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Research Assistant/associate

Company: University of Glasgow    Location: Glasgow
To make a leading contribution to a project, as part of an EPSRC Global Challenge Research Fund programme aimed at developing novel biological wastewater treatment technologies in Thailand. You will primarily work with Dr. Julien Reboud on the development of assay tools for the monitoring of the wastewater treatment process and in close collaboration with Professor William Sloan and Dr Stephanie Connelly, who are developing new methodologies and reactors for biological treatment of wastewater.

Together with Professor Jon Cooper, we have developed a portfolio of technologies to enable low-cost, low-power (no power or battery-powered), point-of-use advanced diagnostic devices. Using paper-folding techniques, we have shown that resource-intensive assays, such as nucleic acid tests to detect the genetic material of the pathogen, can be delivered in an ultra-low cost, portable format. These sensors have been produced using hot-wax printing and the assay, which can be performed by a non-expert, uses paper-folding (origami) to bring sample and reagents into contact (see

The specific aspect of the project you will undertake, will be focused on the development the technology platform so that it can be used for routine monitoring of water treatment process using technologies that are being developed for use in the field. Importantly, the technology you will work on will feed data into public health and epidemiological studies on the effectiveness of decentralized wastewater treatment technologies.

This job requires some knowledge of microfluidics and molecular diagnostics, including sample processing and detection together with a creative, practical aptitude to problem solving and the development of user friendly systems

Main Duties and Responsibilities

Perform the following activities in conjunction with and under the guidance of the Principal/Co Investigator:

1. Design and develop sample handling and bioassay methods, including by the utilisation of capillary flow for moving fluids and reagents in low-cost lab-on-a-chip devices.

2. Develop, troubleshoot and perform assays for the detection and quantification of the presence of micro-organisms in a sample, both on conventional platforms and compare these with similar assays performed with integrated Lab-on-a-Chip devices using suitable instrumentation.

3. Collaborate with academic members of the project team as well as international collaborators in order to develop project outcomes.

4. Plan and conduct assigned research individually or jointly in accordance with the project deliverables and project/group/School/College research strategy.

5. Contribute to the acquisition, set up, maintenance and integration of experimental apparatus or computational kit, or in setting up theoretical models or analysis strategies.

6. Document research output including analysis and interpretation of all data, maintaining records and databases, drafting technical/progress reports and papers as appropriate.

7. Develop and enhance your research profile and reputation and that of The University of Glasgow/School/Research Group, including contributing to publications of international quality in high profile/quality refereed journals, enhancing the research impact in terms of economic/societal benefit, and gathering indicators of esteem.

8. Contribute to the presentation of work at international and national conferences, at internal and external seminars, colloquia and workshops to develop and enhance our research profile.

9. Contribute to the identification of potential funding sources and to assist in the development of proposals to secure funding from internal and external bodies to support future research.

10. Collaborate with colleagues and participate in team/group meetings/seminars/workshops across the research Group/School/College/University and wider community (e.g Academic and Industrial Partners).

11. Contribute to the organisation, supervision, mentoring and training of undergraduate and/or postgraduate students and less experienced members of the project team to ensure their effective development.

12. Perform administrative tasks related to the activities of the research group and School, including Budgets/Expenditure

13. Contribute to outreach and recruitment activities of The University of Glasgow.

14. Carry out modest Teaching activities (e.g demonstrating etc) and associated admin as assigned by the Head of School and in consultation with Principal Investigator.

15. Be responsible for safety management related to the organisation and running of Laboratory and/or Experimental techniques, equipment and processes as appropriate.

16. Keep up to date with current knowledge and recent advances in the field/discipline.

17. Engage in personal, professional and career development to enhance both specialist and transferable skills in accordance with desired career trajectory.

18. Undertake any other duties of equivalent standing as assigned by the Head of School and/or PI.

For appointment at grade 7:
19. Perform the above duties with a higher degree of independence, leadership and responsibility, particularly in relation to planning, funding, collaborating and publishing research, and mentoring colleagues.

20. Establish and sustain a track record of independent and joint published research to establish and maintain your expert reputation in the subject area.

21. Survey the research literature and environment, understand the research challenges associated with the project & subject area, & develop/implement a suitable research strategy.

These key tasks are not intended to be exhaustive but simply highlight a number of major tasks which the staff member may be reasonably expected to perform.

