Monday, May 21, 2018

Postdoctoral position: Boron Specialties, Pittsburgh, PA

From the inbox, an industrial postdoctoral position at Boron Specialties:
Boron Specialties (a small, woman‐owned, Pittsburgh‐based fine chemical company) is seeking a postdoc for a 2‐year position, with the possibility for continuation thereafter. Successful hires will be asked to split time between analytical method development and synthetic chemistry (primarily inorganic) across a number of scales in conjunction with senior scientific staff. We seek energetic, enthusiastic applicants excited about playing an integral role in the growth of a small company. 
  1. Ph. D. in chemistry (inorganic preferred) with a publication record to indicate achievement.
  2. Willing and able to participate in a robust safety culture and comply with all environmental, health, safety, and security rules, regulations, and laws.
  3. Experience with multinuclear NMR, FT‐IR, MS, ICP, and GC.
  4. Experience with highly reactive, air‐sensitive, and toxic materials, and an ability to safely manipulate materials under air‐free conditions.
  5. Willing and able to perform tasks ranging from analytical titrations to multi‐kg syntheses.
  6. Demonstrated project management experience
  7. Must be able to solve complex technical problems using both inductive and deductive reasoning.
  8. Excellent written and verbal communication skills are essential to the position
  9. Able to legally work in the United States
Desirable attributes:
  1. Hands‐on knowledge of electro‐ and electroanalytical chemistry.
  2. Strong mechanical aptitude.
  3. Able to represent the company at trade shows and scientific conferences.
  4. Experience in supervision and direction of junior staff / technician‐level employees.
  5. Experience with standard operating procedure development.
Send a CV (with full publication list) and contact information for 2 references to Bill Ewing (
Boron Specialties is an equal opportunity employer and we value diversity. All employment is decided on the basis of qualifications, merit and business need.
Ad here. Best wishes to those interested. 


  1. How in the world is this a postdoc?! This is not a postdoc. Absolutely ridiculous.

  2. Probably one of the NSF supported industrial postdocs for small businesses.

  3. It could be an SBIR-funded postdoc. However, this ad lacks any mention of things that distinguish a postdoc from a staff position, other than the limited term. I almost did an SBIR-funded industrial postdoc a few years back, but there was a heavy emphasis on publishable research, conference presentations, collaborations with academic groups, and even a joint appointment with the local university. This company appears to be using the "postdoc" position as a government-funded staff position. I would encourage CJ to use this opportunity to remind the company of the need for honesty in employment titles; calling this a postdoc contributes to wage-suppression for chemistry doctorates.

  4. These days for chemists post-doc is considered an employment! It has come down to that.

  5. How much is the salary?

    1. Mine is just a guess. It could be as little as 47,550 $ for zero experience and max out to 58,500 (7 years experience)! My numbers are NIH based fellowships for the year 2017 and that is the trend. Life of chemists has been ruined and post doctoral fellowship are now permanent fixtures and as someone claimed are considered regular job.

  6. Hey, maybe this is NOT a misuse of government funds, maybe this is the system heading the way somebody wants it to go. Remember that everybody in charge of everything wants more Free Market Magic. Everybody knows that the traditional idea of get a PhD and then get a job with it, possibly with the assistance of a helpful postdoctoral mentor, is not working for a lot of people. The mentors often can't actually help their postdocs find jobs, which may not actually exist anyway. So instead of funding a postdoctoral mentor who may or may not actually help the postdoc get a job someday, why not just fund them a temporary job working for a successful entrepreneurial Creator Of Jobs? Maybe the Magic of the Market will rub off on them.

    If there aren't going to be jobs anyway, this is as good as it gets. The exit from the hamster wheel is no longer expected to be a job offer: it's doing your own startup, which will enable you to apply for your own funded postdoctoral minions. This is probably the new idea of what PhDs should do for a career. Government as a venture funder.

    Though how you're supposed to seed a startup with your savings from a postdoctoral stipend: well, perhaps you can just send a prospectus around your family christmas card list. If you can't do that, you probably aren't the sort of person who will get to science in the glorious new entrepreneurial future.

    But I don't think this is an accident. I think this is supposed to be a trend.

  7. Let's rewrite the ad: "Hey, we're a small, woman-owned, Pittsburgh-based fine chemical company, and we're stretched pretty thin. Even though demand necessitates we hire a full-time jack-of-all-trades, we'd rather half-employ a 'postdoc' with no benefits using somebody else's money. This should be a full-time position, but it's more like an internship. We just realized we can probably attract what we want if we call it a postdoc."

    Analytical method development to kg scale-up. At least you'll be hitting the streets with diverse experience on your resume....