Tuesday, August 31, 2021

The 2022 Faculty Jobs List: 138 research/teaching positions and 3 teaching position

The 2022 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List (curated by Andrew Spaeth and myself) has 138 research/teaching positions and 3 teaching position. 

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

On September 1, 2020, the 2021 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List had 61 research/teaching position and 6 teaching positions. On September 3, 2019, the 2020 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List had 216 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: 11 positions

The Chemical Engineering Faculty Jobs List has 11 positions. It is curated by Lilian Josephson (@lljosephson).

Want to talk? Go to this year's open 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. This is the final tally for the 2021 year. 

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: 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, August 30, 2021

Professor to students/postdocs: apply now!

From the inbox, an interesting comment from a chemistry professor at a major research university:
I wanted to share something I'm hearing from recruiters for industrial jobs who have been recruiting at [major research university] this fall.  They are getting fewer applicants than in previous years, and really want to hire.  In talking with some students/postdocs here, we think that people are worried about applying because they lost a year of productivity to COVID, so they don't think they will be competitive.  If any of your readers are feeling this way, they should definitely apply: they aren't competing against the graduates from before COVID, they are competing against everyone else who also lost a year.

[redacted sentence] There are definitely other reasons for the worker shortage (raise wages!) but there is probably some self-filtering happening even before the salary negotiation stage.

I broadly agree with the professor, but I have a different angle to why I end up in the same place (i.e. "now (early fall 2021) is a good time to apply." The annoying part of applying to positions isn't the Black Hole of Not Knowing After Applying, it's the time and emotional investment of writing all the stupid stuff that you need to write, i.e. a cover letter, a resume, a research summary, etc., etc. That part takes time, and to have an investment of time with an unknown payoff can be daunting. 

However, so far as I can tell, we really are in a period of time where the entry-level barriers to being hired in the pharma/chemical industry seem to be shifting/falling, and I feel your chances of landing a job (especially without a postdoc) are higher for the last 2-3 years than they've been in a very long time. I make no guarantees as to what Fall 2022 will be like, and anyone who tells you they know is guessing as well. So I agree with MRU professor - apply now. 

Best wishes to all those applying. 

Saying "I probably should have an attorney" doesn't actually stop the cops from asking you questions

 Via Law360 (paywall), this detail from the Lieber case: 

Law360 (August 6, 2021, 3:50 PM EDT) -- Federal prosecutors pushed back Friday on claims that government agents tricked a Harvard University professor into making incriminating statements during his interrogation over grant fraud claims, saying the nanotechnology researcher never asked to have an attorney present.

Agents with the Federal Bureau of Investigation didn’t violate professor Charles Lieber’s Fifth Amendment rights when they continued questioning him despite an ambiguous statement about having an attorney present in response to hearing his Miranda rights, prosecutors said.

“The defendant’s statement about an attorney at the outset of the interview — ‘I guess, I think probably I should have ah, an attorney’ — was replete with ambiguous and hedging language that could not reasonably be construed as a clear request for an attorney,” prosecutors said.

The government listed off a string of similar statements in other cases that also failed to meet the bar of an unequivocal request to have an attorney, triggering a requirement that agents stop questioning.

Prosecutors argued that Lieber’s statement was at least as ambiguous as the others: “Maybe I should talk to a lawyer,” “Can I talk to a lawyer first?” “Can you call my attorney?” “I guess you better get me a lawyer,” “I think I need a lawyer,” “I should probably get a lawyer, I guess,” “I think I would like to talk to a lawyer,” and “Maybe I ought to see an attorney.”

The Harvard professor said last month the agents “unlawfully employed tactics of trickery and coerced involuntary statements” from him and asked a federal judge to toss the interview in its entirety from the case.

I guess the take home message from the Lieber case continues to be “don’t talk to the cops”, especially since “can you call my attorney?” isn’t interpreted as a request for an attorney by federal agents. It sounds like sticking to “I’m not saying anything until my attorney arrives” is the way to go.

Friday, August 27, 2021

Have a great weekend

 

Well, we've made it to another weekend. Hope you had a good week, and we'll see you on Monday. 

The decline in professional society memberships

Credit: "Bowling Alone", Robert Putnam, 20th anniversary edition
As a part of the ACS Council agenda, the news that between 2015 and 2020, the ACS lost ~12000 industrial members. There's a lot of different explanations, but most folks see it as being a problem of the cost and the value of a membership in the American Chemical Society. 

I'm not particularly interested in rehashing the debate, but I do think it's worthwhile to note that the decline in professional society participation seems to have started in the 1960s, according to Robert Putnam's "Bowling Alone." 

I haven't finished reading it (barely started, but I did think this was interesting.) 

Thursday, August 26, 2021

42 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 42 new positions for August 21.

