NMR Spectroscopist

Last updated 6 hours ago
Job Type:Full Time


Salisbury, South West, SP4 0JQ

About the job


The Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) delivers high-impact science for the UK's defence, security and prosperity. In order to do this, we need self-motivated people who can apply their skills to ensure we are at the forefront of science. We work in niche areas which are sensitive in nature, operationally-critical to the UK and internationally recognised in importance. Dstl’s Chemical, Biological and Radiological (CBR) Division is looking for an NMR Spectroscopist to work within its growing Chemical and Biological Analysis and Attribution Capability (CBAAC).

The successful candidate will work within the Analytical Chemistry Team where they will be part of a highly skilled and motivated team of scientists, working collaboratively to grow and mature the capability. We are looking for an experienced NMR Spectroscopist to assume responsibility for maintaining three spectrometers and their work output. To develop expertise in wider magnetic resonance field, including solid state NMR and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), to use this knowledge and experience to support a wide range of projects central to UK defence and priorities of other government departments (OGDs).

Job description

In this role you will:
  • Provide timely technical support and advice to laboratory based research, analysis and evaluation of novel methodologies to help advise customer decision-making.
  • Develop technical project proposals and provide technical leadership, including planning, experimental design, carrying out, developing and reporting on projects to customers.
  • Guide the strategic direction of the NMR capability and grow this capability by bidding for and delivering novel research.
  • Seek opportunities to maximise utilisation of the Dstl NMR capabilities outside of the CBR Division.
  • Network with specialists internal and external to Dstl to seek out developments in related technical areas and use these networks to boost innovation and seek opportunities for collaborative working.
  • Provide clear and precise briefs, both written and verbally, on project outcomes to support science and technology decisions for Dstl and its customers.
  • Work with the Quality Team to prepare for the annual UKAS surveillance visits.
  • Meet all appropriate health and safety legislation and standards.
  • Handle and/or prepare samples, some of which have extreme pharmacological properties.
  • Perform routine up keep of the spectrometers i.e. cryogen filling and instrument troubleshooting.

Job Dimensions

The Analytical Chemistry (AC) team currently consists of 30 staff managed by 2 Team Leaders. The expertise within the team includes Lab Assistants, Lab Technicians, Analytical Chemists, Senior Analytical Chemists, Principal Analytical Chemists and a Technical Leadership team. You will be part of the AC team providing NMR support to a wide range of projects which includes, equipment acquisition, research programmes and operational response. The NMR facility at Dstl utilises three spectrometers: a 600 MHz machine (with cryogenically cooled probe); a 400 MHz machine for traditional work with liquids and a 400 MHz wide bore machine equipped for solid-state and MRI.


We are looking for someone who has:
  • An in-depth working knowledge of experimental NMR, able to prepare samples, set up and execute experiments, interpret and communicate the results.
  • Ability to keep abreast of current advances in NMR technology and apply them to solve key UK defence requirements.
  • A desire to provide technical/scientific leadership and expertise in NMR spectroscopy to grow the capability to support projects across Dstl.
  • The ability to maintain current NMR spectrometers and provide a quality NMR service for a number of teams across the CBR Division.
  • Proven ability to teach NMR spectroscopy to junior colleagues.

Technical Skills

  • A BSc degree in a chemistry related subject.
  • Postgraduate (or equivalent industrial) experience in NMR.

  • Proven publication record in scientific literature.


  • Understanding of the experimental and theoretical background to NMR spectroscopy.
  • Ability to quickly interpret NMR spectra and identify follow-on experiments to confirm your interpretation.
  • Ability to communicate NMR results to Dstl colleagues and a variety of internal and internal customers and stakeholders.
  • Proactive and takes ownership for delivery.
  • Flexible approach and ability to deliver at pace.
  • Proven ability to work well in a team

  • Familiarity with Bruker NMR hardware and software.
  • Leading and influencing a team.


  • Practical experience in small molecule solution state NMR spectroscopy.
  • A good understanding of the principles of NMR spectroscopy and of NMR hardware and software, together with knowledge of modern NMR techniques and applications to chemical analysis.
  • Experience in supervising or training more junior staff.

  • Practical experience in solid state NMR and/or MRI spectroscopy.
  • Experience of working within a quality system.
  • Experience in handling Acute Toxicity Category 1 materials.

Membership of a relevant scientific body (e.g. Royal Society of Chemistry or Chartered Society of Forensic Science) is desirable.

Important Information

This role will require full UK security clearance and you should have resided in the UK for the past 5 years. For some Developed Vetting will also be required, in this case you should have resided in the UK for the past 10 years.

