Thursday, December 28, 2017

The Medicinal Chemist Jobs List: 102 positions

The Medicinal Chemist Jobs list has 102 positions.

Want to help out? Here's a Google Form to enter positions, but if you want to do the traditional "leave a link in the comments", that works, too.

Want to chat about medchem positions? Try the open thread.

Positions I'm not including: positions outside the United States, computational positions (this will likely change), academic positions (likely never.)

33 new positions at Organic Chemistry Jobs

Over at Common Organic Chemistry, there's 14 new positions posted for December 19 and 19 new positions for December 14.

The Process Chemistry Jobs List: 73 positions

The Process Chemistry Jobs List has 73 positions.

Want to chat process jobs? Try the open thread. 

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

2018 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List: 481 positions

The 2018 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List (curated by Andrew Spaeth and myself) has 481 positions.

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

On December 22, 2016, the 2017 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List had 529 positions.

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

Otherwise, all discussions are on the Chemistry Faculty Jobs List webforum.

The Academic Staff Jobs List: 32 positions

The Academic Staff Jobs list has 32 positions.

This list is curated by Sarah Cady. 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, December 25, 2017

Merry Christmas!



Wishing you and your family a very Merry Christmas and a happy 2018. Back on Tuesday.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

2018 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List: 472 positions

The 2018 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List (curated by Andrew Spaeth and myself) has 472 positions.

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

On December 18, 2016, the 2017 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List had 527 positions.

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

Otherwise, all discussions are on the Chemistry Faculty Jobs List webforum.

The Academic Staff Jobs List: 32 positions

The Academic Staff Jobs list has 32 positions.

This list is curated by Sarah Cady. 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, December 18, 2017

An editorial worth pondering

ACS immediate-past president Donna Nelson's signature issue was employment, and so this week's C&EN has her final comment on her task force on the issue. The policy prescriptions were a combination of pleasing and bemusing: 
Increase transparency in chemical education and employment. ACS should continue to convey the benefits chemistry provides to our lives; however, we must also convey that there is no shortage of traditional chemists. The following 2016–26 Bureau of Labor Statistics projections (data.bls.gov/projections/occupationProj) highlight shifting dynamics in chemical employment: biochemists and biophysicists: +11.3%, post-secondary chemistry teachers: +9.9%, chemists: +6.5%, chemical technicians: +3.9%, chemical engineers: +2.5%, chemical plant and system operators: –3.1%, and chemical equipment operators: –3.6%. (CJ's note: as a benchmark, all jobs are expected to increase at a rate of 7% for the next 10 years.) Meanwhile, ACS New Graduate Survey data show new graduate unemployment growing disproportionately faster than ACS member unemployment. Inflation-adjusted salaries for new graduates at all degree levels are flat or decreasing. These trends also hold for more experienced ACS members. Employment information about the wide range of chemistry careers should be provided to aid students in career decisions. 
Review and revise higher education programs to prepare students for the changing employment options of chemists and chemical professionals. The educational system provides outstanding researchers, but the demand for them is far below the supply. For each faculty opening, dozens to hundreds of chemists apply. Some applicants hold two to three postdoctoral positions, broadening their experiences while seeking an academic appointment. 
Current chemistry degree course requirements are misaligned with employer expectations of graduates’ skills. Employers seek individuals who have practical work experience and are technologically savvy and have foundational skills such as adaptability, problem-solving ability, and leadership skills. Yet many college graduates entering the labor pool aren’t equipped with these essential skills. 
Graduates need educational programs to supply and strengthen these skills. Social, cultural, and professional training, applied courses, and internships can improve postgraduate employability. ACS-approved degree programs should be evaluated for their use in producing employable chemists. Cross-functional training, which bridges new and traditional fields of chemistry, should be evaluated for its impact on student employment prospects.
There are other policy prescriptions, but I'd like to mention that the top two are, in my opinion, correctly prioritized. I think that the Comment fails to note that the projections are issued every two years, so they are likely to change. (Also, I think it's important to note that "post-secondary chemistry teachers" covers everyone from adjuncts to full professors - where do we think the job growth is happening?)