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

Wednesday, August 25, 2021

Job posting: principal chemist, Ecolab, Naperville, IL

From the inbox: 
Nalco, an Ecolab Company, currently has an opening for an innovative researcher in the areas of Organic Chemistry or Polymer Chemistry within the Polymer Group in Naperville, Illinois. We are seeking researchers to focus on water soluble polymer development to support our enterprise-wide innovation platform. We are looking to expand our innovative team focused on polyelectrolyte synthesis and optimization. This is your opportunity to join a large growing company offering competitive base rates and benefits.

What you will do:
  • Development and bench-top synthesis of water-soluble polymers
  • First path performance evaluation of developed chemistries and technologies
  • Reiterative structure activity optimizations through close collaborative cooperation
  • with the applications research experts
  • Evaluation of developed chemistry for feasibility for scale up from bench to pilot plant scale in cooperation with
  • pilot plant engineers
  • Support of field evaluation of newly develop chemistries
  • Optimization of current products
Minimum Qualifications:
  • PhD in Organic or Polymer Chemistry
  • Experience in design, synthesis, and characterization of small molecules and/or macromolecules
  • Experience leading independent research projects
Full ad here. Best wishes to those interested. 

Job posting: chemist, NCI, Bethesda, Maryland

From the inbox, this position at NIH:
Position:

The NCI is seeking a candidate with a Bachelors, Masters, and/or Doctoral degree in the field of chemistry, with a strong interest in organic/medicinal chemistry. The candidate will collaborate with investigators in the DTP by providing independent medicinal chemistry design and synthesis of organic small-molecule compounds of biological interest in support of the discovery and development of anticancer therapeutics.  The candidate will be responsible for a hypothesis-driven laboratory research effort involving iterative drug design, organic synthesis, and data analysis.

Qualifications:

Applicants must be U.S. citizens. Grade and salary are dependent upon experience. Significant experience with hands-on laboratory synthetic chemistry enablement is required.
If accurate, the salary seems pretty good! Best wishes to those interested. 

The chemistry of the mouthfeel of coffee

Via Inverse, a story from this week's Fall ACS meeting: 

Coffee can typically be tweaked with sugar or dairy to make even the worst brews somewhat palatable, but the Specialty Coffee Association (SCA) specifically describes the mouthfeel, or body, of coffee as the “tactile feeling” of the drink your mouth without these amendments. This is the physical sensation that accompanies a sip — and the realization that your brew is thick and velvety, thin and delicate, or something in between.

On Tuesday at the American Chemical Society fall meeting, scientists revealed the chemical compounds responsible for causing the phenomenon.

They found small molecules, rather than sugars and lipids as believed, influence mouthfeel. The study team used a combination of chemical analysis and expert palettes to zero in on what compounds are responsible. Just as wine lovers can attribute certain features to specific compounds, now coffee fans can do the same.

Sounds like they used both tasters and prep-scale chromatography to separate out compounds that might be associated with mouthfeel: 

From this process, the team was able to pinpoint several different compounds responsible for telltale tactile sensations, including that compounds formed during roasting are responsible for the astringent component of coffee’s body.

These melanoidin compounds are caused by the Maillard reaction, which is the same reaction responsible for the caramelized-like exterior of a good steak.

I'll be honest - coffee is just a caffeine delivery device to me, and it's rare that I actually taste what I am drinking. But I'll bet I notice mouthfeel more than taste! 

Tuesday, August 24, 2021

The 2022 Faculty Jobs List: 109 research/teaching positions and 3 teaching position

The 2022 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List (curated by Andrew Spaeth and myself) has 109 research/teaching positions and 3 teaching position. 

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

On August 25, 2020, the 2021 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List had 55 research/teaching position and 6 teaching positions. On August 27, 2019, the 2020 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List had 181 research/teaching positions and 3 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.  

Monday, August 23, 2021

Goldman Sachs dials back GDP forecast for Q3

Via Calculated Risk, Goldman Sachs forecast for GDP: 
We have lowered our Q3 GDP forecast to +5.5%, reflecting hits to both consumer spending and production. Spending on dining, travel, and some other services is likely to decline in August, though we expect the drop to be modest and brief. Production is still suffering from supply chain disruptions, especially in the auto industry, and this is likely to mean less inventory rebuild in Q3.

Don't know how this will affect the job market, but we shall see.  

GM recalls Chevy Bolts due to battery fires

Via the New York Times: 

General Motors said on Friday that it was expanding its recall of Chevrolet Bolt electric cars that have been found to be at risk of overheating and catching fire as a result of manufacturing defects.

The company said it was recalling Bolts from the 2020 through 2022 model years and a few 2019 Bolts that were not covered under a previous recall. The move means all 141,000 Bolts that G.M. has produced — going back to the 2017 model — are under recall.

...G.M. said the move announced on Friday would cost the company $1 billion on top of the $800 million it had allocated for previous Bolt recalls. It also said it would seek reimbursement from its battery supplier, LG Chem.

