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Research Assistant or Fellow in Metabolic Engineering and Synthetic Biology

Cranfield, United Kingdom
£34,450 - £39,316 per annum
Closing date
14 Apr 2024

Job Details

School/Department: School of Water, Energy and Environment
Based at: Cranfield Campus, Cranfield, Bedfordshire
Hours of work: 37 hours per week, normally worked Monday to Friday. Flexible working will be considered.
Contract type: Fixed term contract
Fixed Term Period: For 3 years
Salary: Research Assistant (if close to completing PhD): Full time starting salary is normally £34,450 per annum, Research Fellow (if PhD obtained): Full time starting salary is normally in the range of £37,337 to £39,316 per annum, dependent on skills and experience.
Apply by: 14/04/2024

Role Description

Research Assistant or Research Fellow in Metabolic Engineering and Synthetic Biology

This position is part of the recently funded UKRI funded Engineering Biology Programme Grant “EBIC: Environmental Biotechnology and Innovation Centre”, a collaboration between 10 universities including Cranfield, Bangor, Brunel, East Anglia, Edinburgh, Essex, Glasgow, Heriot-Watt, Newcastle, and Southampton, as well as more than two dozen industry and academic partners.

You will join a highly applied interdisciplinary project at the intersection of synthetic biology, environmental engineering, and biotechnology. We aim to explore cutting-edge techniques from synthetic biology, biotechnology, and engineering science to develop innovative solutions in bioengineering and bioremediation. With a team of experts from diverse fields, we are on a mission to bridge the gap between engineering biology research and practical applications, ensuring that our findings translate into meaningful actions that make a substantial and measurable difference in the world. The project has the real potential to go far beyond fundamental research and has the potential to evolve into a real enterprise in the near future.

This fast-paced project will give you the opportunity to develop new skills by working closely with our interdisciplinary team and build their international profile including via work with our academic and SME collaborators.

The research project will develop cutting-edge synthetic biology tools in pathway and metabolic engineering, addressing current challenges in key areas such as environmental biotechnology and bioengineering. The project combines state of the art technologies including advanced cloning systems and CRISPR tools, and synthetic microbial communities for bioengineering technologies in the water and waste sectors.

About the Role

We are looking for a passionate and skilled Molecular Biologist with a specialisation in synthetic biology, molecular biology, metabolic engineering, microbial biotechnology (or equivalent). The candidate will play a crucial role in developing engineering tools for enzyme engineering and systems biology for resource recovery and bioremediation applications.

This position offers the unique opportunity to be part of a vibrant and pioneering team working on a highly applied research project with significant environmental and social impact. You will have an opportunity to work together within a team of microbiologists, environmental engineers, chemists, experimental biologists and bioinformaticians, to develop novel engineering biology strategies for environmental applications in the water and waste sectors and explore untapped biology of diverse microorganisms.

This post offers an excellent opportunity for academic career advancement in synthetic biology.

About You

You should hold a PhD (or be close to completion) in Molecular Biology, Microbiology, Bioengineering, or a related field, with demonstrated experience in working with bacteria and microbial chassis. Proficiency in modern metabolic engineering techniques is essential, along with a strong background in synthetic biology and bioprocess engineering.

You should possess excellent analytical, problem-solving, and communication skills, supported by a proven track record of publications in relevant scientific journals. Additionally, you should have practical experience in experimental design, execution, and data analysis, particularly in the context of environmental science and engineering and be capable of working with multidisciplinary groups, applying qualitative and quantitative data analysis techniques, and producing high-quality reports and journal papers. and also exhibit a collegiate attitude, readiness to work outdoors on sampling campaigns, ability to work both independently and as part of a team, and self-directed organisation.

About Us

As a specialist postgraduate university, Cranfield’s world-class expertise, large-scale facilities and unrivalled industry partnerships are creating leaders in technology and management globally. Learn more about Cranfield and our unique impact here.

You will be associated with the Water Theme, home to the Water-Environment-Health-Nexus group and the Environmental Biotechnology Innovation Centre led by Professor Frederic Coulon. This centre is committed to tackling the escalating challenges of environmental stewardship and sustainability within the interconnected realms of water, soil, and waste. Considering the global trends such as rapid urbanisation and climate change, sustainable resource management confronts unprecedented risks. The nexus approach recognizes the intricate links between water, soil, and waste, underlining the necessity for coordinated management to navigate sustainable development amidst these complexities.

Guided by this imperative for integration, Cranfield has cultivated a transdisciplinary research community, facilitating knowledge sharing among experts specialising in diverse facets of the nexus. This collaborative milieu empowers us to embrace a holistic perspective in our research activities, promoting integrated and sustainable resource management. With expertise spanning environmental biotechnology, engineering biology, water and waste treatment, and remediation, our centre is well-equipped to address these intricate challenges. Find out more about our work here.

Our Values and Commitments

Our shared, stated values help to define who we are and underpin everything we do: Ambition; Impact; Respect; and Community. Find out more here.

We aim to create and maintain a culture in which everyone can work and study together and realise their full potential. We are a Disability Confident Employer and proud members of the Stonewall Diversity Champions Programme. We are committed to actively exploring flexible working options for each role and have been ranked in the Top 30 family friendly employers in the UK by the charity Working Families. Find out more about our key commitments to Equality, Diversity and Inclusion and Flexible Working here.

Working Arrangements

Collaborating and connecting are integral to so much of what we do. Our Working Arrangements Framework provides many staff with the opportunity to flexibly combine on-site and remote working, where job roles allow, balancing the needs of our community of staff, students, clients and partners.

How to apply                                   

For an informal discussion about this opportunity, please contact Professor Frederic Coulon, Professor of Environmental Chemistry & Microbiology, on (T): 01234 754 981 or (E):

Please do not hesitate to contact us for further details on E: Please quote reference number 4791.

Closing date for receipt of applications: 14 April 2024

Interviews to be held: Week Commencing 22 April 2024


Cranfield is world-leading in its contribution to global innovation. With our emphasis on the aerospace, agrifood, defence and security, environmental technology, leadership and management, manufacturing and transport systems sectors, we have changed the way society thinks, works and learns.

We generate and transform knowledge, translating it to the benefit of society. Our partners, from micro SMEs to the largest blue-chip multinationals, from governments across the world to NGOs and charities, tell us this is what they value about Cranfield.

Innovation is part of Cranfield’s ‘corporate DNA’, evolved over 60 years of commitment to this agenda.

Our work informs policy for governments and produces new technologies and products for the world of commerce. We draw on this pool of research and consultancy to provide our students with a distinctive ‘real-world’ learning environment, allowing them to develop as professionals and transfer their new knowledge to the global economy. This has always been the ‘Cranfield way’ but it has never been more important than in today’s world.

People are key to our competitive advantage and so we need to attract, develop and retain the best talent for our business. We aim to create a culture where you can flourish and succeed and, in turn, contribute towards Cranfield’s success.

Company info
+(44)01234 750111
MK43 0AL

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