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Job summary

Main area
Research and Evaluation, Diagnostic Support Team, Science
Civil Service: Executive Officer (EO)
Fixed term: 8 months (Until 31-Mar-2023 with the possibility of extension)
  • Full time
  • Flexible working
37.5 hours per week
Job ref
UK Health Security Agency
Employer type
Public (Non NHS)
UKHSA, Porton Down Salisbury
Salisbury, Wiltshire
£23,389 - £28,195 per annum, pro rata
Salary period
09/10/2022 23:59

Employer heading

UK Health Security Agency logo

COVID-19 Vacancy Technician Scientist (DSP)

Civil Service: Executive Officer (EO)

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

We have an exciting position for a Technician Scientist within the Diagnostic Support Team on a Fixed-term appointment until Mar-2023 (with the possibility of extension) to provide serological/ molecular /antigen expertise to support projects for RIPL. Ensure delivery of new/improved/refined diagnostic assays as well as training and surge capacity in the event of an outbreak.

The post holder will have a degree in relevant subject eg Biomedical Science Microbiology/Virology/Molecular Biology/Immunology or equivalent experience and the ability to undertake a broad range of standard laboratory techniques. The post holder will need good communication skills and the ability to work in a team.

Main duties of the job

This post would suit a candidate with a degree or experience in the relevant subject/laboratory techniques, and an interest in the capability of microbiological diagnostic test development. 

The post holder will be expected to be flexible and adaptable to the demands of the project, have excellent written and verbal communication skills, and be able to collaborate with lab users from other teams.

The post holder should have experience of working at ACDP CL2 and/or CL3, with experience of working with clinical samples and diagnostic testing as desirable.  Previous experience in a regulated environment would be beneficial.

Working for our organisation

The Diagnostic Support Team reviews, evaluates, develops and implements diagnostic assays for use in the Rare and Imported Pathogens Laboratory (RIPL) and other projects.

Research & Evaluation department, based at UKHSA Porton, is the UK’s largest capability for the handling of dangerous human pathogens and animal modelling of infectious diseases. The capability is used to understand pathogenesis and undertake pre-clinical development and assessment of new vaccines and therapeutics. The capability is also used to undertake studies in microbiological aerobiology, decontamination and detection, and to develop diagnostic assays for clinical use. Studies are focussed on high priority activities including:  SARS-CoV-2, Ebola, Zika, Crimean Congo Haemorrhagic Fever, Q Fever, Anthrax, Melioidosis, Clostridium difficile-Associated Disease, Tuberculosis, Monkeypox, Influenza, Pertussis, Meningococcal disease, Group B Streptococcal disease, Legionnaires Disease, Healthcare Acquired Infections, Anti-Microbial Resistance, etc.


Detailed job description and main responsibilities

The post holder duties of responsibility include:


  1. Implement and utilise a range of antigenic methods in support of diagnostic evaluation activities for ACDP HG 2/3/4 pathogens within the project to ensure targets are met.
  2. Take responsibility for the provision of reagents and consumables required for the project and documented storage of materials generated.
  3. Ensure that the project operates to a high scientific standard using current methods.
  4. Take responsibility for the supervision and training of junior staff allocated to the project and RIPL in specific areas of expertise.
  5. Provide reports through collation of data using software and databases as necessary, to meet project targets.
  6. To perform any other duties required by the Line manager commensurate with grade.
  7. To ensure that the project team undertakes work in accordance with UKHSA’s Code of Safety Practice and to work within any Quality Systems that are applicable to the site.
  8. To maintain health and safety competence to the national occupational standard ‘Make sure your actions reduce risks to health and safety’ (NOS HSS1).

The above is only an outline of the tasks, responsibilities and outcomes required of the role. You will carry out any other duties as may reasonably be required by your line manager.

The job description and person specification may be reviewed on an ongoing basis in accordance with the changing needs of the division and UKHSA.

It should be noted that the work of the division is of a confidential nature and must not be communicated to other persons except where required for authorised purposes.

Selection Process

This vacancy is using Success Profiles and will assess your Experience,  Behaviours and Technical Skills

As part of the application process, you will be asked to provide a Personal Statement / Statement of Suitability (in no more than 1250 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 criteria outlined.
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 be used in the sifting process and will be scored).

You will be required to complete an application form. This will be assessed in line with the advertised criteria.

If you are successful at this stage, you will progress to an interview.

All candidates who are successful at the sift stage will undertake a single video interview.

All applicants that progress to a blended interview will be assessed against a mixture of Behaviours, Strengths and Technical skills.

The Behaviours tested during the interview stage will be: 

  • Working together
  • Delivering at pace
  • Seeing the bigger picture

Technical skills will be assessed against:

  1. Knowledge of standard microbiology
  2. Experience in working with clinical samples
  3. Knowledge of safe working practices

Eligibility Criteria Text:

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

Security Clearance Level Requirement:

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 Basic Personnel Security Standard

People working with government assets must complete Basic Personnel Security Standard checks.


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

Person specification


Essential criteria
  • Statement Of Suitability/ Supporting Statement


Essential criteria
  • CV/Application Form

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.Carer Confident -Accomplished

Documents to download

Apply online now

Further details / informal visits contact

Abbie Bown
Job title
Senior Project Team Leader
Email address
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