Senior Experimental Scientific Officer

Faculty of Medical Sciences

Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK


  • Posted on: 16th Feb 2021
  • Salary: £41,526.00 - £49,553.00 per annum
  • REF: 3801
  • Closes: 03rd March 2021
  • Contract Type: Permanent
  • Hours: Full Time

We are a world class research-intensive university. We deliver teaching and learning of the highest quality. We play a leading role in economic, social and cultural development of the North East of England. Attracting and retaining high-calibre people is fundamental to our continued success.

Salary: £41,526.00 – £49,553.00 per annum

Closing Date: 03 March 2021

The Role

Newcastle University’s Electron Microscopy Research Services is looking to recruit a Senior Experimental Scientific Officer to oversee and manage a state-of-the-art high resolution and high magnification imaging service for researchers both internally and externally. You will provide the driving force to develop and maintain a world leading capability in this key set of technologies for the Faculty of Medical Sciences.

You will lead a successful and experienced team of core technologists offering Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM) , Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) and Serial Block Face Sectioning with Gatan 3View (SBF-SEM) services to all University researchers and commercial partners. The post is required to manage, develop and promote these services within the University and to national and international customers, both academic and industrial.

Possessing a relevant first degree or equivalent qualifications or experience, and ideally with a higher degree or equivalent, you will be an experienced EM professional with a biological background and experience in working within an academic research environment and/or core technology facility. Your technical skills should include extensive experience in SEM, TEM, SBF-SEM, cryo-EM and histology. You should have experience of managerial responsibility for the scientific, business and financial planning of a group and an understanding of cost recovery regulations applied to a higher education setting.

Further details about EMRS be found here

Informal enquiries to Tim Robson (Head of Infrastructure) – email:

Key Accountabilities

  • To provide leadership and drive in maintaining and developing the Faculty of Medical Sciences as a site with world-leading technology across the general area of electron microscopy.
  • To manage the existing team in EM (2 staff). Make recommendations (together with associated business plans) for any additional staff, funded by income developed within the facility, or from external funding streams where appropriate.
  • Maintain and develop a suite of excellent facilities relating to EM in order to provide a first class service to academic users of the facility, including the development of Standard Operating Procedures for sample handling and processing, use of all instruments and software for data transfer and analysis. Maintenance of all instruments, including arrangement of external maintenance contracts where appropriate and liaison with commercial providers.
  • Developing new/improved EM methods and facilities, by keeping up-to-date with technical and academic research developments in the field and dedicating up to 20% of employed time where appropriate to this research activity. Developing business cases, as required, for any upgrading of the EM facilities. Overseeing procurement processes for the purchase of any new equipment.
  • Providing expert advice and troubleshooting guidance on all aspects of EM, including help with experimental design, validation of results and quality control of instruments held within the Faculty.
  • Development, documentation and implementation of training programmes for research staff and students.
  • Drafting and upkeep of facility web site, the on-line booking system and other marketing materials, in conjunction, where necessary, with other Experimental Scientific Officers running similar Faculty-wide scientific facilities, and the Faculty Facility Manager.
  • Managerial responsibility for business and financial planning of the EM facility, including ensuring all costing and pricing is reviewed at least annually, invoices are issued on time, facility use and grant applications are properly costed and full reports are available on the facility’s operation. This to include liaison with Faculty Management Accounts team.
  • Development of marketing materials and protocols for use of the EM facilities by external customers, including management of contracts, confidentiality agreements and other requirements of commercial users.
  • Preparation of text, financials, quotations and other documentation for grant applications for new equipment and in support of proposals from academic users.
  • To establish a user group for the facility and work closely with this group and the academic lead for the facility, including organising regular meetings for exchanging feedback. Promote and liaise with the expert academic user group for advice and guidance to the facility on the specific issues related to provision of EM facilities for academic users.
  • Development of proposals, with the academic lead and user group, to run workshops and conferences on EM to be held in the Faculty. Liaising with internal and external networks including where appropriate attendance at conferences.
  • Develop policies and procedures to ensure all legislative and University requirements are met within laboratory and other work areas.
  • Management of a budget (of around £100,000 per annum) covering staff costs, maintenance, upgrades of instruments, marketing and other associated costs. Be familiar with SAP accounting operations and TRAC costing and pricing methodology to recoup all costs associated with the running of the facility. Involvement in annual Full Economic Costing of the facility, calculation of prices for commercial users, conference and workshop fees, etc. Regular liaison with Management Accounts and attendance at quarterly budget monitoring meetings with other Experimental Scientific Officers running scientific facilities within the Faculty.

