Careers at Virginia Tech

Postdoctoral Associate

Apply now Job no: 516329
Work type: Research Faculty
Senior management: College of Science
Department: Chemistry
Location: Blacksburg Area
Categories: Research / Scientific

Job Description

The Departments of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University invites applications for the position of Postdoctoral Scholar in catalysis, under the directions of Professors John Morris and Ayman Karim. The selected candidate will conduct research on catalysis for oxidation of small molecules on supported small metal clusters and single atoms. The work is focused on investigating the reaction mechanism through controlled catalyst synthesis, kinetic measurements and characterization using multiple in-situ techniques including calorimetry, infrared spectroscopy, ultrahigh vacuum-based surface science methods, and x-ray absorption spectroscopy. In addition to independent experimental studies, there will be opportunities to train and to mentor graduate students within the Karim and Morris research laboratories. The researcher in this position will have discretion and freedom to pursue research goals with routine consultation, but limited supervision. This appointee will perform all aspects of research and development in the area of assignment; will plan, propose, and conduct agreed upon research projects requiring independent evaluation, selection, and the use or adaptation/modification of standard techniques and procedures; will devise new approaches to problems, will plan, conduct and report on their work; will perform conventional and complex techniques; and will apply nontraditional approaches and higher levels of problem solving for research. Demands of this position will include knowledge of the area of study and a working knowledge of principles and practices of an appropriate specialty.

This appointee is to perform assignments according to the following criteria:

• Apply the principles of the field
• Conduct standard and nonstandard research tasks/projects
• Record data and recognize inconsistencies or problems
• Supervise lower-rank personnel
• Prepare professional presentations, professional reports, and publications

Specific technical duties will include:
1) Investigate the reaction mechanism for oxidation of small molecules in defined states, through controlled catalyst synthesis, kinetic measurements.
2) Characterization using multiple in-situ techniques including calorimetry, infrared spectroscopy, ultrahigh vacuum-based surface science methods, and x-ray absorption spectroscopy.
3) Routine maintenance of various laboratory equipment, including but not limited to the following, vacuum chambers, mass spectrometers, optical spectrometers, and calorimeters.

Required Qualifications

• Recent PhD in Chemistry, Chemical Engineering, or appropriate related field. PhD must be awarded no more than four years prior to the effective date of appointment with a minimum of one year eligibility remaining.
• Experience in catalysis, infrared spectroscopy, surface analytical methods, and kinetic measurements
• Strong work habits and the ability to work independently as well as with a research group.
• Strong communication skills.

Preferred Qualifications

• Knowledge of calorimetry and XAFS
• Evidence of developing publications based on research.
• Creativity, independence, and high motivation.
• Ability to establish and maintain effective working relationships with all levels of personnel in the organization.

Appointment Type


Review Date

June 23, 2021

Additional Information

The successful Candidate will be required to have a criminal conviction check

About Virginia Tech

Dedicated to its motto, Ut Prosim (That I May Serve), Virginia Tech pushes the boundaries of knowledge by taking a hands-on, transdisciplinary approach to preparing scholars to be leaders and problem-solvers. A comprehensive land-grant institution that enhances the quality of life in Virginia and throughout the world, Virginia Tech is an inclusive community dedicated to knowledge, discovery, and creativity. The university offers more than 280 majors to a diverse enrollment of more than 36,000 undergraduate, graduate, and professional students in eight undergraduate colleges, a school of medicine, a veterinary medicine college, Graduate School, and Honors College. The university has a significant presence across Virginia, including the Innovation Campus in Northern Virginia; the Health Sciences and Technology Campus in Roanoke; sites in Newport News and Richmond; and numerous Extension offices and research centers. A leading global research institution, Virginia Tech conducts more than $500 million in research annually.

Virginia Tech does not discriminate against employees, students, or applicants on the basis of age, color, disability, sex (including pregnancy), gender, gender identity, gender expression, genetic information, national origin, political affiliation, race, religion, sexual orientation, or veteran status, or otherwise discriminate against employees or applicants who inquire about, discuss, or disclose their compensation or the compensation of other employees or applicants, or on any other basis protected by law.

If you are an individual with a disability and desire an accommodation, please contact Brandi Webb at during regular business hours at least 10 business days prior to the event.

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