Further Particulars
This document includes information about the role for which you are applying and the
information you will need to provide with the application.
1. Role details
Vacancy reference:
Job title:
Marie Curie Early Stage Research Fellow
Reports to:
Principle Investigator
£30,122 plus allowances
Terms and conditions:
Research Staff
Duration of post:
36 months
Working hours:
Full Time
Milton Keynes
Closing date:
3 January 2012
Type of application form accepted:
Number of referees required:
Unit recruitment contact:
Fiona McGavin
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2. Summary of duties
This appointment offers the opportunity to work in the field of threat agent detection as part of
the Marie Curie Initial Training Network (ITN) Proton Ionisation Molecular Mass Spectrometry
(PIMMS) funded by the European Commission.
PIMMS is a multidisciplinary and intersectoral analytical chemistry ITN with the objective to
train 15 Early Stage Researchers (ESR) within a collaborative academic and commercial
challenging analytical research network involving 12 full-partners and four associate partners,
and with the aim of delivering research through five interlinking themes: Fundamental
Research and Development; Food Sciences, Environmental Sciences, Health Sciences, and
Homeland Security. The research training is focused on the conduct of internationally leading
analytical research projects which, whilst centred upon the development and adoption of
Proton Transfer Reaction Mass Spectrometry (PTR-MS) as an analytical tool, will provide
training across a wide variety of analytical technologies that are complementary to PTR-MS,
thereby providing a broad interdisciplinary and intersectoral experience in analytical chemistry.
The main objective of the project at The Open University is to develop PIMMS as an analytical
tool and to exploit PTR-MS in health sciences and environmental studies.
This role encompasses developing the PTR-MS technique for its use in the analysis of
medically important volatile organic compounds (VOCs) by investigating their reactions with
hydronium ions in both PTR-MS and SIFT-MS. The project will look at fundamental reactions
of hydronium ions and will then use this in medical applications of breath and urine
analysis for disease monitoring and diagnosis.
The successful candidate will register for a PhD with The Open University and will have the
opportunity to undertake training and experiments at other sites within the EU Training
All staff are expected:
to undertake any other duties which may reasonably be required
to take reasonable care of the Health and Safety of themselves and that of any other
who may be affected by your acts or omissions at work.
to demonstrate a strong commitment to the principles and practice of equality and diversity
3. Person specification
Essential Criteria
An excellent Master’s degree in the fields of analytical chemistry, chemical physics,
biomedical sciences or a related area. It is required that the degree has been
acquired not more than 4 years earlier to the envisaged starting date of this
Good knowledge of English as you will be expected to submit project reports in
Must have spent less than 12 months living in the UK during the three years prior to
the start of this appointment – please see next section for more detail
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4. Role specific requirements e.g. Shift working
The appointment is offered in the context of a Marie Curie Initial Training Network and
transnational mobility is a key element of eligibility. Therefore candidates’ eligibility for the
post is determined by Marie Curie terms and conditions. Researchers may be either EU
citizens or from outside the EU (subject to relevant immigration formalities), but
applications will only be accepted from candidates who have spent less than 12
months in the UK within the last three years from the start date of employment.
Furthermore, candidates who will have already completed a PhD by the start date of
employment are not eligible.
The funding for this fellowship covers the monthly salary for three years and other allowances
in line with FP7- PEOPLE-2011-ITN. The total fellowship monetary award is approximately
€46,000 per annum. In addition, the successful candidate will receive an annual allowance of
approximately €11,000 for mobility. Both the annual salary and mobility amounts quoted are
the gross amount and will be subject to appropriate tax and national insurance deductions. For
more information: http://ec.europa.eu/research/fp7/understanding/mariecurieinbrief/home_en.html.
5. About the unit/department
Faculty of Science
The Faculty has a staff of about 300, comprising of around 115 academic staff (central
and regional/national) with the balance made up of research staff, curriculum managers,
laboratory staff, administrators and clerical staff. There are also varying numbers of
research students and visiting academic staff.
