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
7 Nov 2018
Starting Salary
£31,250 - £38,100
Hours per week
Project Title
Unlocking the Potential of Grasspea for Resilient Agriculture in Drought-prone Environments (UPGRADE)
Expected/Ideal Start Date
03 Dec 2018
Months Duration

Main Purpose of the Job

Postdoctoral Researchers work with limited supervision to carry out individual and collaborative research projects relevant to the overall needs of the research programme. The applicant will be involved in setting up a transformation system for Grass Pea (Lathyrus sativus) They will be working in BecA Nairobi, but receive training in QUT Brisbane.


Metabolic Biology

The aims of research in the Department of Metabolic Biology are to understand the basis of diversity in plant metabolism, and the interplay between metabolism and plant nutrition, development and responses to disease and stress. This information underpins the development of sustainable agriculture and bio-based industries.

Advert Text

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


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

The Cathie Martin lab has recently been co-ordinating research into the relationship between diet and health, and how crops can be fortified to improve diets and address the global challenge of escalating chronic disease. This work has involved linking leading clinical and epidemiological researchers with plant breeders and metabolic engineers to develop scientific understanding of how diet can help to maintain health, lead to healthy ageing and reduce the risk of chronic disease.

The role:

We are looking to appoint a Postdoctoral Researcher to work on establishing transformation of grass pea (Lathyrus sativus). This will involve six months training in the lab of Saga Murdree at Queensland University of Technology, but the postholder will be based primarily in Nairobi at BecA. The transformation skills will be used to establish genome editing in grass pea.

The ideal candidate:

Candidates should possess a PhD in Molecular Biology, Bioinformatics, or similar subject. They will need bioinformatics skills for targeting genes to edit from a rudimentary reference genome for grass pea. Excellent communication and interpersonal skills are essential, as is the ability to travel regularly between Kenya, Australia and the UK.

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 fulltime 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 1003555.

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

Internal: Line manager, group members and, as necessary, other researchers, research support staff and students across the Institute.
Cathie Martin Line Manager; Group Members Anne Edwards, Peter Emmrich,
External: Collaborators: Prof Saga Murdree (QUT), Dr Sita Ghamire (BecA)

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 through 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
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
Liaise with industry and other external stakeholders

Education & Qualifications

PhD (full award or expected within 6 months) or equivalent in Molecular Biology, Bioinformatics or related discipline
BSc or equivalent in Biology or related subject

Specialist Knowledge & Skills

Legume transformation

Relevant Experience

Demonstrated ability to perform research and develop novel ideas [in area of…]
Proven record in scientific writing
Experience of oral research presentations
Preparing data / information for grant proposals

Interpersonal & Communication Skills

Excellent communication skills, both written and oral, including the ability to present complex information with clarity
Demonstrated ability to work independently, using initiative and applying problem solving skills
Ability to follow instructions/Standard Operating Procedures
Promotes and strives for continuous improvement
Good interpersonal skills, with the ability to work as part of a team
Excellent time management and organisational skills
Ability to collaborate with internal and external stakeholders

Additional Requirements

Promotes equality and values diversity
Ability to undertake occasional travel (national and international) related to collaborations and/or seminars
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
Ability to maintain confidentiality and security of information where appropriate
Willingness to work outside standard working hours when required