Vacancy Details: Manager Germplasm Resources Unit (GRU)

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John Innes Centre

JIC is an independent, international centre of excellence in plant science and microbiology. Our mission is to carry out fundamental and strategic research, to train scientists and to make our findings available to society.

The scientific research at the Centre makes use of a wide range of disciplines in the biological and chemical sciences, including cell biology, biochemistry, chemistry, genetics and molecular biology.

The John Innes Centre is proud to hold a Silver Award from Athena SWAN. The Athena SWAN charter recognizes and celebrates good practice in recruiting, retaining and promoting women in the fields of science, engineering, maths and medicine (STEMM). JIC was the first research institute to win a Silver Award. For more information, go to

The John Innes Centre is a registered charity (No. 223852), limited by guarantee (registered in England No. 511709) and is an Equal Opportunities Employer.

Athena Swan

disability confident employer

   Stonewall Diversity Champion

Advancing gender equality in science, engineering and technology.

Post Number920244
Job TitleManager Germplasm Resources Unit (GRU)
Closing Date7 Sep 2017
Starting Salary£38,520 - £47,080
Hours per week 37
Project Title Germplasm Resource Unit Management
Expected/Ideal Start Date 18 Sep 2017
Months Duration 60
Flexible Options
Job Share
Job share or part time hours considered.

Main purpose of the job To coordinate the GRU team in securing long term accessibility and efficient allele mining of germplasm resources held by the GRU for cereal, legume, and brassica crops. This will require the implementation of best existing practice in germplasm management including adherence to the Multilateral System of the International Treaty of Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture and the Nagoya protocol. It will require complex management across scales of seed production from single plant to field scale. With fastidious protocols implemented to ensure seed purity, accession identity, and rapid turnaround customer accessibility.   

The GRU collections will be closely aligned with evolving data generated using new genomics and phenomics technologies. The post holder will ensure that training and dissemination activities that are necessary to advertise these resources are undertaken to raise the profile of the GRU.

The post holder will carry out management of the GRU team and be responsible for the GRU budget including the introduction of a cost recovery model for future activities.
Department Crop Genetics
The Department of Crop Genetics undertakes fundamental research on the biology of cereals, brassicas and legumes to understand the genetic and molecular basis of phenotypic variation. A major goal is to develop the technologies and knowledge base to provide a predictive framework that will underpin conventional and novel plant breeding strategies. This will enable high-yielding, stress and disease resistant varieties, with a particular end-use quality, suitable for an efficient but benign agriculture.
Group Details The successful applicant will lead the John Innes Centre's Germplasm Resource Unit (tps://
Advert Text Manager Germplasm Resources Unit (GRU)

The John Innes Centre has an exciting manager vacancy for its Germplasm Resource Unit (GRU).


This GRU facility houses materials essential for the injection of new genetic diversity into crop breeding programmes and the identification of genes controlling key traits. The major species focus of the work is on bread wheat but also includes legumes, barley, and oats.

The role:

The successful post holder will capitalise on recent advances in genetics, genomics, and phenomics to help direct users to the most appropriate germplasm for their purposes, while maintaining the core genebank activities of curation and rolling multiplication.

The post holder will ensure that the GRU team (a core germplasm specialist and a derived germplasm specialist) will show the research and breeding community exactly what genetic variation is available, deliver the seed and associated data, and support the use of the materials in question.

The post holder will carry out management of the GRU team (currently two research assistants) and be responsible for the GRU budget including the introduction of a cost recovery model for future activities.

The ideal candidate:

The ideal candidate will possess a BSc in a scientific or computational discipline, experience of the scientific environment, high level of skills in communicating their work to stakeholders, and good general knowledge of botany. This complex and exciting role could draw on the skills of a manager from many backgrounds. Experience in genetics, breeding, bioinformatics, laboratory research, and logistics would all be highly valued.

Additional information:

Salary on appointment will be within the range £38,520 to £47,080 per annum depending on qualifications and experience. This post is for a contract of 5 years.

