talk anonymously? Have an update on the status of a job search? Go to the first open thread. 

Don't forget to click on "load more" below the comment box for the full thread.  

The Chemical Engineering Faculty Jobs List: 35 positions

The Chemical Engineering Faculty Jobs List has 35 positions. It is curated by Lilian Josephson (@lljosephson).

Want to talk? Go to this year's open thread. 

Chemistry Bumper Cars

Check out the latest moves here! 

To submit information, click here or e-mail chembumpercars@gmail.com

The Academic Staff Jobs List: 27 positions

The Academic Staff Jobs list has 27 positions.

This list is curated by Sarah Cady and @nmr_chemist. It targets:

  • Full-time STAFF positions in a Chem/Biochem/ChemE lab/facility at an academic institution/natl lab
  • Lab Coordinator positions for research groups or undergraduate labs 
  • and for an institution in Canada or the United States

Want to help out? Here's a Google Form to enter positions.

Want to chat about staff scientist positions? Try the open thread.

Monday, September 27, 2021

Kariko and Weissman win the Lasker Award

Via the New York Times:
Katalin Kariko, a senior vice president at BioNTech, and Dr. Drew Weissman, a professor in vaccine research at the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine, shared this year’s Lasker-DeBakey Clinical Medical Research Award.

In retrospect, their 2005 breakthrough was apparent when Dr. Kariko and Dr. Weissman proudly published a surprising finding they had made about messenger RNA, also known as mRNA, which provides instructions to cells to make proteins. The scientists noticed that when they added mRNA to cells, the cells instantly destroyed it. But they could prevent that destruction by slightly modifying the mRNA. When they added the altered mRNA to cells, it could briefly prompt cells to make any protein they chose.

I wouldn't be opposed to Kariko and Weissman winning the Medicine or the Chemistry Nobel this year, but we shall see.  

CO2 supply chain issues in the UK continue

In this week's Chemical and Engineering News, more on the UK's carbon dioxide shortage from Alex Scott: 
A surge in natural gas prices in the UK is rippling through the economy, temporarily shutting down a fertilizer plant and threatening the availability of meats and packaged food.

Faced with high prices for natural gas, CF Industries idled two British ammonia plants on Sept. 15. And because the plants also supply 60% of the UK’s food-grade CO2, the closures put some of the country’s food industry in danger of seizing up.

A food production crisis has been averted, at least for now. CF is restarting the ammonia plants after the UK government agreed to subsidize them for the next 3 weeks. Officials aren’t specifying how much they are paying CF, but UK Environment Secretary George Eustice told the BBC’s Radio 4 program that “It’s into the millions.”

...UK slaughterhouses use CO2 to stun millions of animals each week, and without it they can’t accept shipments from farmers. CO2 is also widely used to fill food packages to extend their shelf life, and it is the gas that goes into fizzy drinks.

The price of natural gas in the UK has tripled since the start of the year and is now five times that of the US. UK natural gas production is down 28% so far this year compared with 2020, according to the consulting firm Wood Mackenzie. Record high coal prices, booming Asian natural gas demand, and limited growth in supplies from Russia have added to the problem, Wood Mackenzie states.

Food-grade CO2 shortages could extend beyond the UK. High natural gas prices in mainland Europe in the past week caused the fertilizer producer Yara International to cut its European ammonia production by about 40%.

The record gas prices are affecting other segments of the chemical industry as well. For example, Huntsman recently announced that it has added a natural gas surcharge of about $150 per metric ton on the methylene diphenyl diisocyanate, a polyurethane intermediate, it sells in Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and India.

The wacky supply chain issues started by COVID seem to continue and continue...

Friday, September 24, 2021

Have a good weekend


Well, we made it to the weekend. I hope your week was better than mine, and that you have a great and restful weekend. We'll see you on Monday. 

 

Logistics woes continue

Via the New York Times, this news: 
Container ships were lined up this week off the coast of Southern California, waiting to deliver cargo at the Port of Los Angeles and the Port of Long Beach. The backup offered another sign of the supply chain woes bedeviling businesses across the globe.

Sixty-one vessels were anchored offshore on Thursday waiting to unload cargo, down from a record 73 on Sunday, said Capt. J. Kipling Louttit, the executive director of the Marine Exchange of Southern California, a nonprofit that works in partnership with the Coast Guard to provide data on maritime commerce.

