Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Got a career dilemma?

We're soliciting questions for my column at Chemical and Engineering News. Please feel free to write me (chemjobber@gmail.com) if you have a career-oriented dilemma that you'd like me to write about in the magazine. Also, you can submit your questions with this handy web form. Thanks!

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

The 2022 Faculty Jobs List: 40 research/teaching positions

The 2022 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List (curated by Andrew Spaeth and myself) has 40 research/teaching positions. 

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

On July 28, 2020, the 2021 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List had 23 research/teaching position and 3 teaching positions. On July 30, 2019, the 2020 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List had 71 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 2021 Faculty Jobs List: 343 research/teaching positions and 77 teaching faculty positions

The 2021 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List (curated by Andrew Spaeth and myself) has 343 research/teaching positions and 77 teaching assistant professor positions. We will continue tracking until August 31, 2021.  

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

In 2020-2021, we will be adding teaching professor positions, targeting positions that demonstrate an intention to renew permanently, 3 year terms and a promotion ladder and/or are titled "assistant teaching professor" or "associate teaching professor." We are adding community college positions if they explicitly offer tenure.

On June 2, 2020, the 2020 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List had 557 research/teaching positions and 80 teaching faculty 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 seventh open thread. 

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

The Academic Staff Jobs List: 29 positions

The Academic Staff Jobs list has 29 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, July 26, 2021

USA Today: labor shortage isn't a result of COVID deaths

An interesting fact check on a question that I wondered myself: is the current seeming difficulty for hiring workers about people who died during COVID? USA Today says no: 

There is currently no data counting the number of American workers who died of COVID-19. However, even the most conservative estimates rule out the possibility that deaths caused or significantly contributed to the current shortage.

One reason is that we know the virus was far more lethal for older Americans than for working-age Americans. According to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a total of 596,740 people had died of COVID-19 as of July 12. Of this number, 75% were 65 years of age or older. And 57% were over 75 years of age.

Seventy-five is far above the minimum retirement age of 62 years and the full retirement age of 66 years and two months, at which retirees can claim full Social Security benefits.

For a very conservative estimate, we could assume all of the COVID-19 victims under 75 years of age were active members of the workforce. 

In that case, COVID-19 deaths would account for only 7.3% of the 3.5 million people who are no longer in the workforce.

That number drops to 4.3% if we take a more reasonable but still conservative approach, assuming that 20% of the people between 65 and 74 were still working, in line with a 2019 AARP survey.

Makes sense. I really like this little comment from a former commissioner of the Bureau of Labor Statistics: 

However, a "shortage" doesn't just imply a simple lack of workers or a lack of workers with the right skills. According to Erica Groshen, a Cornell University labor economist who served as commissioner of the Bureau of Labor Statistics from 2014-2017, it means that available workers are not willing to accept the pay and benefits of available jobs.

“I'm not a big believer in overall labor shortages,” she said. “When the price of a car goes up, we don't declare a car shortage…you always have to say (the shortage is) 'at the wages that the employers are offering.’"

I like the cut of her jib! 

Hydroxyethyl acrylate leak on Thursday at La Porte, TX Dow plant

Via the Associated Press: 
LA PORTE, Texas (AP) — An evacuation order has been lifted in an industrial area of a Houston-area city following a chemical release earlier in the week.

Dow Chemical said Thursday there’s “no longer a risk of community impact” in areas surrounding its chemical plant in La Porte, about 25 miles (40 kilometers) east of Houston.

A tank truck trailer over-pressurized on Wednesday, causing the chemical hydroxyethyl acrylate to escape through a safety valve, officials have said. A shelter-in-place order was issued shortly afterward amid air quality concerns, but that order was lifted after monitoring found no issues.

The evacuation order had remained in place within a half-mile (0.8-kilometer) radius of the plant, but that was lifted by midday Thursday. Dow Chemical said late Thursday that the tank was isolated and the site was stable.

Glad it doesn't sound like anyone was hurt.  

Friday, July 23, 2021

Have a good weekend

Well, this was a busy week! I hope that it was a good week for you, and that you have a good weekend. See you on Monday. 

