Research Technician - School of Biosciences

United Kingdom
£23,406 - £29,107
Jan 09, 2021
Feb 08, 2021
Organization Type
University and College
Full Time
Position Details

School of Biosciences

Location: University of Birmingham, Edgbaston, Birmingham UK

Full time starting salary is normally in the range £23,406 to £25,143, with potential progression once in post to £29,107.

Band 500

Full Time FTC up to 2 years

Closing date 3 January 2021


The School of Biosciences at the University of Birmingham is one of the UK's foremost schools for plant and microbial sciences. We are recruiting for a talented and motivated laboratory technician to join the newly established tree pathology group led by Professor Rob Jackson. This is a full-time post for 2 years, although there may be the opportunity for successful candidates to extend their role within the school at the end of this period, subject to external funding and performance.

Job Summary

The successful candidate will have a keen interest in research in the area of tree-microbe interactions and the desire to contribute to investigating factors affecting host range and evolution of tree pathogens. The post-holder will work closely with other lab members to generate lab resources, grow a range of plants and conduct experiments. Techniques routinely employed will be isolation of epiphytic and endophytic bacteria from trees, pathogenicity assays, immunity assays, DNA isolation, PCR, qPCR, gene deletions, molecular cloning of DNA into plasmids, conjugation, transformation, transduction, genome sequencing, evolutionary experiments, bacteriophage and prophage induction, and lysogeny assays. Plant assay experiments will be conducted in glasshouses, controlled environment facilities and in the field and will include bacterial inoculation and pathogenicity assays, fluorescence microscopy and epiphytic and endophytic growth assays. These experiments will produce large number of data, therefore, an organised approach to data curation is important. The successful candidate will be expected to assist with other projects within the group and other research groups. The candidate is expected to develop a strong understanding of the research area and conduct experiments independently after an initial training period. This post is ideal for someone looking to enrich their research experience and contribute as a co-author to scientific publications.

Main Duties

The responsibilities may include some but not all of the responsibilities outlined below:
  • To conduct high-quality research under the guidance of a postdoctoral research fellow within an active research group, working in the area of molecular microbiology.
  • To culture bacteria and fungi
  • To conduct conjugation, transformation, transduction, and cloning.
  • To conduct in planta and field experiments.
  • To assist others and/or perform own experiments utilising the lab's expertise in molecular experiments.
  • To engage in experimental planning, implementation and evaluation.
  • To maintain careful records of all experiments.
  • To communicate efficiently with all team members and the wider school community.

Other Duties -
  • In collaboration with the Laboratory Manager or supervisor the post holder will take an active role in the training and mentoring process for junior or newly appointed staff/students.
  • To actively engage in the Personal Development Process.
  • To contribute at a level appropriate with the grade, to internal and external audit procedures, and to regulatory inspections.
  • Assist Laboratory Managers in identifying and tracking items held on the University asset register.

General laboratory organisation, Research support and administration (10%)

The post holder will assist with the daily administration and organisation of the work area, and will be expected to:
  • Assisting with the general upkeep of group's laboratory area (including overseeing health and safety, ordering, attending to equipment repairs, plus other housekeeping matters as required).
  • Maintain and developing as necessary key laboratory databases (strain collections, plasmids, reagents, risk assessments etc.).
  • Assist where necessary with rapid and accurate archiving of incoming research materials.
  • Maintain stocks of laboratory consumables; this will involve ordering, assisting with preparation (including sterilisation where necessary) of reagents, collection of goods and materials from the College Stores and other areas, overseeing receipt and correct storage of consumables and materials.
  • Assist the research team with safe disposal of all types of waste through the correct channels
  • Assist the research team in ensuring that the laboratory facilities are maintained in a clean, functional and safe state, reporting any problems through the appropriate channels.
  • Ensure laboratory equipment is routinely maintained and fully-functional.

Health and Safety (10%)

General Workplace Health and Safety
  • Understand and comply with foundations of health and safety including responsibility for health and safety under the HASWA.
  • Understand and comply with risk assessment & control including COSHH assessments.
  • Complete risk assessment and implement controls including for COSHH.
  • Demonstrate appropriate use of personal protective equipment e.g. face mask, fume hood.
  • Understand and practice fire and electrical safety procedures in the workplace.
  • Understand and practice safe manual handling and repetitive activities, including DSE.
  • Understand Hazardous area classification & DSEAR regulations and how they apply within their area of responsibility.
  • Understand and comply with site and local emergency procedures.
  • Understand and comply with the University's safety policies and procedures.

Laboratory Safety & Housekeeping
  • Work safely in a laboratory and follow aseptic laboratory procedures where required.
  • Maintain excellent housekeeping.
  • Order and control stocks of laboratory materials where required.
  • Understand and follow risk assessments.
  • Understand and comply with laboratory health and safety and compliance with legal, regulatory, ethical requirements.

Environmental Management
  • Understand the management and control of laboratory waste.
  • Understand the handling and disposal of chemical substances.
  • Understand environmental risk assessments (impact assessment).

  • Understand and follow quality procedures to meet the requirements of quality standards relevant to their work.
  • Perform laboratory tasks following specified methodologies, such as Standard Operating Procedures.
  • Demonstrate technical competence in the use of specified instrumentation and laboratory equipment, including calibration where required.

Person Specification
  • A BSc or MSc in a Biosciences related subject.
  • Proven laboratory experience in Microbiology, Molecular Biology or Plant Pathology.
  • Knowledge of technical and scientific methods stated above and Good Laboratory Practice gained through extensive experience and formal qualification.
  • Positive attitude and courtesy in working with others.
  • Ability to organise and manage own work load and demonstrate flexibility in terms of work practices/requirements.
  • Ability to work independently but also function as part of a team.
  • Knowledge of current relevant H&S policies.
  • Proficiency in commonly used software packages.
  • Willingness to work towards professional registration.

Informal enquires to Rob Jackson, email:

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