Research Assistant
Post Details
Job Title
Research Assistant
Post Number
Closing Date
15 Jul 2020
Starting Salary
£31,625 - £38,575
Hours per week
Expected/Ideal Start Date
01 Sep 2020
Months Duration

Job Description

Main Purpose of the Job

Research Assistants enhance the output of a research group by providing technical and administrative support to the Group Leader and group members.

Key Relationships

Internal: Line manager, group members and, as necessary, other researchers, research support staff and students across the Institute.

External: Collaborators

Main Activities & Responsibilities

Enhance the output of a research group by executing and refining existing experimental protocols and/or administrative procedures, assisting colleagues with trouble-shooting as necessary
Run key items of equipment providing services and/or techniques, taking responsibility for purchases, maintenance and repairs
Undertake routine administrative tasks, such as maintenance of laboratory supplies and stocks
Mentor/supervise less experienced researchers, encouraging scientific excellence and provide guidance and training on specialised items of equipment
Plan, perform, trouble-shoot and analyse experiments as and when necessary, providing preliminary data
Design and supervise small research projects for students
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
Assist in the preparation of research proposals and manuscripts, collaborating internally and externally as appropriate
Contribute to the smooth running of the group, including through the effective use of resources, supervision of visitors to the laboratory and assisting with training others, encouraging scientific excellence
Disseminate research findings and establish reputation through participation in national conferences and exhibitions
Support the profile and reputation of the Institute by participating in relevant engagement activities (eg, school visits or open days)
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

Person Profile

Education & Qualifications

BSc or equivalent in Biology or related field
Masters or PhD or equivalent in Molecular Biology or Microbiology

Specialist Knowledge & Skills

Proven understanding of molecular biology techniques
In-depth knowledge of plant and microbial science
Plant pathology expertise

Relevant Experience

Demonstrated ability to perform research
Experience of oral research presentations
Experience in plant tissue culture, plant and microbial growth and standard microbiological practices
Evidence of having learned new techniques, optimized protocols and provided technical training
Supervision of students and visiting workers
Preparing data / information for grant proposals
Proven record in scientific writing
Provided technical training

Interpersonal & Communication Skills

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
Excellent time management and organisational skills
Ability to prioritise to meet the demands of the group
Excellent communication skills, both written and oral, including the ability to present complex information with clarity
Ability to collaborate with internal and external stakeholders
Ability to follow instructions/Standard Operating Procedures
Promotes and strives for continuous improvement

Additional Requirements

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

Who We Are

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.

For more information about working at the John Innes Centre, please click here.

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, appointing staff from across the world. Any candidate who would like further information on current or anticipated immigration requirements can contact the HR Team on +44 (0)1603 450888 or

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, a founding signatory of the Tecnician Commitment 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).


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.


Advert Text

Research Assistant
Salary:            £31,625 - £38,575 depending on qualifications and experience.
Contract:        23 months, fulltime.
Location:        John Innes Centre, Norwich, UK.
Reference:     1003899

An exciting opportunity has arisen for a Research Assistant to join the Carella Group at the John Innes Centre, working on cutting-edge science in the field of Evolutionary Plant-Microbe Interactions.

About the John Innes Centre:

The John Innes Centre is an independent, international centre of excellence in plant science, genetics and microbiology. We nurture a creative, curiosity led approach to answering fundamental questions in bioscience, and translate that knowledge into societal benefits.

Our employees enjoy access to state-of-the-art technology and a diverse range of specialist training opportunities, including support for leadership and management. Click here to find out more about working at the John Innes Centre.

About the Carella Group:

We are establishing a curious, enthusiastic, and innovative team that will explore the diversity of defence responses that evolved to protect land plants from pathogen infection. Using comparative macroevolutionary and molecular genetic approaches, our group explores widely-conserved and lineage-specific aspects of plant defence that will inform future efforts to protect plants from harmful pathogens.

The role:

Working as part of a team led by Philip Carella, you will manage and support critical lab business. You will lead and assist with long-term experiments in addition to providing horticulture and plant/microbial transformation support.

This diverse role will provide you with a broad range of stimulating activities, including:
• Molecular genetic analysis of plant-pathogen interactions
• Gene-editing and transformation in distantly-related plant species
• Exposure to various plant-microbe pathosystems

In this role, you will have the opportunity to develop your skills in plant and microbial biology. You will also work alongside and support world leading scientists who are experts in their field.

The ideal candidate:

You will have a BSc in Biology or a related field. You will have in-depth knowledge of plant and microbial science and demonstrable experience in the cultivation of plants and standard practices in microbiology and/or molecular biology research.

Additional information:

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. We are proud to hold a prestigious Gold Athena SWAN award in recognition of our inclusive culture, commitment and good practices towards advancing of gender equality. We offer an exciting, stimulating, diverse research environment and actively promote a family friendly workplace. The Institute is also a member of Stonewall’s Diversity Champions programme.