Research Technician - School of Biosciences

Updated: 2 months ago
Location: United Kingdom,
Job Type: FullTime
Deadline: 29 Nov 2020

School of Biosciences, 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

FTC for 12 months

Closing date: 29th November 2020

The School of Biosciences at the University of Birmingham is one of the UK’s foremost schools for plant sciences. We are recruiting for a talented and motivated laboratory technician to join the wheat genomics and genetics group led by Dr Philippa Borrill. This is a full-time post for 1 year, although there may be the opportunity for successful candidates to extend their role at the end of this period, subject to performance.

The successful candidate will have a strong interest in research in the area of plant genetics and genomics and the desire to contribute to investigating gene expression in wheat. The post-holder will work closely with other lab members to conduct experiments, generate lab resources and grow a range of plants. The post-holder should be familiar with a wide range of molecular biology techniques and will be expected to work independently using their own skill and judgement to solve problems within their area of expertise. The successful candidate will be expected to assist with other projects within the group, therefore an organised approach to lab work and data management is required. This post is ideal for someone looking to enrich their research experience and contribute as a co-author to scientific publications. In addition to performing key experiments associated with the project, the post-holder will also be responsible for general maintenance and day to running of Dr Borrill’s laboratory area (including attending to equipment repairs, maintaining a regular supply of basic lab essentials), production of COSHH forms and the performance of other tasks as required, including supervision and training of students.

Main Duties

The post-holder will be required to undertake a diverse range of specialist molecular techniques, to carry out plant husbandry including sowing seeds and harvesting tissues, to work without supervision, be able to identify and resolve the majority of problems independently and as part of the wider research group help in the development of new experimental protocols.

  • Conduct high-quality research under the guidance of Dr Philippa Borrill and a postdoctoral research fellow
  • Molecular analysis of plant material including DNA/RNA isolation, PCR genotyping and DNA sequence analysis
  • Design and carry out molecular DNA cloning into plasmids
  • Synthesise plant proteins using cell-free systems
  • Prepare next-generation sequencing libraries
  • Carry out wet-lab procedures for DNA affinity purification sequencing (DAP-seq)
  • Growth and maintenance of wheat plants for tissue harvesting
  • Keep accurate records of all experiments
  • Evaluate and interpret results
  • Modify and suggest new approaches as appropriate
  • Communicate effectively with all team members and the wider school community

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:

  • Assist 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.

Other administrative 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.

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.

Knowledge, Skills, Qualifications and Experience Required

  • A BSc or MSc in a Biosciences related subject.
  • Proven laboratory experience in Molecular Biology, Biochemistry, Genetics or Plant Biology.
  • Good working 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.
  • Excellent organisational skills and understanding of the importance of maintaining detailed records
  • 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.

We value diversity at The University of Birmingham and welcome applications from all sections of the community

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