Postdoctoral Research Officer in Environmental Virology

Bangor University

Bangor, , GB

Job Number



School of Natural Sciences



Salary Information

Starting Salary: £33,797 (Grade 7)

Contract Duration

7 months

Responsible to

Professor of Soil and Environmental Science

Closing Date


Applications are invited for the above full-time post working in the School of Natural Sciences with the post based in the Centre for Environmental Biotechnology.

This 7-month position is funded by Welsh Government. It will focus on the environmental persistence and dispersal of SARS-CoV-2 and other human pathogenic viruses (e.g. Norovirus, Influenza) in wastewater as part of the government’s human health surveillance programme.

Candidates will have a PhD (or be near completion) in a relevant discipline (preferentially environmental or medical virology) and have experience in molecular microbiology including experience in the application and optimisation of molecular techniques.

An essential part of the post will be to integrate within the existing Centre for Environmental Biotechnology, present at conferences and publish results in peer-reviewed academic journals.

The successful candidate will be expected to commence  as soon as possible.

Applications will only be accepted via our on-line recruitment website, However, in cases of access issues due to disability, paper application forms are available by telephoning 01248 383865.

Closing date for applications: 21 August 2020.

Committed To Equal Opportunities


Bangor University was established in 1884 and currently has over 11,000 students. It comprises 14 Academic Schools grouped in to 3 colleges. The College of Environmental Sciences and Engineering at Bangor University is one of the leading centres in the UK for teaching and research in biology, environmental sciences, geography, ocean sciences, chemistry, computer science and electronic engineering. The University was awarded a Gold rating in the recent UK Teaching Excellence Framework.

The college has over 2300 students and 350 teaching and support staff, and consists of three academic schools and the BioComposites Centre. The School of Natural Science (SNS) is a school within this College. SNS has a world-class reputation in research, with particular expertise in the biological sciences in molecular ecology, fisheries genetics, ancient DNA, evolutionary and conservation biology, biogeochemistry, biohydrometallurgy, plant product biochemistry and (plant) stress physiology, wetland biogeochemistry, neurophysiology of crustaceans, animal responses to stress and applied microbiology. In a broader environmental context our research interests include forest ecology and management; environmental studies and soil science; agricultural systems; agroforestry; biodiversity conservation; and tropical ecosystems.
Bangor University is a national centre of excellence in soil science. It has published over 450 journal articles on aspects of soil science in the last 20 years and is responsible for the national soil monitoring programme. It is particularly strong in soil biology and chemistry and the interactions of soils with plants, livestock and microbes. It has many long-term field experiments and well equipped laboratories for undertaking research. Bangor University is also responsible for running the training programme for the NERC-BBSRC STARS Soil Science College of Doctoral Training

The Project

The project is funded by Welsh Government. It will focus on the environmental persistence and dispersal of SARS-CoV-2 and other human pathogenic viruses (e.g. Norovirus, Influenza) in wastewater as part of the government’s human health surveillance programme. This project will involve an investigation of viral abundance in urban centres Wales. The project is joint with Cardiff University. The project will utilise a combination of molecular approaches to characterise the behaviour of viruses in sites around Wales.

Purpose of the Job

The Research Officer will initiate and undertake a sampling/fieldwork programme in North Wales, collecting and analysing wastewater samples to provide data for the viral ecology team. The postholder will liaise with external stakeholders and write reports associated with the project.

Main Duties and Responsibilities

• To initiate and undertake a sampling/fieldwork programme in North Wales.
• To collect and analyse wastewater samples for the enumeration and analysis of viral pathogens.
• To undertake laboratory analysis of wastewater chemistry.
• To facilitate in the sequencing of SARS-CoV-2 to identify lineages circulating in the population.
• To provide viral abundance data to develop and validate mathematical surveillance models.
• To liaise with all co-investigators and members of the viral ecology team working on the project. This will include working together as a team as and when required.
• To interact with the industrial stakeholders involved in the project (e.g. Welsh Water), the UK Joint Biosecurity Centre, Natural Resources Wales, Environment Agency and Welsh Government.
• To write and complete report(s) associated with the project.
• To publish lead-authored and participate in the publishing of co-authored original research articles.

Other Duties and Responsibilities

• The post holder will be expected to participate in performance review and developmental activities.
• The post holder will be expected to comply with the University’s equality policies and statements, Dignity at Work and Study Policy and the University’s Welsh Language Scheme.
• The post holder has a general and legal duty of care in relation to health, safety and wellbeing and must take all reasonable steps to ensure a safe and healthy working environment for him/her self and for other members of staff, students and visitors affected by his/her actions or inactions.  The post holder is also required to comply with all applicable health and safety policies, procedures and risk assessments.
• The post holder must comply with relevant legal and financial policies and procedures and be aware of their responsibilities in terms of the legal requirements of their post.

Person Specification

1. Education/Qualifications

• A PhD in a relevant discipline such as molecular microbiology (preferably environmental or medical virology).

• A qualification in environmental science.

2. Research experience

• Experience in the application and optimisation of molecular techniques.
• Strong background in molecular microbiology.
• Experience in the quantification of microorganisms (e.g. including DNA/RNA extraction from environmental samples, quantitative PCR and/or metagenomics etc.).
• Experience in some aspects of virology.
• Experience in working as part of a wider group and in the supervision of technical support staff.
• Experience of working with the wider community (policymakers, regulators etc).
• A proven track record as lead author of scientific research publications in peer-reviewed literature.
• Experience in presenting orally research outputs in group meetings and international conferences.
• Good general computing competency.
• Good statistical skills including general statistical methods.

• Experience in multivariate statistics.
• Experience of bioinformatics.

3. Personal Qualities

• The ability to work independently to deadlines, and to take responsibility for research outcomes.
• Motivation and enthusiasm about the aims of the project.
• Experience in working as a team member as and when required.
• Good time-management skills, and ability to maximise personal research output.
• Good interpersonal and communication skills, including willingness to coordinate with others and the ability to work as part of a team.
• Good organisational skills in relation to research at the bench and report writing.
• Appreciation of the importance of Health and Safety at work.
•  Demonstrate an understanding of the bilingual nature of the institution and area.

• A valid driving licence to enable travel to remote sites on occasion.


The University is committed to supporting and promoting equality and diversity and to creating an inclusive working environment. We believe this can be achieved through attracting, developing, and retaining a diverse range of staff from many different backgrounds. We strive to develop a workforce from all sections of the community regardless of sex, gender identity, ethnicity, disability, sexual orientation, trans identity, relationship status, religion or belief, caring responsibilities, or age. We promote and facilitate the use of the Welsh language through our progressive Welsh Language Policy. We comply with the Welsh Language Standards and are committed to equality of opportunity. You are welcome to apply for any job in English or Welsh and all applications submitted will be treated equally.

We are a member of Advance HE’s Athena SWAN Gender Equality charter and hold a Bronze award in recognition of our commitment to and progress towards gender equality within the University’s policies, practices, and culture. We are proud to be a Disability Confident employer.
All members of staff have a duty to ensure their actions are in line with the overall environmental aims of the University and minimise their environmental impact.
All offers are made subject to proof of eligibility to work in the UK and receipt of satisfactory references.

All candidates must meet the requirements of UK ‘right to work’ requirements *** If you require Home Office permission to work in the UK, or need to switch your visa status in order to take this job, please note that following the introduction by the Government of immigration limits on skilled workers we recommend you use the following link to information about the routes into employment and to check eligibility requirements:

Please note that, in the event of applications being received from candidates on the University’s Redeployment Register with a reasonable skills match to the post specification, these applicants will be given prior consideration.





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