For further information and details of how to apply, please visit our web site or contact Human Resources, Norwich BioScience Institutes Partnership, Norwich Norwich Bioscience Institutes, Norwich, NR4 7UH, UK, 01603 450462 quoting reference 920244

As a Disability Confident employer, we guarantee to offer an interview to all disabled applicants who meet the essential criteria for this vacancy. The John Innes Centre is also proud to hold a Silver Award from Athena SWAN and is a member of Stonewall’s Diversity Champions programme.

Key relationships The GRU team and the line manager. The manager will work closely with JIC scientists and fellow service providers. Researchers will collaborate with the GRU manager developing high throughput characterisation of accessions using genomics and phenomics platforms. The manager will interact with field experimentation, and horticulture, finance, contracts and human resources departments of JIC. The manager will liaise with users of the GRU resources, commercial and academic. This will include representation of the GRU at conferences and dissemination events such as JIC Breeders Day, Eucarpia section genetic resources, Monogram, Defra GIN meetings, and European seed association. Representation of the stakeholders will be achieved through a JIC steering group and an external group of international experts in the field. The GRU manager will work with these groups and their line manager to achieve exciting developments to support the discovery of new and useful genetic variation.
Main Activities & ResponsibilitiesPercentage
Effectively manage the team (currently two research assistants), ensuring all staff are provided with appropriate development opportunities and performance management, including timely appraisal reviews 30
Increase the use of genomics and phenomics technologies for the characterisation of GRU collections by liaising with scientists holding expertise and resources in these areas at JIC and in other research centres if appropriate. 15
Help to change the emphasis of GRU germplasm activities from relatively static collections of long established accessions to core sets defined by genotype and or phenotype and derived germplasm such as segregating populations and near isogenic lines that enable customers to pinpoint specific target genes and alleles.15
Oversee the effective, efficient and safe day-to-day operations of the GRU, including responsibility for seed held in two controlled environment seed stores. (One on the JIC main site used for relatively small seed quantities and the second for large seed bulks in JICs Field Experimental Station, currently under construction at Church Farm Bawburgh) 10
Oversee the use of existing protocols for seed multiplication, distribution, adherence to the International Treaty, correct use of material transfer agreements, and the management of import/export licences with appropriate phytosanitory approval.10
Represent the GRU at conferences and dissemination events such as JIC Breeders Day, Eucarpia section genetic resources, Monogram, Defra GIN stakeholder meetings, and European seed association.5
Work with JIC finance department to develop and implement a cost recovery model for GRU activities and prepare proposals for funding of new equipment or infrastructure necessary for the GRU to deliver.5
The post holder will sit on the GRU steering group and meet with GRU advisory board. 5
As agreed with line manager, any other duties commensurate with the nature of the role.5

Education & QualificationsRequirementImportance
BSc in a scientific or computational disciplineEssential
MSc or PhD in scientific or computational disciplineDesirable

Specialist Knowledge & SkillsRequirementImportance
Understanding of crop geneticsEssential
Understanding of bioinformaticsEssential
Good general knowledge of botanyEssential
Good understanding of plant breedingEssential
Computer literateEssential
Excellent presentation skillsEssential
Detailed knowledge of wheat, brassica, and legume biologyDesirable
Experience of plant breedingDesirable

Relevant ExperienceRequirementImportance
Experience of working in a scientific environmentEssential
Germplasm managementDesirable
Plant BreedingDesirable
Experimental workDesirable
Use of a laboratory information management systemDesirable

Interpersonal & Communication SkillsRequirementImportance
Proven ability to plan, prioritise and manage challenges effectivelyEssential
Excellent communication skills, both written and oral, including the ability to communicate effectively at all levels in the organisationEssential
Promotes and strives for continuous improvementEssential
Proven record of effective people managementEssential
Good interpersonal skills, with a proven record of effective team workingEssential
Ability to implement a long term strategyEssential

Additional RequirementsRequirementImportance
Promotes equality and values diversityEssential
Willingness to travel including overnight tripsEssential
Able to travel freely between JIC and Church Farm Seed Store and experimental plots without access to public transportEssential

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