Research Assistant

Updated: 4 months ago
Location: Cardiff, WALES


Cardiff School of Biosciences



Research Assistant
Cardiff School of Biosciences

We are pleased to offer the position for a part-time Research Assistant, supporting the project entitled "exploiting oncolytic bacteria for early detection of solid tumours", funded by Cancer Research UK.

The successful candidate will be required to contribute to research focussing on the early detection of cancer, a degree in a relevant discipline will be required and substantial experience of working as a technician, with significant knowledge and evidence of research methods and techniques; to include molecular biology, animal husbandry, use of a range of laboratory equipment, tissue culture of mammalian cells, and western blotting.
This is a part time position of 17.5 hours per week (50% fte), fixed term from 1st June 2019 until 31st May 2022.

Possibility of an opportunity to undertake a MPhil position within the School.
Salary: £27,025 - £31,302 per annum, pro-rata (Grade 5).  Please note that it is not expected that we will appoint above grade 5.24, currently £27,830 per annum, pro-rata.

Important note: Interviews will be held week commencing Monday 10th June 2019.

Date advert posted: Wednesday, 8 May 2019

Closing date: Saturday, 25 May 2019

Please be aware that Cardiff University reserves the right to close this vacancy early should sufficient applications be received.

Cardiff University is committed to supporting and promoting equality and diversity and to creating an inclusive working environment. We believe this can be achieved through attracting, developing, and retaining a diverse range of staff from many different backgrounds who have the ambition to create a University which seeks to fulfil our social, cultural and economic obligation to Cardiff, Wales, and the world.  In supporting our employees to achieve a balance between their work and their personal lives, we will also consider proposals for flexible working or job share arrangements.

Job Description

We are seeking an excellent experienced research technician to provide comprehensive technical support to a Cancer Research UK funded project led by Dr Lee Parry at the European Cancer Stem Cell Research Institute, School Of Biosciences, Cardiff University.  The appointee will be required to contribute to research focussing on the early detection of cancer and carry out supporting work that helps lead to the publishing of research in high-quality journals.

Key duties

* To support 2 postdoctoral researchers and help drive an ambitious project aimed at using bacteria to improve detection rates of solid tumours.  

* Assist in the maintenance and use of in vivo mouse models and databases.

* Assist in collecting and processing samples via a clinical pipeline

* Contribute to the day-to-day running and management of the lab.

* Actively participate within the research group, acting as key point of contact for internal and external stakeholders, and contributing to outputs through publications and other recognised avenues as appropriate, ensuring information is communicated to internal and external partners

* Molecular biology, cell culture of primary murine and human cell systems, FACS assays and related activities.

* Processing of fixed tissues and analysis for cell specific markers.

* Quality assessment, optimisation and development of new protocols/workflows related to wet lab duties listed above.

* Following established guidelines train technical staff and students in technical procedures and in the use of equipment

* Set up experimental systems and research apparatus, assisting students and staff in the use and construction of equipment and apparatus and with tests and experiments

* Record and perform detailed analysis on data, including responsibility for maintaining databases

* Undertake reviews of technical processes and procedures, in collaboration with line management, and advise on options for improvement.

* Support the department in the implementation of new procedures and systems

* Keep precise records.

* Work efficiently and cooperatively with team members and colleagues.

* Actively participate within the research group, communicating and presenting research at meetings, through publications and other recognised avenues as appropriate, ensuring information is communicated to internal and external partners

* To contribute and support research publications and presentations as required

* To contribute and support research funding bids as required

* To resolve issues and support colleagues in devising procedures required to ensure accurate and timely reporting

* To provide support in research activities for undergraduate courses and research programmes and provide guidance to other members of staff within the research team.  To assist in the supervision of undergraduate students research projects.

* To maintain and update area of specialist knowledge, researching and critically appraising relevant literature within the area.

* To maintain a record of purchasing and to take responsibility for the attribution of purchases to the correct budgets and ensure that budget limits are not exceeded.


* To participate in School administration and activities to promote the School and its work to the wider University and the outside world
* To undergo personal and professional development that is appropriate to and which will enhance performance.
* To ensure that an understanding of the importance of confidentiality is applied when undertaking all duties
* To abide by the University policies on Health and Safety and Equality and Diversity
* Any other duties not included above, but consistent with the role.

Person Specification

Important note: It is the University’s policy to use the person specification as a key tool for short-listing. Candidates should evidence that they meet ALL of the essential criteria as well as, where relevant, the desirable. As part of the application process you will be asked to provide this evidence via a supporting statement.  Please ensure that the evidence you are providing corresponds with the numbered criteria outlined below. Your application will be considered based on the information you provide under each element.

