Thomas Swan & Co Ltd - Process Development Chemist - Undergraduate Placement

Durham (County)
£17,000 per annum
08 Mar 2017
20 Mar 2017
Contract Type
Industrial Placement
Full Time

About Thomas Swan & Co. Ltd

An established Speciality Chemicals Manufacture business, customers of Thomas Swan’s Custom Manufacture Division are able to scale up their products from the laboratory to commercial scale. These volumes can vary from several kilogrammes to multi tonnes). Thomas Swan's customers vary in size and operate in a range of different markets from multinational corporations to small companies. This exciting company provides this service as it reduces the risk for their customers in the scale-up of novel, multi-step synthetic chemistries. Thomas Swan have a wide range of assets that can be used to perform a range of different chemistries, having successfully performed 29 different chemistries at scale for its customers.
Thomas Swan has a number of processes that it operates routinely on behalf of its customers. These processes were provided by their customers and scaled up from laboratory to commercial scale by Thomas Swan. Whilst these processes operate within the criteria asked for by their customers, Thomas Swan have not optimised these processes. Whilst this was previously acceptable there is significant value to Thomas Swan and its customers in optimising these processes to increase yield, reduce waste and improve productivity. This will increase the sustainability of these processes and will benefit Thomas Swan, its customers and the environment.

Job Purpose

A novel process has been developed at Thomas Swan that performs a standard transformation in common use within the chemical industry. This environmentally sustainable process has been shown to give the transformation in high yield using cost-effective reagents without generating hazardous waste.

The principle objective of this placement would be to determine the scope and application of this chemistry with a range of substrates that demonstrates the value of the transformation to a number of different markets including catalysis, personal care and polymerisation. This work would consider the environmental and sustainability aspects of the transformation, quantifying these benefits in terms that can be easily communicated. This project will involve communication with various areas of the Thomas Swan business including Commercial, Operations, Quality, Regulatory and the wider R & D team. It may lead to interaction with potential customers also. This will give the student a great opportunity to learn about the Thomas Swan business. There will be opportunity to engage in training that would not be routinely available in a university environment including design of experiments, process safety evaluation and test method development. If successful, the student would be involved in the transfer of the chemistry from laboratory scale to commercial scale, contributing to key safety and hazard studies that are essential to safe and successful scale up.

There may be opportunities to work with local academics at either Durham or Newcastle universities. This would include the use of analytical services that are not available at Thomas Swan or potential consultancy services where further understanding of the chemistry would prove of value to Thomas Swan

Job Accountabilities

  • Application of a novel chemical transformation in a commercial environment.
  • Quantification of the value of the novel chemical transformation in terms of efficacy, breath of application, sustainability and environmental impact in comparison to the current methodologies presently in use to perform the same transformation
  • Process safety evaluation - collection and interpretation of the data
  • Safe scale up of the process from laboratory to commercial scale
  • Working with a range of people from different disciplines e.g. chemical engineers, regulatory affairs professionals where information will need to be communicated in a format that they can understand as non-chemists
  • Presentation and report writing skills

Relevant Disciplines

UNDERGRADUATES only: working towards an accredited only course in Chemistry.

See here for details:

Additional Information

Please ensure that you are willing and able to live within commutable distance of the company site before applying. This placement is located in County Durham. Members of Thomas Swan employees organise car share transport links from Newcastle and Durham.
Cogent Life Science Placements Service are managing the recruitment for this placement at our client's request, therefore we ask that applications are made through our website please.

“The Royal Society of Chemistry is the world's leading chemistry community, advancing excellence in the chemical sciences. With 51,000 members and a worldwide knowledge business that spans the globe, it is the UK's professional body for chemical scientists; a not-for-profit organisation with 170 years of history and an international vision for the future The Royal Society of Chemistry as part of its small companies programme, EnterprisePlus ( has granted a small number of companies funding to host a “year in industry” placement. Funding has been awarded in recognition of their ability to develop and mentor an undergraduate chemist and robustness of the project content and structure in terms of its scientific content and what you will learn. This year, Thomas Swan & Co. Ltd is a well-deserved recipient of this prestigious funding. It is expected that if you are successful in being selected for this role that you are a member of the Royal Society of Chemistry by the time you start the placement. Royal Society of Chemistry membership is just £19 and you can join online at:

Please note: only UNDERGRADUATES will be considered for this placement

Closing date: 20/03/17