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Job summary

Main area
Healthcare Scientist
Fixed term: 5 months (This role will end 5 months from start date on 30/09/2022.)
  • Full time
  • Part time
  • Job share
  • Flexible working
37.5 hours per week
Job ref
UK Health Security Agency
Employer type
Public (Non NHS)
£32,331 - £39,691 pro rata, per annum
Salary period
27/05/2022 23:59

Employer heading

UK Health Security Agency logo

COVID-19 Vacancy Healthcare Scientist


COVID-19 has reinforced the impact that threats to health can have on society and the economy and driven health security as a critical component of our national security architecture. The United Kingdom Health Security Agency (UKHSA) is a system leader for health security; taking action internationally to strengthen global health security, providing trusted advice to government and the public and reducing inequalities in the way different communities experience and are impacted by infectious disease, environmental hazards, and other threats to health.

UKHSA’s remit, as an agency with a global-to-local reach, is to protect the health of the nation from infectious diseases and other external threats to health. As the nation’s expert national health security agency UKHSA will:

  • Prevent: anticipate threats to health and help build the nation’s readiness, defences and health security
  • Detect: use cutting edge environmental and biological surveillance to proactively detect and monitor infectious diseases and threats to health
  • Analyse: use world-class science and data analytics to assess and continually monitor threats to health, identifying how best to control and mitigate the risks
  • Respond: take rapid, collaborative and effective actions nationally and locally to mitigate threats to health when they materialise
  • Lead: lead strong and sustainable global, national, regional and local partnerships designed to save lives, protect the nation from public health threats, and reduce inequalities

UKHSA’s immediate and most important priority is to continue the response to the COVID-19 pandemic. In the longer term, UKHSA will build on the legacy of the COVID-19 response to ensure resilient and scalable infrastructure to secure the UK in the strongest position to protect the public from future threats to health.

UKHSA mission is challenging, innovative and in the spotlight. To achieve our objectives effectively and fairly, we commit to representing modern Britain and all its diversity. UKHSA recognises that diversity of background and life experience brings different insights, creates challenge and encourages change and innovation. This in turn produces more accountable and trusted public services and better decisions; better because they are more attuned to the needs and interests of all our communities. Differences of thought and outlook are not only respected but expected. We want all our employees to feel that they can be themselves at work and that they are valued.

Job overview

The postholder will work in the Sarscov2 Immunity & Reinfection Evaluation (SIREN) team within the Healthcare associated infections and antimicrobial resistance  (HCAI & AMR) Division. The SIREN study aims to find out whether healthcare workers who have evidence of prior COVID-19, detected by antibody assays (positive antibody tests), compared to those who do not have evidence of infection (negative antibody tests) are protected from future episodes of infection. Through this study we will provide this very important information which will help to understand the future impact of COVID-19 on the population


Whilst part of the HCAI, Fungal, AMR, Antimicrobial Utilisation & Sepsis Division, this post is co-positioned within National Infection Service Laboratories (NIS) on the Colindale site. These laboratories include Reference Microbiology, Microbiology Research and Operations.

Main duties of the job

The Healthcare Scientist will:

  • Perform, interpret, record and validate test results according to given protocols
  • Participate, when required, in other SARS-CoV2/SIREN laboratory work, such as molecular diagnostics, sequencing, serology and viral culture
  • Evaluate relevant test procedures/equipment and produce reports for publishing
  • Contribute to the proper storage and management of the laboratory specimens
  • Ensure compliance with CPA, UKAS and other accreditation and certification standards
  • Use databases and software packages including Excel, Word and PowerPoint
  • Enter results onto the Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS)
  • To ensure junior staff and assigned visitors or trainees are competent to carry out the tasks given to them, ensuring that levels of supervision are sufficient
  • Assist in the acquisition, control and utilisation of stock and consumables for the SIREN laboratory and Biobanking activities, where appropriate.
  • To ensure confidentiality and conformity to the requirements of the Data Protection Act in collaboration with the designated Laboratory Caldicott Guardian, Data Protection Officer and Security Information
  • To maintain professional competence and be aware of relevant developments in microbiology and other biomedical sciences





Working for our organisation

We pride ourselves as being an employer of choice, where Everyone Matters promoting equality of opportunity to actively encourage applications from everyone, including groups currently underrepresented in our workforce.