Knowledge, Qualifications, Skills and Experience


A1 Scottish Credit and Qualification Framework level 10 (Honours Degree). May be working towards post-graduate qualification such as a Masters (Scottish Credit and Qualification Framework level 11) or PhD (Scottish Credit and Qualification Framework level 12). Or Equivalent professional qualifications in relevant academic/research discipline, and experience of personal development in a similar role.
A2 Specialist theoretical and practical knowledge of fluidics, biosensing or Lab-on-a-chip methods
A3 A comprehensive and up-to-date knowledge of the wider subject area or subject specialism
A4 Knowledge of specialist IT software (eg. Matlab, LabView, R, S-plus, SAS) as appropriate
A5 Knowledge of project-specific technical models, equipment or techniques

B1 Experimental knowledge in research related to biological assays, including biochemistry, molecular biology, and sample handling methods

For appointment at grade 7:
A6 Normally Scottish Credit and Qualification Framework level 12 (PhD) in microfluidics, Lab-on-a-Chip, or relevant Physical or Life Sciences disciplines or alternatively possess the equivalent in professional qualifications and experience, with experience of personal development in a similar or related role(s).


C1 Research skills in either (i) molecular biology coupled with a demonstrated capability to work across disciplines associated with e.g. fluidics, biosensing (or other related engineering disciplines) or (ii) fluidics or biosensing with an understanding and practical experience of molecular biology.
C2 Evidence of experimental capability and research creativity with cross-discipline collaborative ability where appropriate.
C3 Excellent communication skills (oral and written), including public presentations and ability to communicate complex data/concepts clearly and concisely
C4 Excellent interpersonal skills including team working and a collegiate approach
C5 Appropriate workload/time/project/budget/people management skills
C6 Extensive IT and data analysis/interpretation skills as appropriate.
C7 Self motivation, initiative and independent thought/working
C8 Problem solving skills including a flexible and pragmatic approach

For appointment at grade 7:
C9 Good Team Leadership skills


E1 Sufficient relevant research experience (or equivalent) appropriate to an early career researcher
E2 Project or subject specific experience in molecular biology, microfluidics, Lab-on-a-Chip.
E3 Experience of scientific writing
E4 Proven ability to deliver quality outputs in a timely and efficient manner
E5 Evidence of an emerging track record of publications in a relevant field

For appointment at grade 7:
E6 Sufficient depth of relevant research experience, normally including sufficient postdoctoral experience in a related field, appropriate to an early career researcher
E7 A track record of presentation and publication of research results in quality journals/conferences
E8 Experience of making a leading contribution in academic activities
E9 Ability to demonstrate a degree of independence as illustrated by identification of project objectives from assessment of the literature, design & analysis of experiments & drafting of papers.
E10 Experience in undertaking independent research

F1 An emerging national or international reputation

Job Features

The aspects described below will be performed in conjunction with and under the guidance of the Principal/Co Investigator.

To carry out a range of research activities and functions within academic environments of the highest national or international quality
Publish as appropriate to subject specialism within agreed timescales
Informal supervision and support of less experienced members of the project team e.g. postgraduate and project students
Undertake teaching or other duties in accordance with school policy
Engage in personal, professional and career development to enhance both specialist and transferable skills in accordance with desired career trajectory

Planning and Organising
Management of time and prioritisation of research, teaching and administrative duties
Planning, organisation and implementation of research project on a weekly/monthly basis
Plan research directions that are within the available budget
React to varying project needs and deadlines

Decision Making
Undertake decision making on all aspects of research project/activities
Prioritise own, and where appropriate delegate to junior team members, workload
Decide on research directions and goals within remit of original project proposal
Adjust research approaches to meet project outcomes
Identify best journals for publication and meetings/conferences to attend
Purchase of equipment and materials

Internal/External Relationships
University colleagues: to exchange information to ensure efficient working and to facilitate cross disciplinary working
External bodies/collaborators: proactively maintain co-operation and links at all levels to enhance profile and reputation
Dissemination: Preparation and presentation of reports/results and participation in meetings and conference calls

Problem Solving
Research including technical and theoretical aspects/problem solving and development of novel ideas
Be aware of project and budgetary issues, equipment lead times
Assistance of undergraduate/postgraduate students and junior team members with problems relating to research project

Representation of the University/College/School through presentation at national and international events
Attendance at training events to learn and implement new research technologies
Prepared to travel to meetings in the UK/Europe and elsewhere as required by the University

Standard Terms & Conditions

Salary will be on the Universitys Research and Teaching Grade, level 6/7, £28,098 - £31,604 / £34,520 - £38,833 per annum.

This position has funding for up to 2 years in the first instance.

New entrants to the University will be required to serve a probationary period of 6 months.

The successful applicant will be eligible to join the Universities´ Superannuation Scheme. Further information regarding the scheme is available from the Superannuation Officer, who is also prepared to advise on questions relating to the transfer of Superannuation benefits.

All research and related activities, including grants, donations, clinical trials, contract research, consultancy and commercialisation are required to be managed through the Universitys relevant processes (e.g. contractual and financial), in accordance with the University Courts policies.

Vacancy reference 020037; Closing date 11 February 2018.

It is the University of Glasgows mission to foster an inclusive climate, which ensures equality in our working, learning, research and teaching environment.

We strongly endorse the principles of Athena SWAN, including a supportive and flexible working environment, with commitment from all levels of the organisation in promoting gender equity.

The University of Glasgow, charity number SC004401.