Staff Scientist (Medicinal Chemistry)

University of Toronto -

Date Posted: 09/15/2023

Req ID:33969

Faculty/Division: Faculty of Arts & Science

Department: Acceleration Consortium

Campus: St. George (Downtown Toronto)

The Acceleration Consortium (AC) at the University of Toronto (U of T) is leading a transformative shift in scientific discovery that will accelerate technology development and commercialization. The AC is a global community of academia, industry, and government that leverages the power of artificial intelligence (AI), robotics, materials sciences, and high-throughput chemistry to create self-driving laboratories (SDLs), also called materials acceleration platforms (MAPs). These autonomous labs rapidly design materials and molecules needed for a sustainable, healthy, and resilient future, with applications ranging from renewable energy and consumer electronics to drugs. AC Staff Scientists will advance the field of AI-driven autonomous discovery and develop the materials and molecules required to address society’s largest challenges, such as climate change, water pollution, and future pandemics.

Hiring is occurring on a rolling intake. Please apply ASAP and do not wait for the listed job closing date.

The Acceleration Consortium received a $200M Canadian First Research Excellence Grant for seven years to develop self-driving labs for chemistry and materials, the largest ever grant to a Canadian University. This grant will provide the Acceleration Consortium with seven years of funding to execute its vision.

The AC is developing seven advanced SDLs. These include:
1. Inorganic solid-state materials

2. Organic small molecules for advanced materials

3. Drug discovery with chemical probes

4. Polymers for materials science and biological applications

5. Formulations for pharmaceuticals, consumer products, and coatings

6. Biocompatibility (organ-on-a-chip)

7. Synthetic scale-up of materials and molecules

This job posting is for a Staff Scientist position within SDL3: Medicinal Chemistry.

Expertise in one or more of the following areas is desired:
Medicinal chemistry / drug discovery with chemical probes

Protein biophysics / biochemistry

Mass spectrometry (including affinity selection-MS)

Controlled release properties and processes

Organic synthesis of medicinal compounds / drugs

AI / computational / automation expertise (an asset)

Machine learning in life sciences

Robotics and automation

High-throughput experimentation

The Staff Scientists will work with a diverse team of leading experts at the U of T and the University Hospital Network (UNH), including: Professors Cheryl Arrowsmith and Rob Batey.

We are hiring both Staff Scientists and Staff Research Scientists (limited term). While Staff Scientists are expected to have 5 years of post-PhD experience, individuals with a relevant Ph.D. and associated expertise can qualify for Staff Research Scientist (limited term).

The Staff Scientists involved in the AC are highly skilled and experienced researchers who will work independently to develop the AI and automation technologies required to build robust and scalable self-driving labs, manage these SDLs, and design and implement research programs (based on the direction of the AC’s scientific leadership team) that leverage the SDL platforms to discover materials and molecules. Moreover, the Staff Scientists will work collectively, sharing knowledge among each other, faculty, and trainees. This role will report to the Academic Director and Executive Director of the Acceleration Consortium.

The components and duties of the work can include:
SDL and Automation Development

Working with the AC community, including faculty and partners, to determine the required capabilities of the SDLs to be built. Developing the plans for SDLs that will meet user requirements and designing novel instruments for automated material synthesis and characterization. Developing customized hardware and Python software packages to build SDLs. Selection, procurement, and installation of the equipment required for SDLs.

Research Direction

Develop research programs that leverage the AC’s SDLs and support the research objectives of AC faculty and industry partners. Using SDLs to synthesize and characterize large quantities of candidate molecules, calibrating theoretical models with experimental data, predicting promising candidates with computational tools and machine learning algorithms, and elucidating structure-property relationships of emerging molecules, polymers, solid-state materials, formulations, etc.

Tasks include:
Implementing research and development projects of AC’s industry partners when implemented in AC labs.

Developing plans that support research collaborations and planning and estimating financial resources required for programs and/or projects.

Working with Product Managers to ensure research outcomes meet partner requirements.

Promoting AC’s research capacity, including delivering presentations at conferences.

Collaboration in the preparation and submission of research proposals to granting agencies and progress reporting.

Preparing manuscripts for submission to peer-reviewed publications/journals and stewarding them through the process.


Supporting consulting services related to the application of SDLs for materials discovery for the AC’s partners.

Support research-focused events such as Annual Symposium

The University of Toronto is strongly committed to diversity within its community and especially welcomes applications from racialized persons / persons of colour, women, Indigenous / Aboriginal People of North America, persons with disabilities, LGBTQ persons, and others who may contribute to the further diversification of ideas.

Education – Ph.D. in life sciences, chemistry, or related discipline


5 to 10 years of experience (inclusive of PhD and/or post-graduate work) in accelerated research and development with demonstrated academic and research excellence.

Experience working with industry partners and on industry lead research and development projects.

Expert knowledge of AI and automation and experience with the development of Self-driving Laboratories.

Experience presenting research at academic conferences.


Strong in communicating effectively and efficiently in oral and written English

Collegial in working with team members and collaborators

Ability to work independently


Must have a strong publication record

Demonstrated success in the writing and preparation of manuscripts, presentations, reports, briefs, and scientific abstracts and manuscripts for peer-reviewed journals.

Closing Date: 12/31/2023, 11:59PM ET

Employee Group: Research Associate

Appointment Type: Grant – Continuing

Schedule: Full-Time

Pay Scale Group & Hiring Zone: 55K – 150K (salary will be assessed based on skills and experience)

Job Category: Research Administration & Teaching

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