Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Daily Pump Trap: 12/27/11 edition

Good morning -- hope you had a good break. Between December 22 and December 26, there were 14 new positions posted on the ACS Careers website. Of these, 6 (43%) were academically connected.

King of Prussia, PA: Arkema is being naughty: advertising for a contract or a postdoc position as follows:
Perform hands-on development and testing of new cleaning product formulations containing enzymes and hydrogen peroxide. Devise and implement strategies to enable enzyme - peroxide stabilization. Integrate technology into cleaning formulations, conduct activity assays to understand enzyme - formulation ingredient compatibility, and evaluate and optimize end-product performance. 
The position, which will be located at Arkema's Research Center in King of Prussia, PA, is funded for 12 months, with the possibility to renew for an additional year. 
The successful candidate will have a Ph.D. in chemistry, biochemistry or a closely related field, with a strong emphasis in enzyme or protein action, stabilization, and inhibition. Demonstrated understanding of mechanisms of activity and stabilization for proteases, amylases, and lipases is preferred. Also of interest is work experience in development and testing of molecules or materials with antimicrobial or antibacterial properties, cleaning product development, or hydrogen peroxide use. Postdoctoral versus Contract Scientist position will be dependent on candidate's work experience; candidates with industrial experience are encouraged to apply. (emphasis CJ's)
In my opinion, it is in bad faith to refer to this as a postdoctoral position, which has the connotations of being a learning experience, as opposed to a temp job contract scientist position.  There is nothing, NOTHING, that indicates this as any sort of academic experience. The only benefit from this is that you might get to say that you have 'industrial experience.'

Bartlesville, OK: Chevron Phillips is looking for a Ph.D. chemist to be a group leader; 3+ years experience and knowledge of sulfur chemistry is desired.

Rockville, MD: The United States Pharmacopeia is looking for a Ph.D. analytical chemist with ten years experience to be their director of small molecules in their Documentary Standards Division. Sounds important.


  1. I wholeheartedly agree with you on calling a contract position a "postdoc". It's just a way to get away with more cheap labor.

  2. Yep. But sadly that "industrial experience" on a resume would likely matter more in landing a job in industry than a real postdoc.

  3. companies warmed up to idea of hiring postdocs for half the salary for a thankless drudgery work - something that academia has been doing for years already. People on J visa from east Asia are particularly pliable...

    I would strongly discourage anyone to go into a postdoc unless it is in a famous group and the work there will generate publications and contacts - and in this way helps to get a good job in the future.

    (unless someone is desperate that he would take crappy postdoc as a stop-gap alternative of unemployment...)

  4. If a person's career goal is to work in the chemical industry (non-pharmaceutical), then it would be better to take a post-doc like this rather than doing an academic post doc. The applied work will look good on a resume. No, you won't get any publications, though maybe some patent applications.

    It appears that Arkema wants to have the skills, however, of a person who already has chemical industry experience, but without that awful necessity of actually hiring them for a permanent job. I believe that chemical companies are catching onto that wonderful practice in the pharmaceutical industry, of hiring people on a contract basis, without having to make a long term commitment.

  5. anon @ 5:48
    "hiring people... without having to make a long term commitment".

    Or paying them full salary, or providing full benefits.