View Vacancy -- Electron Microscopy (EM) Specialist - RCAH 1003

Open Date
08/01/2019, 08:00
Close Date
03/02/2019, 23:55
Research Complex at Harwell

The Research Complex at Harwell is a joint initiative of the Research Councils (BBSRC, EPSRC, MRC, NERC and STFC) and the Diamond Light Source, to provide a state-of-the-art multidisciplinary research laboratories on the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory (RAL). RCaH is a Medical Research Council (MRC) establishment which is part of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI).


The Complex currently has a core staff of 15 to run the facility, and accommodate over 180 physical, life and laser scientists who are funded by external grants to carry out cutting edge multidisciplinary research. The research concentrates on areas requiring the use of the RAL major facilities such as: Diamond synchrotron, ISIS neutron source and the Central Laser Facility (CLF) and the electron microscopy centre.


The Research Complex's terms of reference are:

  • To provide operational generic laboratory space for life, physical and laser sciences research that will attract world-class scientists;
  • To provide common spaces and shared facilities to encourage interaction between life, physical and laser scientists, and users of Diamond, ISIS and CLF;
  • To be sufficiently adaptable in design in order to respond to changes in research requirements and opportunities in the future.


RCaH is a science-led national resource with a mission to enable and add value to outstanding new science that benefits, and benefits from, the UK’s Central Facilities. Many major advances in science take place at the boundaries between the traditional disciplines, and increasingly utilise advanced technologies available at centralised facilities. The Research Complex houses a number of long-, medium- and short-term, research groups in life and physical sciences who will benefit from the proximity of the major facilities and the synergy generated by the multidisciplinary environment.


Some of the main groups present at the Research Complex provide a service element to the UK research community:

  • The Protein Production Facility specialising in high-throughput methodologies for expressing, crystallising and determining three-dimensional crystal structures of proteins, especially human proteins of biomedical interest.
  • A grouping from the RAL Central Laser facility specialising in the development and use of advanced laser technologies for physical and life sciences applications.
  • The Collaborative Computing Project No.4 (CCP4) group specialising in the generation and maintenance of the most widely used software for protein crystallography.


All these groups provide a service element to the UK research community. Other, grant funded research groups, have been selected on a competitive basis, in areas such as:

  • Structural studies on membrane proteins and multi-protein complexes;
  • High throughput functional and structural genomics related to disease and molecular mechanism in biology;
  • Biological imaging, including living cells;
  • Application of novel physical techniques in life sciences;
  • Catalysis;
  • Drug development and delivery;
  • Chemical processing;
  • Surface science;
  • Nanoscience and nanotechnology;
  • Energy research.
  • Advanced manufacturing.


UK Research and Innovation is a new entity that brings together nine partners to create an independent organisation with a strong voice for research and innovation, more information can be found at

MRC - 4
Harwell Campus, Oxfordshire
£27,906 to £38,931. Please note that any salaries offered above £33,305 will be based on the candidate having significant experience.
Full Time

Overall purpose:

To support the Operations Manager in ensuring the smooth and efficient operation of Transmission Electron Microscope (TEM) and Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM) facilities.


Main duties / key responsibilities:


  • Provide training on SEM and TEM for short and long term RCaH users;
  • Provide maintenance and calibration of the EM equipment, including auxiliary instrumentation;
  • Ensure that the EM facility meets current safety standards and requirements, including sample preparation and users samples;
  • Advise and assist RCaH users with sample preparation procedures and protocols;
  • Diagnose and repair faults on the TEM and SEM instruments and ancillary equipment. The post-holder will be capable of solving problems encountered with such equipment himself/herself or make use of external support, as appropriate;
  • Keep records of the usage of instruments and manage the booking system to maximise the efficient and effective use of the facility;
  • Liaise with EM users about their experimental samples and material including COSHH and Risk assessments;
  • Assist users with technical aspects of operating the instruments;
  • Personally keep up to date with technical developments in electron microscopy, implement them at RCaH where appropriate and advise users on such developments and new opportunities.



