Senior Scientist/Post-Doctoral Research Associate

UK Health Security Agency

Apply before 11:55 pm on Sunday 1st October 2023



Reference number



£37,056 - £42,481

Job grade

Senior Executive Officer

Contract type


Type of role


Working pattern


Number of jobs available



Porton Down, Salisbury, SP4 0JG

Job summary

At the United Kingdom Health Security Agency (UKHSA) our mission is to provide health security for the nation by protecting from infectious disease and external hazards.  We are a trusted source of advice to government and to the public, focusing on reducing inequalities in the way different communities experience and are impacted by infectious disease, environmental hazards, and other threats to health.

The Emerging Pathogen Serology group sits within the Vaccine Development, Evaluation, and preparedness Centre (VDEC) Division of UKHSA Porton. The group was established to function as a high throughput SARS CoV-2 serosurveillance service during the COVID-19 pandemic, where it supported more than 60 different research projects, clinical trials and serosurveillance studies, resulting in over 50 publications. Since its inception, the lab has performed ~1.3 million serology tests, with expansion into different emerging pathogens to support and respond to the recent incidents such as Lassa Fever, Mpox, and H5N1. Much of our work now focusses on immunological assay development, understanding immune responses (humoral/cellular) to emerging pathogens, population-level serosurveillance, and informing vaccine and therapeutic design/policy.

Our group is now recruiting a permanent post-doctoral research associate (senior research scientist) based at UKHSA Porton Down. This role would suit a candidate with diverse experience in serology/immunology assay research and development for infectious diseases.


Porton Down, Salisbury, SP4 0JG (lab-based)

Due to the nature of the role, hybrid or remote working will not be offered. The successful candidate will need to be on site every working day.

*Please be aware that this role can only be worked from within the UK and not overseas. Relocation expenses are not available.*

Job description

The job holder will be required to carry out the following responsibilities, activities and duties:

  • Lead on external and internally funded laboratory research, along with the development of independent research projects
  • Perform serology testing for internal/external research projects, clinical trials or serosurveillance using a multitude of serology methods and platforms such as the Roche e801, MSD and Luminex systems
  • Lead on the development of new assays for emerging pathogens, with validation and implementation for routine use within the laboratory
  • Train junior members of staff in diverse research and diagnostic techniques
  • Support research that informs vaccine development, evaluation of vaccines and preparedness for emerging pathogens.
  • Perform a range of standard methods/assays/techniques in support of all activities associated with project(s), to ensure project deliverables are met on time and within budget
  • Support in external (e.g., UKRI) and internal funding applications to explore and undertake new areas of research around emerging pathogen immunology/serology
  • Build national and international collaborations with external partners in support of the laboratory through attendance at scientific conferences and workshops.
  • Liaise with external/internal collaborators about data, reports, and publications
  • Lead on scientific writing, e.g., manuscripts, internal reports, and policy documents
  • Line manage other junior members of the group and to support them with their research and project work

The duties/responsibilities listed above describe the post as it is at present and is not intended to be exhaustive. The Job holder is expected to accept reasonable alterations and additional tasks of a similar level that may be necessary.

Person specification

It is important through your application and Statement of Suitability of 1000 words that you give evidence and examples of proven experience of the following criteria:


  • Degree or equivalent in biological sciences or related
  • Post-graduate degree (e.g., PhD or DPhil) in immunology, microbiology or related
  • >2 years research laboratory experience within immunology/microbiology research working at post-doctoral level.
  • Prior experience in scientific writing e.g., publications, reports, conference presentations, and ethics or grant applications
  • Regularly keep up to date with scientific literature where applicable
  • Evidence of prior and ongoing publication record (including preprints)
  • Able to apply own knowledge and quickly synthesise from scientific literature in high-pressure and time-sensitive situations e.g., incident responses to new/emerging pathogens.
  • Prior experience of line management and leading of junior scientists within a large team
  • Developing collaborations with internal/external partners


  • Demonstrable history of individual research projects with collaborators
  • Prior experience of assay development
  • >5 years research laboratory experience within immunology/microbiology research or diagnostic laboratories
  • Prior experience in working within a team involved in public health incident and responses.
  • Experience of supporting the appropriation of new equipment, consumables, and resources to support laboratory research and day-day operation.
  • Experience assisting junior staff development through supervision and training.
  • Previously obtained external funding for research projects

For more information on the UKHSA please visit: UK Health Security Agency - GOV.UK (


  • Learning and development tailored to your role.
  • An environment with flexible working options.
  • A culture encouraging inclusion and diversity.
  • A Civil Service pension with an average employer contribution of 27%.
  • Range of health and wellbeing support.
  • 26 days annual leave allowance increasing to 32 days after a 10-year service.

