Postdoctoral Researcher

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John Innes Centre

The John Innes Centre is an independent, international centre of excellence in plant science and microbiology, carrying out fundamental and strategic research, to train scientists and making our findings available to society.

Our research makes use of a wide range of disciplines in the biological and chemical sciences including; cell biology, biochemistry, chemistry, genetics and molecular biology.

We pride ourselves on being a welcoming and inclusive working environment for all. We have a diverse and multicultural scientific community and thrive on our European and international links. We are proud to hold a prestigious Athena SWAN Gold award, recognising the impact of our work in promoting gender equality in science. We are also a proud member of the Stonewall Diversity Champion’s programme and, as a Disability Confident employer, guarantee to offer an interview to all disabled applicants who meet the essential criteria for the post.

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

Post Details

Job Title
Postdoctoral Researcher
Post Number
Closing Date
28 May 2018
Starting Salary
£31,250 - £38,100
Hours per week
Project Title
Postdoctoral Research Associate
Expected/Ideal Start Date
16 Jul 2018
Months Duration

Main Purpose of the Job

Manage a project funded by the BBSRC Horticulture and Potato initiative to improve Brassica vegetable seed vigour using TILLING. The post holder will manage the project working with limited supervision and coordinate activities with internal and external collaborators.


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 Penfield group works to understand the effects of environmental temperature variation on plant reproductive biology, including seed set, seed yield and seed performance. We use Arabidopsis thaliana as a model system, but also work to understand how temperature affects yield and seed performance traits in crops, especially Brassica vegetable and oilseed rape.

Advert Text

Postdoctoral Researcher

Applications are invited for a Postdoctoral Researcher to join the Laboratory of Prof Steven Penfield at the John Innes Centre.

The role:

The role involves working on the control of Brassica seed vigour and is funded by the BBSRC Horticulture and Potato Initiative. The role will suit an applicant interested in working on pure science closely aligned with the needs of the horticulture industry. Primarily, the post holder will explore the potential of TILLING in Brassica oleracea to improve the uniformity of Brassica seed germination, working with a number of promising mutants we have identified in the lab, and understanding the mechanisms by which they affect seed performance.

In addition to performing research, the post holder will work with our partners Syngenta Seeds to test the performance of new varieties during seed productions in the field.

The ideal candidate:

To be considered for this role, candidates should possess a PhD in Biological Sciences or related field. They should have a good understanding of crop genomics and be familiar with experimental design principles. Previous experience in seed biology in desirable. All candidates should have excellent communication and interpersonal skills.

Additional information:

Salary on appointment will be within the range £31,250 to £38,100 per annum depending on qualifications and experience. This is a full time post for a period of 18 months.

For further information and details of how to apply, please visit our web site or contact the Human Resources team on 01603 450462 or quoting reference 1003469.

We are an equal opportunities employer, actively supporting inclusivity and diversity. As a Disability Confident organisation, 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 Gold Award from Athena SWAN and is a member of Stonewall’s Diversity Champions programme.

Key Relationships

The successful applicant will report to the line manager Prof Steven Penfield, and coordiante with project partners at the University of Exeter and Syngenta Seeds.

Main Activities & Responsibilities

Identify, plan, carry out and modify experiments to meet the objectives of the project
Prepare results, reports and manuscripts for publication in leading scientific journals and other relevant media
Disseminate research findings though presentations to various audiences at internal, national and international meetings
Collaborate with colleagues within the Institute in the development of original and world-class research, including contributing to research proposals and grant applications
Liaise with industry and other external stakeholders
Ensure research and record keeping is carried out in accordance with good practice, Scientific Integrity and in compliance with local policies and any legal requirements
Contribute to the smooth running of the group, including the effective use of resources, supervision of visitors to the laboratory and assisting with training others, encouraging scientific excellence
Continually strive for excellence, seeking out and acting on feedback and relevant learning and development opportunities
As agreed with the line manager, any other duties commensurate with the nature of the post, for example, contributing to the work of Institute committees

Education & Qualifications

PhD (full award or expected within 6 months) or equivalent in Biological Sciences or other relevant subject
BSc or equivalent in Biological Sciences, or other relevant subject

Specialist Knowledge & Skills

Understanding of crop genomics

Relevant Experience

Familiar with the experimental design principles
Previous experience in crop genetics
Previous experience in seed biology
Previous experience using genetic markers in crop species

Interpersonal & Communication Skills

Excellent communication skills, both written and oral, including the ability to present complex information with clarity
Good interpersonal skills, with the ability to work as part of a team
Demonstrated ability to work independently, using initiative and applying problem solving skills
Ability to collaborate with internal and external stakeholders

Additional Requirements

Promotes equality and values diversity
Willingness to embrace the expected values and behaviours of all staff at the Institute, ensuring it is a great place to work
Able to present a positive image of self and the Institute, promoting both the international reputation and public engagement aims of the Institute
Willingness to work outside standard working hours when required
Attention to detail