Dow, BASF earnings up in the second quarter

From C&EN, this article by Alex Tullo: 
Early results from two of the world’s largest chemical companies indicate that the industry is rebounding strongly from the COVID-19 pandemic and should maintain momentum for the rest of the year.
Dow is the first major chemical firm to post full second-quarter results. The company’s sales vaulted 66.2% versus the same quarter last year, the quarter most impacted by the pandemic lockdowns. Earnings for the period hit $2.1 billion, versus a loss of $189 million in 2020. Sales increased 42.2% in the first half of 2021, while earnings increased 1,134.0%.

BASF, the world’s largest chemical maker, posted preliminary results. Its sales increased by 55.8% in the second quarter and 33.0% in the first half. Earnings before taxes increased 942.0% in the quarter and 22.8% in the first 6 months.

In a conference call with analysts on July 22, Dow CEO Jim Fitterling boasted of the “strongest quarterly earnings performance in the company’s history.”

Dow’s largest segment, packaging and specialty plastics, saw a 78% sales increase during the quarter, mostly due to higher prices and strong performance in its petrochemical unit. Plastics sales volumes actually declined somewhat due to the lingering effects of the February freeze in Texas and planned plant maintenance. Dow’s other businesses, such as coating materials and polyurethanes, also posted strong gains.

This is continued good news for chemical employment, I think.  

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Got a career dilemma?

We're soliciting questions for my column at Chemical and Engineering News. Please feel free to write me (chemjobber@gmail.com) if you have a career-oriented dilemma that you'd like me to write about in the magazine. Also, you can submit your questions with this handy web form. Thanks!

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

The 2022 Faculty Jobs List: 33 research/teaching positions

The 2022 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List (curated by Andrew Spaeth and myself) has 33 research/teaching positions. 

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

On July 21, 2020, the 2021 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List had 18 research/teaching position and 3 teaching positions. On July 23, 2019, the 2020 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List had 52 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 2021 Faculty Jobs List: 342 research/teaching positions and 77 teaching faculty positions

The 2021 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List (curated by Andrew Spaeth and myself) has 342 research/teaching positions and 77 teaching assistant professor positions. We will continue tracking until August 31, 2021.  

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

In 2020-2021, we will be adding teaching professor positions, targeting positions that demonstrate an intention to renew permanently, 3 year terms and a promotion ladder and/or are titled "assistant teaching professor" or "associate teaching professor." We are adding community college positions if they explicitly offer tenure.

On June 2, 2020, the 2020 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List had 557 research/teaching positions and 80 teaching faculty 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 seventh open thread. 

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

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, July 19, 2021

Chlorine incident at Texas water park

Via the New York Times, a chemical incident at a theme park: 
Twenty-six people were hospitalized with breathing problems or skin irritation after they were exposed to bleach and sulfuric acid on Saturday afternoon at Six Flags Hurricane Harbor Splashtown, a water park in Spring, Texas, the authorities said.

One person was in critical condition on Saturday evening, said Rachel Neutzler, a spokeswoman for the Harris County Fire Marshal’s Office.

The authorities evacuated the park at about 3:30 p.m. local time.

Ms. Neutzler said investigators did not believe the exposure to the chemicals, which are used to maintain pH balance, had been the result of an intentional act. She said it had occurred in a shallow pool intended for children.

Scott Seifert, chief of the Spring Fire Department, said that the authorities had decontaminated more than 60 people by having them massage their eyes and wash off under the hose of a ladder truck.

Chief Seifert said the breathing problems had been caused by a combination of 35 percent sulfuric acid and 10 to 13 percent bleach.

Ms. Neutzler said that 39 people who had come into contact with the chemicals did not want to go the hospital.

Investigators were examining a system at the park that injects chemicals into the water to maintain a pH balance of 7. When the authorities arrived, they tested the water, and the pH balance was 7, said Lina Hidalgo, the Harris County judge.

Curious to know if there was a moment in which the system put too much acid in? Combination of bleach and acid would get you some hypochlorous acid pretty quickly... 

Advocates send letter on CSB

Via NJ.com, this news:  
While President Joe Biden has nominated three people to the independent board that investigates chemical accidents, supporters of the Chemical Safety Board said other steps also must be taken so the agency properly can do its job.

A letter from 22 unions, environmental groups and other advocacy organizations to Chair Katherine Lemos, the last remaining member of the board, called for more investigators, addressing the backlog of probes, publishing the names of those killed in accidents, and protecting unauthorized workers, who can provide needed details, from the threat of deportation.