...G.M. and LG Chem have linked the fires to two manufacturing defects that occur on rare occasions. The companies have found that a short-circuit can occur if an anode tab is torn in manufacturing and if a separator between battery cells becomes folded. Under the recall, G.M. plans to replace the defective battery modules.

The videos of the fires are pretty dramatic, as one would expect. I imagine this is the sort of problem you expect at the beginning of a new technology - will be interesting to see how engineers and scientists solve this problem. 

Friday, August 20, 2021

Have a good weekend

How was your week? Mine was pretty harried, to be honest. Hope you are having a great week, and I hope you have a great weekend. See you on Monday! 

Thursday, August 19, 2021

12 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 12 new positions for August 11.

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, August 18, 2021

Mass spec on beer

Via Ars Technica: 
People have been brewing beer for millennia, and the basic chemistry of fermentation is well understood. But thanks to advanced analytical techniques, scientists continue to learn more about the many different chemical compounds that contribute to the flavor and aroma of different kinds of beer. The latest such analysis comes courtesy of a team of German scientists who analyzed over 400 commercial beers from 40 countries. The scientists identified at least 7,700 different chemical formulas and tens of thousands of unique molecules, according to a recent paper published in the journal Frontiers in Chemistry. And they did it with a new approach that can analyze a sample in just 10 minutes.

"Beer is an example of enormous chemical complexity," said co-author Philippe Schmitt-Kopplin of the Technical University of Munich and the Helmholtz Center in Munich. "And thanks to recent improvements in analytical chemistry, comparable in power to the ongoing revolution in the technology of video displays with ever-increasing resolution, we can reveal this complexity in unprecedented detail. Today it's easy to trace tiny variations in chemistry throughout the food production process, to safeguard quality or to detect hidden adulterations."

From the text of the article, it sounds like these folks are trying to track down rice and corn starches in beer. Here's my question - you inject 250 microliters of beer into the LC - what do you do with the rest of the sample? 

What is breaking down in Philips CPAP machines?

Via the New York Times, bad news about Philips CPAP machines: 

Last month, the Food and Drug Administration warned of potential health risks that could be “life-threatening, cause permanent impairment and require medical intervention.” The potential harm comes from polyester-based polyurethane foam that dampens sound and vibration in the machines; it can degrade and result in a user’s breathing in chemicals or swallowing or inhaling black debris.

The agency said the possible risks of particulate and chemical exposure from the recalled devices included asthma, skin and respiratory-tract irritation and “toxic and carcinogenic effects” to organs including the kidneys and liver.

So here is how FDA explains it: 

Polyester-based polyurethane (PE-PUR) is a sound abatement foam used to reduce sound and vibration in these devices and other medical equipment. The PE-PUR foam in the affected Philips Respironics CPAP, BiPAP, and ventilator devices may:

  • Break down (degrade) into particles which may enter the device’s air pathway and be inhaled or swallowed by the user
  • Release certain chemicals into the device’s air pathway, which may be inhaled

These issues can result in serious injury, which can be life-threatening, cause permanent impairment, and require medical intervention to prevent permanent damage.

To date, Philips Respironics has received several complaints about the presence of black debris/particles within the device’s air pathway. Philips Respironics also has received reports of headache, upper airway irritation, cough, chest pressure, and sinus infection, which may be related to this issue, though the cause of the symptoms cannot be definitively linked.

The potential risks of particulate exposure include irritation to the skin, eye, and respiratory tract, inflammatory response, headache, asthma, and toxic or carcinogenic effects to organs, such as kidneys and liver.

The potential risks of exposure to chemicals released into the device’s air pathway from the PE-PUR foam include headache; dizziness; irritation in the eyes, nose, respiratory tract, and skin; hypersensitivity; nausea/vomiting; and toxic and carcinogenic effects.

The foam degradation may be exacerbated by high heat and high humidity environments, and by use of unapproved cleaning methods, such as ozone.

To date, there have been no reports of death as a result of these issues. 

I wonder what's breaking down in polyurethane foam? The particles irritating the respiratory system makes sense, but chemicals? Hmmm.... 

Tuesday, August 17, 2021

The 2022 Faculty Jobs List: 83 research/teaching positions and 1 teaching position

The 2022 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List (curated by Andrew Spaeth and myself) has 83 research/teaching positions and 1 teaching position. 

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

On August 18, 2020, the 2021 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List had 43 research/teaching position and 6 teaching positions. On August 20, 2019, the 2020 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List had 152 research/teaching positions and 1 teaching position.

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 Chemical Engineering Faculty Jobs List: 4 positions

The Chemical Engineering Faculty Jobs List has 4 positions. It is curated by Lilian Josephson (@lljosephson).

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

The Academic Staff Jobs List: 37 positions

The Academic Staff Jobs list has 37 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, August 16, 2021

Chemical worker in Alabama dies of sulfur dioxide exposure

Via The Decatur Daily (by Michael Wetzel), this sad news: 
Aug. 13—Sharona Rusk of Eva says she still can't believe her husband of 20 years and father of their two children is no longer alive. Wesley Rusk died Tuesday, 39 days after being exposed to chemicals at Daikin America Inc. in Decatur, where he had worked for the past two decades.

