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Postdoctoral Scientist (Entomologist)

The Pirbright Institute

Location: Pirbright
Salary: £33,011 to £35,455 Band D. Candidates are appointed typically at the starting point, with some flexibility subject to skills/knowledge/experience
Hours: Full Time
Contract Type: Fixed-Term/Contract
Placed On: 28th September 2021
Closes: 26th October 2021
Job Ref: 21P-128

The Pirbright Institute

The Pirbright Institute delivers world-leading research to understand, predict, detect and respond to viral disease outbreaks.

Organisation position and purpose:

The aim of this post is to carry out studies and surveillance of Culicoides biting midges and additionally to contribute to insect production and supply within our insectary facilities. As part of Defra-funded activities, we monitor the populations of Culicoides seasonally, interacting closely with policy makers, epidemiologists and field veterinary personnel to predict and reduce the impact of arboviruses entering the UK. The role will also work within an existing team to provide unique lines of insects for internal and external users in both the UK and overseas.

Main duties and responsibility

Maintaining a surveillance scheme for Culicoides biting midges in the UK

  • Selecting sites for sampling Culicoides populations across the UK
  • Distributing materials to volunteers involved in the scheme
  • Identifying collections of Culicoides made through the UK scheme and during other studies
  • Liaising with the Senior Postdoctoral Scientist to provide information regarding seasonality to stakeholders (e.g. policy makers, epidemiologists, members of the public)

Carrying out independent scientific research on Culicoides biting midges in the UK

  • Working with the Senior Postdoctoral Scientist to develop studies based on defining the risk that Culicoides-borne viruses pose to the UK
  • Writing publications associated with these studies and other relevant datasets as required

Contributing to insect production at Pirbright as part of national capability requirements

  • Managing the insectary technician post and the insectary administrative assistant
  • Maintaining lines of mosquitoes and biting midges and providing storage and shipping methods for insects as required by users
  • Working with the Insectary Lab Manager to ensure quality and risk and assurance processes are maintained within the facilities.

Specific requirements


  • A PhD in Entomology, Ecology or Evolutionary Biology
  • Experience of planning and carrying out applied, field-based, ecological studies
  • A demonstrated interest and enthusiasm for studying vectors of livestock arboviruses
  • Excellent communication skills including the ability to discuss scientific concepts at different levels according to the audience’s expertise and to write clear and concise documents


  • Evidence of management skills including progression of those supervised and courses attended
  • Evidence of writing peer reviewed publications
  • Experience of molecular or classical taxonomic approaches applied to insect populations (e.g. phylogenetic analyses; morphometrics; slide mounting of specimens)
  • Experience in the routine maintenance of insect colony lines and the principals of biocontainment applied to insects

Personal specification

  • Proactive communication
  • Multitasking
  • Highly organized
  • Responsible
  • Attention to detail

The job description and personal specification may be reviewed on an ongoing basis in accordance with the changing needs of The Pirbright Institute.

What we offer

  • Generous Group Personal Pension Scheme and life cover (subject to age and earnings)
  • 25 days annual leave per annum, pro rata, plus 10.5 public and privilege days
  • Buy and sell annual leave
  • Option to carry over up to two weeks annual leave
  • Pirbright gym with subsidised membership
  • Pirbright social club
  • Pirbright Lifestyle Hub (employee discount site)
  • Cycle to work
  • Subsidised staff restaurant
  • Childcare allowance
  • Free onsite parking
  • Electric Car charging facilities

To apply for this vacancy please visit our careers page - Jobs | The Pirbright Institute

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