Senior Technician - Research

Updated: 3 days ago
Location: Durham, ENGLAND

Senior Technician - Research (
Job Number:
Department of Physics
Grade 6: - £28,929 - £35,308 per annum
Open-Ended/Permanent - Full Time
Contracted Hours per Week: 35
Closing Date
: 10-Jun-2024, 6:59:00 PM
Disclosure and Barring Service Requirement: Not Applicable. 

The University      

At Durham University we are proud of our people.  A globally outstanding centre of educational excellence, a collegiate community of extraordinary people, a unique and historic setting – Durham is a university like no other.    

Across the University we have a huge variety of roles and career opportunities, which together make us a large and successful community, which is a key hub of activity within our region and nationally.  Whether you are at the very start, middle or end of your career, there is a role for you. We believe everyone has their own unique skills to offer.    

We would be thrilled if you would consider joining our thriving University.  Further information about the University can be found here .

The Role and the Department   

The post holder will be responsible for assisting with the day-to-day technical functions and operations in the Physics Department, providing technical and engineering related assistance throughout a large, busy and diverse selection of research laboratories, thereby ensuring smooth and efficient operation throughout the area.

The post holder will be required to exercise an acquired depth of knowledge and experience to provide flexible, specialist technical support as part of a technical team supporting all research and final year undergraduate activities conducted within the Department of Physics. Primarily servicing the needs of research, while supporting other areas of the Department as and when required, providing all stakeholders with an expert level of technical service and guidance.

Our Department of Physics is a thriving centre for research and education. Ranked 2nd in the UK by The Guardian University Guide 2023 and in the World Top 100 in the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2023, we are proud to deliver a teaching and learning experience for students which closely aligns with the research-intensive values and practices of the University. Feeling inspired? Visit our Physics webpages to learn more about our postgraduate and undergraduate programmes. Durham University is a top 100 world university. In the QS World University Rankings 2024, we were ranked 78th globally.

Working at Durham     

A competitive salary is only one part of the many fantastic benefits you will receive if you join the University: you will also receive access to the following fantastic benefits:         

  • 27 Days annual leave per year in addition to 8 public holidays and 4 customary days per year – a total of 39 days per year.  The University closes between Christmas and New Year.
  • No matter how you travel to work, we have you covered.  We have parking across campus, a cycle to work scheme which helps you to buy a bike and discount with local bus and train companies.   
  • Lots of support for health and wellbeing including discounted membership for our state-of-the-art sport and gym facilities and access to a 24-7 Employee Assistance Programme.   
  • On site nursery is available and access to holiday camps for children aged 5-16 throughout the year.
  • Family friendly policies, including maternity and adoption leave, which are among the most generous in the higher education sector (and likely above and beyond many employers).   
  • There is a genuine commitment to developing our colleagues professionally and personally.  There is a comprehensive range of development courses, apprenticeships and access to qualifications and routes to develop your career in the University.  All staff have dedicated annual time to concentrate on their personal development opportunities.    
  • The opportunity to take part in staff volunteering activities to make a difference in the local community.   
  • Discounts are available via our benefits portal including; money off at supermarkets, high street retailers, IT products such as Apple, the cinema and days out at various attractions.    
  • We offer generous pension schemes.       

Durham University is committed to equality, diversity and inclusion

Our collective aim is to create an open and inclusive environment where everyone can reach their full potential and we believe our staff should reflect the diversity of the global community in which we work.       

As a University equality, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) are a key part of the University’s Strategy and a central part of everything we do.  We also live by our values and our Staff Code of Conduct.  At Durham we actively work towards providing an environment where our staff and students can study, work and live in a community which is supportive and inclusive. It’s important to us that all of our colleagues are aligned to both our values and commitment to EDI.      

We welcome and encourage applications from members of groups who are under-represented in our work force including people with disabilities, women and black, Asian and minority ethnic communities.  If you have taken time out of your career, and you feel it relevant, let us know about it in your application.  If you are a candidate with a disability, we are committed to ensuring fair treatment throughout the recruitment process. We will make adjustments to support the interview process wherever it is reasonable to do so and, where successful, reasonable adjustments will be made to support people within their role.    

What you need to demonstrate when you apply/Person Specification  
When you apply it is important that you let us know what skills/experience you have from a similar role and/or what skills/experience you have which would make you right for this role. Further information about the role and responsibilities is at the end of this job description.  Where a criteria has an asterisk* next to it, it may be given additional weighting when your application is considered.    
Your application should cover the following criteria:

Essential Criteria:  

1.     Good oral and written communication skills.  

2.     Strong digital competence with demonstrable skills in using core digital tools including internet, email, digital communication tools, Microsoft 365 applications, etc.  

3.     Five GCSE’s at least Grade C or level four (or equivalent) including English Language and Mathematics (or equivalent experience).   

4.     Qualified to Ordinary National Certificate level (or equivalent qualification / experience) in either a science subject, mechanical or electrical and electronic engineering.

5.     Experience of working in a team.

6.     Ability to solve problems and resolve issues, plan solutions and make pragmatic decisions.

7.     Demonstrable ability to provide advice and guidance to a range of customers and colleagues.

8.     Professional knowledge and expertise in one or more area of technical specialism, and the application of skills to create, build, construct and realise new and innovative resources, equipment and research outputs.

9.     Experience of working within a laboratory environment with a good understanding of the operation and use of general laboratory equipment such as oscilloscopes, power supplies, multi-meters, function generators etc.

