Research Scientist – Chemistry Research & Innovation – NATA 2168

Medical Research Council

View Vacancy — Research Scientist – Chemistry Research & Innovation – NATA 2168
Open Date
02/06/2023, 09:00
Close Date
10/06/2023, 23:55


The Medical Research Council (MRC), as part of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), has invested a £30m over 4 years through the Strategic Priorities Fund to establish a nucleic acid therapy accelerator (NATA) that will support state-of-the-art interdisciplinary research to solve critical issues in nucleic acid drug development, through focused NATA research challenges and a NATA infrastructure hub.

The NATA ( will focus on building internal chemistry, biology and operational capabilities at the hub while catalysing collaborative R&D activity to tackle significant barriers facing oligonucleotide therapy manufacturing and delivery. This investment will support capacity building in terms of equipment, upskilling and domain expertise that will be essential in developing critical mass to catalyse and de-risk the development of next-generation nucleic acid therapeutics.

UK Research and Innovation is a new entity that brings together nine partners to create an independent organisation with a strong voice for research and innovation, more information can be found at

MRC – 4

Harwell Campus, Oxfordshire

£32,005 – £40,769 per annum (depending on skill and experience)



Full Time

This is an exciting role in a dynamic and growing interdisciplinary team at the NATA Hub developing new therapeutic oligonucleotides for various translational and collaborative projects. The Research Scientist will be a key member of the NATA Chemistry Team supporting the design synthesis and development of new and novel therapeutic oligonucleotides for various translational and collaborative projects. In addition, the Research Scientist will design and implement processes and workflows for nucleic acid synthesis, purification, and scale-up. The successful candidate will both work independently and be part of project teams.

Main Responsibilities

  • Designing and executing complex oligonucleotide synthetic routes in a proactive, efficient and creative manner.
  • Synthesising, purifying, and analysing novel nucleosides, phorpshoramidites and oligonucleotides including implementing new techniques and methods.
  • Recognise opportunities for the creation of intellectual property and cooperate in patent protection and exploitation
  • Managing chemistry laboratory resources efficiently and troubleshooting procedures.
  • Conducting quality control and preparing data sheets.
  • Keeping excellent scientific records and implementing databases.
  • Presenting work internally, externally and contributing to lab meetings.
  • Maintaining an up to date and deep understanding of relevant literature.

Other Responsibilities

  • Support quality control duties when necessary
  • Attend relevant meetings and conferences.
  • Undertake any necessary training that contributes to the development of the main responsibilities.

Essential selection criteria

  • PhD degree (or near to completion) in synthetic organic chemistry or related discipline.
  • Extensive experience of working in a chemistry lab (academia or industry) conducting sensitive reactions (anhydrous and inert atmosphere).
  • Experience with purification techniques like reverse phase, normal phase, HPLC and ion-exchange chromatography.
  • Experience in characterization techniques such as LC-MS, NMR etc (including data analysis and interpretation).
  • Computer Literacy; should be familiar with chemistry software like Chemdraw and Mestrenova and search tools like Scifinder.
  • Experience in establishing, optimising and adopting operating procedures.
  • Good communication skills, team-player, organized, eye for detail & willingness to learn.
  • Ability to communicate scientifically, capable of critical thinking.

Desirable selection criteria

  • Experience in the synthesis of nucleoside and phosphoramidites
  • Experience in solid support synthesis or working with an oligonucleotide synthesizer.
  • Interdisciplinary interests with an emphasis on biology
  • Experience in large data set analysis and database management.

Equality & Diversity:

The MRC values the diverse skills and experience of its employees and is committed to achieving equality of treatment for all.  Our objectives are that all individuals shall have equal opportunities for employment and advancement on the basis of their skills, aptitudes and abilities.  The MRC is committed to the engagement and retention of the best possible talent and to creating an environment that encourages excellence in scientific research through good equality and diversity leadership and management. 

Corporate/Local Responsibilities & Requirements:

The post-holder must at all times carry out their responsibilities with due regard to the MRC’s:

  • Code of Conduct
  • Equality and Diversity policy
  • Health and Safety policy
  • Data Protection and Security policy

Job descriptions should be reviewed on a regular basis and at the annual appraisal.  Any changes should be made and agreed between the post-holder and their manager.

The above lists are not exhaustive and the post-holder is required to undertake such duties as may reasonably be requested within the scope of the post.  All employees are required to act professionally, cooperatively and flexibly in line with the requirements of the post and the MRC.

The post-holder will be required to have the appropriate level of security screening/vetting required for the role.  UKRI reserves the right to run or re-run security clearance as required during the course of employment.

The MRC is a great place to work and progress your career, be it in scientific research or the support functions.The MRC is a unique working environment where our researchers are rewarded by world class innovation and collaboration opportunities that the MRC name brings. The MRC is an excellent place to develop yourself further and a range of training & development opportunities will be available to you, including professional registration with the Science Council.
Choosing to come to work at the MRC (part of UKRI) means that you will have access to a whole host of benefits from a defined benefit pension scheme and excellent holiday entitlement to access to employee shopping/travel discounts and salary sacrifice cycle to work scheme, as well as the chance to put the MRC and UKRI on your CV in the future.
Our success is dependent upon our ability to embrace diversity and draw on the skills, understanding and experience of all our people. We welcome applications from all sections of the community irrespective of gender, race, ethnic or national origin, religion or belief, sexual orientation, disability or age. As “Disability Confident” employers, we guarantee to interview all applicants with disabilities who meet the minimum criteria for the vacancy.
UKRI supports research in areas that include animal health, agriculture and food security, and bioscience for health which includes research on animals, genetic modification and stem cell research. Whilst you may not have direct involvement in this type of research, you should consider whether this conflicts with your personal values or beliefs.
We will conduct a full and comprehensive pre-employment check as an essential part of the recruitment process on all individuals that are offered a position with UKRI. This will include a security check and an extreme organisations affiliation check.  The role holder will be required to have the appropriate level of security screening/vetting required for the role.  UKRI reserves the right to run or re-run security clearance as required during the course of employment.

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