Our work in defence, security and intelligence requires our employees to be British Citizens who are able to gain a high level of security clearance to understand the work you will undertake to protect us from any security threats. For this reason, we regret that only UK Nationals will be able to apply for this role. If you are an international or dual-national candidate, and you think you have the skills we need, please consider applying to any of our government, security or defence partners across the enterprise. We work closely with the Defence and Security Industry on many projects, so it would be great to work with you via one of our partners


  • A BSc degree in a chemistry related subject.
  • Postgraduate (or equivalent industrial) experience in NMR.


We'll assess you against these behaviours during the selection process:

  • Leadership
  • Developing Self and Others
  • Delivering at Pace
  • Communicating and Influencing

Technical skills

We'll assess you against these technical skills during the selection process:

  • Technical leadership and the ability to work well in a team is fundamental in undertaking this role. Please give examples (no more than three) of where you have demonstrated your leadership skills and teamworking ability
  • This role will require troubleshooting skills to overcome technical problems. Please give two examples of when you have used initiative and problem solving skills
  • Please detail what interests you in the role and how you believe you meet the knowledge, skills and experience requirements


We'll provide a great range of benefits including;
  • Fully flexible working, including alternative working patterns, annualised hours, compressed hours and job share, to name a few.
  • Flexible Working hours, a 12 month reference period and the ability to bank hours. Up to 20 hours can be taken in any calendar month
  • Excellent learning and development to ensure everyone fulfils their potential.
  • Maternity, adoption or shared parental leave of up to 26 weeks full pay followed by 13 weeks statutory pay and a further 13 weeks unpaid, and paternity leave of 2 weeks full pay.
  • Chartership and accreditation support.
  • Pension.
  • Generous annual leave, with the ability to buy and sell up to 5 days holiday per year.
  • A competitive salary.
  • Onsite gyms and restaurants.
  • Staff discounts for high street and online shopping, restaurants and days out.

Our Diversity Networks

Dstl recognises the importance of diversity and inclusion as people from diverse backgrounds bring fresh ideas. We are committed to building an inclusive working environment in which each employee fulfils their potential and maximises their contribution. We have a number of support networks to ensure all employees feel supported at work.

These include the following;
- Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Network
- Faith and Culture Network
- Parents and Carer Support Network
- Alternative Working Network
- Gender Equality Network
- New Starters Network
- Enabled Network, for people with visible and non-visible disabilities.

For further information about Dstl please check out our LinkedIn page

Things you need to know


Successful candidates must pass a disclosure and barring security check.
Successful candidates must meet the security requirements before they can be appointed. The level of security needed is security check.
People working with government assets must complete basic personnel security standard checks.

Selection process details

This vacancy is using Success Profiles, and will assess your Behaviours, Experience and Technical skills.
We want you to have your best chance of success in our recruitment process, so If at any stage you would like help or assistance please contact the Dstl Recruitment Team dstlrecruitment@dstl.gov.uk and we will do all we can to support you.

We offer a guaranteed interview scheme for all disabled applicants who provide evidence in their application of meeting the minimum essential requirements of the post, set out in the job description. You will be asked to indicate if you are applying under this scheme when you submit your application.

We will assess applications as they are submitted and the sift will be completed by 2nd December. This will assess your answers to the Technical Skills questions and how your CV matches the requirements for the role as detailed in the attached job description.

Interviews will be held on 14th and 15th December 2020 and will consist of a combined technical and behavioural interview assessing your skills and experience in relation to the job description.

Due to the current situation interviews are likely to be held via video link and full details will be sent to you should you be invited to an interview.

Feedback will only be provided if you attend an interview or assessment.

Nationality requirements

Open to UK nationals only.

This job is not open to candidates who hold a dual nationality.

Working for the Civil Service

The Civil Service Code sets out the standards of behaviour expected of civil servants.

We recruit by merit on the basis of fair and open competition, as outlined in the Civil Service Commission's recruitment principles.
The Civil Service embraces diversity and promotes equal opportunities. As such, we run a Disability Confident Scheme (DCS) for candidates with disabilities who meet the minimum selection criteria.

Apply and further information

Once this job has closed, the job advert will no longer be available. You may want to save a copy for your records.

Contact point for applicants

Job contact :Name : DSTL RecruitmentEmail : DSTLRECRUITMENT@dstl.gov.uk Recruitment team :Email : dstlrecruitment@dstl.gov.uk

Further information

Should you wish to raise a formal complaint about the Dstl recruitment process you should email dstlrecruitment@dstl.gov.uk stating the nature of the issue. We will respond within 5 working days.

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