• Location: Alderley Park, Cheshire
  • Salary: Competitive Salary

Based at Alderley Park, Medicines Discovery Catapult is a national facility connecting the UK community to accelerate innovative drug discovery. We provide unique scientific capabilities and act as a gateway to UK resources and expertise, supporting UK SMEs to drive the development and industrialisation of new approaches for the discovery of new medicines. 

By validating new ways of discovering medicines and driving key talent and expertise across the sector, we will support the UK life sciences industry, SMEs and innovators to deliver growth for the UK economy and maintain the UK’s heritage position as a global leader in medicines R&D. Ultimately, new industrialised technologies are vital for delivering new medicines to patients, faster. 

In March 2020 Medicines Discovery Catapult was tasked with the challenge of co-ordinating the creation of the UK’s Lighthouse Labs network and delivery of one of those labs, based at Alderley Park. The Lighthouse Labs are the biggest diagnostic lab project ever established in British history. 

Role purpose:

We are looking for an enthusiastic scientist or senior scientist to push the boundaries of drug discovery through innovation in informatics. We are seeking a highly motivated individual with a passion to help people and willingness to learn.  

The role entails working with a team of experts to establish novel pipelines in virtual screening and drug assessment and help to establish world-leading techniques that will speed up and enhance drug discovery in the UK; services which are critical to our SME and partner offerings.  

It is expected that you will have a background in chemistry, cheminformatics, or biochemistry, ideally with some experience in drug discovery. It is expected that you will continue to develop your skillset through research, application and reading, and bring this knowledge to MDC and our partners. You will have access to a large data-lake of both structured and unstructured resources and teams of experts in machine learning and software engineering who will support the development of code and methods. 

The successful candidate will be based at our office in Alderley Park, with the flexibility of remote working for part of the working week.

Main duties and responsibilities:

  • Design and deliver robust, high quality and novel solutions supporting tools and pipelines for new and existing services. 

  • Mine and iteratively improve internal and third-party datasets (structured and unstructured) for insights to solve research and collaborative problems. 

  • Support projects to enable delivery. 

  • Liaise with customers, business development, and other colleagues to define bespoke packages of work and proposals to support partnered research 

  • Using conventional cheminformatics and newer machine learning/artificial intelligence approaches to support drug design, lead discovery, candidate selection and related activities. 

Qualifications, experience and knowledge:


  • Degree (or PhD) in Computational Chemistry, Chemistry, Biochemistry, Pharmacy, Computer Science, or a related subject. 

  • An understanding of basic cheminformatics techniques, such as virtual screening, similarity searching, and computational representation of small molecules 

  • Knowledge of the principles of medicinal chemistry and a good understanding of chemical structure and reactivity. 

  • Excellent communication and presentation skills 

  • A willingness to learn and expand your knowledge base and skill set 

  • The ability to work well as part of a team and enough self-motivation to work independently as well. 


  • Demonstrated experience using cheminformatics toolkits, such as RDKit, KNIME or OpenBabel, to develop solutions to real world drug discovery problems. 

  • Good knowledge of drug action and pharmacology, with ability to rapidly analyse questions to propose the most appropriate cheminformatics solutions. 

  • Ideally experience in the application and development of machine learning/AI cheminformatics solutions. 

  • Knowledge or familiarity with Molecular Dynamics and/or Free Energy Calculations methodologies.  

  • Experience of public domain databases, such as PubMed, ChEMBL and PubChem. 

  • Experience in ligand-based and/or 3-D structure-based and/or de novo drug design approaches. 

  • Experience of working in a drug discovery environment developing and applying cheminformatics approaches (industrial experience is a bonus).  

  • Proficient in Python scripting (or equivalent), preferably experience in tools such as git, and in compiled languages, so as C, C++, etc. 

  • Experience of working in a networked Linux environment. 

  • Ideally experience in distributed computing technologies, such as Docker, Kubernetes, etc. 

  • Experience of working with relational and NoSQL databases. 


Closing Date: 29th April 2022

Supporting Documents