“The information that they put out is used by the entire universe from industry to advocates,” said Debra Coyle McFadden, executive director of the New Jersey Work Environment Council, one of the groups signing the letter. “That’s why it’s still critically important that they’re able to fulfill their mission.”

The board is important to New Jersey, the 10th largest chemical producer in the U.S., whose $13.4 billion chemical industry is the largest manufacturing industry in the state, according to the American Chemistry Council.

A board spokeswoman, Sabrina Morris, said the agency was reviewing the letter.

The groups were not alone in expressing concern about the chemical board. Both Democratic and Republican members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, led by its chair, Rep. Frank Pallone Jr., D-6th Dist, asked Lemos in May whether a lack of staffing and board members has interfered with the chemical safety board’s operations.

Advocates said the changes they recommended could be made within the board’s existing $12 million budget. For example, the board now has only 12 investigators, the lowest number in recent years, according to the groups signing the letter, which also include United Steelworkers Union, National Council for Occupational Safety and Health, Union of Concerned Scientists, AFL-CIO and the Sierra Club.

 12 investigators seems a little low...

Friday, July 16, 2021

Have a great weekend

 

Hope you had a great week. I still have work to do, but... it'll get done. Hope you have a great weekend, and see you on Monday. 

Details of the Charles Lieber FBI interrogation

Via Law360, these interesting details of Professor Charles Lieber's interrogation: 
 A Harvard University nanotechnology professor fighting federal grant fraud charges said the agents who arrested him tricked and coerced him into making statements and ignored his request to have an attorney present. Harvard professor Charles Lieber — arrested shortly before dawn on Jan. 28, 2020, for allegedly lying on federal grant forms about his research and funding ties to China — said Monday federal agents ignored his request for counsel and then “unlawfully employed tactics of trickery and coerced involuntary statements” from him.

The professor, currently on leave from Harvard, wants a Massachusetts federal judge to suppress all statements he made after he asked for a lawyer, along with all evidence the government derived from that interview and the videotape of the three hours of questioning in the interrogation room at the Harvard University Police Department.

The filing does not state what Lieber told the agents during the interview. The government has not yet responded to the motion.

Presented by two federal agents with a Miranda waiver to sign, Lieber responded: “No, I understand my rights I guess. Um, yeah, I’m willing to sign this, but I guess I think probably I should have ah, an attorney,” according to a transcript in the court papers.

The professor’s attorneys said Lieber that morning was in physical pain from his battle with cancer, hadn’t eaten yet, and was “blindsided by federal agents who ransacked his office, arrested him and hauled him off for questioning.”

Lieber said the federal agent responded to his request for an attorney by repeating the Miranda warning until the professor waived his rights.

The agent, having understood the professor’s request, should have halted his questioning and asked the professor to clarify his request rather than interrupting him to confuse him into agreeing to waive his right to remain silent, Lieber said. “He had never been arrested before, and when the agent interrupted his request to read his rights yet again, professor Lieber believed he had no choice but to answer the agent’s questions,” the professor’s lawyers wrote.

Additionally, the agents misrepresented their investigation to Lieber, claiming it had to do with national security concerns about China and protecting him from Chinese intelligence agencies, according to the motion. Lieber’s attorney, Marc L. Mukasey of Mukasey Frenchman & Sklaroff LLP, said in a statement Wednesday, “This is a critically important case to Dr. Lieber, and also for the cause of academic freedom and good faith scientific collaboration. We will leave no stone unturned.”

A spokeswoman for the U.S. attorney’s office declined to comment Wednesday.
I am reminded once again of the words of Ken White of Popehat fame: 
You, dear readers, know my advice about talking to the FBI: don't. If the FBI — or any law enforcement agency — asks to talk to you, say "No, I want to talk to my lawyer, I don't want to talk to you," and repeat as necessary. Do not talk to them "just to see what they want." Do not try to "set the facts straight." Do not try to outwit them. Do not explain that you have "nothing to hide."

Shut up, shut up, shut up, shut up, shut up, shut up.

If they can do this to the chair of the Harvard chemistry department, they can do it to me, and they can do it to you. 