UKHSA ethos is to be an inclusive organisation for all our staff and stakeholders. To create, nurture and sustain an inclusive culture, where differences drive innovative solutions to meet the needs of our workforce and wider communities. We do this through celebrating and protecting differences by removing barriers and promoting equity and equality of opportunity for all.

UK Health Security Agency exists to protect and improve the nation's health and well-being and reduce health inequalities. We do this through world-leading science, knowledge and intelligence, advocacy, partnerships and the delivery of specialist public health services. We are an executive agency of the Department of Health and Social Care, and a distinct delivery organisation with operational autonomy. We provide government, local government, the NHS, Parliament, industry and the public with evidence-based professional, scientific and delivery expertise and support.

Detailed job description and main responsibilities

The post holder will work within the laboratory section of the SIREN team to ensure the SIREN sample management and laboratory processes are robust and quality-assured. SIREN is an exciting and dynamic project which requires flexibility and an agile way of working alongside developing and working towards defined protocols and systems of work. The post holder will be expected to take into account the operational, safety and quality requirements of the SIREN project both in and outside of the laboratory.

The main responsibilities of the role include assisting in the maintenance of the SIREN Biobank, as well as developing and maintaining robust systems to manage the SIREN samples. When required, the successful applicant will be expected to contribute to SARS-CoV2/SIREN laboratory work, such as molecular diagnostics, sequencing, serology and distribution of postal swab packs. Technical validation of laboratory results will be required on occasion and the applicant will be contribute to data analysis. Applicants are expected to ensure that the laboratory work performed at UKHSA for SIREN offers microbiology services of excellent and consistent quality in accordance with UKHSA policies and procedures.

Security Clearance Level Requirement:

 Successful candidates must meet the security requirements before they can be appointed. The level of security needed is Basic Personnel Security Standard

Selection process details


As part of the application process you will be asked to provide a Statement of Suitability of no more than 750 words. This should outline how you consider your skills, experience, and achievements, provide evidence of your suitability for the role, with particular reference to the essential skills criteria.

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 (this will not be used in sifting process and will not be scored). If you are successful at this stage, you will progress to an interview. 


All applicants that progress to interview will be assessed on the essential criteria and asked questions on how applicants will be best suited to the role.

The contract end date of this role will be 30 September 2022 regardless of agreed start date.

This position is a temporary appointment and at present has no expectation of permanence. Unless otherwise communicated prior to the end of this Fixed Term Appointment, this role will come to an end on the published end date.

New entrants to the Civil Service are expected to start on the minimum of the pay band.

The internal roles rules apply to existing Civil Servants, i.e., level transfers move on current salary or the pay range minimum, transfers on promotion move to new pay range minimum or receive 10% increase. Either case is determined by whichever is the highest.

Prior agreement to be released on a loan basis must be obtained before commencing the application process. In the case of Civil Servants, the terms of the loan will be agreed between the home and host department and the Civil Servant. This includes grade on return.

You must be a habitual resident in the UK to apply for this role and your home address, from which you would undertake this role if successful, must be in the UK.

For further details please refer to the Information Sheet- Starting Salaries & Benefits attachment




Person specification


Essential criteria
  • BSc in Biological sciences or equivalent (2:1 or above)
  • HCPC Registration.
  • Experience with quality assurance principles and procedures
  • Knows and understands laboratory safety requirements and procedures
  • Experience of working in a microbiological/molecular diagnostic (preferably virological) laboratory, or equivalent
  • Experience of supervision and training of technical staff
  • Computer literate, ability to analyse data based on evidence, create reports, and present findings to others
  • Ability to troubleshoot both laboratory-based and project-based problems effectively and deal with problems in a calm and efficient manner
  • Able to work to prioritise workload, work to deadlines and remain focused
  • Able to convey ideas and opinions clearly and concisely, orally and in writing

Employer certification / accreditation badges

Happy to Talk Flexible WorkingPurple SpaceApprenticeships logoNo smoking policyMindful employer.  Being positive about mental health.Improving working livesAge positiveDisability confident employerThe Employers Network for Equality & Inclusion (enei) is the UK's leading employer network covering all aspects of equality and inclusion issues in the workplace.

Applicant requirements

You must have appropriate UK professional registration.

Documents to download

Apply online now

Further details / informal visits contact

Rosie O'Grady
Job title
Resourcing Manager
Email address
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