Postdoctoral Research Associate in Plant Development and Physiology

Updated: 3 months ago
Location: Durham, ENGLAND

Postdoctoral Research Associate in Plant Development and Physiology (
Job Number:
Department of Biosciences
Grade 7: - £35,333 - £42,155 per annum
Fixed Term - Full Time
Contracted Hours per Week: 35
Closing Date
: 21-Nov-2022, 6:59:00 PM 

Durham University

 Durham University is one of the world's top universities with strengths across the Arts and Humanities, Sciences and Social Sciences. We are home to some of the most talented scholars and researchers from around the world who are tackling global issues and making a difference to people's lives. The University sits in a beautiful historic city where it shares ownership of a UNESCO World Heritage Site with Durham Cathedral, the greatest Romanesque building in Western Europe. A collegiate University, Durham recruits outstanding students from across the world and offers an unmatched wider student experience. Less than 3 hours north of London, and an hour and a half south of Edinburgh, County Durham is a region steeped in history and natural beauty. The Durham Dales, including the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, are home to breathtaking scenery and attractions. Durham offers an excellent choice of city, suburban and rural residential locations. The University provides a range of benefits including pension and childcare benefits and the University’s Relocation Manager can assist with potential schooling requirements .Durham University seeks to promote and maintain an inclusive and supportive environment for work and study that assists all members of our University community to reach their full potential. Diversity brings strength and we welcome applications from across the international, national and regional communities that we work with and serve.

The Department

The Department of Biosciences is composed of academic staff and research fellows with research and teaching interests that span the broad spectrum of the Biosciences. The Department studies biology from the smallest to the largest scales; from the structures and functions of biological molecules, through to cells, tissues and organisms and to the entire global ecosystem. The interests of academic staff include all types of living organisms, from bacteria, through the plant and animal kingdoms, to human health and disease.

The Role

Applications are invited for a Postdoctoral Research Associate in Plant Developmental Biology and Physiology, with a particular emphasis on stem development in barley. The research project, funded by BBSRC, is led by Dr Peter Etchells in collaboration Prof Wendy Harwood at the John Innes Centre, Prof Lisa-Marie Shillito at the University of Newcastle, and Prof Robert Baxter at Durham University. The aim is to determine the function of receptor kinases in cambium morphology using a combination of genetics, plant tissue culture and transformation, X-ray CT imaging, and plant physiology approaches.

The successful applicant will be expected to lead the project with the supervisors and take responsibility for all aspects of the laboratory programme:


  • To contribute to fostering a collegial and respectful working environment which is inclusive and welcoming and where everyone is treated fairly with dignity and respect.
  • To conduct individual and collaborative research projects under the direction of the Principal and Co-Investigators.
  • To deal with problems that may affect the achievement of research objectives and deadlines by discussing with the Principal Investigator or Grant-holder and offering creative or innovative solutions.
  • To plan and manage own research activity, research resources in collaboration with others and contribute to the planning of research projects.
  • To publish high quality outputs, including papers for submission to peer reviewed journals and papers for presentation at conferences and workshops under the direction of the Principal and Co-Investigators.
  • To understand and convey material of a specialist or highly technical nature to the team or group of people through presentations and discussions that leads to the presentation of research papers in conferences and publications.
  • To prepare and deliver presentations on research outputs/activities to audiences which may include: research sponsors, academic and non-academic audiences.
  • To assist with the development of research objectives and proposals.
  • To keep accurate records of data and materials produced during the project.
  • To engage in wider citizenship to support the department and wider discipline.
  • To engage in continuing professional development by participation in the undergraduate or postgraduate teaching programmes or by membership of departmental committees, etc. and by attending relevant training and development courses.   
  • To work with the Principal Investigator or Grant-holder and other colleagues in the research group, as appropriate, to identify areas for research, develop new research methods and extend the research portfolio.
  • To liaise with research colleagues and make internal and external contacts to develop knowledge and understanding to form relationships for future research collaboration.
  • To deliver training in research techniques/approaches to peers, visitors and students as appropriate.
  • To be involved in student supervision, as appropriate, and assist with the assessment of the knowledge of students.

This post is fixed term for a period of 36 months - the funding is available for this fixed period only.

The post-holder is employed to work on research/a research project which will be led by another colleague. Whilst this means that the post-holder will not be carrying out independent research in his/her own right, the expectation is that they will contribute to the advancement of the project, through the development of their own research ideas/adaptation and development of research protocols.

 Successful applicants will, ideally, be in post by the first quarter of 2023  

 How to Apply

For informal enquiries please contact [Dr Peter Etchells (  All enquiries will be treated in the strictest confidence. 

We prefer to receive applications online via the Durham University Vacancies Site. As part of the application process, you should provide details of 3 (preferably academic/research) referees and the details of your current line manager so that we may seek an employment reference.

 Applications are particularly welcome from women and black and minority ethnic candidates, who are under-represented in academic posts in the University .

 What to Submit

 All applicants are asked to submit: 

A CV and covering letter which details your experience, strengths and potential in the requirements set out above;  

Next Steps

 The assessment for the post will include a research presentation and interview. Shortlisted candidates will be invited for interview and assessment in December.





The Requirements
  • Qualifications
    • A good first degree in biological sciences
    • A PhD (post examination) in Plant Biology, Developmental Biology, or a related subject.
  • Experience
    • Experience in conducting high quality academic research.
    • Demonstrable ability to write material of a quality commensurate with publication in highly-ranked journals.
    • Experience in plant biology and/or molecular biology methodologies.
    • Experience in plant genetics and/or plant imaging methodologies.
  • Skills
    • Demonstrable ability to work cooperatively as part of a team, including participating in research meetings.
    • Ability to manage time effectively, work independently on own initiative and to strict deadlines.
    • Excellent interpersonal and communication skills.
    • Willingness to travel to and work in collaborators laboratories for extended periods.

  • Experience
    • Experience in plant tissue culture.
    • Experience of working in collaborations.
    • Experience in working with arable crops.
    • Experience with plant molecular biology.
    • Experience in image analysis.

    DBS Requirement: Not Applicable.
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