In addition to the anchored ships, 29 were adrift up to 20 miles offshore, meaning they were so far from the coast that their anchors could not reach the ocean floor. That’s down from a record of 37 set on Monday, Captain Louttit said, but the traffic is not abating.
It seems to me that this will have a damaging effect on the remaining 2021 and future 2022 economies...

Thursday, September 23, 2021

52 new positions at Organic Chemistry Jobs

Common Organic Chemistry is resolving some technical difficulties, but has ported over the list to Google Drive for now. There are 52 new positions for September 19.

Don't forget to check out the Common Organic Chemistry company map, a very helpful resource for organic chemists looking for potential employers.

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

"the rich life"

Over at The Polymerist (you should subscribe!), this very true paragraph in the middle of a great post suggesting that grad students think about startups for their work: 
My point is that near the end of graduate school, most people want to make money and mentally recover. Usually, mental recovery in a post-doc is not a real thing. The idea of wanting a stable 40 hour per week job with benefits and a big enough salary to go out to lunch every day and buy Starbucks lattes without going broke is a Rich Life to most graduate students. A bunch of students just want to make more money, it’s what I wanted, and while others might want to become professors and not care about anything else (good luck).

My advice to the graduate students out there is that if they want to explore doing a start-up and they have a supportive thesis adviser and department then you should go for it. There are a few things you can do to attract investors’ capital.

I don't wish to turn this into a personal finance rant, but the thought of going out to lunch every day alarms my budget meter, but I still know what people mean. It's no fun eating the same pot of chili for the next week, and there are times when a coffee drink feels like an intense luxury. When I started my postdoc, it really felt like a financial weight was lifted off my shoulders (my postdoc salary was ~2X my grad student salary, because it was an industry postdoc). 

Regarding startups, I think Tony is definitely leaning in the right direction - it makes you wonder if there should be a portion of candidate exams or proposal defenses where students can either turn a proposal into a grant application (for the academically-oriented) or a project proposal for a startup or an industrial project proposal...

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

The 2022 Faculty Jobs List: 240 research/teaching positions and 13 teaching positions

The 2022 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List (curated by Andrew Spaeth and myself) has 240 research/teaching positions and 13 teaching positions. 

Want to help out? Here's a Google Form to enter positions.

On September 22, 2020, the 2021 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List had 89 research/teaching position and 79teaching positions. On September 24, 2019, the 2020 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List had 333 research/teaching positions and 8 teaching positions.

To see trending, go to Andrew Spaeth's visualization of previous years' list.

Want to talk anonymously? Have an update on the status of a job search? Go to the first open thread. 

Don't forget to click on "load more" below the comment box for the full thread.  

The Chemical Engineering Faculty Jobs List: 25 positions

The Chemical Engineering Faculty Jobs List has 25 positions. It is curated by Lilian Josephson (@lljosephson).

Want to talk? Go to this year's open thread. 

Chemistry Bumper Cars

Check out the latest moves here! 

To submit information, click here or e-mail chembumpercars@gmail.com

The Academic Staff Jobs List: 39 positions

 The Academic Staff Jobs list has 39 positions.

This list is curated by Sarah Cady and @nmr_chemist. It targets:

  • Full-time STAFF positions in a Chem/Biochem/ChemE lab/facility at an academic institution/natl lab
  • Lab Coordinator positions for research groups or undergraduate labs 
  • and for an institution in Canada or the United States

Want to help out? Here's a Google Form to enter positions.

Want to chat about staff scientist positions? Try the open thread.

Monday, September 20, 2021

Former Theranos chemist testifies

Via CNBC, the chemist level of the Theranos story: 

SAN JOSE, CALIF. – A former Theranos scientist testified Friday that Elizabeth Holmes pressured her to validate blood test results from the company’s Edison machine to speed up a rollout in Walgreens despite problems with the device’s accuracy.

Surekha Gangakhedkar, a senior scientist at Theranos for eight years who reported directly to Holmes, testified that she returned from a vacation in August 2013 and discovered that Theranos was about to launch its Edison blood-testing devices in Walgreens stores.

“I was very stressed and unhappy and concerned with the way the launch was going” Gangakhedkar said. “I was not comfortable with the plans that they had in place so I made a decision to resign and not continue working there.”

Gangakhedkar recalled meeting with Holmes in September 2013 about the issues that prompted her resignation. “At that time she mentioned that she has promised to deliver to the customers and didn’t have much of a choice then to go ahead with the launch,” Gangakhedkar said becoming emotional on the stand.

“Ms. Holmes said she didn’t have much of a choice?” asked Robert Leach, an assistant U.S. attorney.