  • For ensuring safe and efficient use of RCaH EM equipment;
  • For all safety aspects of running EM instruments and of sample preparation equipment and procedures;
  • For liaising with users about EM instrument’s availability and bookings;
  • For completing or organising the services and maintenance of EM facility equipment.


These lists are not exhaustive and you will be expected to help cover roles when colleagues are away.


Working relationships:

This post reports to the Operations Manager and the role involves interaction with core staff, scientists, students and visitors within the complex. The post holder will also provide information on equipment usage, and equipment procurement details or forecasts.

Education / Qualifications / Training required:


  • Educated to degree level or equivalent;
  • Experience with TEM instruments;
  • Interest in the EM field and desire to follow up technical developments in that area;
  • Experience in implementing good Health and Safety laboratory practices.



  • Experience with both TEM and SEM instruments;
  • Experience with EM sample preparation;
  • Experience with cryo-TEM procedures.


Previous work experience required:


  • Experience in Electron Microscopy, preferably in a research environment.



  • Experience or interest in one of the leading subjects at the Research Complex (imaging, structural biology, materials, catalysis, dynamic processes etc).


Knowledge and experience:


  • Ability to operate TEM and SEM instruments safely;
  • Ability to perform tasks requiring a high degree of manual dexterity;
  • Ability to adapt to new procedures concerning work in the electron microscope laboratory;
  • Ability to learn to develop, enlarge, and process micrographs;
  • Ability to establish and maintain effective working relationships with supervisors and other employees;
  • Excellent interpersonal and communication skills (both oral and written).


Personal skills/behaviours/qualities:


  • Interest in Electron Microscopy field and its applications for various Life and Physical sciences projects;
  • Committed to the customer service environment and continuous improvement;
  • Ability to work independently and in a team;
  • Excellent IT skills (MS Office).



  • Experience of using online ERP databases (Oracle).


We are looking for an individual who can help us run the state of the art Research Complex laboratories. Multidisciplinary research of this scale is unusual in the UK and we are looking for a flexible individual who can adapt to need and circumstance and does not shy away from a challenge. Electron microscopy is set for a major expansion of activity on the Harwell Oxford site, to develop into an internationally leading facility.

 As this job does not fulfil the UK Government minimum salary criterion for obtaining sponsored migrant worker status we will be unable to apply for sponsorship for anyone not eligible to work in the UK.  At interview, all shortlisted candidates are required to bring with them identification documents and original documents that prove they hold or can obtain the right to work in the UK.  You can check your eligibility here:

The closing date for applications is Sunday 3rd February 2019.

Interviews will be held on Monday 18th February 2019.

The MRC is a great place to work and progress your career, be it in scientific research or the support functions.The MRC is a unique working environment where our researchers are rewarded by world class innovation and collaboration opportunities that the MRC name brings. The MRC is an excellent place to develop yourself further and a range of training & development opportunities will be available to you, including professional registration with the Science Council.

Choosing to come to work at the MRC (part of UKRI) means that you will have access to a whole host of benefits from a defined benefit pension scheme and excellent holiday entitlement to access to employee shopping/travel discounts and salary sacrifice cycle to work scheme, as well as the chance to put the MRC and UKRI on your CV in the future.

Our success is dependent upon our ability to embrace diversity and draw on the skills, understanding and experience of all our people. We welcome applications from all sections of the community irrespective of gender, race, ethnic or national origin, religion or belief, sexual orientation, disability or age. As "Disability Confident" employers, we guarantee to interview all applicants with disabilities who meet the minimum criteria for the vacancy.

UKRI supports research in areas that include animal health, agriculture and food security, and bioscience for health which includes research on animals, genetic modification and stem cell research. Whilst you may not have direct involvement in this type of research, you should consider whether this conflicts with your personal values or beliefs.

We will conduct a full and comprehensive pre-employment check as an essential part of the recruitment process on all individuals that are offered a position with UKRI. This will include a security check and an extreme organisations affiliation check.

This opportunity is closed to applications.