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Staff Scientist - AI, automation, materials and moleucles discovery

Acceleration Consortium University of Toronto
Toronto (City), Ontario (CA)
Staff Scientists $120,000 to $150,000 | Senior Staff Scientists $150,000-$180,000 with benfits
Closing date
Jun 17, 2023

The Acceleration Consortium (AC) is leading a transformative shift in scientific discovery, accelerating technology development and commercialization.  The Consortium is a coalition of entrepreneurs, technology companies, and leading researchers from top universities.  It leveraging the power of artificial intelligence (AI), robotics, materials sciences, and high-throughput quantum chemistry to create Self-driving Laboratories (SDL), also called Materials Acceleration Platforms.  These autonomous laboratories will rapidly design high-performance materials and molecules, with applications ranging from renewable energy and consumer electronics to drugs.  AC Staff Scientists will advance the state-of-the-art in AI-driven autonomous discovery and develop the materials and molecules required to address society's largest challenges, such as climate change.

The AC is developing seven advanced SDLs.  These include:
1) Inorganic solid-state materials
2) Organic small molecules for advanced material
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), and
7) Synthetic scale-up of materials and molecules.  
We are hiring staff scientists to develop the hardware and software needs for each of these SDLs and to conduct research programs levering these labs for materials and molecule discovery.
The Staff Scientists involved in the AC are highly skilled and experienced researchers who will work independently to develop AI and automation technologies.  They are 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.
Senior Staff Scientists will lead the AC research enterprise and set objectives and directions for a subgroup of Staff Scientists.  These positions involve a significant degree of autonomy and latitude on how to achieve the ambitious goals of the AC. We seek individuals with diverse backgrounds and expertise to support developing Self-Driving Labs and materials discovery.  The background of the team hired will cover the following topics. 

Staff Scientist posting: 

Senior Staff Scientist Posting:

Candidates that have experience in several or as many of the areas below will be prioritized:

Artificial Intelligence / Automation
•    Machine Learning for Molecules and Materials
•    Physical, theoretical and/or computational chemistry
•    Robotics
•    Experimental planning and design/optimal control  
•    Programming and high-performance computing
•    Cheminformatics
Automated Chemical Synthesis and Characterization

•    High-throughput materials synthesis and processing (polymers, inorganic and organic molecules (including lipids))
•    Nanomaterial synthesis and characterization
•    Polymer physics  
•    Structural, electrochemical, and microstructural characterization of materials and molecules
•    Screening electrocatalytic conversion
•    Analytical chemistry and separation method development
•    Chemical reactions and analytics
•    GLP formulation skills
•    Electrochemistry
•    Organic synthesis methodology development
Drug Discovery / Medicinal Chemistry
•    Medicinal chemistry
•    Protein biophysics/biochemistry
•    Mass spectrometry
•    Controlled release properties and processes
Organ on a chip / Organoid
•    Pluripotent stem cell differentiation
•    Molecular biology
•    Toxicology pharmacology

The components and duties of the work include:

1.    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 SDL plans to meet user requirements and designing novel instruments for automated material synthesis and characterization.  Developing customized hardware and Python software packages to build SDLs.  Selecting, procurement, and installation of the equipment required for SDLs.
2.    Facility Management and Operations
Working with the Chemistry, Facilities and Operations department, and AC research staff to ensure the AC labs are fully operational.

•    Overseeing the activity of the laboratory technicians servicing the labs
•    Supporting the selection, procurement, and installation of equipment
•    Managing laboratory budgets
•    Scheduling and coordinating lab access
3.    Research Direction
Working as a co-investigator, in partnership with the Principal Investigator, independent management, development, and execution of 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.
•    Managing the research and development projects of AC's industry partners when implemented in AC labs.
•    Developing plans supporting research collaborations and estimating financial resources required for programs and/or projects.
•    Supervising the work of Staff Scientists, Software Engineers, Research Associates, and Post-doctoral Fellows.
•    Working with Product Managers to ensure research outcomes meet partner requirements.
•    Monitoring and reporting on relevant research activity to the Academic Director and Executive Director.
•    Promoting AC's research capacity, including delivering presentations at conferences.
•    Collaborating in preparing and submitting research proposals to granting agencies and progress reporting.
•    Preparing manuscripts for submission to peer review publications/journals and stewarding them through the process.
4.    Other
•    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. It 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 chemistry, materials science, life sciences, physics, engineering, robotics, computer science, or related discipline
•    Five (5)  years of experience in research and development, preferably with significant experience in Physical, Material, Medicinal, and/or Analytical Artificial Intelligence for Chemistry, Materials or Drug Discovery.
•    Experience working closely with a Principal Investigator or as a Principal Investigator or as Project Director with responsibilities of managing, developing and executing a major research project
•    Strong experience and expert knowledge of AI and automation.
•    Experience with the development of Self-driving Laboratories and overseeing the activities of a lab
•    Experience working with industry partners and on industry lead research and development projects
•    Strong experience presenting research at academic conferences
•    Experience managing research staff.
•    Experience managing a laboratory budget and procuring equipment
•    Must have a strong scholarly publication record
•    Strong in communicating effectively and efficiently in oral and written English
•    Collegial in working with team members and collaborators;
•    Ability to work independently
•    Demonstrated success in writing and preparing manuscripts, presentations, reports, briefs, and scientific abstracts and manuscripts for peer-reviewed journals.
Appointment Type: Grant - Continuing
Schedule: Full-Time
Pay Scale Group & Hiring Zone: 
Staff Scientist $120,000 to a $150,000 | Senior Staff $150,000, to a maximum salary of $180,000

Diversity Statement
The University of Toronto embraces Diversity and is building a culture of belonging that increases our capacity to effectively address and serve the interests of our global community. We strongly encourage applications from Indigenous Peoples, Black and racialized persons, women, persons with disabilities, and people of diverse sexual and gender identities. We value applicants who have demonstrated a commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion and recognize that diverse perspectives, experiences, and expertise are essential to strengthening our academic mission.


As part of your application, you will be asked to complete a brief Diversity Survey. This survey is voluntary. Any information directly related to you is confidential and cannot be accessed by search committees or human resources staff. Results will be aggregated for institutional planning purposes. For more information, please see


Accessibility Statement
The University strives to be an equitable and inclusive community, and proactively seeks to increase diversity among its community members. Our values regarding equity and diversity are linked with our unwavering commitment to excellence in the pursuit of our academic mission.


The University is committed to the principles of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA). As such, we strive to make our recruitment, assessment and selection processes as accessible as possible and provide accommodations as required for applicants with disabilities.

If you require any accommodations at any point during the application and hiring process, please contact


Email the Acceleration Consortium for additional information


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