Any move to UKHSA from another employer will mean you can no longer access childcare vouchers. This includes moves between government departments. You may however be eligible for other government schemes, including Tax Free Childcare. Determine your eligibility at Childcare Choices , 30 Hours Free Childcare, Tax-Free Childcare and More , Help with Costs , GOV.UK

Selection process details


You will be required to complete an application form. This will be assessed in line with the advertised essential criteria – please do provide evidence of how you meet this. 

Your Statement of Suitability (max 1000 words) should outline your skills, experience, and achievements, providing evidence of your suitability for the role, with reference to the essential criteria (outlined in the person specification section).

**Please do not submit your CV, we require you to complete the full application process including a Personal Statement/Statement of Suitability, as outlined below. Please ensure that your Statement of Suitability contains no personal identifiers e.g. name in either the file name or content of the document.**

You will also be asked to provide information within the ‘Employer/Activity history’ section of the application form. This is equivalent to the information you would provide on a CV, setting out your career history.

If you are successful at this stage, you will progress to an interview.


This competition will involve a face-to-face interview at Porton Down.

As part of the process, candidates will be invited to interview which will involve an in-depth discussion of your previous experience and professional competence using the Success Profiles framework. 

The Behaviours tested during the interview stage will be:

  • Working together
  • Developing self and others
  • Communicating and influencing

Technical Skills will also be assessed on:

  • Laboratory research
  • Serology assay research, implementation, and development
  • Management of laboratories and testing
  • Supporting incident responses

Candidates will also be asked to participate in a session where they will be required to prepare and deliver a 10-minute presentation to the panel. This will be followed by a question-and-answer segment. The presentation will be designed to assess each candidate’s experience in line with the requirements of the role. Full details will be provided prior to the interview.          

Expected Timeline:

Advert close: 23:55hrs on 1st October 2023 – unfortunately, late applications will not be considered. Once this job has closed, the job advert will no longer be available. You may want to save a copy for your records.

Interviews: w/c 16th October 2023

Please note these dates could be subject to change.  

Security clearance level requirement

Successful candidates must pass a disclosure and barring security check. Successful candidates must meet the security requirements before they can be appointed. The level of security needed is Basic Personnel Security Standard.

A basic check is required.

For posts on UKHSA Civil Service terms and conditions, new entrants to the Civil Service are expected to start on the minimum of the pay band. For existing Civil Servants and roles advertised across government, the rules of transfer apply, i.e., level transfers move on current salary or the pay range minimum, transfers on promotion move to new pay range minimum or receive a 10% increase. Either case is determined by whichever is the highest. 

Please Note

This role is to be appointed under Civil Service Terms & Conditions. Full details on the T&C’s are found

Are you already a civil servant, or employed by a Civil Service Commission accredited public body? Please state home department on your application form.

Do you meet the nationality requirements for this post?

The law requires that selection for appointment to the Civil Service is on merit on the basis of fair and open competition as outlined in the Civil Service Commission's Recruitment Principles. 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 UKHSA Public Accountability Unit via email: If you are not satisfied with the response you receive from the Department, you can contact the Civil Service Commission: Visit the Civil Service Commission website.

Feedback will only be provided if you attend an interview or assessment.


Successful candidates must undergo a criminal record check.
People working with government assets must complete baseline personnel security standard (opens in new window) checks.

Nationality requirements

This job is broadly open to the following groups:

  • UK nationals
  • nationals of the Republic of Ireland
  • nationals of Commonwealth countries who have the right to work in the UK
  • nationals of the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein and family members of those nationalities with settled or pre-settled status under the European Union Settlement Scheme (EUSS) (opens in a new window)
  • nationals of the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein and family members of those nationalities who have made a valid application for settled or pre-settled status under the European Union Settlement Scheme (EUSS)
  • individuals with limited leave to remain or indefinite leave to remain who were eligible to apply for EUSS on or before 31 December 2020
  • Turkish nationals, and certain family members of Turkish nationals, who have accrued the right to work in the Civil Service
Further information on nationality requirements (opens in a new window)

Working for the Civil Service

The Civil Service Code (opens in a new window) 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 (opens in a new window).
The Civil Service embraces diversity and promotes equal opportunities. As such, we run a Disability Confident Scheme (DCS) for candidates with disabilities who meet the minimum selection criteria.
This vacancy is part of the Great Place to Work for Veterans (opens in a new window) initiative.
Once this job has closed, the job advert will no longer be available. You may want to save a copy for your records.

Contact point for applicants

Job contact :

  • Name : Nicoleta Enciu
  • Email :

Recruitment team

  • Email :

Share this page