I'm a bit bemused at basically making a 'soft skills' argument about chemistry graduates - does anyone really think that the reason that chemistry B.S. holders aren't being hired is that they don't have enough adaptability? I would point the finger straight at the overall lack of entry-level bachelor's oriented positions. I do commend the Task Force (and Comment) for suggesting that "ACS-approved degree programs should be evaluated for their use in producing employable chemists." I'd like to hear more about this.

It's good that the ACS is thinking about this, and I thank immediate-past President Nelson for bringing it to the fore. I encourage the Task Force to think more about it, and to provide policy prescriptions that the Society and its membership to act on. Moreover, I ask the Task Force (and the Society) two more questions:
1. In 2018, will we have the same statistical tools or better statistical tools for quantitatively determining the quality of the United States chemistry job market than we did in 2008?
2. What is the Society doing to prepare its membership for the next recession? \
Readers, what are your questions?  

This week's C&EN

It's the big year-end issue for Chemical and Engineering News:

Friday, December 15, 2017

Time for a funny video


Looks like the tuition waiver is dead?

Via the New York Times (article by Alan Rappeport and Thomas Kaplan) (emphasis mine): 
The final bill adds back many of the prized tax breaks that were stripped by the House legislation, including allowing taxpayers to continue to deduct high out-of-pocket medical expenses and the interest paid on student loans. It will also continue allowing graduate students who receive tuition waivers to avoid paying taxes on that benefit. 
Good news for graduate students.

(Say, where the H-E-double-hockey-sticks did this provision come from? Who decided this particular clause would be a good idea? Shouldn't some enterprising reporter find the melon farmer distinguished gentleman or gentlelady that inserted this provision into the bill?)

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

A great comment at In the Pipeline

An excellent comment by Chrispy at In the Pipeline, regarding the Dart Neurosciences shutdown: 
Dear colleagues in this industry: 
You simply have to accept that layoffs and site closures are part of this career. No matter what assurances you get to the contrary, you can rely on unplanned vacations in your future. “Ah,” you may think, “but I have especial talent, our division was picked as a center of excellence, and I have chart-topping reviews for the past few years.” Do not be a fool. That is not the way this business works, and cutting research remains an easy target for making a company more profitable, at least in the short term. 
If you want to keep your sanity, there are a few things you need to do: 
1) Save money. These jobs tend to pay well while they last, but you need to live well below your means and accumulate. This may be the single most important thing. 
2) Publish and network. Some places discourage publication, but it is really critical in this era that scientists get their work out there and get a reputation that extends beyond their employer. Talk at conventions. Keep in touch with old colleagues. 
3) Find a sense of self-worth outside of your job. Perhaps this is family, volunteer work, or even hobbies. Many scientists find themselves with a soul-crushing sense of inadequacy when laid off, having devoted so much of their lives to the pursuit of a particular profession. I have observed many colleagues who suffer symptoms of PTSD even years after getting laid off and years into a new position. 
Finally, for those of you “lucky” enough to avoid the axe when it swings, stay in touch with people who were let go. It is not uncommon for laid off people to feel like pariahs among those still employed. “Blame the victim” is a survival strategy for companies who lay off staff, and the remaining staff can often be found to adopt the same strategy at a personal level. Do not let a company corrupt you in this way.
I think this is a great comment, and one worth acting on, especially Chrispy's last point. 