"It's been two days, and it's still hard to understand. I'd be lying if I said I understood it," Sharona said Thursday afternoon. "Honestly, I had belief, hope and faith that God would perform a miracle and (Wesley) would walk out of the hospital."

She said on July 2, Wesley, 45, and two other workers were working outside at Daikin and were exposed to "several chemicals in the area."

She said a couple of days later, he started having symptoms from the exposure. He went to the emergency room at Huntsville Hospital on July 4 and was placed in the intensive care unit.

He was diagnosed with low oxygen levels, tightness in the chest and inflammation in both lungs, she said. Then on July 15, he was transferred to Vanderbilt Medical Center in Nashville. Sharona said after reviewing a list of possible chemical exposures provided to them by Daikin, doctors at Vanderbilt "are the ones who narrowed it down to sulfur dioxide."
This article indicates some of how he was exposed potentially: 
Sharona says Wesley told her, and several doctors and nurses, what happened at Daikin-America on July 2:

“There were 3 of them out there, outside, working on the towers. There are two towers that the chemicals flow through. Supposedly the excess chemicals flow into what they called the pit. When they went out that night, the smell from the pit was different than what it had been in the past.”

July 2 was a Friday.

“Late Saturday evening, early Sunday morning, that’s when he started feeling the symptoms. We made him go to the ER. I saw how low his oxygen was and he couldn’t walk from one room to the other without struggling,” Sharona recalled.

 Condolences to the Rusk family. Here's the NIOSH guide for sulfur dioxide. 

Nitric acid causes problems with Boeing's Starliner

Interesting chemical problem with Boeing's rocket: 
Boeing’s Starliner spacecraft has been recalled to the factory because of sticky valves...

In the days of troubleshooting that followed, engineers were able to get nine of the 13 valves working but four remained stuck.

“If we were able to free them all, we would have been in a good operational condition,” said John Vollmer, Boeing’s vice president and program manager for Starliner. “That’s what we were shooting for, but obviously, with not getting all the valves, we made the decision that we were just out of runway and we had to come back to the factory.”

Mr. Vollmer said the problem occurred among 24 valves that control the flow of nitrogen tetroxide, a propellant used by Starliner’s thrusters. Some of the nitrogen tetroxide appears to have permeated through Teflon seals and interacted with moisture on the other side to produce nitric acid, Mr. Vollmer said.

“That nitric acid resulted in some corrosion which resulted in the stiction of those valves,” Mr. Vollmer said.

Stiction is a new word to me. 

Friday, August 13, 2021

View from Your Hood (?): Philadelphia, PA

Philadelphia, PA

 










It was good to get on a plane this week. Hope your week is going well, and that you have a great weekend. See you on Monday! 

Good news for pharma earnings in the second quarter of 2021

Via FiercePharma: 

We’re not yet done with the coronavirus pandemic, but you wouldn’t know it from the second-quarter results in the pharma industry.

After a tentative first quarter of 2021—attributed to the pandemic and a change of the guard in Washington, D.C.—signs of recovery abound.

Over the last few weeks as companies have presented their quarterly numbers, most are telling a different version of the same story. Drug sales are up, with some therapeutic areas rebounding faster than others. And while the recovery is underway, there’s still a long ride ahead to return to the industry’s pre-pandemic landscape. 

The resilience of the rebound has even surprised market experts. In this round of reports, many companies exceeded Wall Street’s revenue expectations.

More than half of Big Pharma companies reported revenue increases greater than 15% over the same quarter in 2020, which was marred by lockdowns and the shock to the economic system that ensued at the start of the pandemic.

“We have generally seen solid double-digit sales growth due to increasing doctor visits and diagnosis rates and a favorable comparison to the second quarter of 2020 which was negatively impacted from stocking in the first quarter of 2020,” Ashtyn Evans, a senior analyst at Edward Jones, told Fierce Pharma. 

I have expressed funny feelings that we're at the top of something, and I think Derek's post today indicates his willingness to consider the other side (i.e. pharma/biotech genuinely may have secret sauce that is more secret and saucier than other parts of the economy).* Overall, this is good news for hiring. Best wishes to job seekers, and all of us. 

*For the record, my running theory-that-cannot-be-falsified is that a decade or more of zero interest rate policy will get you some odd places. 

Job posting: Director, Synthesis and Catalysis Center, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI

From the inbox, this position: 
We are seeking a PhD-level Scientist to direct a newly formed Synthesis and Catalysis Center (“SynCat”) in the UW-Madison Department of Chemistry. SynCat will house equipment and instrumentation to support research between the synthesis and catalysis groups in the department of chemistry and industrial collaborators. The SynCat director will serve as the operational and logistic liaison for joint projects between UW-Madison researchers (faculty/students/postdocs) and industry collaborators, with opportunities to play a leadership role in collaborative research projects.

