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Plant Biochemist/Phytochemist

The James Hutton Institute

This is a temporary, full time vacancy that will close in a month at 23:59 BST.

The Vacancy

We are seeking a postdoctoral scientist to work on a suite of projects centred around plant and crop biochemistry and phytochemistry changes related to growth in controlled environment/vertical farming systems. This is a 3-year tenure track position (evaluation of continuation of post after 3 years), that aims to develop a systematic approach to the impact of controlled environments conditions on crop quality and nutritive value.  The proposed research involves studying the interplay between growth system components (light wavelength recipes, nutrient mixes, substrate and hydroponic systems etc) and plant/crop biosynthetic pathways in a range of globally important fresh produce species. 

The successful applicant will hold a PhD in a relevant subject, have demonstrated skills in crop biochemistry/phytochemistry, and evidence of major experience in using LC and GC-MS approaches.  Experiential design and data analytical skills will be essential.

Main Purpose of Job          

The post holder will carry out research aimed at elucidating the basis of changes in crops/plants, specifically fresh produce, chemistry and biochemistry in relation to the growing environment in controlled environment agriculture and vertical farming systems. The post holder will rapidly become embedded in, and ultimately lead research in, the JHI Flagship initiative, The Advanced Plant Growth Centre.  This post will rely heavily on plant biochemistry and phytochemistry and the application of LC and GC-MS analytical approaches.  The post holder will fit immediately into ongoing collaborative projects with leading vertical farming companies and more fundamental work funded through other sources.

Main duties of post holder

  • Organization and collation of material for analysis derived from the suite of controlled environment/vertical farm projects looking at the impact of environment and light regimes.
  • Dissection of the crop biosynthetic pathways in relation to environmental changes and stresses.
  • Develop high throughput mass spectrometry analytical protocols to facilitate the analyses of multiple environmental factorial experiments analyses.
  • The post-holder will be expected to take responsibility for the day-to-day running of the projects in terms of: generating standard operating protocols, centralize the sampling and organization (collection, shipping, databasing etc), play a major role in presenting the results internally and externally in the form of publications and oral presentations.



  • PhD is a biochemical/chemical/plants sciences field
  • The post-holder must be comfortable working across several different technical disciplines – such as plant biochemistry, molecular biology and phytochemistry.
  • An intimate knowledge of the current and emergent technical issues related to state-of-the-art plant (bio)chemistry molecular analysis and pathway dissection
  • Evidence of an ability to communicate across multiple platforms and stakeholders


  • Tangible experience in working across disciplines
  • Post-doctoral experience in the sector and in industry
  • Tangible experience of project leading

We will not consider the use of 3rd party recruitment agencies for the sourcing of candidates for this position.   

The James Hutton Institute is an equal opportunity employer. We celebrate diversity and are committed to creating an inclusive environment for all employees.

The James Hutton Institute is a: Stonewall Diversity Champion; Athena SWAN Bronze Status Holder; Disability Confident Committed Employer and a Living Wage Employer.

The James Hutton Institute is Happy to Talk Flexible Working.

The Company

The James Hutton Institute combines strengths in crops, soils and land use and environmental research, and makes a major contribution to the understanding of key global issues, such as food, energy and environmental security, and developing and promoting effective technological and management solutions to these.

James Hutton (1726 – 1797) was a leading figure of the Scottish Enlightenment, an eighteenth century golden age of intellectual and scientific achievements centred on Edinburgh. He is internationally regarded as the founder of modern geology and one of the first scientists to describe the Earth as a living system. His thinking on natural selection influenced Charles Darwin in developing his theory of evolution.

Location: Dundee
Salary: £31,522
Hours: Full Time
Contract Type: Fixed-Term/Contract
Placed On: 27th September 2021
Closes: 19th October 2021
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