The Faculty has three departments, each with constituent discipline groups:
Department of Environment, Earth and Ecosystems
 Earth Sciences
 Ecosystems and Biodiversity
Department of Life, Health and Chemical Sciences
 Brain & Behavioural Sciences
 Cell & Molecular Biology
 Chemistry & Analytical Sciences
 Human Biology
Department of Physical Sciences
 Astronomy
 Physics
 Planetary & Space Sciences
The Faculty has developed an extensive range of modules using the Open University's
supported open learning teaching model. These modules contribute to a number of
qualifications such as the BSc (Hons) Natural Sciences and the more general BSc
(Open) degree. In addition, the Faculty supports a number of diplomas and certificates
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including interdisciplinary offerings with other faculties. Students can choose to study
any of our modules and qualifications at their own pace and are supported by tutors,
study advisers and on-line conferences. There are optional face to face tutorials for
some modules, but many of our modules are accessible entirely online and it is possible
to complete the whole Natural Sciences BSc degree in this way. This level of
accessibility means that the Faculty supports a large proportion of all the part-time
undergraduate degree studies undertaken in the UK.
In addition to our degree level programmes, the Faculty offers an innovative range of
Science Short Courses that are designed to provide a taster of Level 1 study for those
new to undergraduate study.
The Faculty also offers a Master's postgraduate degree programme with several taught
degrees including the first UK MSc to be accredited by the Council of Graduate Schools
as a Professional Science Master's.
The launch of a new suite of modules in Practical Science (S288) in February 2012
sees an exciting opportunity for engaging in practical science through online
environments and laboratory and field-based activities. The five modules reflect each of
the five major disciplines: chemistry and analysis (SXC288); environmental science
(SXE288); earth and environment (SXG288); biology and health (SXL288) and physics
and astronomy (SXP288). Two promotional videos outlining these new modules are
available to view - S288 Practical Science.
Research & Enterprise
The Faculty of Science undertakes a range of research across many scientific topics,
bringing together traditional scientific disciplines and new interdisciplinary areas through
two major research groupings:
Centre for Earth, Planetary, Space and Astronomical Research (CEPSAR)
Environmental Change (Past, Present and Future)
Natural Hazards
Planetary Geosciences
Geochemistry and Cosmochemistry
Solar System Exploration
Biomedical Research Network
Biomolecular Damage
Cell Biology
Disease and Diagnostics
Our research encompasses a wide range from 'blue skies' to applied research finding
solutions to specific scientific and technological problems.
These research activities are supported by world class laboratory facilities and
instrumentation and provide opportunities for full time PhD research studentships
supported by our own academics and post doctoral research fellows.
There are about 48,000 students studying our undergraduate and postgraduate science
modules, mainly based in the UK, but increasing numbers are studying online globally.
There are also several hundred PhD research students studying full time in our
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laboratories at our campus in Milton Keynes or part time at partner institutions or
affiliated research centres.
We have over 4500 square metres of state-of-the-art research laboratories with major
research facilities that include:
A recently opened facility for interdisciplinary research in ecosystems and
One of Europe’s leading centres for isotope mass spectrometry including
extensive radiogenic, noble gas and stable isotope mass spectrometry facilities
and a new £3 million microbeam facility, including a Cameca Nanosims ion
imaging system and dual beam FIB-SEM
Ultraclean spacecraft instrument testing and assembly, and for handling
planetary materials and returned extraterrestrial samples
A state-of-the-art life sciences research facility including biological containment
laboratories, molecular genetics and DNA-sequencing laboratories
Environmental and transmission electron microscopy
Hypervelocity Impact laboratory
Well equipped laboratories for research in atomic, molecular and plasma
Employers, Science, Technology, Engineering, Entrepreneurship, Mathematics
eSTEeM is an initiative to bring together academics within Science and the
Faculty of Maths, Computing and Technology to develop new approaches to
teaching and learning. This centre builds on existing collaborations developed
within the Centres for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CETLs) based at the
OU and with other Faculties, aiming to embed new approaches around priority
areas such as e-assessment, online experimentation, etc.