Duties include operation and maintenance of shared equipment to support this collaborative research, development of standard operating procedures for SynCat equipment, and training graduate, postdoctoral, and undergraduate researchers who use the equipment. The SynCat director will oversee an operation budget for the center and will oversee the establishment and collection of fees for use of SynCat instruments. The SynCat director will also contribute to the preparation of manuscript and grant proposals and completing progress reports and presentations for relevant funding agencies. 

The ideal candidate will have a Ph.D. in Organic, Inorganic, or Organometallic Chemistry with research expertise in homogeneous catalysis and/or synthetic organic chemistry, have diverse analytical skills for the identification of organic compounds (NMR, HPLC, LCMS, etc.) and/or experience with operation and maintenance of high-throughput experimentation equipment. The candidate should be familiar with standard synthetic organic and organometallic reaction methodology, including handling of air-sensitive reagents and synthetic chemistry instrumentation such as glove boxes, vacuum systems, and high-pressure gas reactors. Essential skills and attributes of the candidate include strong technical writing, organization and time management, attention to detail, interpersonal, and communication skills. Familiarity with high-throughput experimentation, and experience with grant writing is desired. 
Full ad here. Best wishes to those interested. 

Thursday, August 12, 2021

46 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 46 new positions for August 9.

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, August 11, 2021

What's it like to hire right now? One hiring manager's experience

Friend of the blog KT recently had an interesting experience hiring, and he’d like to share it: 
My company is small, so I have much more freedom to run the process my way than a big-company hiring manager would. My boss gave me a lot of freedom to write and place the ad and select the candidates.

Right now, I’ve got a few young scientists under me (new bachelors grads hired one year ago), and we want to add a technician both to do some of the repetitive lab work and to have a bench of talent in case one of the young guys leaves. I took the ad my predecessor used last year and made some tweaks, including adding “or related experience” to the degree requirement. I’m strongly opposed to degree requirements; I think most of the time it’s a legal way of saying “we want a nice white suburban kid who’s like us.” It’s been my experience that older journeyman technicians with high school diplomas were often really valuable employees, while young BS grads being forced to start at the technician level see the job as a stepping-stone, leave if a scientist position doesn’t open up soon, and are often bored with repetitive work. 

My boss didn’t want to put the salary range in the ad because he feared that every candidate would ask for the top of the range, but I argued back that we risked wasting time on candidates already making more than we can offer. The range is 35-40K, low for a lab technician in my moderately high COL area [redacted East Coast city], and I would rather get a smaller candidate pool of people who won’t ultimately refuse the offer because they’re already making 55 as a lab tech somewhere else. My boss and I discussed whether to pay hourly or salary, and I didn’t want the hassle of getting a time clock and punch cards for one person. I also remember how I was hourly in my first job as a QC chemist, and I always felt it was a not-so-subtle reminder that I wasn't really considered a professional at that company.

I posted the ad on Indeed and LinkedIn using the free option. I also tried a site called Handshake that posts the ad to local colleges, and got exactly zero applications from it. Other sites, or preferred placement on the ones I used, would have cost money. Indeed and LinkedIn were pretty user-friendly and yielded good candidates. Handshake seemed to have excessive gatekeeping, with each local college I targeted needing to approve an ad (very slowly or never) before it would be posted, and yielded exactly zero applications. One university even wanted me to dig up a bunch of information such as my company’s federal tax ID number, and I refuse to spend a lot of time to do them a favor.

I could definitely see how the job market has changed. In 2017, I helped my boss at the time go through resumes for a QC tech position. I remember seeing a huge stack of resumes for a low-level job that basically involved doing a simple test and writing down the number. In many cases, someone had a BS or MS followed by 5 years of awful Yoh/Aerotek/Kelly/Joule temp gigs doing low-level lab work. In 2021, I got a relatively small pool, and rather than lots of unemployed people with experience, I saw a lot of people trying to move up from somewhere like Quest Diagnostics to a real lab.

I immediately eliminated all non-local applicants. I got a boatload of applications from India, and several from across America, and there’s no reason to sponsor a visa or pay relo for a low-level position that isn’t very specialized. This left roughly 20 local applicants, a much lower number than what would have been typical in the past. I also got a few from personal connections.  I gave each one a 15-minute phone screen (after emailing first and setting up a time so I wasn’t ambushing anyone), and several weak-looking candidates turned out to be strong after I talked to them on the phone.

I ended up with several good finalists, mostly non-traditional candidates. I tried to target people who would be willing to do technician-level work for as long as business needs dictate, but will also be promotable in the future. A person with a master’s 3 years ago followed by menial jobs turned out to be a great candidate, and would have gotten thrown out of any big company’s ATS. A person with about 20 years in hospital labs looking to change fields turned out to be another great candidate that anyone else would have overlooked. A young man with a high school education came with stellar references from another company he had been a lab tech for, and would have been booted from any ATS. I also found a few bright, underemployed people whose foreign university degrees were looked down on by American companies.

