Research Assistant – Entomology/microbiology/Biological control (Ref:BNL/SM/051)

JOB TITLE:Research Assistant – Entomology/microbiology/Biological control (Ref: BNL/SM/051
POST TYPE: Contract
LOCATION:Institute of Life Science 1, Swansea University, Singleton Park, Swansea, SA2 8PP, United Kingdom
REPORTING TO: Head of Research and Development – Biological technology development
GRADE/SALARY: £15,500-30,000 per annum (pro rata if part time), together with pension benefits if required. The normal expectation is that the successful applicant will be appointed to the minimum of the agreed scale annual increments on 1 October each year (subject to completing six months service)
Remuneration may be adjusted from time to time in line with Government Policy.
BASIC FUNCTION:To develop, lead and implement a research programme on Biological control/Applied Entomology/ Invertebrate pathology/ microbiology/ focusing on the development of biological control of the pest(s) and disease(s).


The Bionema Limited, based within the Institute of Life Science 1, Swansea University, UK, is a leading centre for research, product development, product testing, consultancy, and training. We provide services to both academic research and crop protection industry. Company focus on utilising naturally occurring beneficial organisms and one of the very few organisations which specialises in chemical-free crop protection.

We are looking for a Research Assistant to work on the product efficacy team for the control of agricultural and horticultural insect pests. The successful candidate is supposed to play an active role in the life of the Bionema Limited R&D Team.

The post-holder must have completed Master in bioscience/agricultural science/PhD in Agriculture or a related field. He/she will also have a strong research background in the horticultural industry and knowledge of molecular techniques. There is an expectation that the candidate has fieldwork experience (GEP) and will be able to undertake fieldwork for periods of time. Good writing and communication skills are essential, as is experience in quantitative data collection and analysis.

In addition to an excellent salary the benefits that come with this job include a defined benefits pension scheme, generous annual leave and excellent training and development opportunities.


  • Lead the development and implementation of a research programme focused on the development of biological control of pests and diseases in agriculture, horticulture, and forestry sectors.
  • Use of molecular tools to identify microbial species (i.e., nematode, bacteria, fungus).
  • Investigate the role of IPM in different cropping systems.
  • Design and manage experiments, perform statistical analysis and interpret and publish results in scientific and popular press, technical reports, at conferences and to stakeholders.
  • Actively pursue external funding opportunities with the objective of developing critical mass in the area, by building a dynamic team of post-doctoral researchers and post-graduate students.
  • Develop and maintain active collaborative contacts with other national and international scientists, research groups and institutions.
  • Supervise and mentor postgraduate students, Internship, visitors through the Bionema collaboration with national and international universities.
  • Carry out such other duties as may be assigned by the Head of Research and Department, Head of Programme or Director of Research from time to time.


Note: The ‘Essential’ qualifications, skills and knowledge outlined below are ‘must-have’ which will be used in the shortlisting process.



  • Candidates must have a post graduate in agricultural science, applied entomology, invertebrate pathology, microbiology and molecular biology, or a related discipline.
  • 3-5 years’ experience in working with microbial control agents (fungi, nematodes, bacteria) for the crop pest control.
  • Master in Agriculture Bioscience/PhD in a relevant discipline.


  • Postdoctoral research experience in Biological control/applied entomology/biology/microbiology/molecular biology.



  • Use of cutting edge microbial control agents and molecular biology techniques.
  • Microbial control agents and applied entomology.
  • The role of biocontrol agents for control pest and disease.
  • Assist in project management to ensure successful delivery of all outputs.
  • Production, formulation and application of biocontrol agents.
  • Maintenance of insect culture for laboratory and field experiments.
  • Conducting bioassays using biocontrol agents in laboratory and glasshouse.
  • Conducting efficacy trials for product development according to GEP/OECD guidelines.
  • Wider knowledge of the role of biocontrol agents for pest and disease control.


  • Understanding of biocontrol agents and their use in agriculture, horticulture and forestry sectors.
  • Use of microbial indicators for product quality assessment.
  • Experience in enzyme assays, respiration methods, PLFAs.
  • Bioinformatics and advanced statistical techniques.



  • A demonstrable ability to conduct research in line with the objectives of the project.
  • Excellent laboratory, glasshouse and field skills.
  • Excellent ability to plan, organise and schedule work effectively and to lead research programmes.
  • Excellent one-to-one and group communication skills (farmers, students, colleagues, stakeholders).
  • Good team working skills.
  • Track record of publications in high quality peer-reviewed, international journals.
  • Capacity to successfully develop collaborative research links with National and International research organizations.
  • Strategic awareness, innovation & change management skills.
  • Engaging and consultative leadership skills that demonstrate best practice in people and programme management.
  • Writing of SOPs and protocol preparation according to OECD guidelines.
  • Keeping records of experiments.
  • Knowledge of data recording and statistical analysis.
  • Evidence of planning skills to contribute to the research project.
  • Good communication skills both written and oral.
  • Computer literate, with proficiency in the use of MS Office, Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook
  • Good interpersonal skills and the ability to work as a part of a team.
  • Strong organisational skills.
  • Team building and problem solving skills.
  • Attention to detail and a high level of accuracy.
  • Willingness to work flexible hours including overnight absences.
  • Willingness to work outdoors in cold and wet conditions when necessary.
  • Enthusiastic, hard-working, punctual, reliable, trustworthy and willing to participate in professional development activities.


  • A track record of communicating and networking with growers/farmers, greenkeeper, stakeholders, and policy makers.
  • Record of successful research grant writing.
  • Aptitude for multidisciplinary approaches.



  • Ability to work as a part of a team, including consulting, collaborating and building relationships with key stakeholders.
  • Self-disciplined, organised and methodical.
  • Strives for high quality of work and demonstrates commitment to the programme.
  • Ability to communicate effectively to enable knowledge and technology transfer.

What we offer

  • 25 days annual leave per year, increasing to 30 days, plus bank and public holidays
  • Pension scheme to which the company contributes
  • Excellent continual professional development opportunities, both internal and external, as a part of our training commitment
  • Range of other staffs and family friendly benefits
  • Bionema is committed to the principle of equal opportunity in employment

What we require

  • Proof of eligibility to work in the UK
  • Valid UK driving licence
  • Flexibility – overnight stay will be required on occasion

Working Hours

Normal hours of work are 37 per week.  Normal office hours are 9.00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday to Friday.  A flexible approach to work is needed as there will be a requirement to work overtime (evenings and weekends) during busy periods.

How to Apply

To apply for this position, please send your CV and a covering letter outlining your current salary, confirming that you are eligible to work in the UK, and identifying how you meet the job criteria.

Interview date: 24th May at 2pm onwards.

Informal enquiries should be directed to: Dr Minshad Ansari

Applications to be sent to Syeda Meraj, Institute of Life Science 1, Swansea University, Singleton Park, Swansea, SA2 8PP, United Kingdom or email by 5.00 pm on Friday 20th May 2016.  If you require further information on this position, contact Syeda Meraj as above.