Junior Lab Technician

Durham, United Kingdom
£17,079 - £18,688 pro rata
26 Nov 2020
End of advertisement period
25 Dec 2020
Academic Discipline
Life sciences, Biological Sciences
Contract Type
Fixed Term
Part Time

Department of Biosciences

Grade 3: - £17,079 - £18,688 pro rata
Fixed Term - Part Time
Contracted Hours per Week: 17.5
Closing Date25-Dec-2020, 7:59:00 AM 

Job Family: Technical, Research and Teaching Services

OUR CHARACTERISTICS: We are a globally outstanding centre of teaching and research excellence, a collegiate community of extraordinary people, in a unique and historic setting.    

OUR VALUES: We are inspiring, challenging, innovative, responsible and enabling.

Durham University   Durham University is one of the world's top universities with strengths across the Arts and Humanities, Business, 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. 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.  

It is expected that all staff within the University:  

  • Contribute to our learning culture by engaging in mentoring, training and coaching.
  • Positively contribute to fostering a collegial environment; as well as demonstrating commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion.
  • Have due regard to Health and Safety requirements appropriate to grade and role.

Family key attributes   Roles in this family provide creative and analytical input to facilitate the delivery of world-class teaching, learning and research activities.    

Overall family purpose  

  • Support stakeholders to ensure the delivery of research, teaching and scholarly activities.
  • Align and tailor services to meet strategic and operational research, teaching and learning objectives.
  • Prepare and set-up equipment, apparatus and resources to ensure the successful delivery of scheduled academic activities.
  • Monitor, manage and maintain teaching, learning or research facilities, workshops, laboratories and experimental environments to ensure compliance with internal and external regulations.
  • Contribute guidance, advice and/or professional expertise to increase intellectual and creative capacity for world-class teaching and research outputs.
  • Actively participate with peers and specialists internally and externally to expand knowledge and practice.
  • Design and construct equipment, environments, tools, techniques and methodologies to meet research and learning objectives.
  • Adapt and develop equipment, techniques and methodologies to meet research and learning outputs and timescales.
  • Engage and network with internal and external specialists and experts to facilitate knowledge exchange and enhance research, teaching and learning activities.
  • Work collaboratively and network across the University with staff in other families to ensure a smooth, timely and high-quality delivery of service.

  Link to key strategic plan  

  • An economically sustainable approach to delivering technical and experimental support services across the University;
  • Support and facilitate world-leading research across all academic departments;
  • Support and facilitate research that has a positive impact on global, national and regional challenges and which benefits culture, society, health, the economy and the physical environment;
  • Support and facilitate a rewarding research environment and an exceptional research-led learning experience;
  • Support and facilitate programmes that offer intellectual challenge, cohesiveness and a strong sense of progression;
  • A stakeholder-focused orientation, offering satisfying careers to all staff;
  • Ensure that an increasingly diverse workforce is treated equally, fairly and with respect, and that all staff are demonstrably valued and actively engaged.

The Department and role purpose   

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.

This part time role (17.5h per week) will involve supporting research activities  in a newly-established Insect Neuro laboratory that uses mosquitoes and Drosophila flies to study the sense of smell in insects. You will be responsible for the maintenance of mosquito and fly stocks and the insectary space. You will also contribute to ongoing experimental work and participate in group meetings. The role requires good time management and communication skills, ability to work independently and as a part of a group. We are looking for enthusiastic people who are willing to learn new things. The role will include multiple opportunities to acquire new knowledge and technical expertise. Previous experience of laboratory-based work is a plus. The role involves a diverse array of activities (e.g. maintaining a mosquito colony, maintaining insectary clean and organised, assisting in setting up mosquito crosses, assisting in genotyping mosquitoes by running PCR and by visual inspection under a fluorescence microscope, preparation of fly food, ensuring there is sufficient stock of necessary laboratory supplies, etc). The role will particularly suit  a student willing to acquire laboratory work experience before embarking on a Masters/PhD, however people with other motivations are also encouraged to apply.  

Core responsibilities:  

  • Provide a highly responsive and/or frontline service to stakeholders.
  • Assist team members within a wider service team with a rotation of tasks and duties including lab-based experiments and animal husbandry, or with own small area of day to day responsibility.
  • Respond to service users (academics and students) logging and recording queries and information systematically in accordance with procedures.
  • Operate a system to record, dispense and distribute resources and information as required, keeping good written/electronic records.
  • Assist team members to concentrate effort on a more regular basis to achieve common goals, for example but not limited to, via participation and discussions during group meetings.
  • Apply skills and techniques to operate and use a range of everyday task or job specific equipment, tools and resources.
  • Follow a set of pre-determined procedures, techniques and objectives, with some discretion for variation, referring to team members where necessary. Identify areas that could be made more efficient as knowledge of the procedures/techniques develop
  • Gather and collate data and information including monitoring of health of insects under your care for others to use for evaluation and decision making.
  • Contribute to the tidying, set-up and maintenance of facilities, equipment and resources.
  • Liaise with representatives from other teams/service areas where necessary. 
  • Collaborate with team members to identify work flows, timescales and where support is required.

