Postdoctoral Researcher / Senior postdoctoral researcher/ Junior Group Leader
“Symbiotic microbial associations in crops”
Fixed Term until 30th September 2022
Based at East Malling in Kent, NIAB EMR is an internationally renowned plant science organisation conducting research on horticultural crops and their interactions with the environment, with particular emphasis on perennial and clonally propagated fruit crops. NIAB EMR is part of The NIAB Group, the UK’s fastest growing crop science organisation, with rapidly expanding research capabilities in plant genetics, agronomy, farming systems and data science, the largest national field trials capability, and strong research links with industry, Government and academia. Employing more than 400 people across the UK, NIAB provides scientific research, technical services and practical advice to improve the yield, efficiency and resilience of crop production across the arable, forage and horticulture sectors.
We are seeking a scientist to play a key role in the Genetics, Genomics and Breeding department (GGB) at NIAB EMR, carrying out comparative genomics research for the Bill & Melinda Gates funded ENSA project, working closely with the Oldroyd group at the Sainsbury Laboratory, Cambridge University (SLCU) and international partners. NIAB provides a vibrant, multi-disciplinary research environment with access to core facilities supporting bio-imaging, bioinformatics, as well as newly equipped molecular genetics, DNA sequencing and plant growth laboratories. This role represents an exceptional opportunity to develop a career in a highly dynamic and innovative research sector, with the chance to develop links with major UK and international organisations. Similar to the picture across the whole of NIAB which achieved a 50% BBSRC responsive mode success rate (highest in the UK, 10/20 grants), against a national average of ~22% in 2015-16, GGB has a strong track record of winning funding from BBSRC responsive mode, innovate UK responsive mode and commercial funding streams.
You will be expected to make significant research contributions in the area of plant transformation to study root symbiotic microbes, as demonstrated by recent papers in high quality journals. Experience in functional characterisation of plant genes involved in symbiotic colonisation would be highly desirable.
You must have a PhD in a relevant field and an outstanding record of excellence in research that is reflected in your publications. A track record in horticultural crops is not required, but a keen desire to learn and apply cutting edge techniques to perennial fruit crops e.g. (strawberry & apple) is essential. A keen desire to learn about the regulation of symbiotic associations in nitrogen fixing clade within the Rosids is also key to this appointment.
Recent developments in genome sequencing and functional genomic tools open up the opportunity to explore fundamental research questions directly in crop plants and translate that research into practice through the development of new varieties and agronomic improvements.
Key areas of the job include:
You will work with a high level of personal initiative, utilising your strong analytical skills and expertise in funded research and also potentially to win competitive grant funding. With industry partners, you will also have to opportunity to bid into the recently awarded BBSRC CTP for Fruit Crop Research for PhD students to support your own research.
You will work closely, interactively and collaboratively within and across departments in an interdisciplinary setting, so you will need excellent communication skills and the ability to build strong working relationships. You will also need to communicate your research through reports, publications and presentations both to academic and industry audiences. You will also need the flexibility and adaptability to respond quickly to priorities and meet funding opportunity deadlines at short notice.
You will have a BSc in a relevant discipline (2.1 or above) and a PhD in plant science or microbiology. Membership of professional bodies, evidence of recognition within research field through awards and committee membership is desirable. You must demonstrate an established track record of high quality research output, with publications in high-impact factor journals and also demonstrate excellent writing and communication skills evidenced through a number of peer reviewed and other publications. You must have experience with plant transformation using Agrobacterium tumefaciens and/or A. rhizogenes, experience with microscopy and live cell imaging , advanced cloning using modular systems (e.g. Goldengate) and general molecular biology techniques (western blotting, qPCR, in situ hybridisation etc). Evidence of collaborative working, particularly on interdisciplinary topics is highly desirable. Experience in the area of bacterial nitrogen fixation, would also be highly desirable. You must have the ability to work with plants, in greenhouse and controlled environment situation.
Supervision of undergraduate and postgraduate research projects, line management experience and PhD student supervision is desirable, especially for higher lever appointments, as experience preparing successful and/or large bids for UK and EU funding bodies (e.g. BBSRC). You will require a creative research vision for development, implementation and delivery of successful research projects, an ability to communicate complex conceptual ideas to widely divergent audiences. You will make a positive contribution to Institute activities and funded initiatives including open days, workshops etc and expectation to undertake administrative activities.
Management and leadership experience is desirable along with budget control experience, you must demonstrate evidence of working in an open and transparent way, providing information and communicating effectively with colleagues. Evidence of continuous professional development is required along with the ability to respond quickly to externally imposed deadlines, ability to travel at short notice and to work antisocial hours. A full UK driving license (required for commuting to Cambridge site) or access to independent means of transport is highly desirable.
The appointment will be on £27,453 to £34,316 per annum, dependant on qualifications and experience although eligibility for higher band appointments will be considered and will be contingent on a track record of securing income through competitive research funding or an exceptional research track record. We offer 25 days annual leave plus 8 days public holidays, a pleasant working environment and a company pension scheme.
Further details and an application form can be obtained by e-mail by applying below. Please include a detailed CV with your application. Please contact Richard Harrison firstname.lastname@example.org for informal enquiries. Closing date: 8th October 2018