Further information on the Faculty can be found on our website at
Department of Life, Health & Chemical Sciences
Head of Department: Dr Hilary MacQueen
The Department is made up of 44 academics who undertake teaching, research and
scholarship across a wide range of scientific and pedagogic areas. In addition, there are
currently 5 post-doctoral researchers and 19 full-time research students. The
Department comprises four constituent discipline groups: Brain & Behavioural Sciences,
Cell & Molecular Biology, Chemistry & Analytical Sciences and Human Biology.
Our Teaching
The Department of Life, Health and Chemical Sciences presents a large number of
modules that contribute to the BSc Natural Sciences, the BSc Health Sciences, and
various Certificates and Diplomas. We also offer all four of the Faculty of Science’s
Foundation degrees, and we are at the forefront of employer engagement within the
university. We present all the 15-credit Long-Term Conditions modules, and many
of the Science Short Modules (10 credits each). We also contribute to several
modules at Masters level, in the MSc qualifications in Science, Science and
Society, Professional Science, Medicinal Chemistry, Medical Physics and
At postgraduate level, the Department runs a full PhD research degree programme
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with students supported by the BBSRC, MRC, charities (such as Research into
Ageing and The Migraine Trust) and The Open University.
Members of the Department have made many pedagogic innovations, particularly
relating to the on-line delivery of practical science and work-based learning, and its
Our Research
Members of the Department conduct research within all three of the Faculty’s major
research centres, CEPSAR, BRN and eSTEeM. Our research teams comprise
biologists, chemists, physicists and psychologists who contribute to a vibrant and
interdisciplinary research community. The available laboratory facilities include
molecular genetics laboratories, cell and tissue culture suites with time-lapse
imaging capabilities, electron, confocal and atomic force microscopes, histology and
morphometric laboratories and a radiation suite which houses a cell harvester, beta
scintillation and gamma counters. We have an impressive range of GC/LC-MS and
liquid chromatography instruments, a range of spectroscopy instruments, and an Xray diffraction facility. We also have a whole-organism facility.
Department members offer a range of specialist skills and expertise across the life,
health and chemical sciences. We are keen to involve external partners in our
research through their involvement in collaborative research projects, sponsored
PhD studentships and contract research projects. Much of our research is based on
very successful collaborations with other universities and institutes and with
industry, both nationally and internationally. Recent research funding in the
Department has come from, amongst others, the BBSRC, EU Framework 6&7,
World Cancer Research Fund, Wellcome Trust, Leverhulme Trust, Multiple
Sclerosis Society, MRC, the Royal Society, NAAR/Autism Speaks, Research into
Ageing and NIMH. Our industrial research partners include Regen, Cyclacel Ltd,
Human Factors International, Eusa Pharma (Europe) Ltd, Hill Group Aggregate,
Entec UK Ltd, Charles Church, Black & Veatch, TAP, Dow-Corning, BP and
Our Outreach
Members of the Department of Life, Health and Chemical Sciences were in the
vanguard of developing health education in sub-Saharan Africa through the HEAT
project: http://www8.open.ac.uk/africa/heat/
The Department has strong links in this part of the world and elsewhere, and we are
developing a number of opportunities for collaborative teaching and research
projects. Closer to home we have many links with schools and communities across
the UK. We have also benefited enormously from our long-standing relationship
with the BBC, which enables us to disseminate our teaching and research.
6. How to obtain more information about the role or application process
If you would like to discuss the particulars of this role before making an application please
contact Dr Claire Turner on +44 (0)1908 652881 or email [email protected]
If you have any questions regarding the application process please contact Fiona McGavin on
+44 (0)1908 858110 or email [email protected]
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7. The application process and where to send completed applications
Your application should include:
Completed short application form
Cover letter
Please ensure that your application reaches the University by: 3 January 2013
E-mail it to [email protected] or post it to:
Name/Job title:
Fiona McGavin, Recruitment Co-ordinator
Department/Unit: Faculty of Science
The Open University
Walton Hall
Milton Keynes
Post Code:
8. Selection process and date of interview
The interview panel will be chaired by Professor Nigel Mason. The other members of the
interview panel will include Dr Claire Turner. The interview date will be advised.
We will let you know as soon as possible after the closing date whether you have been
shortlisted for interview. Further details on the selection process will also be sent to
shortlisted candidates.
Applications received after the closing date will not be accepted.
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