Glasshouse Technician - Life and Environmental Sciences - 96672 - Band 500

University of Birmingham
Birmingham, United Kingdom
£23,406.00 - £29,107.00
Apr 11, 2021
Apr 14, 2021
Organization Type
University and College
Full Time
Position Details

College of Life and Environmental Sciences

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 - Fixed Term Contract upto 3 years

Closing date - 31st January 2021


The College of Life and Environmental Sciences uses a multi-disciplinary approach to address the fundamental challenges in our modern society. The College's Birmingham Environmental Research Suite combines a unique array of state-of-the-art facilities that integrate experts working in biology, ecology, plant, water and atmospheric sciences to enable new research directions in climate change and food security. The newly constructed Glasshouse facility forms a key part of this collaborative initiative. Located on the Edgbaston campus, the Glasshouse facility will provide an on-campus link to the Free-Air Carbon Dioxide Enrichment (FACE) experiment with the Birmingham Institute of Forest Research (BIFoR).

The facility has the capability to perform experiments with controlled atmospheric carbon dioxide and containment level 2 pathogens in a safe controlled environment, accelerating studies on food crops and the valuable natural capital that is our forests. The Glasshouse also aims to engage the local community, public bodies and businesses to raise awareness and promote responsible innovation in agriculture and forest sectors.

Job Summary

This is an exciting opportunity to locally manage and maintain the daily operations of the specialised state-of-the-art Glasshouse facility for the containment and growth of a variety of plant and tree species. You will support academic staff and students in experimental set-up, maintenance, manipulation and collection of experimental data. You will be responsible for reporting any building infrastructure issues through the proper channels, managing the BMS system which will monitor the atmospheric controls of each compartment and ensure the stability of research projects being conducted.

You will also be responsible for the safe operation and security of the unit on a day-to-day basis and ensure risk assessments are in place, safety checks are up to date, equipment is inspected, and work closely with the facilities manager in liaising with Estates, H&S unit, and other stakeholders. The post holder will be College based and will be expected to provide at least 0.2FTE to supporting the School of Biosciences in some of its operational requirements.

Main Duties - (70%)

The post may include some but not all of the outlined responsibilities below:
  • Responsible for local management and maintenance of the Glasshouse.
  • Routine preparation and propagation of tree and plant species for genomic and other research studies, using wide range of techniques and protocols and following relevant standard operating procedures.
  • Use Building Management Systems to set and monitor experimental conditions.
  • Advise on optimum conditions for particular projects and plant/tree species and support trouble-shooting.
  • Responsible for ensuring the Animal & Plant Health Agency (APHA) authorisation conditions and Health and Safety Executive (HSE) regulations regarding genetically modified materials and plant pathogens are observed in the facility.
  • Responsible for the safe disposal of infected and genetically manipulated plant materials and contaminated waste (including drainage waters).
  • Ensure any risk assessments/COSHH forms are checked and approved before work begins.
  • Provide operational support to the School of Biosciences of at least 0.2FTE, particularly for H&S compliance, auditing purposes, and other operational requirements.

Other duties
  • Retain records of grant expenditure and submit monthly journals to the facility manager.
  • Actively engage in the Personal Development Process.
  • Contribute at a level appropriate with the grade, to internal and external audit procedures, and to regulatory inspections.
  • Assist in identifying and tracking items held on the University asset register.

General laboratory organisation, research support and administration (20%)

The post holder will assist with the daily administration and organisation of the Glasshouse, and be expected to:
  • Assist with the general upkeep of the Glasshouse (including overseeing health and safety, ordering of required consumables/reagents, attending to equipment repairs, plus other housekeeping matters as required).
  • Maintain and develop as necessary key databases using University-approved software packages (e.g. plant and tree species in stock, records of experimental set-ups, reagents and consumables in stock, risk assessments and other related health and safety paperwork 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 academic staff and students with safe disposal of all types of waste through the correct channels.
  • Ensure that the facilities are maintained in a clean, functional and safe state, reporting any problems through the appropriate channels.
  • Ensure all 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, gloves.
  • 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 the glasshouse 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 and genetically modified 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.

Knowledge, Skills, Qualifications and Experience Required
  • A degree in a Biosciences or horticulture related subject.
  • Extensive relevant experience, degree or equivalent professional qualification in an appropriate subject.
  • GCSE (A*- C) or equivalent in mathematics.
  • Previous practical experience with routine plant/tree husbandry would be an advantage as would working knowledge of plant/tree propagation, plant/tree production and maintenance in a glasshouse environment.
  • Extensive experience of similar laboratory-based work in class II containment facilities.
  • Positive service attitude and demonstration of courtesy in dealing with others.
  • Ability to organise and manage own work load, be dependable and demonstrate flexibility in terms of work practices/requirements.
  • Ability to work under minimal supervision independently but function as part of a team.
  • Knowledge of good laboratory working practices and current relevant H&S policies.
  • Proficiency in commonly used software packages, including Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint.
  • Willingness to work towards professional registration.
  • Some manual handling will be required, particularly in relation to gas cylinder replacement, collection of delivered goods, waste disposal and autoclaving process.

Informal enquires to Emma Monaghan

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