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Biosafety Team Lead

UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) - Biosafety, Air, and Water Microbiology Group

The Biosafety, Air, and Water Microbiology Group is an applied research team focused on understanding how the indoor built environment contributes to the spread of infection. We are currently seeking a Project Team Leader to lead and oversee projects aimed at investigating the survival and transmission of microorganisms on surfaces and in the air.

As part of our work, the Biosafety Group employs a diverse array of laboratory equipment to study fomite transmission and capture microbial aerosols. Additionally, we have exclusive access to a specialised research facility that simulates a full-scale hospital ward. This unique environment allows us to explore the transmission dynamics of antimicrobial-resistant bacteria and other emerging pathogens, while evaluating infection prevention strategies within a realistic context.

This role presents an exciting opportunity for an enthusiastic and proactive research scientist to build upon existing research and pioneer their own investigations. By delving into the transmission of infectious agents in indoor spaces, you’ll contribute to our understanding of effective mitigation strategies to prevent the spread of infectious agents. Join us in advancing scientific knowledge and making a tangible impact on public health!


Based at UKHSA Porton Down – due to the nature of the role, you will be expected to be based on-site on a full-time basis

*Please be aware that this role can only be worked from within the UK and not overseas. Relocation expenses are not available.* 

Working Pattern – Full Time

Responsibilities section:

The post holder will have direct line management responsibilities and will supervise workstreams within the Biosafety Group. The successful applicant will design and carry out projects investigating the dispersal, spread and control of microorganisms within the built environment. Projects will focus on the mechanisms of transmission (aerosol, surface, and water) and the efficacy of mitigations including ventilation, RPE and decontamination in healthcare and laboratory settings.

Project findings will be disseminated to internal and external stakeholders through reports and presentations, with the post holder expected to write scientific publications and reports and contribute to guidance documents

Responsibilities of the role include:

  • Leadership and management of projects studying the dispersal and spread of microorganisms within the built environment.
  • Development, validation, and use of methods/assays/techniques designed to support research objectives and activities.
  • Line management and supervision including the training of junior staff allocated to the projects.
  • Analysis of data and dissemination of findings through provision of reports, presentations, and publications.
  • Establishing and maintaining links with stakeholders and collaborators within and outside UKHSA as necessary to benefit the project and/or department.
  • Identifying new opportunities and research collaborations as they arise and applying to funding calls.
  • Ensuring project deliverables are met on time and within budget.
  • Undertaking all assigned work in accordance with UKHSA's Risk Management Systems, policies, and procedures.
  • Ensuring 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.
  • Acting in accordance with the UKHSA values and behaviours.
  • Performing any other duties required by the Line manager commensurate with grade.

The duties/responsibilities listed above describe the post as it is at present and is not intended to be exhaustive. The Job holder is expected to accept reasonable alterations and additional tasks of a similar level that may be necessary.

Please see job description attached for full list of duties and competencies associated with the post.

Essential Criteria:

It is important through your application and Statement of Suitability of 1250 words that you give evidence and examples of proven experience of each of the essential criteria (for full details of all essential criteria please refer to the attached job description):


  • Post-graduate degree and relevant experience in a microbiology topic/environment or related field
  • Good knowledge of microbiology techniques (traditional culture, molecular techniques)
  • Understanding and experience of leading projects/project teams
  • Experience in managing and developing staff
  • Demonstration of project reporting and scientific publications
  • Strategic thinking – ability to anticipate and resolve problems before they arise


  • Experience of aerobiology or gaseous decontamination techniques

Please ensure that your statement of suitability does not contain any personal identifiers such as Name, Gender, Location, Marital Status, Sexual Orientation or Religion. The UKHSA operates a fair and open recruitment policy.


