The Open University (OU)

Post-Doctoral Research Associate (VOCs), AstrobiologyOU

The Open University (OU)

Milton Keynes, United Kingdom

Post-Doctoral Research Associate (VOCs), AstrobiologyOU

Unit: Faculty of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM)
Salary: £33,797 to £40.322
Location: Milton Keynes
Please quote reference: 16917
Role: 30-month Fixed Term Contract (with the possibility of extension), Full Time
Closing Date: Monday 17th February at noon

Change your career, change lives
The Open University is the UK’s largest university, a world leader in flexible part-time education combining a mission to widen access to higher education with research excellence, transforming lives through education.

The role
You will be welcomed into AstrobiologyOU, an interdisciplinary research group investigating the feasibility of life beyond the Earth, and the associated social, legal and economic implications.

Your role within the group will be to investigate the production of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) in the sub-surface oceans of the icy moons Europa and Enceladus, under simulated and analogue conditions. This will involve using state-of-the-art simulation facilities at The Open University. These experiments will be used to identify VOCs that are produced uniquely by biotic activity and can be used as a bio-signature for life.

We wish to recruit a highly motivated and driven PDRA with a record of published research or evidence of forthcoming publications.

Skills and experience
You will have a PhD (completed or shortly obtained) in organic, atmospheric or environmental chemistry, microbiology or a related discipline that demonstrates experience of working with VOCs
See the attached Job Description (here) for further details and desirable qualities.

What you get in return
Benefits include a supportive and friendly working environment, 33 days holiday per annum pro rata plus Bank Holidays and Christmas closure days, and an attractive pension proposition.

How to apply
We are piloting an automated application tracking system (ATS), which will be used more widely imminently. All applications will now be completed online and there will be no need for you to complete an additional hard-copy of the application for employment form.
Access details for disabled applicants are available from the Resourcing Hub, telephone: 01908 655544, quoting the vacancy reference above.

To apply for this role please submit;
• CV
• Personal statement, no more than 2 sides of A4, providing examples of where your skills and experience meet the required competencies for this role as detailed in the job and person specification.

The above documents will need to be submitted as one attachment during the application process, please include the personal statement followed by the CV in this document.

To ensure your file is uploaded to our system correctly, please make sure your document is saved with the following file name as appropriate to the vacancy you are applying for: 16917, Surname, First Initial.

Please note that applications submitted without the Personal Statement will not be considered.
You will need to have your documents ready ahead of submitting the electronic application.

If you have any questions or for detailed information about how to apply go to or telephone: 01908 655544, quoting the reference above.
If you have any questions regarding the Group or the role, please contact Karen Olsson-Francis (

Please note: Shortlisting is expected to take place on week commencing 24th February. If you have not heard from us within 2 weeks of this date, please assume that on this occasion you have not been selected for interview, however we thank you for your interest in The Open University and encourage you to apply for future positions.

Closing date: Monday 17th February at noon

Interview Dates: Week Commencing 2nd March (subject to change)


A copy of the job description is available on the link located below.

We promote diversity in employment and welcome applications from all sections of the community

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