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Post-Doctoral Entomologist/Chemical Ecologist

NIAB-EMR - Pest and Pathogen Ecology (PPE)

Fixed Term for 3 years

NIAB is a leading, fast growing UK Centre for plant science, crop evaluation and agronomy, with headquarters in Cambridge. We wish to appoint an entomologist based at NIAB EMR, East Malling in Kent who will progress our scientific understanding of the chemical ecology of the invasive fruit fly Drosophila suzukii (spotted wing drosophila, SWD). The position offers an exciting opportunity for a PhD qualified scientist who is a self-motivated and innovative researcher to join the Pest and Pathogen Ecology (PPE) Department.

This 3-year post is funded by the BBSRC and by industry (Berry Gardens Ltd) and builds on our previous discoveries of strong natural interspecific interactions between SWD and its sister species within the Drosophila melanogaster species group. The project aims to identify new chemical oviposition deterrents that can be applied within the cropping area to deter fruit damage by SWD, providing a novel approach to control this important pest.

The post-doctoral researcher will be based at NIAB EMR but will also work closely with collaborators at the nearby Natural Resources Institute (University of Greenwich) and with technical specialists and advisors from industry. The successful applicant will be an enthusiastic and innovative researcher with relevant experience in some of the techniques required for the project, for example, behavioural bioassays with insects, collections of volatile and non-volatile compounds, chemical analysis (e.g. GC-MS), testing semiochemical activity in field/protected crops.

The post holder will work closely with the other members of the project team and take responsibility for the successful delivery of this project. Essential requirements for the role are:

  • PhD in a relevant semiochemical and/or entomological subject and resultant publications;
  • Excellent organisational and communication skills, and the proven ability to plan and prioritise work to meet deadlines;
  • A confident communicator, with the potential to present ideas to a wide range of audiences including presentations at scientific and grower conferences;
  • Ability to publish scientific findings in appropriate peer-reviewed journals;
  • Experience of ensuring successful project delivery, including the development of experimental protocols, designing and conducting experiments;
  • Proven ability to interpret complex data and to write cogent, concise and accurate reports to deadline along with experience in project management;
  • Sound knowledge of statistical techniques and their practical application;
  • The ability to work independently and as part of a team;
  • Proven ability to identify and solve problems;
  • Willingness to work flexible hours with occasional overnight absences and travel abroad to conferences and workshops;
  • Full driving licence, ideally with experience and confidence driving in the UK or access to independent means of transport.

Additional desirable qualities include the experience of successfully supervising technical staff and/or students; developing national/international collaborations; proposal writing to secure small research and travel grants; working on our knowledge of horticultural crops.

Starting salary in the range of £30,042 to £38,582 per annum, dependent on skills, experience and qualifications. Further details and an application form are available on our website: or from the HR Office, East Malling, Kent ME19 6BJ, Tel: 01732 523791, Email:, quoting Ref No. T/352

Closing Date for Applications: 4th March 2019

Interviews will be held on 21st March 2019

Location: East Malling
Salary: £30,042 to £38,582 per annum, dependent on skills, experience and qualifications
Hours: Full Time
Contract Type: Fixed-Term/Contract
Placed On: 31st January 2019
Closes: 4th March 2019
Job Ref: T/352
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