Working for the UKHSA

For more information on the UKHSA please visit: UK Health Security Agency - GOV.UK (


  • Learning and development tailored to your role
  • An environment with flexible working options
  • A culture encouraging inclusion and diversity
  • A Civil Service pension with an average employer contribution of 27%
  • Range of health and wellbeing support

Any move to UKHSA from another employer will mean you can no longer access childcare vouchers. This includes moves between government departments. You may however be eligible for other government schemes, including Tax Free Childcare. Determine your eligibility at Childcare Choices | 30 Hours Free Childcare, Tax-Free Childcare and More | Help with Costs | GOV.UK

Selection process details


You will be required to complete an application form. This will be assessed in line with the full list of essential criteria as detailed in the attached job description – please do provide evidence of how you meet this. 

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


This competition will involve an in-person interview

As part of the process, candidates will be invited to interview which will involve an in-depth discussion of your previous experience and professional competence in relation to the criteria set out in the Person Specification. 

Your Statement of Suitability should outline your skills, experience, and achievements, providing evidence of your suitability for the role, with reference to the essential criteria (outlined in the person specification section).

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.

The Success Profiles framework will be used to assess and recruit the most suitable candidate.  The following behaviours will be used at the interview:

  • Seeing the Big Picture
  • Making Effective Decisions
  • Leadership
  • Developing Self and Others
  • Delivering at pace

Expected Timeline:

Advert close: 23:55hrs on 18th March 2024 – unfortunately, late applications will not be considered. Once this job has closed, the job advert will no longer be available. You may want to save a copy for your records.

Shortlist: TBC

Interviews: w/c 1st April 2024

Please note these dates could be subject to change.  

Eligibility Criteria

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

Nationality requirements

Appointments to roles within UKHSA will be made in accordance with the Civil Service nationality rules. These can be found at This job is broadly open to the following groups:

  • UK nationals
  • Nationals of Commonwealth countries who have the right to work in the UK
  • Nationals of the Republic of Ireland
  • Nationals from the EU, EEA or Switzerland with settled or pre-settled status or who apply for either status by the deadline of the European Union Settlement Scheme (EUSS)
  • Relevant EU, EEA, Swiss or Turkish nationals working in the Civil Service
  • Relevant EU, EEA, Swiss or Turkish nationals who have built up the right to work in the Civil Service
  • Certain family members of the relevant EU, EEA, Swiss or Turkish nationals

We recruit by merit on the basis of fair and open competition, as outlined in the Civil Service Commission's Recruitment Principles.

The Civil Service embraces diversity and promotes equal opportunities. As such, we run a Disability Confident Scheme (DCS) for candidates with disabilities who meet the minimum selection criteria.

The Civil Service welcomes applications from people who have recently left prison or have an unspent conviction. Read more about prison leaver recruitment.

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.

For posts on UKHSA Civil Service terms and conditions, new entrants to the Civil Service are expected to start on the minimum of the pay band. For existing Civil Servants and roles advertised across government, the rules of transfer apply, i.e., level transfers move on current salary or the pay range minimum, transfers on promotion move to new pay range minimum or receive a 10% increase. Either case is determined by whichever is the highest. 

Please Note

This role is to be appointed under Civil Service Terms & Conditions. Full details on the T&C’s are found

Are you already a civil servant, or employed by a Civil Service Commission accredited public body? Please state home department on your application form.

Do you meet the nationality requirements for this post?

Complaint process:

The law requires that selection for appointment to the Civil Service is on merit on the basis of fair and open competition as outlined in the Civil Service Commission's Recruitment Principles. If you feel your application has not been treated in accordance with the Recruitment Principles, and you wish to make a complaint, in the first instance, you should contact UKHSA Public Accountability Unit via email: If you are not satisfied with the response you receive from the Department, you can contact the Civil Service Commission: Visit the Civil Service Commission website. 

Location: Porton Down, Hybrid
Salary: £38,724 to £44,393
Hours: Full Time
Contract Type: Permanent
Placed On: 26th February 2024
Closes: 18th March 2024
Job Ref: 342822
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