When attaching the supporting statement to your application profile, please ensure that you name it with the vacancy reference number.

Essential Criteria

1. A degree in a relevant discipline and substantial experience of working as a technician, ideally evidenced by related qualification.

2. Significant knowledge and evidence of research methods and techniques; to include molecular biology, animal husbandry, use of a range of laboratory equipment, tissue culture of mammalian cells, western blotting; ideally evidenced through co-author publications

3. Proven ability to train technical staff in laboratory procedures and in the use of equipment and instruments.

4. Proven ability to work on own initiative, planning, organising and setting priorities for own work appropriately and to plan and manage small projects.  

5. Ability to set up and review standard technical processes and procedures and recommend improvements to the service provision as appropriate.

6. Excellent organisational and team-working skills and a high degree of computer literacy in use of standard packages to include Microsoft Office to maintain and analyse data.

7. Evidence of collaborative working and productivity and experience of supervising the work of others to focus team efforts and motivate individuals

8. Proven ability to demonstrate creativity, innovation and teamworking

9. Evidence of ability to solve problems using initiative and creativity; identify and propose practical solutions and to resolve problems where there are ranges of potential options available.

10. Previous experience supervising teams and/or managing projects within a scientific environment.

Desirable Criteria

1. Postgraduate degree at PhD level (or nearing completion / submission) in a related subject area or relevant industrial experience
2. Personal license for working with animals
3. Proven ability to work without close supervision
4. Proven ability to adapt to the changing requirements of the Higher Education community.

Additional Information

Cardiff School of Biosciences provides a dynamic and stimulating research and teaching environment with impressive modern facilities and high-calibre research-active staff. The School has a broad remit across the biomedical and life sciences including neuroscience, and has excellent impact for its research ( 8th equal in the UK in REF 2014). In the authoritative 2014 Annual World University Ranking (based on research strength and performance) compiled by Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Life Sciences at Cardiff University is in the top 100 worldwide. The School is a member of a number of Doctoral Training Partnerships and Programmes funded by BBSRC, NERC and Wellcome Trust.

The School of Biosciences has over 250 research-active members working in 4 research Divisions: Molecular Biosciences, Neurosciences, Organisms & Environment and Biomedicine. In addition, the School is closely involved in several University Research Institutes, particularly the European Cancer Stem Cell Research Institute, the Neuroscience and Mental Health Research Institute, the Water Research Institute (hosted within the School of Biosciences) and the Sustainable Places Research Institute. 

To support and facilitate its research, the School has established a series of research-driven Technology Hubs that provide access to expertise and equipment across key technology areas such as Genomics, Bioimaging, experimental MRI, Protein Technology, Single Cell Analysis, Small Molecules and Plant Technology (see ). The School also includes the Welsh Centre for Anatomical Education, providing cadaveric dissection facilities to train medical, dental and anatomy students.
The School of Biosciences is proud of the quality and range of its teaching programmes, and in 2016 around 420 undergraduates were admitted. In 2016, teaching was reorganised to align more closely with School research Divisions, with degrees in Biological Sciences, Biomedical Sciences, Biochemistry and Neuroscience being offered. At the same time, four year Integrated Masters degrees were initiated, the fourth year being spent predominantly on a research project. Alternatively, after year 2 students may opt to transfer to a more specialised exit degree: Biomedical Sciences (Anatomy), Biomedical Sciences (Physiology), Biological Sciences (Genetics) or Biological Sciences (Zoology), further reflecting the expertise of School staff.
Cardiff School of Biosciences became famous through the work of its former (and founding) Director, Professor Sir Martin Evans FRS, recognized by the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 2007 and its subsequent Director, Medical Research Council Professor Ole Petersen CBE FRS, who previously discovered intracellular calcium tunnels. The School’s research staff are recognized at the highest levels with two Fellows of The Royal Society and four Fellows of the Academy of Medical Sciences. The current Director is Professor Jim Murray FLSW MAE, who was appointed in May 2015, and works on cell cycle and growth in plants and the applications of firefly luciferase in diagnostics. In 2013/2014, members of staff in the Cardiff School of Biosciences obtained new research grant awards totalling a record £15.1 million.
In addition to a strongly supportive and collegiate team, the School is also committed to creating an inclusive environment in which academic staff can realise their full potential. In particular, the School of Biosciences holds an Athena SWAN Silver Award which recognizes its commitment to equality and the advancement of the careers of women in science.

Job Category

Academic - Research

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