Grad student stealing has nothing on this

I feel like there are always stories of graduate students stealing stuff from other labs and the like, but this story of a Marine in Iraq really takes the cake (post by Sebastian Bae): 
However, before I could confess to anything, my lieutenant (LT) leaned in and said, “Bae, we need you to fix the coffee machine.” Patting me on the back, he reassured me that I had all the skills and tools necessary for the job, gesturing towards the table where the defunct Mr. Coffee sat accompanied by a switchblade knife, a roll of duct tape, 6 feet of 550 cord, used coffee filters, and other miscellaneous objects best characterized as “junk the LT kept in his desk.” Before leaving, the LT added, “Oh, we also need coffee filters, Bae.” My platoon sergeant, a bear in human form, simply nodded and grumbled, “Get it done.” 
Every Marine has experienced being saddled with an impossible task by a superior. But this task was legitimately the most bizarre of my Marine career. Using random objects gathered up in the COC, I was expected to fix a coffee maker that was most likely issued back in the first Gulf War. And there was no doubt in my mind that both the LT and the platoon sergeant fully expected a hot, steaming cup of coffee in eight hours when their shift started. 
So, like any good Marine, I improvised. Using the switchblade knife, I bribed my way onto a supply convoy to Camp Ramadi. From there, I traded a can of Copenhagen Straight chewing tobacco, a rare commodity in Iraq, with a civilian contractor for a ride over to the Army side of the base. For roughly two hours, I wandered around aimlessly, peering through windows looking for a coffee machine. After a great deal of effort, I finally spotted a pristine Mr. Coffee in the backroom of the Army supply shop. Sneaking through the window, I quickly exchanged our decrepit coffee machine with the Army’s, while shoving as many coffee filters in my cargo pockets as they could handle. And like a bandit, I ran for my life. Now, imagine a young Marine, cargo pockets bursting at the seams, coffee machine cradled in his arms, frantically running off into the distance. 
By the time LT was back on duty, my squad was preparing for our daily patrol into the city. The “fixed” Mr. Coffee was humming away in the COC. All was right in the world, proving true the old Marine Corps adage: Gear adrift is a gift.
I think the thing that is missing from graduate school is the trading of stuff in order to get closer to your target for theft...

The 2017-2018 new prof open thread

From the inbox, a request for an open thread on new PI startups, etc. I hereby announce this open thread. Enjoy.

From 2016, I wanted to note this request on Twitter from Julia Kalow on good literature to read in preparation for running a new laboratory that generated a lot of good responses, including this small list of "new assistant prof lit":
From 2013, a good thread at ChemBark from 2013 talking about new laboratory setup, deals and pitfalls.

C&EN survey by Lisa Jarvis, talking about startup package size. Also, the private C&EN Facebook group about for new chemistry professors. Also, the 2016 open thread here about this subject.

Best wishes to all new assistant professors and Godspeed.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

2018 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List: 465 positions

The 2018 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List (curated by Andrew Spaeth and myself) has 465 positions.

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

On December 11, 2016, the 2017 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List had 516 positions.

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

Otherwise, all discussions are on the Chemistry Faculty Jobs List webforum.

What are people doing for research summaries these days?

Been a while since I wrote one. Are people still doing the "JACS communication"-style research summaries, or have those gone the way of flip phones and parachute pants? 

The Academic Staff Jobs List: 32 positions

The Academic Staff Jobs list has 32 positions.

This list is curated by Sarah Cady. 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, December 11, 2017

The median starting postdoctoral salary for 2016 chemistry Ph.D.s was $43,000

Adapted from table 48 of the 2016 Survey of Earned Doctorates
Always little gems tucked away in the Survey of Earned Doctorates, and I am ecstatic to discover for the first time that it tracks median starting postdoctoral salaries for chemistry Ph.D.s, which are around $43,000.

It will be interesting to see if this changes up with the advent of the (discarded by the Trump Department of Labor, still kept by many universities) NIH minimum/post-FLSA overtime threshold of $47,476.

But still, now we know - the most common definite outcome of a chemistry Ph.D. (according to the data that we have) is a postdoctoral position, and the median salary for that position is $43,000. 

Friday, December 8, 2017

Samsung chargers

A list of small, useful things (links):
Again, an open invitation to all interested in writing a blog, a hobby that will bring you millions thousands hundreds tens of dollars joy and happiness. Send me a link to your post, and I'd be happy to put it up.

Have a good weekend!

The 2016 Survey of Earned Doctorates is out

The 2016 Survey of Earned Doctorates is out. Here's the data on graduates in the 2016 academic year and their post-graduation plans. I've taken a screenshot, here's the data in PDF and Excel format.