10.  Demonstrable ability to deliver high precision technical skills and the operation of standard and complex scientific, technical and creative equipment.

  Desirable Criteria:

11.  Qualified to Higher National Certificate level (or equivalent qualification / experience) in either a science subject, mechanical or electrical and electronic engineering.  

12.  Evidence of continuing professional development.

13.  Ability to effectively network and exchange advice and information for development purposes.    

14.  Extensive experience of relationship building and ability to turn opportunities into long-term knowledge exchange and collaboration.

15.  Extensive knowledge and experience of monitoring activities of self and others to ensure health and safety regulations are adhered to.

How to apply      

To progress to the assessment stage, candidates must evidence each of the essential criteria required for the role in the person specification above.  Where there are desirable criteria we would also urge you to provide any relevant evidence.  Please don’t forget to check if there is any weighted criteria (see above).      

While some criteria will be considered at the shortlisting stage, other criteria may be considered later in the assessment process, such as questions at interview.        

Submitting your application       

We prefer to receive applications online.  We will update you about your application at various points during the process, via automated emails from our e-recruitment system. Please check your spam/junk folder periodically to ensure you receive all emails.        

What you are required to submit:

  • A CV   
  • A supporting statement which shows examples of how you meet all of the criteria within the Person Specification    
  • Contact Details

    If you would like to have a chat or ask any questions about the role then the following staff from the Physics Department will be happy to speak with you:

    Technical Services & Facilities Manager:

    Wayne Dobby – Tel: 01913343679 – Email: [email protected]

    Teaching & Research Technical Services Manager:

    David Pattinson – Tel: 01913342227 – Email: [email protected]

    Typical Role Requirements 

    Service Delivery

    • Plan and organise own workload with or without involvement with project work streams.
    • Specialist support with problem solving and query handling.
    • Reactive and proactive service provision with others to deliver an excellent stakeholder experience.
    • Responsible for organising and maintaining technical and experimental facilities and the daily operations within research environments, ensuring a safe working environment where legislation and best practice is observed.
    • Supporting and assisting with the provision of health and safety whilst adhering to set guidelines, including preparation of safety documents concerning activities in the laboratories e.g. COSHH, laser safety and Risk Assessment forms.
    • Interpret, curate, design and present artefacts, information, data, equipment and resources.
    • Implement and monitor protocols, procedures, processes and regulations.
    • Monitor and report incidents.
    • Take responsibility for day-to-day decision making within own area of responsibility for operational aspects of service delivery, translating external requirements into practical application and advice.
    • Develop, construct, test, repair and calibrate mechanical, electrical and electronic equipment, components and instrumentation using specialised techniques.
    • Set-up, demonstrate, instruct and supervise the use, operation and maintenance of complex and sophisticated research apparatus, equipment and instruments including, but not limited to high voltage equipment, high vacuum systems, cryogenic, electrical and electronic equipment, lasers and x-ray generators, various microscopy equipment e.g. scanning, transmission and focused ion-beam microscopes, superconducting magnet systems, closed cycle refrigeration equipment.
    • Implement and monitor recognised procedures to ensure compliance and meet University values of inclusion, diversity and participation.
    • Accountable for managing/maintaining financial and budget records and reconciling consumable expenditure queries.
    • Involved in the purchase and return of goods and services.
    • Carry out a range of activities that includes the commissioning, construction and set-up of test and experimental scenarios and practical sessions.
    • Complete Portable Appliance Testing of all laboratory appliances.
    • Setting up and dismantling of equipment and resources for various outreach activities and summer schools as well as providing technical support for the duration of the activity.
    • Deliver projects that demonstrate a high standard of accuracy, complexity, originality and excellence.
    • Expert user with a range of machinery and equipment either physical, virtual or digital.
    • Take responsibility for carrying out more specialist risk assessments and incident resolution.

    Research, Teaching and Learning Support

    • Provide high-level technical, service, guidance and advice to undergraduate, postgraduate and academic stakeholders to support teaching, research and learning activities within all Physics research laboratories.
    • Advising, assisting and carrying out various technical tasks for Level 4 undergraduates as well as other students working in the research laboratories undertaking research projects.
    • Record, monitor and collate information, analyse patterns and trends as part of teaching and research activities.
    • Provide technical guidance and advice to solve problems and help shape the delivery of teaching, learning and research outcomes.
    • Assistance to students in the design (i.e. the methods and planning) of research experiments and in the particular applications of apparatus used.
    • Carry out more in-depth investigations, searches and research information and data to identify trends and patterns.


    • Experienced service practitioner, planning and co-ordinating of projects and work streams with inter-related activities.
    • Engage with external peers and specialists to exchange knowledge and information.
    • Supervises service users and stakeholders undertaking activities, events, project work and exhibitions.
    • Liaise and network with specialist professionals to exchange knowledge and ideas internally and externally to the organisation.
    • Deliver training and oversee specialist tasks and techniques concerned with the role being undertaken by key stakeholders and other technical staff members where necessary.
    • Contribute to business meetings, working groups and committees to help shape service delivery and stakeholder expectations.
    • Any other reasonable duties.

    Please note that in submitting your application Durham University will be processing your data. We would ask you to consider the relevant University Privacy Statement Privacy Notices - Durham University which provides information on the collation, storing and use of data.    

    When appointing to this role the University must ensure that it meets any applicable immigration requirements, including salary thresholds which are applicable to some visas. 

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