“Yes,” she replied.

Despite signing a non-disclosure agreement, Gangakhedkar said she printed some documents and took them home when she quit because she was “worried about the launch, I was actually scared that if things do not go well I would be blamed.”

Gangakhedkar was granted immunity from criminal charges in exchange for her testimony.

I've always figured there were product development-type chemists at Theranos, but I hadn't identified any. Sounds like Ms. Gangakhedkar was one of them, and it wasn't a great environment to work. 

COVID raw material shortages continue

In this week's C&EN, this news from Alex Tullo: 
Two of the largest US paint makers, Sherwin Williams and PPG Industries, say their third-quarter sales will be hit significantly by raw material shortages. Raw materials such as resins for coatings have been in short supply since freezing weather in Texas in February sidelined the chemical industry. 
Producers have been slow to recover and now have to contend with additional events such as Hurricane Ida. PPG says its sales will be $225 million to $275 million lower than it had anticipated at the beginning of the quarter. The company says its sales of paint to the auto industry also have been hit by a shortage of computer chips that automakers need to build cars. Sherwin Williams says raw material shortages crimped sales by 3.5% in the second quarter. It expects third-quarter sales to be lower than expected by a “high-single-digit percentage.” Sherwin-Williams says the raw materials it can get are expensive and thus it has put surcharges on its products.

It's amazing how some chemical producers are being hit by both shortages from the raw material side as well as the customer side (i.e. all automotive suppliers.) 

Friday, September 17, 2021

Have a good weekend

Well, here we are, at the end of the week. I hope you had a good one, and that you'll have a restful weekend. We'll see you on Monday. 

*this piece isn't symbolic of anything, it's just a piece I heard recently that I found really arresting

Borax and zinc made Stradivarii?

Via a friend of the blog, this Ars Technica piece by Jennifer Ouellette:
Along with Andrea Amati and Andrea Guarneri, Antonio Stradivari dominated the so-called Golden Age of Violins (roughly 1660 to 1750), and the instruments they crafted remain the gold standard today in terms of acoustic quality. World-renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma has long favored a Stradivarius instrument, as does violinist Joshua Bell. But scientists have been arguing for years about precisely why these instruments have such superior sound. A recent paper published in the journal Angewandte Chemie confirms a theory dating back to 2006: the secret lies in the chemicals used to soak the wood, most notably borax, zinc, copper, alum, and lime water.

Good piece - if it was indeed the treatments, good luck reproducing that!  

Thursday, September 16, 2021

31 new positions at Organic Chemistry Jobs

 Common Organic Chemistry is resolving some technical difficulties, but has ported over the list to Google Drive for now. There are 31 new positions for September 11.

Don't forget to check out the Common Organic Chemistry company map, a very helpful resource for organic chemists looking for potential employers.

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

The 2022 Faculty Jobs List: 195 research/teaching positions and 11 teaching positions

The 2022 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List (curated by Andrew Spaeth and myself) has 195 research/teaching positions and 11 teaching positions. 

Want to help out? Here's a Google Form to enter positions.

On September 15, 2020, the 2021 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List had 74 research/teaching position and 7 teaching positions. On September 17, 2019, the 2020 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List had 290 research/teaching positions and 7 teaching positions.

To see trending, go to Andrew Spaeth's visualization of previous years' list.

Want to talk anonymously? Have an update on the status of a job search? Go to the first open thread. 

Don't forget to click on "load more" below the comment box for the full thread.  

The Chemical Engineering Faculty Jobs List: 18 positions

The Chemical Engineering Faculty Jobs List has 18 positions. It is curated by Lilian Josephson (@lljosephson).

Want to talk? Go to this year's open thread. 

Chemistry Bumper Cars

Check out the latest moves here! 

To submit information, click here or e-mail chembumpercars@gmail.com

Job posting: instrumentation support technician, Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, NY

From the inbox: 

The Instrumentation Support Technician will be responsible for the validation of chemical structures of submitted samples by using mass spectrometry.

  • Process submitted samples using mass spectrometry instrumentation to collect scientific data.
  • Analyze data collected. And generate reports
  • Routine maintenance of instruments

Required Qualifications (As evidenced by attached resume):  

Bachelor’s Degree (foreign equivalent or higher degree)  in Chemistry, Biochemistry, Biomedical engineering or a related discipline. Two (2) years of work/research experience in the operation of a liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC-MS) instrument.

Preferred Qualifications:  

Master's degree in Analytical Chemistry.  Experience with LC-MS instrument maintenance.

