Scientist - Virology


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  • Location:
  • Salary:
    £24,500 - £29,000

Job Description

About the job

Dstl (the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory) delivers high-impact Science and Technology for the UK's defence, security and prosperity. In order to do this, we need people who can use their skills to innovate and develop technologies which ensure we are at the forefront of science.

We work in niche areas which are sensitive in nature, operationally-critical to the UK and Internationally recognised in importance. Our work therefore has to be done within government.

We are looking for self-motivated, enthusiastic individuals to work within our growing Chemical Biological (CB) Analysis and Attribution capability. This is an exciting area where you will be part of a highly skilled team of scientific specialists. The work undertaken in this area ranges from research, exercising in the form of competency and proficiency testing, through to real world operational sample analysis and attribution. The capability has impact at the highest levels of government and through this opportunity you could become part of the team.

We need a virologist to help support the future development of a new exciting virology capability. This capability will develop methods and processes to analyse and identify highly pathogenic organisms.
Working closely with the Senior Virologist, you will undertake laboratory research in support of this goal. You will craft and deliver appropriate experimentation to develop new/existing procedures for the detection and the identification of highly pathogenic viruses. In a timely fashion, you will communicate these results to the technical team. This laboratory work and documented results will be delivered within a quality framework.

Job description

In this role you will:

• Work closely with the Senior Virologist in order to undertake research that improves the analysis and attribution capability
• Undertake the research that provides the critical supporting evidence for the development robust new scientific procedures
• Be responsible for validation of new procedures to enable accreditation under our quality system (ISO17025)
• Identify and lead the development and validation of new/existing methods.

Job Dimensions

In this job you will work with research scientists with different scientific skills and disciplines. You will report your technical work to the Senior Virologist and be line managed by the team leader for the Virology team.
The Virology team is made up of 10 scientists experienced at working in high containment.
As part of this role there is an opportunity join an on-call rota system once you are trained and established in the role. This would involve working outside of normal hours and would attract an additional payment.

We are looking for someone who has:

• As a minimum has a BSc (or an equivalent level of experience) in field of virology
• Experience working in high containment laboratories and competent to undertake research autonomously on an agreed set of tasks, to time and to standard.
• Evidence of good interpersonal skills (i.e. oral, written form) and proficient with the tools required to present work (e.g. PowerPoint)
• Capable of basic statistical analyses to derive significance of research or for validation purposes
• An appreciation of working within a quality system (i.e. under ISO17025) will be advantageous


• Teamwork
• Problem-solving
• Time management
• Scientific writing
• Proficient in the use of MS Office suite (Word, Excel, Outlook, Powerpoint)

• Auditing processes or procedures


• Relevant laboratory experience including working in high containment laboratories with hazard group 3 pathogens.
• Experience of undertaking safe working practises for hazard group 3 pathogens.
• Familiarity with PCR and other molecular biology methods.
• Familiarity or experience of genomic sequencing.
• Have worked as part of team and are able to report results clearly and concisely.

• Experience of undertaking research involved in the developing methods for the detection and identification of virus (e.g. PCR, DNA/RNA sequencing).
• Experience working in a quality system.
• Previous experience with hazard group 3 pathogens.
Membership of the Royal Society of Biology or equivalent body would be advantageous.

Important Information
This role will require full UK security clearance and you should have resided in the UK for the past 5 years. For some Developed Vetting will also be required, in this case you should have resided in the UK for the past 10 years.

Our work is highly sensitive and you will need a high level of security clearance to understand the security threats you are working to defeat. For this reason, we regret that only UK Nationals will be able to apply for this role. If you are an international or dual-national candidate, and you think you have the skills we need, please consider applying to any of our partner organisations across Defence. We work closely with Defence Industry on many projects, so it would be great to work with you via one of our partners.
We'll assess you against these behaviours during the selection process:

Communicating and Influencing
Working Together
Delivering at Pace
Developing Self and Others
Managing a Quality Service
Technical skills
We'll assess you against these technical skills during the selection process:

Tell us about your experience / expertise in the methodology of detecting and identifying viruses?
Tell us what scientific achievement you are most proud of and what your role was in the outcome?
Tell us why you are applying for the role and what you can bring to it in terms of knowledge and experience?
We'll provide a great range of benefits including;
• Fully flexible working, including alternative working patterns, annualised hours, compressed hours and job share, to name a few.
• Flexible Working hours, a 12 month reference period and the ability to bank hours. Up to 20 hours can be taken in any calendar month
• Excellent learning and development to ensure everyone fulfils their potential.
• Maternity, adoption or shared parental leave of up to 26 weeks full pay followed by 13 weeks statutory pay and a further 13 weeks unpaid, and paternity leave of 2 weeks full pay.
• Chartership and accreditation support.
• Pension.
• Generous annual leave, with the ability to buy and sell up to 5 days holiday per year.
• A competitive salary.
• Onsite gyms and restaurants.
• Staff discounts for high street and online shopping, restaurants and days out.

Our Diversity Networks

Dstl recognises the importance of diversity and inclusion as people from diverse backgrounds bring fresh ideas. We are committed to building an inclusive working environment in which each employee fulfils their potential and maximises their contribution. We have a number of support networks to ensure all employees feel supported at work.

These include the following;
- Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Network
- Faith and Culture Network
- Parents and Carer Support Network
- Alternative Working Network
- Gender Equality Network
- New Starters Network
- Enabled Network, for people with visible and non-visible disabilities.

For further information about Dstl please check out our LinkedIn page 

Things you need to know

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 security check.

People working with government assets must complete basic personnel security standard checks.

Selection process details
This vacancy is using Success Profiles, and will assess your Behaviours, Experience and Technical skills.

The Sift will be completed by 3rd November 2020 and will assess your answers to the Technical Skills questions and how your CV matches the requirements for the role as detailed in the attached job description.

Interviews will be held on 16th November and will consist of a combined technical and behavioural interview assessing your skills and experience in relation to the job description.

Due to the current situation interviews are likely to be held via video link and full details will be sent to you should you be invited to an interview.

Feedback will only be provided if you attend an interview or assessment.
Nationality requirements
Open to UK nationals only.

This job is not open to candidates who hold a dual nationality.
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 equal opportunities. As such, we run a Disability Confident Scheme (DCS) for candidates with disabilities who meet the minimum selection criteria.
Apply and further information
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 : DSTL Recruitment
Email :
Recruitment team :
Email :

Further information
Should you wish to raise a formal complaint about the Dstl recruitment process you should email stating the nature of the issue. We will respond within 5 working days.

If you have a disability we will try our best to make reasonable adjustments to remove any barriers to this post in the application / interview process due to a disability.