|Credit: Augustin Peneau|
(got a View from Your Hood submission? Send it in (with a caption and preference for name/anonymity, please) at firstname.lastname@example.org; will run every other Friday.)
1. HELPING CHEMISTS FIND JOBS IN A TOUGH MARKET. 2. TOWARDS A QUANTITATIVE UNDERSTANDING OF THE QUALITY OF THE CHEMISTRY JOB MARKET.
|Credit: Augustin Peneau|
...Pfizer, the pharmaceutical manufacturer, highlights both the demands of the new economy and the shortfalls from the labor force.
At Pfizer’s 17 manufacturing sites across the country, a low-level technician once followed a set of scripted steps to mix individual batches of medicine. Those batches would be tested in a lab to ensure each dose would meet the company’s standards.
Today, a technician operates computers that mix and analyze new batches of medicine instantly. The technician who once just needed to follow a recipe now needs to know a little bit about chemistry, biology, data analysis and lab work.
“The technician role has become much more high tech, in that the operators are monitoring the online data and they are manipulating the control systems and making online decisions based on real-time data,” said Kevin Nepveux, Pfizer’s vice president of global manufacturing services. “That requires a different skill set for the operators.”Call me a perennial skeptic, but this sounds like baloney.
Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany is currently seeking a highly motivated and enthusiastic post-doctoral researcher with an extensive hands-on experience in multistep organic synthesis to join their Organic Photovoltaics (OPV) Chemistry Team in Southampton, Hampshire, United Kingdom.
Location: Merck Chemicals Ltd., Chilworth, Southampton, UK
Your primary role will be to carry out the design, synthesis, purification and analysis of new materials for commercial OPV applications. You will use your ability, experience and knowledge to develop novel materials and an in-depth understanding of the parameters controlling their performance and quality. You will work with a talented multi-disciplinary team of people, contribute to the generation of intellectual property and support product scale-up and introduction to customers.
The Regulatory Affairs Specialist I reports directly to the Manager of Global Regulatory Affairs. This position is responsible for assisting with the overall management of matters involving the company’s regulatory initiatives and regulatory compliance, specifically relating to new product development and existing products. Under the direction of the Manager, Global Regulatory Affairs, the Regulatory Affairs Specialist I will work with multiple relevant stakeholders such as the Legal Team, Quality Assurance, Marketing, Sales, and Research & Development to ensure product compliance.
The Regulatory Affairs Specialist I researches and provides updates on existing and future key legislation that could affect new and existing product line development to his/her manager for review. Additionally, this individual will be heavily involved in making a positive contribution to implementing key legislative changes including FSMA and SFCA (U.S. and Canadian Regulation Updates). Additionally, this role will be responsible for providing excellent customer service and maintaining positive business relationships with both internal and external customers and/or vendors.
EDUCATION & WORK REQUIREMENTS
U. Michigan, Ann Arbor: 59Of these, the top 5 schools (by volume) make 9.9% of the graduates.
U. California, Berkeley: 56
Purdue U., West Lafayette: 51
U. Wisconsin-Madison: 51
U. Illinois, Urbana-Champaign: 50
U. Florida: 49
Massachusetts Institute of Technology: 47
Northwestern U.: 41
U. Minnesota, Twin Cities: 41
Princeton U.: 41
U. California, Irvine: 39
The U.S. National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS) announced last month that it will no longer fund a predoctoral fellowship program that supported select chemistry students. NIGMS decided instead to put all of its predoctoral funding toward training grants, which support departments to provide funding and mentorship to large groups of students. The Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award Individual Predoctoral Fellowship, or F31, was one of few grants that chemistry students could apply for once they had already started their graduate research.
Most other grants, including NSF predoctoral fellowships, go to students before they enter graduate school. Marilyn Mackiewicz, now a research assistant professor at Portland State University, says she hadn’t known about the NSF fellowships when she applied to graduate school at Texas A&M University. “It’s kind of sad they are deciding to stop funding the grant,” she says. NIGMS started supporting F31 fellowships in 2015. It awarded around 85 fellowships each year; less than 20% went to chemists.Actually not that consequential to the total number of Ph.D. chemists (~2600 a year.) Still...
Wanted: Fluorochemical reference standards
When researchers discover a new chemical in the environment, they need a reference sample of known purity to do further research on the substance. Such reference standards are necessary to calculate concentrations of chemicals in environmental samples, conduct toxicology studies, or carry out environmental fate and transport testing.
But suppliers of chemical standards sometimes don’t have novel industrial chemicals, in particular those that are unintentional by-products of manufacturing processes. Researchers can measure the concentration of only some of the fluorochemicals in the Cape Fear River because they don’t have standards for comparison, says EPA scientist Mark Strynar.
Chemours supplied standards for the two Nafion by-products found in the Cape Fear River to Strynar in November. Strynar is seeking standards for perfluoro-3,5,7-trioxaoctanoic acid (PFO3OA), perfluoro-3,5-dioxahexanoic acid (PFO2HxA), and perfluoro-2-methoxyacetic acid (PFMOAA). “Those compounds need to be synthesized,” Strynar says. “Without that, our work is sort of at a standstill.”
“There’re people out there that can do that synthesis and they can make these available as chemicals for us to purchase,” Strynar says in a pitch to the chemistry community. “It doesn’t have to be 99.9% pure,” he says.
Strynar can be contacted at email@example.com.Gonna guess that Dr. Strynar could engage Apollo or Synquest for $20,000 or so, but what do I know?
|Credit: Dan Singleton|
1. The top schools do impressively but they are not the only path to get a faculty job. Over half come from places outside of the top 10.
2. The correlation with school reputation is loose.
3. There is an inverse correlation with football quality.
I expect that if we looked at graduate school institution, the distribution would be / less top heavy by a good margin. That is, a medium graduate school followed by a good postdoc is a perfectly fine path to a faculty position. This has been studied in the economics literature. It is better to be the best person at a lesser school than third best at Harvard.This is pretty unsurprising (especially the Pareto distribution of postdoctoral institutions.)
Any institution receiving grant monies from the US National Science Foundation (NSF) must now inform the agency if it finds that anyone funded by the grant proposal has committed sexual harassment. The policy will take effect after a 60-day public-comment period ends.
Until now, “we haven’t had a requirement on universities to report a [harassment] finding or when they’ve put someone on administrative leave” during a harassment investigation, says France Córdova, the NSF director. “We didn’t have the channel to find out what’s at the end of an investigation.”
The reporting requirement comes in the wake of numerous sexual-harassment scandals in the sciences. It is a rare move among US federal research agencies, which generally do not require grant recipients or their employers to disclose sexual-harassment allegations or findings.Why did this happen? Well, surely the current cultural moment has something to do with it. There's also this:
Like other federal agencies, the NSF is under pressure from the US Congress to strengthen its response to sexual harassment. In January, the House of Representatives’ science committee asked the Government Accountability Office to look into sexual harassment involving federally funded researchers at agencies including the NSF, NASA, the Department of Energy and the National Institutes of Health.I think this is instructive to those who are interested in getting funding agencies to pursue academic lab safety as a priority. While professional societies and universities have their place in suggesting voluntary guidelines for safety practices, there's nothing quite like Congressional pressure to move items from policy proposal to policy.
What's the job market like for chemists? Dude -- it's always bad.*
How bad is it? How the heck should I know? Quantifying the chemistry job market is what this blog is about. That, and helping chemists find jobs.
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(*For the literal-minded, this is a joke. Mostly.)