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
8 Nov 2018
Starting Salary
£31,250 - £38,100
Hours per week
Project Title
Maternal control of bud and seed dormancy
Expected/Ideal Start Date
07 Jan 2019
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.


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 is a muldisciplinary team working on the effects of environmental temperature on seed yield, seed quality and seed dormancy.

Advert Text

Applications are invited for a Postdoctoral Researcher to join the Laboratory of Professor Steven Penfield at the John Innes Centre based in Norwich, UK.

The role:

The successful applicant will study the environmental control of reproductive traits, including inflorescence architecture and and seed dormancy, in the model species Arabidopsis. In particular, the project will focus on maternal aspects of seed dormancy control, and epigenetic mechanisms by which environmental information is inherited in reproductive tissues. The post holder will join a large and dynamic research group spanning basic plant reproductive biology to the control of crop yields.

The ideal candidate:

Candidates should possess a PhD in Molecular Biology, Plant Biology or similar subject. They should have advanced knowledge and skills in molecular biology techniques, as well as experience in creating transgenic plants. Bioinformatics skills are essential, as are 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 fulltime post for a period of 3 years, available from January 2019.

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 1003559. Informal enquiries can be made to Professor Steven Penfield at

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

Line manager will be Steven Penfield, and the project supervisary team include Xiaoqi Feng and Judith Irwin.

Main Activities & Responsibilities

Identify, plan, carry out and modify experiments to meet the objectives of the project
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
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
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
Liaise with industry and other external stakeholders
Continually strive for excellence, seeking out and acting on feedback and relevant learning and development opportunities

Education & Qualifications

PhD (full award or expected within 6 months) or equivalent in Molecular Biology, Plant Biology or related discipline
BSc or equivalent in Biological Sciences

Specialist Knowledge & Skills

Advanced knowledge and skills in molecular biology techniques
Plant environmental signalling

Relevant Experience

Previous experience in plant molecular biology
Creating transgenic plants
Bioinformatics and handling large datasets
Excellent publication record, commensurate with experience
The study of seed biology

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
Excellent interpersonal skills, with the ability to work well as part of a team

Additional Requirements

Attention to detail
Promotes equality and values diversity
Ability to undertake occasional travel (national and international) related to collaborations and/or seminars