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Job summary

Main area
Central Sequencing Laboratory
Civil Service: Higher Executive Officer (HEO Inner)
9 months (There are 4 fixed term roles available and 1 permanent role, the fixed Term roles will be until 30-Sep-2022.)
Full time - 37.5 hours per week (Contribution to early and late shift work and weekends on a rotational basis)
Job ref
UK Health Security Agency
Employer type
Public (Non NHS)
£32,331 - £39,691 per annum (pro rata)
Salary period
08/12/2021 23:59

Employer heading

UK Health Security Agency logo

COVID-19 Vacancy Healthcare Scientist

Civil Service: Higher Executive Officer (HEO Inner)

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

There are 4 fixed term roles available and 1 permanent role.

The post holder will be part of a team performing a range of tasks to undertake the execution of DNA sequencing (Next Generation Sequencing and Sanger) and Fragment Analysis Services in the UK Health Security Agency based at Colindale.  Flexible working is required for this role. The post holder will be expected to maintain at all times the required high standards and quality to maintain an up to date knowledge of genomic sequencing technologies and current working practices within the unit.  

Main duties of the job

  • To follow agreed protocols and policies in accordance with the UK HSA policies and procedures.
  • Perform manual and automated laboratory techniques following Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), with expertise in sequence-based methods and techniques.
  • To participate and support molecular routine service delivery within the remit of CSL.
  • To understand and carry out all aspects of NGS and Sanger sequencing on Illumina and Applied Biosystems platforms using automated liquid handling procedures

Working for our organisation

UK Health Security Agency provides strategic leadership and vision for protecting and improving the nation’s health. Its ambition is to lead nationally and enable locally, a transformation in the health expectations of all people in England, regardless of where they live and the circumstance of their birth. It will achieve this through the application of research, knowledge, and skills. UKHSA is an executive agency of the Department of Health. It is a distinct delivery organisation with operational autonomy to advise and support the government, local authorities, and the NHS in a professionally independent manner.

Detailed job description and main responsibilities

  • To run the service autonomously when required, including development and optimisation of services and organisation of workflows
  • To ensure the smooth flow of samples through the laboratory, from receipt to testing.
  • To carry out routine quality control procedures to ensure that samples are being prepared, processed, recorded and archived to a high standard.
  • To maintain equipment, including routine monitoring, calibration and safety checks and maintain records of these.
  • To facilitate the day to day running of the laboratory by ensuring the availability of stock and reagents.
  • To encourage the development of a flexible team by supporting training, development and rotation
  • To supervise and support EO and AO grade staff in the unit.
  • To review and analyse data to ensure it is suitable for release to customers.
  • To assist in the instruction and training of other staff and visitors, and to ensure compliance with safety and quality systems.
  • To participate in formal staff appraisal
  • To provide supervision for the work of staff or persons seconded to the unit

Any other duties within the framework of the job summary.

Open to all external applicants (anyone) from outside the Civil Service (including by definition internal applicants).

For further information, please view the job description and person specification document that has been listed under the attachments for this advert.

Applicants are strongly advised to use the criteria in the person specification (available online) as sub-headings in their application to make it clear how they meet each of the selection criteria. Please also see job description for competencies.

Person specification


Essential criteria
  • Degree in a relevant biological science
Desirable criteria
  • Relevant professional qualification i.e. registration with the health and care professional council (HCPC) as clinical scientist or Biomedical Scientist

Knowledge and experience

Essential criteria
  • Experience in running NGS Platforms and Applied Biosystems sequencing services without supervision
  • Knowledge of automated liquid handling
  • Knowledge and understanding of laboratory safety requirements and procedures
Desirable criteria
  • Previously worked in a similar position within the public sector
  • Basic knowledge of project principles

Skills and capabilities

Essential criteria
  • Skills for communication on complex information and administrative matters, requiring developed interpersonal and oral/ written communication skills
  • Problem solving skills and ability to respond to sudden unexpected demands
  • Advanced keyboard skills, use of a range of software
  • Ability to work on own initiative and organise own workload with minimal supervision working to tight and often changing timescales
Desirable criteria
  • Ability to pull together comprehensive draft reports, networking and persuasive skills
  • Excellent time management skills with the ability to re-prioritise

Equality and Diversity

Essential criteria
  • An understanding of and commitment to equality of opportunity and good working relationships, both in terms of day-to-day working practices, but also in relation to management systems
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Applicant requirements

The postholder will have access to vulnerable people in the course of their normal duties and as such this post is subject to the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 (Exceptions) Order 1975 (Amendment) (England and Wales) Order 2020 and as such it will be necessary for a submission for Disclosure to be made to the Disclosure and Barring Service to check for any previous criminal convictions.

Documents to download

Apply online now

Further details / informal visits contact

Jon Hubb
Job title
Unit Head Central Sequencing Laboratory
Email address
Telephone number
Additional information


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