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Job summary

Main area
TB Research
Civil Service: Higher Executive Officer (HEO)
Fixed term: 2 years
Full time - 37.5 hours per week
Job ref
UK Health Security Agency
Employer type
Public (Non NHS)
Public Health England
Porton Down, Salisbury
£28,588 - £35,612 per annum (pro rata)
Salary period
09/11/2021 23:59

Employer heading

UK Health Security Agency logo


Civil Service: Higher Executive Officer (HEO)

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 TB Vaccine Evaluation Group uses the non-human primate (NHP) model to assess the safety, efficacy and immunogenicity of a range of novel vaccines and therapeutics to protect against and treat Tuberculosis, a disease which was responsible for ~1.4 million deaths in 2019.

You will be involved in the analysis of blood samples to measure the mycobacteria-specific cellular immune response at ACDP Containment Levels 2 & 3 using a range of advanced immunoassays including; the ELISPOT assay, flow cytometry to analyse immunological memory and functional markers, polyfunctional T-cell analysis and multiplex bead array technology. You will be also be involved in identifying other opportunities to optimize new methods and technologies for use with archived samples.

You will also be responsible for supervising the ACDP2 & 3 laboratory; maintaining a safe working environment, assessing risks and organizing consumable provisions. There will also be some supervision of junior members of staff. 

The successful applicants will be educated to degree level in a relevant subject or equivalent level of experience of working at a similar level in a specialist area. Education to MSc or PhD in an appropriate biological science is desirable.

Main duties of the job

  • Implement and utilise a range of methods, assays and techniques at ACDP containment levels 2 & 3 in support of all activities associated with the TB evaluation group’s projects and to ensure project targets are met.
  • Develop, optimise and apply multiparameter cellular immunology assays for the investigation of mycobacteria-specific T-cell function and phenotype, such as polyfunctional T-cell analysis, and T-cell memory and homing phenotypes.
  • Apply multiplex bead array technology for the investigation of immune biomarkers as potential correlates of protection.
  • Supervise the running of the laboratory and take responsibility for the provision of reagents and consumables required for project area.
  • Assist the project team to identify, evaluate and adapt new technologies where appropriate and to ensure that the project operates to a high scientific standard using current methods.
  • Take responsibility for the supervision and training of junior staff allocated to the project as required.
  • Provide reports through analysis of data using software and databases as necessary, to meet project targets and for preparation of presentations and publications.

Working for our organisation

UK Health Security Agency(PHE) is an executive agency of the Department of Health and Social Care providing; strategic leadership, research, advice and support for Government, local authorities and the NHS in protecting and improving the nations health. We offer a benefits package designed to provide an excellent work/life balance, including generous annual leave entitlement, flexible working hours, possibility of working from home and membership of the excellent civil service pension scheme. We are absolutely committed to the development of our staff and offer wide-ranging opportunities for training and professional development


Detailed job description and main responsibilities

A detailed job description/main responsibilities is attached in a separate document. Applicants are strongly advised to use the criteria in the job description/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.

Option 3 – External

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

Person specification


Essential criteria
  • BSc in a Biological Sciences subject
Desirable criteria
  • PhD or an MSc/MRes in relevant subject area, such as immunology

Knowledge and Experience

Essential criteria
  • A high degree of competency in relevant immunology techniques and methods acquired through previous employment or postgraduate study.
  • Demonstrable experience of developing and applying multiparameter flow cytometric assays for the investigation of the cellular immune response and phenotype.
  • High level of competency working at ACDP containment level 3.
  • Experience of working with in vivo models of M.tuberculosis, and a detailed knowledge of M.tb infection, immunology, vaccines and therapeutics.
  • Experience of complex data analysis, presentations, reports & publication.

Skills and capabilities

Essential criteria
  • Good communication skills. Able to work flexibly to meet deadlines. Ability to work in teams and independently. Self-motivating, organised, and meticulous. Willing to undertake further training and able to train junior staff.
  • Experience in scientific writing e.g creating reports, and publications. Experience of creating and giving presentations.

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
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.

Documents to download

Apply online now

Further details / informal visits contact

Laura Sibley
Job title
Project Team Leader
Email address
Additional information

Available Tuesday - Friday. 

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