Research Associate Environmental Analytical Chemist

Centre for Ecology & Hydrology

Lancaster, , GB

The NERC Research Associates’ Programme is an initiative which is intended to offer individuals the opportunity to gain practical experience of working within a Research Institute, whilst acquiring specialist and wider skills that will be valuable in a range of careers.

The programme is aimed particularly at those who have recently completed postgraduate studies, but is open to individuals from other backgrounds and of all ages. Individuals will work on highly topical research projects, both important for future research within the environmental research community and appropriate to their backgrounds. Research Associates are given specific, measurable objectives which will be intended to develop their skills as a researcher and to demonstrate their suitability for a research career.

CEH has a centralised laboratory with expertise in the analysis of environmental samples for organic and inorganic analytes and stable isotopes of carbon and nitrogen.  The analytical chemistry group supports the research conducted in almost all of the CEH science areas.

Main Duties

The role is for an analyst to conduct chemical analysis in environmental samples in a wide range of matrices from water to soils, biota, etc. Duties include sample preparation and analysis of nutrients, and organic compounds as well as method development initially the job will involve all aspects of the chemical analysis of environmental samples for the analysis of organic compounds using Gas Chromatography- Mass Spectrometry (GC-MS), such as old and new persistent organic pollutants OPs, phospholipid fatty acids pesticides, etc. You will also prepare and carry out analyses of nutrients, determination of physical properties (such as pH, conductivity), moisture content and loss on ignition and the operation of automated techniques: e.g. alkalinity, ion chromatography, automated colorimetry, carbon and nitrogen analyser and an elemental analyser. Furthermore, the analyst will also be involved in the preparation and analyses of organic compounds by Liquid Chromatography- Mass Spectrometry.

However, depending on the science needs you are expected to perform other type of chemical measurements, including metals and stable isotopes.

Responsibilities will also involve general maintenance and troubleshooting of instruments; maintaining a good laboratory environment; purchasing of general equipment and reagents. You will also be expected to work within the laboratory’s quality system and ISO 17025:2005.


  • A degree (2:1) in Environmental Chemistry and/or relevant experience
  • some relevant skills/experience in analytical experience and competence in organic chemical analysis is essential
  • experience and competence in the use of GC-MS is essential
  • experience of working in a laboratory accredited to ISO 17025:2005 will be beneficial, however full training will be given in the quality system and laboratory safety
  • able to work independently and manage own time effectively
  • effective IT skills
  • demonstrate flexibility and adaptability
  • communicate effectively with peers and more senior staff
  • scientifically numerate and with good mathematical skills
  • make active contributions and provide support to other team members
  • proven experience of producing high quality data.