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Post Doctoral Research Associate in Biologics Manufacture


London, Waterloo Campus


  • Posted on: 20th Jan 2022
  • Salary: £38,826 to £42,087 per annum including London Weighting Allowance
  • REF: 039245
  • Closes: 20th February 2022
  • Contract Type: Fixed-Term/Contract
  • Hours: Full Time

Job description

The Process Engineering research group in the Department of Engineering is seeking to appoint a new Post Doctoral Research Associate in Continuous Biologics Manufacture.

Biologics and RNA therapies in particular are changing forever the landscape of human health. The rapid response to the SAPRS-CoV-2 pandemic with the mRNA vaccines now widely available is a testament to that. The project we are recruiting for, has received significant external funding of over £10m to engineer integrated and modular biofoundries for the rapid and on-demand manufacture of a wide range of RNA-based drug products. The project is led by KCL Engineering and a world class inter-disciplinary and integrated team of recognised pioneers in the field, from both industry and academia.

The successful applicant will have already completed and hold a PhD degree in an area related to process intensification, flow chemistry or continuous bioprocessing, ideally with a focus or interests in biologics, and are knowledgeable in process systems engineering. The post holder will complement the existing team researching continuous flow technologies for the scale up and optimisation of RNA based therapies manufacture including vaccines. The post holder will have the opportunity to work together with a world class team with members from both internationally leading universities and industry. Additionally, the project offers researchers opportunities to network and work together with other international teams working in the domain, based in the US, Europe and Asia. The post holder will be expected to work alongside our industrial partners to design, develop and optimise a manufacturing process with access to state of the art technologies and equipment, and will also be expected to work together with our international collaborators and deliver samples prepared using our processes and platforms, to assist in joint investigations. The successful candidate will possess excellent laboratory skills and will be expected to interface and collaborate with stakeholders and research groups both internally and externally to King’s College including our Faculty of Life Sciences and Medicine, and will be expected to communicate and promote the outcomes of our experimental work in meetings and conferences. The post holder will also investigate and coordinate demonstration activities of our technology to the stakeholder network, primarily through events and other engagement mechanisms. Finally, the post holder will be expected to work for short periods of time on site to assist in the deployment of the technology in a real manufacturing facility, towards the final months of the project.

The post holder will be working alongside the investigator team and will be reporting directly to the PI.

The Engineering Department is undergoing a significant investment programme with a £15 million commitment for development that commenced in August 2019. Engineering has a rich history at King’s and heritage. King’s College London (KCL) is ranked 31st in the 2019 QS world universities rankings and was ranked sixth nationally in the “power” ranking in the 2014 REF. The Department builds upon this reputation with a focus on emerging technologies, with research in sustainable systems & manufacturing, telecommunications, robotics, and energy as key areas, with the more recent addition of process intensification and continuous manufacturing, where the post holder will be hosted.

This post will be offered on an a fixed-term contract for 36 months

This is a full-time post

Key responsibilities

  • Process Systems Design and engineering – provide inputs in defining systems / sub-systems, system boundaries and develop flows, mass/energy balances covering the unit operations of synthesis, purification and formulation, jointly with the team and collaborators.
  • Process development: Design, preparation and execution of experimental plans for the preparation of RNA drug substances and drug products based on given sequences
  • Design and conduct laboratory experiments on flow chemistry platforms available to the group with main focus on synthesis and preparation of drug substances and RNA drug products
  • Propose design process modifications our industrial partners can implement
  • Prepare documents based on given standards and templates to document the processes they develop
  • Preparation and delivery of presentations as required
  • Authorship of reports and journal papers
  • Investigation/desk research of how the group’s technology could comply with standards, regulations and best practice and preparation of a document roadmap
  • Work together with the PI on the preparation of follow on grant proposals, and importantly the postholder to prepare their own future plans towards establishing their independent research, with the guidance of the PI

The above list of responsibilities may not be exhaustive, and the post holder will be required to undertake such tasks and responsibilities as may reasonably be expected within the scope and grading of the post.
Skills, knowledge, and experience

Essential criteria

  • First degree in chemical engineering or in a related field in physical sciences or engineering
  • PhD in chemical engineering or equivalent
  • Excellent laboratory skills
  • Excellent written and verbal communications skills
  • Presentation skills
  • Basic understanding of process analytical tools and in particular spectroscopy
  • Understanding, appreciation and some practical exposure to laboratory risk assessment procedures
  • Some basic experience in Design of Experiments methodologies
  • Basic understanding of the preparation of biologics in the lab
  • Setting up and maintaining experimental equipment and executing experiments over long periods of time

Desirable criteria

  • Basic understanding of RNA synthesis and formulation
  • Skills in flow chemistry
  • Practical skills in setting up and operating fluid flow control components such as pumps

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