LEAD AI postdoctoral research fellow position within organic synthesis and medicinal chemistry

Deadline: 21.05.2024

University of Bergen

The University of Bergen is a renowned educational and research institution, organised into seven faculties and approximately 54 institutes and academic centres. Campus is located in the centre of Bergen with university areas at Nygårdshøyden, Haukeland, Marineholmen, Møllendalsveien and Årstad. 

There are seven departments and several centres at Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences. Read more about the faculty and departments. 

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LEAD AI Postdoctoral Research Fellow position within organic synthesis and medicinal chemistry

At the Department of Chemistry, there is a vacancy for a postdoctoral research fellow position within organic synthesis and medicinal chemistry.The position is for a fixed term of 3 years and is associated with the project “Escaping the Combinatorial Explosion: Expert-Enhanced Heuristic Navigation of Chemical Space (eHACS)” funded by the Research Council of Norway via the Large-Scale Interdisciplinary Research Project program.

The position is open to an incoming candidate, see LEAD AI mobility rules.

About the project/work tasks

Development of new pharmaceuticals requires efficient navigation of the vast chemical space. This may be achieved via heuristic computational methods, also termed “de novo” design methods, which may optimize toward desirable drug candidates without having to explore the complete chemical space. Via an interdisciplinary approach that includes informatics, computational chemistry, organic synthesis, medicinal chemistry, computational biology, and biomedicine, the project team will develop radically new de novo molecular design methods and exploit these toward the discovery of inhibitors drug targets for cancer and antibiotics. Specifically, the team will develop methods that integrate expert knowledge early on, via machine-learning models and on-the-fly human intervention in the otherwise automated process. Through efficient design-synthesize-test cycles, we aim to arrive at highly potent inhibitors with properties that are favorable for further drug discovery efforts.

You will be responsible for the organic synthesis part of the eHACS project. This entails synthesizability evaluation, planning synthesis routes where flexibility will be an important element, and synthesis of small-molecule target compounds in addition to taking part in the design process. You will be tasked with developing new synthesis routes to identified target molecules and using these to produce compound libraries for further evaluation in various assays. We plan to make use of the department’s infrastructure for high-throughput experimentation (batch and flow) for optimization of synthesis steps (and routes), using machine learning in closed-loop optimizations.

The work tasks will be varied, and you will be given the opportunity to contribute to developing new solutions in a research environment focused on innovation. You will work at the interface between informatics, chemistry, and biology, and your dedication to the project will be key to achieve interdisciplinary communication and reach our research goals. Testing in biochemical assays will be carried out by other project members as well as external partners.

You are expected to co-supervise PhD- and MSc-students and participate actively in professional activities within the group and at the Department of Chemistry.

About the LEAD AI fellowship programme

LEAD AI is the University of Bergen's career and mobility fellowship program for training 19 postdoctoral fellows in artificial intelligence.

The program has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon Europe research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Grant Agreement No. 101126560.

The LEAD AI programme offers high-quality inter- and transdisciplinary research and training opportunities in the area of artificial intelligence supported by a dedicated supervision and mentoring, encouraging inter-sectoral exposure, in particular

  • academic freedom
  • benefits from knowledge and skills transfer between disciplines, organisations and sectors
  • structured, skill-based training
  • high-quality working conditions
  • personal career support
  • equal opportunities

For more information see the LEAD AI webpage or send an email to leadai@uib.no. 

Qualifications and personal qualities

  • Applicants must hold a Norwegian PhD or an equivalent degree within organic synthesis or medicinal chemistry. PhD-students may apply if defence of the PhD-thesis is completed by 30.06.2024. It is a condition of employment that the PhD degree has been awarded.
  • High competence and broad experience in organic synthesis is a requirement.
  • Experience within medicinal chemistry is a requirement.
  • Experience in molecular modelling / docking is an advantage.
  • Experience from multidisciplinary projects will be advantageous.
  • Applicants should have a genuine interest in AI, and the research proposal must be related to artificial intelligence.
  • Experience with AI-related research and/or innovation is an advantage.
  • Applicants must be able to work independently and in a structured manner and have the ability to cooperate with others. We are looking for someone that are curious and enthusiastic about their work, and that can contribute positively to an engaging and including work environment.
  • Applicants must have excellent skills in oral and written English (self-assessed in the CV and demonstrated in the application).
  • Applicants cannot previously have been employed as a postdoctoral fellow at UiB and they cannot be employed by any other institution for the time of the fellowship.
  • The LEAD AI mobility rules must be followed.
  • The application and relevant documents must be in English.