A quick look indicates that the percentage of respondents who have definite employment plans has risen 4% from 2015, the percentage of respondents who have no definite plans has decreased by a similar percentage.

Also of interest is the overall median basic salaries of new chemistry Ph.D. graduates who are not postdoctoral fellows:

Academia: 50,000
Industry: 93,000
Government: 80,000
Nonprofit: 100,000
Other: 58,000

(Do note that the number of chemistry Ph.D.s who have gone to non-profit positions is quite low (1.5% of those with definite employment plans).

Thursday, December 7, 2017

The Medicinal Chemist Jobs List: 87 positions

The Medicinal Chemist Jobs list has 87 positions.

Want to help out? Here's a Google Form to enter positions, but if you want to do the traditional "leave a link in the comments", that works, too.

Want to chat about medchem positions? Try the open thread.

Positions I'm not including: positions outside the United States, computational positions (this will likely change), academic positions (likely never.)

8 new positions at Organic Chemistry Jobs

Over at Common Organic Chemistry, there's 8 new positions posted for December 5.

The Process Chemistry Jobs List: 61 positions

The Process Chemistry Jobs List has 61 positions.

Want to chat process jobs? Try the open thread. 

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

John Urschel, NFL football player and graduate student

I missed this rather wonderful Sports Illustrated story by Tim Rohan about John Urschel, the former Baltimore Ravens offensive lineman and math graduate student at MIT. Here's something from that story that all of you can likely sympathize with: 
Meanwhile, Urschel was also periodically checking in with [CJ's note: MIT mathematics professor Michel] Goemans about the assignments for his reading credits. But “I’m, like, in season, so I’m busy,” Urschel says. “Michel was like, ‘Send me updates, let me know how it’s going.’ I’m really just skimming things. I’m completely blowing off this other stuff.” And the reading that Urschel was “blowing off” covered topics that would be included on his doctoral qualifying exam, which was coming up in February. If Urschel failed that test and didn’t subsequently pass in a certain period of time, he’d be kicked out of MIT. “Basically I’d be screwed,” he says.
After the Ravens’ finished that 2015 season 5-11, well out of the playoffs, Urschel spent all of January cramming for the qualifying exam. He’d work at the chalkboard in his house for 12 hours a day, reviewing the material, making stacks of notes. Then he’d have Louisa Thomas, his soon-to-be fiancée, quiz him into the night. When the test day finally arrived, Urschel was “nervous like I’ve never been before a football game,” he says. It was an oral exam, so he had to stand in front of three professors who peppered him with questions for three hours.
Also, this hilarious little tidbit, which shows that Mr. Urschel really is a graduate student:
But leaving MIT was still hard. The first time Urschel left for OTAs, he asked an MIT friend to periodically rearrange the things on his desk, to make it look as if he were still there. If anyone asks, just say vaguely that I’m around.
John, don't let grad student secrets out!  

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

2018 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List: 456 positions

The 2018 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List (curated by Andrew Spaeth and myself) has 456 positions.

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

On December 4, 2016, the 2017 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List had 508 positions.

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

Otherwise, all discussions are on the Chemistry Faculty Jobs List webforum.

The Academic Staff Jobs List: 32 positions

The Academic Staff Jobs list has 32 positions.

This list is curated by Sarah Cady. 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, December 4, 2017