Full ad here. Best wishes to those interested. 

The Academic Staff Jobs List: 39 positions

The Academic Staff Jobs list has 39 positions.

This list is curated by Sarah Cady and @nmr_chemist. It targets:

  • Full-time STAFF positions in a Chem/Biochem/ChemE lab/facility at an academic institution/natl lab
  • Lab Coordinator positions for research groups or undergraduate labs 
  • and for an institution in Canada or the United States

Want to help out? Here's a Google Form to enter positions.

Want to chat about staff scientist positions? Try the open thread.

Monday, September 13, 2021

C&EN on the 2020-21 academic job market

In this week's Chemical and Engineering News, a worthwhile article from C&EN's Bethany Halford (NB our data was used): 
...So how bad was the job market for chemistry professors? Since 2016, C&EN columnist Chemjobber and industrial chemist Andrew Spaeth have maintained a list of open tenure-track and teaching positions in chemistry in the US and Canada. They say the numbers tell a clear story: chemists looking to start their careers as professors were competing for far fewer opportunities in the 2020–21 hiring season than in years past.

The academic hiring season in the US starts in earnest in September and wraps up the following June. Throughout that time, schools post positions that will be open for the following academic year. Chemjobber and Spaeth’s final tallies each June from 2017 to 2020 indicate that more than 550 academic chemistry jobs were posted each year. By June 2021, only 339 job openings had been posted—a roughly 40% decrease from years past.

Job seekers who spoke with C&EN found that the 2020–21 hiring cycle was unusually drawn out, with offers delayed by months. Restrictions on travel and campus visitors meant that candidates had to interview using Zoom and had to rely on video tours to get a sense of their potential lab space. Job seekers, who were deciding where to spend those critical early years of their independent careers, had a tough time. And they weren’t alone. Employers, who were making significant investments in new hires, also say the process was difficult...

Go read the whole thing. 

C&EN on the hot pharma/biotech market

In this week's Chemical and Engineering News, Rick Mullin writes on the hot pharma/biotech market: 
...The combination of a healthy drug industry, heavy venture capital investment in start-ups, and new targets for small-molecule drugs is spurring a hiring spree, allowing some young PhD chemists, particularly in medicinal and computational chemistry, to skip the traditional years of postdoctoral training and go quickly to work in the pharmaceutical industry. The boom is great for chemists looking to start their careers, but it is raising questions about the role of the postdoc in the training of chemists today.

Hall says he was prompted to start a conversation on Twitter after hearing multiple accounts of principal investigators in academic labs losing postdocs to industry. “And not in a scenario where they have done a 2- or 3-year postdoc, but 4 to 6 months in. I’m 44. I did a very long postdoc. I have a lot of friends who did two postdocs. That was not uncommon at all. Obviously, the opportunities are there now in a way they haven’t been for a while.”

Hall adds that it has become increasingly difficult to fill postdoc spots in his lab at NCATS. “I have chatted with a few people who applied for postdocs who basically said, ‘I’m not doing a postdoc. I have a job with pharma.’ ”

 Article has lots of good anecdotes from people who have successfully found industry positions. Oh, and I stand by my normative position. Lots of great angles to ponder - read the whole thing. 

Friday, September 10, 2021

Have a good weekend

Well, here we are at the weekend. Hope that you had a good week, and that you have a wonderful weekend. Going camping, so that should be... fun? See you on Monday. 

Job posting: organic chemist, Beyond Meat, El Segundo, CA

From the inbox, this position: 

The Organic Chemist will use scientific principles and expertise, and a broad range of advanced technologies and industrial tools for achieving company goals. This successful, self-motivated, creative, and results-oriented individual will lead in their area of expertise to utilize cutting-edge chemistry  methods and techniques in the development of innovative food products and processes. The Organic Chemist will have a keen understanding of the field and extensive hands-on research experience with proven ability to think beyond standard methods, independently conduct research and reach conclusions, and clearly deliver results within a matrix organization.

RESPONSIBILITIES

  • Utilize cutting-edge chemistry methods and techniques to design and develop functional food ingredients, molecular systems for food, and innovative products
  • Conduct natural products isolation, compound characterization and validation, as well as develop new or optimized approaches to natural products discovery
  • Characterize chemical processes and systems in detail, and develop chemistry to effect control over such processes and systems
  • Synthesize known and previously unknown compounds at small scale and scale-up quantities, including support for chemical process development at scale

QUALIFICATIONS

  • Ph.D. in organic chemistry, with extensive experience in organic synthesis and mechanism, analytical methods, and physical organic chemistry. Minimum 5-year experience in academic or industrial chemistry research
  • Post-doctoral experience is desired, but not required
  • Prior experience with natural products chemistry, protein chemistry, lipid chemistry, analytical chemistry, physical chemistry, and organic reaction chemistry
Link here. Best wishes to those interested. 

