Entomology Facility Assistant (Maternity Cover)

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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
Entomology Facility Assistant (Maternity Cover)
Post Number
Closing Date
16 Aug 2018
Starting Salary
£18,720 - £22,900
Hours per week
Project Title
A general assistant to help with the daily duties of running the John Innes Centre's Entomology Facility.
Expected/Ideal Start Date
01 Oct 2018
Months Duration

Main Purpose of the Job

The job will entail working within the entomology facility, undertaking essential tasks that ensure the facility provides a high quality entomological services to science . The post holder will help to look after a range of insect colonies and maintaining a high degree of hygiene. Insect food plants will also have to be grown and maintained to a high standard. The job will also involve working within a quarantine environment which conforms to the rules and regulations specified under the facility's DEFRA plant health licence. The postholder will assist with equipment and facility cleaning. After a period of training, the post holder could be expected to assist in setting up bioassays and recording data for a range of projects.


Cell & Developmental Biology

Development continues throughout the life of the plant. While many linear pathways affecting development have been discovered and are illustrated by elegant genetic studies, the challenge of the future will be for us to understand how these developmental pathways are integrated, both with themselves as well as with environmental signals, to enable a mature plant to grow from a seed.  Guided by evolutionary principles, the Department uses its knowledge of biological processes obtained in laboratory organisms such as Arabidopsis to understand processes in crop plants such as Brassicas and cereals.  To study this interaction of the plant genome with internal developmental networks and the environment, the Department uses a combination of genetic, cell biological, molecular and evolutionary strategies. The insights we are gaining provide both an increasingly detailed knowledge of the proteins involved in diverse regulatory mechanisms and a conceptual framework in which this knowledge can be related and eventually integrated into a molecular description of plant cell function.   The knowledge the department is creating is relevant to agriculture. Genes that control plant stature, form, over-wintering responses and growth are potentially useful for improving crop performance.

Group Details

The Entomology facility is one of JIC's Platform Technologies. It provides a specialised service to scientists across NRP. Colonies of insects are maintained in the facility's insectary and associated bioassays are designed and undertaken for users. A high level of care is required for keeping the insect colonies in healthy condition and for maintaining the facility to a high degree of hygiene.

Advert Text

Applications are invited for an Entomology Facility Assistant to join the John Innes Centre.


The John Innes Centre is an independent, international centre of excellence in plant science, genetics and microbiology.

The John Innes Centre’s Entomology and insectary facility provides a unique and specialised service for undertaking and supporting invertebrate-related studies.

Our skilled and experienced team of entomologists are on hand to maintain, design, undertake and oversee studies using many different species of invertebrates, including non-native exotic species (held under DEFRA licence), and native plant pest species, within a purpose-built quarantined insectary. For more information about the Entomology team, please click here: https://www.jic.ac.uk/technologies/entomology-insectary/

The role:

The post will involve undertaking and assisting with the essential daily tasks of maintaining the facility and its resources as a specialised service to science programmes across Norwich Research Park. As well as helping to maintain insect colonies, the post holder will be required to clean equipment and maintain the high level of hygiene required within the facility. Strict working procedures will need to be adhered at all times.

During this employment, the postholder will gain experience in professional entomology and obtain training in undertaking experiments and data collection.

The ideal candidate:

We are seeking an exceptional candidate with 3 A Levels grades A*-D (or equivalent) including Biology. The successful candidate will have a basic understanding of insect biology and previous experience of working in a scientific environment. Excellent communication and interpersonal skills are essential.

Additional information:

Salary on appointment will be within the range £18,720 to £22,900 per annum depending on qualifications and experience. This is a maternity cover contract expected to last 14 months but may be shorter or longer depending on when the absent employee returns to work.

For further information and details of how to apply, please visit our web site http://jobs.jic.ac.uk or contact the Human Resources team on 01603 450462 or nbi.recruitment@nbi.ac.uk quoting reference 1003508.

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 post holder will not have any management responsibilities, but will be managed by the insectary manager.

Main Activities & Responsibilities

Work with other members of the entomology team to maintain a high standard service and support for science users
Carry out insect husbandry duties to take care of a range of insect colonies
Clean equipment and maintain the high level of hygiene required within the facility
Grow and maintain insect food plants to a high standard
As agreed with line manager, any other duties commensurate with the nature of the post
Adhere to the rules and regulations of the facility's DEFRA plant health license
Assist in setting up bioassays and recording data for a range of projects (training provided)

Education & Qualifications

3 A Levels at grade A*-D, or equivalent, including Biology
5 GCSEs grades A*C, or equivalent, including Science
Degree in relevant scientific field

Specialist Knowledge & Skills

Keen interest in entomology
Basic understanding of insect biology
Horticulture skills

Relevant Experience

Skills and experience in terrestrial invertebrate handling and colony maintenance
Previous experience of working in a scientific environment

Interpersonal & Communication Skills

Good communication skills, both written and verbal
Good interpersonal skills, with the ability to work well as part of a team
Ability to follow instructions/Standard Operating Procedures

Additional Requirements

Attention to detail
Promotes equality and values diversity