Thursday, July 15, 2021

28 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 6 new positions for July 13, and 22 new positions for July 10. 

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

Global organic chemistry job market link

Via organic-chemistry.org, a link to the job market section. 

Wednesday, July 14, 2021

Got a career dilemma?

We're soliciting questions for my column at Chemical and Engineering News. Please feel free to write me (chemjobber@gmail.com) if you have a career-oriented dilemma that you'd like me to write about in the magazine. Also, you can submit your questions with this handy web form. Thanks!

Tuesday, July 13, 2021

The 2022 Faculty Jobs List: 26 research/teaching positions

The 2022 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List (curated by Andrew Spaeth and myself) has 26 research/teaching positions. 

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

On July 14, 2020, the 2021 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List had 12 research/teaching position and 3 teaching positions. On July 16, 2019, the 2020 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List had 38 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. 

Job posting: one-year lecturer, general chemistry, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH

From the inbox, a position at Case Western Reserve: 

We invite applications for a one-year full-time lecturer position. We are seeking candidates that are committed to excellence in undergraduate teaching, mentoring and service.  We are also seeking a candidate that is committed to creating a diverse and inclusive environment.  

Candidates with a PhD in chemistry and experience teaching first-year and sophomore-level undergraduate chemistry courses with demonstrated excellence in teaching are strongly encouraged to apply. 

A normal teaching load for lectures is two introductory courses per semester. The expectation for this position is to teach general and organic chemistry and laboratory courses with multiple sections.

The expected start date is Fall 2021

To apply please submit a letter of application, CV, summary of teaching experience, diversity statement and three confidential letters of reference should be submitted at http://apply.interfolio.com/89838 by July 26, 2021. 

Best wishes to those interested. 

The 2021 Faculty Jobs List: 341 research/teaching positions and 76 teaching faculty positions

The 2021 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List (curated by Andrew Spaeth and myself) has 341 research/teaching positions and 76 teaching assistant professor positions. We will continue tracking until August 31, 2021.  

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

In 2020-2021, we will be adding teaching professor positions, targeting positions that demonstrate an intention to renew permanently, 3 year terms and a promotion ladder and/or are titled "assistant teaching professor" or "associate teaching professor." We are adding community college positions if they explicitly offer tenure.

On June 2, 2020, the 2020 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List had 557 research/teaching positions and 80 teaching faculty 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 seventh open thread. 

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

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, July 12, 2021

Research chemist/regulatory professional turned ceramic artist

Cool article in the San Diego Union-Tribune: 

It’s not an accident that Bounaud has explored new solutions to turning his abstract concepts into visual reality. The San Diego-based ceramic artist — born and raised in the Provence region, about an hour north of Marseille — had a longtime career as a research chemist with a Ph.D. in chemistry from New York’s SUNY Stonybrook. He moved to San Diego to work at the Scripps Research Institute and then at a biotech company.

“But I was getting burned out doing research and I needed an outlet,” Bounaud said. “I needed something else to take my mind off the pressure. My mom recently retired from being a schoolteacher and had taken up pottery and she would tell me about it. I had a chance encounter at the Hillcrest Farmers Market with a pottery teacher who had a booth there. She was teaching at the Educational Complex Center. I took her flyer and thought, ‘Why not try it?’ I did, and got hooked right away.”

Interesting how so many former bench chemists get their kicks out of creating in other media. 

Job posting: senior/principal scientist, protein engineering, Genentech, South San Francisco, CA

From the inbox, a position at Genentech: 

The Department of Protein Chemistry within the division of Large Molecule Drug Discovery in Genentech Research has an opening for a Senior or Principal Scientist to lead efforts on protein engineering of cell therapies. The Scientist will be responsible for discovery and implementation of new technologies, managing and developing a research group, and leading cross-functional project teams. They will be expected to work independently, but also integrate closely with project teams, to generate and communicate results that drive project decisions. The successful candidate will also be expected to author and contribute to high-impact publications related to their responsibilities, and present at scientific conferences annually.

For reference, it is expected that successful candidates will have 5-10 years of experience or academic training beyond their doctoral degree.

Full ad here. Best wishes to those interested. 