ICIS: over 75% of US Gulf oil production remains offline

From the excellent The Polymerist, this recent comment: 
In addition to oil refineries being shut down the chemical industry has also had closures. ICIS has been tracking the situation and as of September 1st here is a list of sites that have been offline. In the chemical industry I suspect there to be more raw material shortages and force majeures hitting supply chains in the coming weeks. Hopefully the buyers further down the supply chain have enough inventory to get through the next few weeks. Get ready for higher prices in the short term.

That update was from August 31, and here's the update from ICIS: 

HOUSTON (ICIS)--Over 75% of US Gulf oil production and natural gas production respectively remains offline as offshore producers continue to recover from the disruption in production caused by Hurricane Ida.

Currently, 76% of oil production and 77% of natural gas production in the Gulf of Mexico remains shut in, according to the US Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE). 

Worth noting that there's an acrylonitrile plant that's been shutdown and has declared force majeure. Will be interesting to see when it starts back up.  

Thursday, September 9, 2021

19 new positions at Organic Chemistry Jobs

Common Organic Chemistry is resolving some technical difficulties, but has ported over the list to Google Drive for now. There are 19 new positions for September 3. 

Don't forget to check out the Common Organic Chemistry company map, a very helpful resource for organic chemists looking for potential employers.

Wednesday, September 8, 2021

Taiwanese biotech CEO pleads guilty to theft of Genentech trade secrets

Via this week's Chemical and Engineering News, this story by Craig Bettenhausen:
The former CEO and chief operating officer of the Taiwanese biotech firm Eden Biologics—which changed its name from JHL Biotech in February—have been convicted in the US of stealing trade secrets from Genentech. The executives, Racho Ivanov Jordanov and Rose Lin, join staffers Xanthe Lam and Allen Lam, who were convicted on related charges in July. According to the indictments, the four worked together starting in 2009 to steal manufacturing protocols and other proprietary information from Genentech about its drugs Avastin, Herceptin, Pulmozyme, and Rituxan. Xanthe Lam worked at Genentech from 1986 to 2017.
The Department of Justice press release is pretty detailed as to what exactly happened: 
According to the plea agreement, Jordanov hired former Genentech employees to work at JHL Biotech, several of whom he learned surreptitiously brought, without authorization, confidential and proprietary documents with them from Genentech to JHL Biotech.  
The company used only some of the stolen documents, but Jordanov tolerated this practice by the employees of JHL Biotech and made no effort to discourage its employees from using the documents or information they brought with them.  The employees Jordanov hired provided the Genentech documents and information to JHL Biotech, which, at times, allowed the company to cheat, cut corners, solve problems, provide examples, avoid further experimentation, eliminate costs, lend scientific assurance, and otherwise help JHL Biotech start-up, develop, and operate its business secretly using the intellectual property and scientific know-how taken from Genentech.  
Jordanov admitted that he suspected that some or all the stolen information was brought to JHL Biotech in violation of relevant Genentech non-disclosure agreements and employment contracts, but he made no effort to verify whether that was true.

I've thought about this stuff before. Makes you wonder if companies have thought about ways that their documents leave the company, and how to track them... 

Lubrizol cuts Chemtool severance packages after fire

Via the Rockford Register Star, this bad news for the employees of the Chemtool plant in Rockford, IL that burned down: 
ROSCOE — Two weeks of pay for every year on the job up to 52 weeks was the severance package Chemtool employees were expecting after the company's Rockton plant was destroyed by fire. 

Taylor Vronch, a Chemtool foreman, called the severance package a "generous policy," that is before the company changed it.

Vronch was among 25 Chemtool employees who gathered Sunday at Mary's Market in Roscoe to talk about a recent change to the severance packages they say they were assured they'd get. 

The package now states employees with five years or more will receive one weeks' pay per year on the job with a maximum payout of eight weeks.

Gee, two months severance for a surprise shutdown of a plant seems pretty darn crummy to me. (What is it about Berkshire Hathaway companies and pay? I feel like I hear a fair number of complaints about them, but I think that's confirmation bias on my part.)