Personal and relational qualities will be emphasized. Research experience, ambitions and potential will also be considered during candidate evaluation.

Special requirements for the position

The University of Bergen is subjected to the regulation for export control system. The regulation will be applied in the processing of the applications. 

About the position of postdoctoral research fellow

The postdoctoral position is a fixed-term position with the primary objective of qualifying the appointee for work in top academic positions. If the appointee lacks teaching experience, or other relevant qualifications, the employment period may be increased. Teaching and other duties (pending additional funding from the department) will in such cases be added to the position. The position may be extended by up to one year (maximum 4 years in total) if the appointee is granted externally financed research stays abroad. Individuals may not be hired for more than one fixed-term period as a postdoctoral research fellow at the same institution.

For all LEAD AI fellows, a Personal Career Development Plan (PCDP) will be developed jointly by the fellow, supervisor, and co-supervisor by the end of Month 3 of the fellowship, including a plan for the individual research budget, and information on additional funding where applicable.

It is a requirement that the project is completed in the course of the period of employment.

We can offer

  • An engaged and professionally stimulating working environment.
  • position as postdoctoral fellow (code 1352 in the basic collective agreement) and a gross annual salary of NOK 615 700 (equivalent to pay grade 63) upon appointment. Further increases in salary are made according to length of service in the position. A higher salary may be considered for a particularly well-qualified applicant.
  • Welfare benefits* and social benefits including pension-saving in the Norwegian Public Service Pension Fund, occupational injury insurance, full salary during sick leave for 52 weeks, and paid parental leave**.
  • Extension of the position term (work contract) due to sick leave and parental leave.
  • Norwegian language courses free of charge.
  • High standards for working hours, holidays, place of work, health, and safety.
  • Access to specific training activities exclusively provided within the framework of the LEAD AI programme.

*) Subject to membership in the Norwegian National Insurance Scheme.

**) Right to paid parental leave requires 6 months paid work before first day of leave. See full requirements.

How to apply

Before starting the online application process, please familiarise yourself carefully with our application requirements in the Guide for Applicants and Application templates. It is essential that all required attachments (see next section) are uploaded via our electronic recruiting system JobbNorge. 

Before uploading any documents in the portal (to minimise repetition of information):

  • In the ‘JobbNorge-application field’: Only write your name.
  • In the ‘JobbNorge-CV form’: Only fill in your 1) personal details, 2) information about your PhD-degree (in the field ‘Academic qualifications’) and 3) recent relevant work experience. 
  • You do not need to fill in any other sections in the JobbNorge form, as all the information we need will be provided by you when attaching the mandatory elements listed in the next section.

Your application must include

  • A research proposal outlining how you would contribute towards the project/work tasks described above
  • A brief account of your motivation for applying for the position.
  • CV with list of any works of scientific nature (publication list)
  • Mobility declaration
  • Ethics and security issues: self-assessment form
  • An initial self-assessment of opportunities for mandatory and recommended open science practices.
  • Names and contact information for two referees. One of these should be the main PhD supervisor.
  • Letters of recommendation from the graduating university or previous employers are encouraged but not mandatory.
  • Transcripts and diplomas. If you have not yet completed your PhD degree, please submit a statement from your institution confirming the expected date of award of your degree. Your PhD degree must be documented with transcripts and/or diploma, alternatively a confirmation from your institution on completed degree, by 30.06.2024. 
  • Relevant certificates/references

The application and appendices with certified translations into English must be uploaded at JobbNorge.


We anticipate the whole evaluation procedure to take approximately 4 months from application deadline. Eligible applicants will be evaluated by three internationally renowned experts and assessed against criteria addressing excellence, impact, implementation, quality of the researcher and training, knowledge transfer. Details are stated in the Guide for applicants.

General information

For further details about the position, please contact:

  • Professor Bengt Erik Haug, Department of Chemistry, e-mail: bengt-erik.haug@uib.no, phone: +47 55 58 34 68

For HR related questions contact:

  • Adviser Anna Folgerø, e-mail: anna.folgero@uib.no

The state labour force shall reflect the diversity of Norwegian society to the greatest extent possible. Age and gender balance among employees is therefore a goal. People with immigrant backgrounds and people with disabilities are encouraged to apply for the position.

We encourage women to apply. If multiple applicants have approximately equivalent qualifications, the rules pertaining to moderate gender quotas shall apply.

The University of Bergen applies the principle of public access to information when recruiting staff for academic positions.

Information about applicants may be made public even if the applicant has asked not to be named on the list of persons who have applied. The applicant must be notified if the request to be omitted is not met.

Further information about our employment process can be found here.

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