  Role responsibilities:

  • Assist team members with the set-up and operation of a range of standard tools and equipment including autoclaves, centrifuges, PCR machines, incubators and other scientific equipment.
  • Provide resources, help sheets and guidance notes to stakeholders with various processes, procedures or techniques for experimental purposes. Demonstrate taught standard procedures to students or others who are new to the area.
  • Assist team members to construct and/or repair mechanical, electrical, electronic and digital equipment and tools under the supervision of more experienced staff.
  • Assist others within the team to carry out and record routine standard annual maintenance checks and risk assessments.
  • Assist team members to carry out stock and inventory checks. Maintain all laboratory stock materials, including general laboratory consumables, prepare laboratory buffers and stocks
  • Carry out daily tasks to ensure it is in a safe working order for stakeholder use.
  • Respond to first-line queries from suppliers, contractors and representatives from professional bodies where necessary.
  • Assist team members where necessary to review and update risk assessments. Have knowledge of the requirements for working in a safe and healthy environment and be able to act responsibly if an accident occurs
  • Maintain colonies of insects to required standards.
  • Preparation of laboratory media and diets for insects.
  • Maintain and clean insect cages, rooms, lab and other ancillary or associated areas and provision of clean laundry items.
  • Autoclave biowaste and glassware, etc
  • Maintain breeding colonies of insects, including set up of genetic crosses of mosquitos.

Any other reasonable duties.  

Specific role requirements:

Work weekends and bank holidays on a rota basis

Recruiting to this post   

In order to be considered for interview, candidates must evidence each of the essential criteria required for the role in the person specification above (including those listed in the section ‘Realising Your Potential Approach’).    

In some cases, the recruiting panel may also consider the desirable criteria, so we recommend you evidence all criteria in your application.    

Please note that some criteria will only be considered at interview stage.   

How to apply   

We prefer to receive applications online. 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 https://www.dur.ac.uk/ig/dp/privacy/pnjobapplicants/ which provides information on the collation, storing and use of data.  

What you are required to submit  

  1. A CV and contact details of at least 2 referees; 
  2. The person specification and RYPA grids which you may copy into a separate document if preferred for completing and submission.  
  3. A covering letter which details your experience, reasons for applying, job expectations, career plans, strengths and potential in the requirements set out above;

  Please ensure that you submit all documentation listed above or your application cannot proceed to the next stage.    

Contact details   

For further information please contact; Olena Riabinina, olena.riabinina@durham.ac.uk  

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

We will notify you on the status of your application at various points throughout the selection process, via automated emails from our e-recruitment system. 

Please check your spam/junk folder periodically to ensure you receive all emails.   

Person specification - skills, knowledge, qualifications and experience required    

Essential Criteria:  

  1. Ability to efficiently communicate with people via different media
  2. Good IT skills, including use of Microsoft Office.
  3. Five GCSE’s at least Grade C or level four (or equivalent) including English Language and Mathematics (or equivalent experience).
  4. Evidence of personal development to maintain skills.
  5. Experience of managing time in order to meet deadlines.  
  6. Evidence of professional interest in science/research
  7. Evidence of successfully carrying responsibility
  8. Ability to solve problems 
  9. Ability to make independent decision about day-to-day work matters

Desirable Criteria:  

  1. Experience of working in a team 
  2. Experience of handling insects
  3. Interest in insect neuroscience
  4. Experience of laboratory work or any other work experience

Realising Your Potential Approach  

Essential behavioural attribute

Realising Your Potential Approach text 

Evidence of meeting the criteria (candidate to complete)

EMBRACING CHANGE - Adjusting to unfamiliar situations, demands and changing roles. Seeing change as an opportunity and being receptive to new ideas.

  1. Taking a creative approach to change which challenges assumptions and is not based purely on enhancing existing practice
  2. Viewing change situations as opportunities for improving and developing work
  3. Remaining positive about moving forward despite being realistic about the difficulty of change

FINDING SOLUTIONS - Taking a holistic view and working enthusiastically and with creativity to analyse problems and develop innovative and workable solutions. Identifying opportunities for innovation.

  1. Taking time to understand and diagnose problems by considering the whole picture
  2. Spotting an opportunity and taking action to do something about it
  3. Identifying ways of resolving issues using own initiative

ACHIEVING RESULTS - Planning and organising workloads to ensure that deadlines are met within resource constraints. Consistently meeting objectives and success criteria.

1. Taking personal responsibility for getting things done

2. Incorporating flexibility into plans and adjusting them in light of developments

  1. Work effectively in order to meet deadlines

  DBS Requirement: Not Applicable.