When it came to interviewing, I did my best to make the candidates comfortable and refrained from the kinds of interview questions that are designed to get someone flustered. Unless you’re interviewing someone to work in an ER, the candidate who can think clearest under pressure might not be the best fit overall. I was a pretty easy interviewer because I wanted to give everyone a chance to shine, not pick the one with the best nerves. You can get someone to reveal more when you don’t make it feel like an interrogation. 

This is why I have zero sympathy for all those companies crying about a lack of applicants. They’re still doing the same things they did when they had to whittle down a huge stack of resumes quickly, and whining that they aren’t getting candidates. I believe we ended up making the right pick, but I felt bad about rejecting several great candidates.

I’m convinced that the solution is that the hiring manager must be the one to review the resumes, not some HR person or recruiter. I had to spend a lot of time on this, but it’ll be absolutely worth it when we hire the right candidate and not some “good enough” person Aerotek, Judge, etc sent.
Thanks to KT for sharing his experiences. Best wishes to those looking to hire, and to those looking to be hired. - CJ

The craziest professors making meth story you will read today

Late one October night in 2019, Joseph Andrews and three other Henderson State University students were studying in the chemistry department of the Arkadelphia campus when Andrews became sick. 

“I started to fill [sic] a pain in my chest, and my arm felt numb,” he recalled in an affidavit given to police the next day. “I asked the other guys if they felt bad, [and] they said that they could smell something. I started to taste/smell iron, so I thought that I was bleeding but I was not.”

About 9:30 p.m., the four began searching for the source of the odor, which another student described in his statement as being “v. sweet [and] v. pungent.” The students made their way toward a lab used by two chemistry professors, Terry David Bateman and Bradley Rowland.

“I had to stop at the end of the hallway due to overwhelming sickness,” Andrews wrote. He fled the building, the Reynolds Science Center, and the students contacted the two professors. Rowland arrived first, followed by Bateman about five minutes later.

Fifteen to 20 minutes later, Rowland told the students the problem was an open bottle and that he had “fixed or capped it,” Andrews said. Student David Thompson recalled in his statement that Rowland said the chemical was a substance called benzyl chloride and that “it was all good now.”

It wasn’t.

It gets crazier from there, if you can believe it. I don't understand what these two professors were up to, and I really don't understand why. Here's hoping that the Henderson State chemistry department can recover from this mess. 

Read the whole thing.

Tuesday, August 10, 2021

The 2022 Faculty Jobs List: 73 research/teaching positions and 1 teaching position

The 2022 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List (curated by Andrew Spaeth and myself) has 73 research/teaching positions and 1 teaching position. 

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

On August 11, 2020, the 2021 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List had 34 research/teaching position and 5 teaching positions. On August 13, 2019, the 2020 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List had 126 research/teaching positions and 1 teaching position.

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: assistant professor, University of Pittsburgh Pharmacy, Pittsburgh, PA

From the inbox: 
The Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences of the University of Pittsburgh School of Pharmacy is seeking a highly motivated individual for a tenure-track assistant professor position.  The ideal candidate will have documented research experience that is focused on medicinal chemistry or chemical biology; candidates with expertise in pharmaceutics or biochemical pharmacology will also be considered.  Aided by a competitive start-up package, the successful applicant is expected to establish and lead an independent laboratory and conduct extramural funding driving research.  Teaching excellence is also expected of the successful candidate, who is expected to teach in the PharmD and Graduate Degree Programs of the School of Pharmacy,

Candidates should have a PhD, MD, PharmD or equivalent and either postdoctoral training or commensurate experience in medicinal chemistry, chemical biology, chemistry, biochemistry or related field, and a clear potential for future extramural funding.  The University of Pittsburgh is especially interested in qualified candidates who can contribute to the diversity and inclusive excellence of the academic community through their leadership, research, teaching, and/or service.  Salary for this calendar-year appointment will be commensurate with experience and qualifications. 
Full ad here. Best wishes to those interested. 

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 Chemical Engineering Faculty Jobs List: 2 positions

The Chemical Engineering Faculty Jobs List has 2 positions. It is curated by Lilian Josephson (@lljosephson).

 This post will serve as the open thread for this year's search.

The Academic Staff Jobs List: 37 positions

The Academic Staff Jobs list has 37 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, August 9, 2021

NYT: Jobs market is good news

Via the New York Times: 
America is getting back to work.

That’s the simplest, clearest analysis of the labor market that emerges from nearly every line of the July employment numbers released Friday morning. It is a welcome sign that, as of the middle of last month, the economy is healing rapidly — and that the previous couple of months reflected healthier results than previously estimated.