The Person (Essential)

Knowledge, Skills and Experience

  • Experience in running or working within a core technology service.
  • Significant understanding of biological systems.
  • Experience of planning, monitoring and maintaining expenditure and budgets.
  • Experience of the Research Environment within the Higher education sector.
  • Good Communication skills and ability to work with range of internal and external scientist customers, being flexible in accommodating customer needs.
  • Liaise with other Experimental Scientific Officers running Faculty-wide facilities to ensure coherence of research service provision to academic and industrial customers.
  • An interest in evaluation and possible acquisition of the latest breakthrough technologies in EM.
  • An understanding of current UK research funding procedures.
  • Ability to assimilate and apply health and safety regulations and procedures within a higher education environment.
  • Relevant IT experience, particularly with EM image acquisition software.
  • Maintain an up-to-date specialist knowledge and skills of EM and, where appropriate, attend scientific conferences.
  • Be familiar with Web design and other dissemination/marketing approaches to enhance the visibility of the facilities.

Attributes and Behaviour

Delivering Services

  • Sees other departments and colleagues as “customers” and follows through on their enquiries and requests.
  • Keeps fellow team members up to date with progress.
  • Co-operates with others in achieving targets.
  • Takes responsibility for achieving own targets.
  • Has a positive attitude for doing things better.
  • Looks for ways to make immediate improvements (quick wins).
  • Pays attention to detail.
  • Strives to deliver high quality results.
  • Is enthusiastic in getting the job done on time.
  • Planning and Organising
  • Works in a planned and structured way.
  • Uses own and others’ time effectively.
  • Sets own priorities in conjunction with team and area objectives.
  • Plans workload and tasks in a systematic way.
  • Ensures that all activities are completed on time.
  • Uses systems and tools to ensure records and audit trails are clear and up to date.
  • Keeps work systems up to date, neat and tidy.
  • Ensures that others know how process and systems work.
  • Gathering Information
  • Keeps up to date with University issues.
  • Gathers relevant information and facts.
  • Is thorough in investigating an issue; “no stone left unturned” approach.
  • Pieces together information to identify trends
  • Is wary of assuming things.
  • Has an eye for detail, spotting errors and ensuring accurate information

Team Working

  • Respects the expertise and contribution of others even if own opinion is different.
  • Shares relevant and useful information with others.
  • Keeps other team members up to date with progress.
  • Gets involved with team tasks.
  • Willing to help others and share workloads.
  • Supportive of team decisions.
  • Asks others’ opinion.
  • Encourages others to get involved.
  • Talks about other team members in a positive way.
  • Respects the value that different views bring to the team.


  • Relevant first degree or equivalent qualifications and or experience in a relevant scientific/technical role.
  • Significant specialist experience in scanning, serial block-face, and transmission EM.

Newcastle University is committed to being a fully inclusive Global University which actively recruits, supports and retains staff from all sectors of society. We value diversity as well as celebrate, support and thrive on the contributions of all our employees and the communities they represent. We are proud to be an equal opportunities employer and encourage applications from everybody, regardless of race, sex, ethnicity, religion, nationality, sexual orientation, age, disability, gender identity, marital status/civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, as well as being open to flexible working practices.

The School holds a silver Athena SWAN award in addition to the University’s silver award in recognition of our good employment practices for the advancement of gender equality. The University also holds the HR Excellence in Research award for our work to support the career development of our researchers, and is a member of the Euraxess initiative supporting researchers in Europe.

Requisition ID: 3801

Employer Achievements:

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