Job posting: Principal Scientist/Associate Director, Medicinal Chemistry, Proteovant Therapeutics, Philadelphia, PA

From the inbox, a position with ProteoVant Therapeutics in Philadelphia:

Reporting to: Head of Discovery Chemistry 

Key Responsibilities

  • Drive a medicinal chemistry effort in oncology or other disease area from hit ID through candidate selection
  • Co-lead a drug discovery project team with a biology colleague, driving scientific strategy & decision-making, target design & synthesis, lead optimization, and budgetary proposals
  • Develop creative solutions to challenging program issues
  • Supervise chemists at overseas CROs to expeditiously deliver high quality compounds for biological evaluation

 Requirements

  • Ph.D. in organic chemistry or related field with 4-8 years of experience as a medicinal chemist at a pharmaceutical or biotech company
  • Demonstrated success as a drug hunter with scientific contributions to advancing a drug discovery program from initial hits to a development candidate
  • Highly proficient in synthetic chemistry and medicinal chemistry. Experience with SBDD, FBDD, DEL, protein degradation, and/or other technology platforms is highly desirable

Full ad here. Best wishes to those interested.

Job posting: Director/Senior Director, Medicinal Chemistry, Proteovant Therapeutics, Philadelphia, PA

From the inbox, a position with ProteoVant Therapeutics in Philadelphia: 

Reporting to: Head of Discovery Chemistry  

Key Responsibilities

  • Drive medicinal chemistry efforts on multiple projects in oncology and other disease areas from hit ID through candidate selection
  • Co-lead each drug discovery project team with a biology colleague, driving scientific strategy & decision-making, target design & synthesis, lead optimization, and budgetary proposals
  • Develop creative solutions to challenging program issues. Contribute as a senior medicinal chemist to scientific problem solving for programs across the organization
  • Supervise chemists at overseas CROs to expeditiously deliver high quality compounds for biological evaluation
  • Supervise internal medicinal chemists

Requirements

  • Ph.D. in organic chemistry or related field with 8-12+ years of experience as a medicinal chemist at a pharmaceutical or biotech company
  • Demonstrated success as a drug hunter with significant contributions to advancing a drug discovery program from initial hits to a development candidate
  • Experience leading drug discovery project teams
  • Highly proficient in synthetic chemistry and medicinal chemistry. Experience with SBDD, FBDD, DEL, protein degradation, and/or other technology platforms is highly desirable

Full ad here. Best wishes to those interested. 

Friday, July 9, 2021

Have a great weekend

 

I hope your (short?) week was great, and that summer is treating you well. Have a great weekend, and see you on Monday. 

What's your economy like?

Via chemistry Twitter, this interesting comment from a lab head at NIH: 

What is happening with chemistry in America? We're losing postdocs to pharma after less than 1 year in our med chem labs. Is the job market that hot in chemistry?

I certainly have seen an uptick in hiring behavior over these past few months. My best insights into the pharma/biotech market is seen via Organic Chemistry Jobs, and it's quite clear that hiring has not slacked at all in 2021. My admittedly very conservative take is that the industrial job market is "better than it has been for a while" and "much better than 2009-2014." 

Readers, what do you think? What's your sector, and how has it been?  

*as a normative position, I think PIs having difficulty hanging onto postdocs is a good thing, and the situation that PIs should be put in by the employment market for chemists. High wages and strong market demand (as measured by higher real wages and more benefits) for chemists in the United States and elsewhere is a good thing, perhaps the best thing. 

ODNI focuses on hiring more scientifically trained graduate students?

Via the New York Times, this comment about hiring in scientifically-trained students into the American intelligence community (in the midst of an article about scientific expertise being used by Director of National Intelligence
Faced not only with the immediate unsolved security questions, but also with the longer-term challenge of improving intelligence collection on climate change, Avril D. Haines, the director of national intelligence, has pushed agencies to more aggressively recruit undergraduate and graduate students with an extensive range of scientific knowledge.

“The D.N.I. believes that the changing threat landscape requires the intelligence community to develop and invest in a talented work force that includes individuals with science and technology backgrounds,” said Matt Lahr, a spokesman for Ms. Haines. “Without such expertise, we will not only be unable to compete, we will not succeed in addressing the challenges we face today.”

Will be interesting to see if this translates itself into more biologically/chemically-trained PhDs entering the employ of the Intelligence Community.