Research Experience Placement
Post Details
Job Title
Research Experience Placement
Post Number
Closing Date
19 May 2021
Starting Salary
Competitive salary
Hours per week
Project Title
Undergraduate summer student project – why do stressed tomato plants tell the time?
Expected/Ideal Start Date
28 Jun 2021

Job Description

Main Purpose of the Job

An excellent opportunity for undergraduate students to gain research experience.

Main Activities & Responsibilities

Carry out laboratory and/or computational research under the supervision of the project leader
Write a brief report about the experiences at the end of the placement
As agreed with line manager, any other duties commensurate with the nature of the role

Person Profile

Education & Qualifications

Expected to obtain a first or upper second class UK honours degree
In the middle year(s) of your first degree studies
Registered for a basic science (including mathematics and engineering) or veterinary degree at a UK university

Specialist Knowledge & Skills

Demonstrable enthusiasm to carry out scientific research in the biosciences

Relevant Experience

Some experience of laboratory or computational work

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 learn new skills quickly
Ability to take the initiative

Additional Requirements

Attention to detail
Promotes equality and values diversity
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 embrace the values of the Institute, ensuring it is a great place to work
A desire to use the placement to find out more about their suitability and aptitude for further research

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.

Living in Norfolk


Advert Text

Research Experience Placement
Salary:            Real Living Wage (£9.50/hour)
Contract:        Two months, fulltime
Location:        John Innes Centre, Norwich, UK.
Reference:     16146

An exciting opportunity has arisen for an undergraduate student to join the Dodd Group at the John Innes Centre to study the functions of the circadian (biological) clock in tomato plants.

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 Dodd Group:

The Dodd lab investigates the adaptation of plants to fluctuating environments, focusing on circadian regulation and signal transduction.

Plants grow under 24 h cycles of day and night, due to the rotation of the Earth on its axis. These 24 h day-night cycles present plants including crops with challenges such as daily cycles in the presence of light for photosynthesis, in the ambient temperature, and the likelihood of abiotic stress. These 24 h environmental fluctuations have selected for the evolution of circadian clocks in plants. These cellular timers produce a biological estimate of the time of day, which is thought to coordinate cellular processes over the daily cycle, allow the anticipation of 24 h changes in environmental conditions, and ensure that responses to environmental cues are appropriate for the time of day.

The role:

During this 8-week project at the John Innes Centre, you will investigate the role of circadian rhythms in the stress tolerance of tomato plants. You will join the Dodd research group and gain experience of working in a plant molecular biology laboratory, learning laboratory techniques and approaches to data interpretation, to study the adaptation of plants to their fluctuating environments.

The ideal candidate:

You will be in the middle year(s) of a UK undergraduate degree in a science or veterinary subject (including maths and engineering), you will be expected to obtain a first or upper second class honours degree. You will have clear enthusiasm to carry out scientific research in the biosciences and excellent communication and interpersonal skills.

Additional information:

This role is supported by the UKRI-BBSRC Norwich Research Park Biosciences Doctoral Training Partnership.

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.