Your morning raised eyebrow

Also in this week's issue of C&EN, an article by outgoing ACS Board of Directors chair Pat N. Confalone: 
My watch began in 2007 just when the financial markets were on the verge of collapse and the Great Recession was about to commence. 
Working closely with ACS management, the board of directors had to take immediate action guided by the ACS finance department. Those were difficult days that required hard choices such as freezing the defined contribution retirement plan, capping the society’s financial contributions to the retiree medical plan, calling for a hiring freeze along with a workforce reduction, and eliminating open requisitions for new hires. Without these difficult steps, the society would have become technically insolvent in 2008 to 2009. 
As employment in the chemical industry began to track the downward spiral in the general economy, we ramped up the many services for unemployed chemists and established an entrepreneurial initiative to help members interested in chemically based start-ups. 
Fortunately, those challenging years are largely behind us, allowing for a laser focus on all the wonderful programs that ACS offers.
It's not clear to me that 1) services for unemployed chemists were significantly ramped up, or that spending on these services was dramatically increased and 2) that these challenging years are largely behind us. Naturally, people are going to point to the lower ACS Salary Survey unemployment rates, and I am going to point back to the fact that the median ACS member salary has stagnated when measured against inflation. 'Twas ever thus, including senior ACS volunteer leadership patting themselves on the back for unclear outcomes and NOT preparing the Society's domestic members for the next recession.

*It is AMAZING to me that the only nod to enabling member careers is about entrepreneurship in Chair Confalone's 21 Board accomplishments and responsibilities. If the answer from the American Chemical Society's Board to "help me with my career in chemistry" is "make your own job", then what's the point of the ACS?

This week's C&EN

From this week's issue of Chemical and Engineering News:

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Update on the Senate tax bill/tuition waivers

The Senate early Saturday morning narrowly approved major tax legislation roundly opposed by higher education leaders and student groups... 
The 51-to-49 Senate vote sets up negotiations with House leaders over substantial differences between the two bills. Most in higher education view that House bill as substantially more harmful for students and colleges than the Senate bill, but that doesn't mean they don't have major concerns over the Senate legislation. 
...But the Senate plan does not include provisions stripping many tax benefits for students pursuing a college or graduate degree or paying off their loans, making it a significant improvement over the House bill, said Ted Mitchell, president of the American Council on Education, in a statement. Student and faculty groups mobilized protests across the country this week against the elimination of those student tax benefits. Those protests focused in particular on a provision of the House bill that would tax graduate student tuition waivers as income -- a change that those groups say would make graduate education unattainable for many students....
I suspect the tuition waiver will go away, but my assessment of my ability to predict political outcomes has taken a dive as of late...

UPDATE: Derek Lowe has some good advice on calling your elected representatives.

From ACS' lobbying effort Act4Chemistry:

  • The House voted and passed H.R. 1, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act - the bill does not preserve the graduate education tax waiver
  • The Senate voted and passed H.R. 1 - the bill preserves the graduate education tax waiver
  • Representative Kevin Brady (R-TX-08) stated there may be flexibility on the House's elimination of the graduate education tax waiver
  • Congress will now work to reconcile the different versions of the House and Senate tax bill.

Friday, December 1, 2017

View From Your Hood: morning rotovap edition

Credit: Moses Moustakim
From Moses Moustakim: "A bright winter Saturday morning on the Old Road Campus/SGC, University of Oxford."

(got a View from Your Hood submission? Send it in (with a caption and preference for name/anonymity, please) at chemjobber@gmail.com; will run every other Friday.)

Interesting aspect of Bay Area startup growth

Other folks probably know more about this than I do, but it's interesting to see the outgrowth of non-pharma/biotech-related startups in the Bay Area: 
Research Scientist I / II - Synthetic Chemistry Asilomar Bio, Inc. - San Francisco Bay Area, CA 
At Asilomar Bio, we’re working to improve agriculture by tackling some of the biggest challenges that farmers encounter. We are a life science company developing chemical and biological products to improve crop harvest yields and resource efficiency. We believe that using chemistry to reprogram plant physiology (including water use, nutrient use, photosynthesis, and development) will enable a ‘step change’ in agricultural productivity and sustainability. 
Asilomar Bio is seeking a motivated Synthetic Chemist to join the company’s chemical discovery and development team. The primary responsibility of this role will be the design and synthesis of novel small molecule active ingredients that meet Asilomar’s technical and strategic goals. The successful candidate will join a dynamic and multidisciplinary team working from the molecular level to the field scale. The position will be based in the San Francisco Bay Area and report to the Director of Chemistry.
Looks to be entry-level-ish. Full details here. Best wishes to those interested.