There are caveats worth mentioning: The surveys on which this data is based were taken before people were worrying very much about the Delta variant of the coronavirus; the share of Americans participating in the work force hasn’t really budged; and we still haven’t achieved the kind of one-million-plus monthly job gains that seemed plausible back in the spring.

But the overall picture is not a particularly nuanced one. The job market is getting better, and the economy is healing.

The 943,000 jobs added to employers’ payrolls in July is impressive on its own (though with an asterisk involving education employment, about which more below). It’s all the more so when combined with sharply positive revisions to May and June numbers.

Great news, here's hoping it continues.  

C&EN: 2nd quarter results are good news

In this week's news, this good news: 
The second quarter was an enormous one for chemical producers, with the companies C&EN tracks posting double-digit gains in sales and in many cases triple-digit jumps in earnings versus a year earlier.

Of course, the second quarter of 2020 was the period most impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Governments in Asia, Europe, and the Americas instituted lockdowns in February and March last year to stem the spread of the virus. Stores closed, construction was halted, and automobile plants idled—all depressing demand for chemical products. For chemical companies, it was the worst quarter in decades.

The industry appears to be putting those days behind it. For instance, sales doubled and profits rose eightfold in the second quarter at petrochemical maker LyondellBasell.

The world’s largest chemical maker, BASF, saw its results rebound. “We achieved volumes growth and price increases across all regions and all segments compared with the second quarter of 2020,” Martin Bruderm├╝ller, BASF’s executive chairman, said in a presentation. “In some businesses, we were able to restore and, in some cases, increase our margins with price increases. In others, there is still some way to go.”

Good news, here's hope it continues.  

Friday, August 6, 2021

Have a great weekend

 

Well, this was a busy week for me. I hope that you have a great weekend, and we'll see you on Monday. 

Job posting: Process Radiochemist (CMC), POINT Biopharma, Toronto, ON

From the inbox, this position, which requires legal eligibility for work in Canada: 
Location of work: Working remotely preferably located in Toronto, Canada

Reporting to the Scientist, Radiochemistry, the successful candidate will be a technical expert in the development, scale-up and tech transfer of GMP processes for radiopharmaceutical manufacturing. They will work in collaboration with team members, other departments, and external partners (CMOs) to ensure successful development, scale-up and launch of POINT’s manufacturing processes for early-stage programs.
Requirements
  • BS/BA degree in radiochemistry, organic chemistry, chemical engineering, or a related discipline. MS or PhD in radiochemistry or chemistry is preferred.
  • 5 years of relevant industry experience in radiochemistry, radiopharmaceutical manufacturing, organic chemistry, or process chemistry.
  • Experience working in a pharmaceutical GMP manufacturing environment is preferred.
  • Strong radiochemistry and/or process chemistry skills. Hands-on demonstrated experience with PET radioisotopes (F-18, Ga-68) and/or theragnostic radioisotopes (Lu-177, Ac-225) is considered an asset.
  • Experience with radiopharmaceutical process automation, aseptic manufacturing, and knowledge of environmental health and radioprotection requirements are considered assets.
Full ad here. Best wishes to those interested. 

Pfizer/Moderna reporting difficulty in hiring in Massachusetts for vaccine production

Via FiercePharma and the Boston Globe, recent testimony before the Massachusetts state legislature: 
During a hearing of the Massachusetts Legislative Manufacturing Caucus on Tuesday, representatives from two drugmakers with physical footprints in Massachusetts told lawmakers that it has become harder to refresh their workforces with skilled workers at a time when they are both looking to increase production.

“In 2020, we went through a strong effort to prepare for what we knew was coming in the fall, a really significant scale-up and increased pace of production. And through that we almost industrialized the hiring process, . . . but I think something that was easier last year was the initial recruiting and identification of capable and qualified staff,” Paul Granadillo, senior vice president of global supply chain for Moderna, said.

Moderna, which is based in Cambridge, produces some of its COVID-19 vaccine at its manufacturing technology center in Norwood. The company opened the Norwood facility in July 2018 and this May announced plans to more than double its square footage in part to accommodate a 50 percent increase in the production of the COVID-19 vaccine expected late this year or early in 2022.

“So I would say that one of our most important topics is continued access to capable and qualified individuals, both for [good manufacturing practice] production as well as for quality control,” Granadillo said.

The situation is similar for Pfizer, which manufactures the mRNA substance used in its COVID-19 vaccine at a facility in Andover. Jon Tucker, Pfizer’s global supply site leader for Andover, said that building a talent pipeline through an apprenticeship program run by the Massachusetts Biotechnology Council’s sister group MassBioEd, through relationships with local universities and colleges, and more traditional recruitment methods has been a key priority.

FiercePharma used the "shortage" word to describe this, and of course I am naturally quite skeptical of this, i.e. in order to use the s-word, I think you need to demonstrate sustained wage increases over a long period of time (and ahead of inflation!) in order for me to really believe that. Nevertheless, it's interesting to note that both Pfizer and Moderna are experiencing some level of difficulty in picking up biopharma production workers in Massachusetts. 

