Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science

Closing date: 3 Jun 2019

Reference number



£27,711 - £31,570


Higher Executive Officer

Contract type


Business area


Type of role

Environment and Sustainability

Working pattern

Flexible working, Full-time, Job share, Part-time



Number of posts



Weymouth, South West, DT4 8UB

About the job

Job description

To work as an integral member of the Pathology team within the Cefas Centre of Excellence (CoE) for Aquatic Animal Health, providing expertise to Cefas by using histopathology for the diagnosis and description of aquatic animal diseases, in support of statutory and research-based disease investigations.

Main Duties and Responsibilities

The Aquatic Animal Health theme integrates research, advice and regulation in support of Defra’s aquatic animal health policy. It encompasses numerous disciplines (epidemiology, risk modelling, pathology, molecular biology, microbiology) undertaking research funded by government, the EU and commercial companies, as well as disease diagnostics to support implementation of the animal health regulations. The thematic area provides advice on the threats posed by emerging and exotic diseases, disease surveillance and contingency planning.

Employing a range of tools including histology, immunohistochemistry, light microscopy, electron microscopy, laser-capture microdissection and digital pathology, the Pathology Team is primarily responsible for the identification and characterisation of aquatic animal diseases. You will use your histopathology skill set to describe cellular and tissue responses that facilitate the diagnosis and description of aquatic animal diseases for statutory diagnostic and research projects within the Aquatic Animal Health theme. You will adopt a collaborative approach engendering links across the laboratory and externally, working closely with the Fish Health Inspectorate and scientists within the fields of Virology, Microbiology and Molecular Biology. You will use the available tools and facilities to provide input into diagnostic cases and emerging disease occurrences. You will demonstrate the aptitude required to gain a working knowledge of a range of new species as required.

You will:

• research independently and/or within a multidisciplinary team, to identify and describe aquatic animal diseases including infectious disease agents (the production of reports and scientific peer reviewed publications is essential).

• develop research opportunities, working in partnership with Cefas and external colleagues.

• prioritise your workload to ensure project milestones are met.

• ensure compliance to health and safety procedures and UKAS ISO17025 quality systems, where applicable.

You should have experience in the following:

• Applying scientific and technical knowledge.

• Securing, maintaining and developing relevant technical skills.

• Demonstrable experience in the application of histopathology for the diagnosis of infectious aquatic animal diseases supported by publication record (ultrastructural interpretation would also be an advantage).

In addition you should:

• Be highly motivated and adaptable, with a strong practical understanding of histological techniques and their applications.

• Have the ability to undertake estuarine and offshore fieldwork where appropriate.
• Have the ability to work under pressure.

Person specification

Please show how your skills and previous experience will allow you to fulfil the requirements of the job description.


We'll assess you against these behaviours during the selection process:

  • Communicating and Influencing
  • Developing Self and Others
  • Making Effective Decisions
  • Working Together

Technical skills

We'll assess you against these technical skills during the selection process:

  • Communication and presentation.
  • PhD or equivalent in a relevant subject area.



Civil Service pension schemes may be available for successful candidates.

Things you need to know


Successful candidates must pass a disclosure and barring security check.
Successful candidates must pass basic security checks.

Nationality statement

Candidates will be subject to UK immigration requirements as well as Civil Service nationality rules.

If you're applying for a role requiring security clearance please be aware that foreign or dual nationality is not an automatic bar. However certain posts may have restrictions which could affect those who do not have sole British nationality or who have personal connections with certain countries outside the UK.

Selection process details

This vacancy is using Success Profiles, and will assess your Behaviours, Strengths, Experience and Technical skills.
Please note depending on the volume of applications an initial sift may be conducted on the lead behaviour communicating and influencing, candidates must pass this behaviour for their application to be progressed.
Feedback will only be provided if you attend an interview or assessment.

Nationality requirements

Open to UK, Commonwealth and European Economic Area (EEA) and certain non EEA nationals. Further information on whether you are able to apply is available here.

Working for the Civil Service

The Civil Service Code sets out the standards of behaviour expected of civil servants.

We recruit by merit on the basis of fair and open competition, as outlined in the Civil Service Commission's recruitment principles.
The Civil Service embraces diversity and promotes equality of opportunity. There is a guaranteed interview scheme (GIS) for candidates with disabilities who meet the minimum selection criteria.

Apply and further information

Contact point for applicants

Sift/interview dates and location

Sift date to be confirmed.

Interviews will be held at Cefas Laboratory, The Nothe, Barrack Road, Weymouth, Dorset

The interview date will be confirmed following sift.

Cefas is unable to contribute to interview expenses however, we can offer an initial interview via Skype for candidates who are unable to travel to Weymouth.

Further information

Reasonable adjustment

If a person with disabilities is put at a substantial disadvantage compared to a non-disabled person, we have a duty to make reasonable changes to our processes.

If you need a change to be made so that you can make your application, you should:

Contact Government Recruitment Service via as soon as possible before the closing date to discuss your needs.

Complete the “Assistance required” section in the “Additional requirements” page of your application form to tell us what changes or help you might need further on in the recruitment process. For instance, you may need wheelchair access at interview, or if you’re deaf, a Language Service Professional.

Legislative changes and the closure of Employer Supported Childcare scheme on 4 October 2018 will mean individuals moving across the Civil Service to a new PAYE scheme on any type of move other than TUPE/COSOP will lose the right to continue to claim Childcare Vouchers.

Whilst some employees may lose the right to continue claiming childcare vouchers via their employer, they may still be eligible to claim Click here Get Tax-Free Childcare

Applicants who are successful at interview will be, as part of pre-employment screening subject to a check on the Internal Fraud Database (IFD). This check will provide information about employees who have been dismissed for fraud or dishonesty offences. This check also applies to employees who resign or otherwise leave before being dismissed for fraud or dishonesty had their employment continued. Any applicant’s details held on the IFD will be refused employment.

If you feel your application has not been treated in accordance with the Recruitment Principles and you wish to make a complaint, in the first instance, you should contact Government Recruitment Services via email:

If you are not satisfied with the response you receive from the Department, you can contact the Civil Service Commission: Click here to visit Civil Service Commission

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