Thursday, August 5, 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 28 new positions for July 31.

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

Wednesday, August 4, 2021

Water witches?

Via the New York Times, this weird article: 
Maybe I can get this guy to look for that lost yield
Credit: New York Times

CALISTOGA, Calif. — In a vineyard flanked by scorched hills and charcoal trees, Rob Thompson gripped two stainless steel rods, began rotating in a circle and counted under his breath.

Then he said he had found it — water, hundreds of feet beneath the parched ground.

“This is really good,” said Mr. Thompson, 53, scratching an ‘X’ into the ashen soil with his shoe. “This is a deep one: 750 feet, 55 to 60 gallons a minute.” He added, “This one I can feel.”

Mr. Thompson is a water witch.

He claims that he can locate streams of water in the fractures in the earth’s bedrock, using two L-shaped rods that together resemble an old-fashioned television antenna. Amid California’s extreme drought, just a two-hour drive north of the nation’s technology capital of Silicon Valley, the water-seeking services of a man relying on two three-foot rods and a hunch are in demand.

It's remarkable to me that people trust in these folks, but I guess there's no messing with tradition and gut instinct, and it sounds like water witches are a lot cheaper than a water geologist. Still seems like a bit of a waste of money. 

(You wonder if people would ever label themselves "chemical witches" and go wandering around laboratories with their steel rods, finding catalyst inhibitors, hard-to-identify impurities and missing yield?)

Tuesday, August 3, 2021

The 2022 Faculty Jobs List: 62 research/teaching positions and 1 teaching position

The 2022 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List (curated by Andrew Spaeth and myself) has 62 research/teaching positions and 1 teaching position. 

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

On August 4, 2020, the 2021 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List had 28 research/teaching position and 5 teaching positions. On August 6, 2019, the 2020 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List had 88 research/teaching positions and 1 teaching position.

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: 36 positions

The Academic Staff Jobs list has 36 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, August 2, 2021

NYT: Life sciences real estate is hot

Via the New York Times, good news for scientists:
But there is hope for anxious landlords: The life sciences industry, flush with cash from a record $70 billion of private and public capital investments in North America last year, is swooping in to claim that empty space.

Across the six largest U.S. life sciences markets, more than 20 percent of the laboratory spaces being built are conversions from offices. In San Francisco, Chicago, Boston and Raleigh, N.C., asking rents for lab space have increased more than 60 percent since the beginning of 2016, while office rents have crept up only 15 to 30 percent.

As it has across a number of industries, the pandemic accelerated a trend that was already in motion.

“It’s been a wild 15 months,” said Austin Barrett, head of the life sciences division for the advisory firm Savills. “The office market and the lab market are a tale of two cities right now.”

This can't last forever, but it's nice to see. Best wishes to all of us.  

C&EN: Texas and Germany plant accidents kill workers

From this week's C&EN, two articles (by Cheryl Hogue and Alex Scott): 
Two workers are dead and two remain hospitalized after a pipe with pressurized acetic acid burst July 27 at a LyondellBasell plant in La Porte, Texas.

First responders helped 31 surviving workers undergo decontamination, Harris County Fire Marshal Laurie L. Christensen told reporters shortly after the accident. LyondellBasell says 30 workers were transported to the hospital for medical evaluation. Of these, 28 had been treated and released as of late July 28.

Hours before the incident, workers shut down the acetyls unit at the plant for planned maintenance, LyondellBasell says in a statement. About 7:35 p.m., a cap burst on a pressurized line of acetic acid, forming a chemical vapor cloud, a spokesperson for the Harris County Pollution Control Services Department tells C&EN. The vaporized acetic acid caused most of the injuries, the spokesperson says.

The two workers killed at the scene were contract employees, LyondellBasell says. They are Dustin Don Day, 36, and Shawn Andrew Kuhleman, 32, according to the Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences.

The pressurized line spewed a mixture of acetic acid, catalyst, hydrogen iodide, and methyl iodide, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) says in an emailed statement. LyondellBasell says the accident released about 45,000 kg of this mixture, which consisted primarily of acetic acid...

Also, this bad news: 

Two employees were killed and 31 were injured after an explosion on Tuesday morning at Chempark’s chemical complex in Leverkusen, Germany. Five more people are missing. The complex is a major manufacturing hub for Bayer, Lanxess, and about 30 other companies.

The explosion occurred in a tank containing solvents in the complex’s waste-management center, which features a sewage system, a landfill, and an incinerator. Organic solvents are stored in containers at the center before being incinerated.

“The search for the missing is still going on at full speed. Unfortunately, the hope of finding them alive is dwindling,” Lars Friedrich, manager of the complex, says in a statement.

It is the worst chemical industry accident in Germany since 2016, when three maintenance workers died while working on pipelines at BASF’s site in Ludwigshafen. 

Terrible news. Be safe out there, everyone.