Vacancy Information

Postdoctoral Research Associate in Plant Molecular Physiology (2 year fixed term contract)


Location: Cambridgeshire
Closing date: 07 Dec 2022
Reference number: T/387

Job details

Salary:  In the range of £32,000 to £37,000 per annum, depending on experience
Contract:  Fixed term - 2 years in the first instance
Working hours:  37 hours per week, Monday to Friday; part-time considered


Maintaining crop yield while lowering nitrogen input is paramount to ensure food security. To select for varieties with lower nitrogen requirement, we need to uncover the regulation of crop nitrogen response.

We are recruiting a Postdoctoral Research Associate to join our Crop Molecular Physiology group to work on a project exploring the role of phytohormones in regulating nitrogen response in cereal crops and to identify key regulatory components at the molecular level. Working primarily in the lab and occasionally glasshouses and field, your duties will include designing and conducting experiments, data analysis and manuscript preparation for peer-reviewed publications.

Within the Crop Molecular Physiology group we conduct research aiming to understand nitrogen responsiveness at the gene, the whole plant and the plot level, and to exploit this knowledge to select varieties with low nitrogen requirement. As Postdoctoral Research Associate, you will be expected to work independently as well as collaboratively both within the group and amongst the wider Pre-Breeding Department. NIAB is a partner in the Crop Science Centre, which enables close collaboration with scientists from the University of Cambridge. Weekly joint seminars are held to foster the collaborative environment. More broadly, NIAB offers an exciting environment to support your development as a researcher and to further build your professional skills. For example, NIAB has an excellent track record of public engagement, including running open days and in-house events open to farmers and the wider public which give opportunities for communication skills development.

The role is based at NIAB Headquarters, Cambridge CB3 0LE with weekly visits to NIAB, Park Farm, Histon, CB24 9NZ. HQ has free on-site parking and is 2 miles from Cambridge city centre, linked by extensive cycle ways and regular buses.

Informal enquiries are welcome, please contact Dr Stéphanie Swarbreck, Crop Molecular Physiology Group Leader at NIAB on [email protected]

Benefits include 25 days holiday plus public holidays and 3 paid days off during the Christmas period, flexible working, generous sick pay, attractive pension scheme, income protection, life assurance and free on-site parking.


Essential Requirements
Ideally you have:
•  A PhD in a discipline relevant to plants
•  Excellent oral and written communication skills
•  Skills in molecular techniques, especially in quantification of transcript abundance
•  Strong organisational skills
•  A driving licence or access to independent means of travelling, enabling you to travel between our 2 Cambridge sites when required. Transport can be provided.

Desirable Requirements
Ideally you also have:
•  Experience working with wheat (e.g. crossing)
•  A background in plant nutrition
•  Basic bioinformatics skills

See full Job Description for more details.


NIAB is the UK’s fastest growing crop science organisation, with rapidly expanding research capabilities in plant genetics, agronomy, farming systems and data science, the largest national field trials capability, and strong research links with industry, Government and academia. With headquarters in Cambridge, and regional offices across the country, employing more than 400 people across the UK, NIAB advances the role of plant genetic resources through research services and training. NIAB’s position at the interface of academic research and commercial breeding offers opportunities for strong collaborations across the plant sciences sector.

NIAB's established state-of-the-art facilities at its two Cambridge sites host molecular biology and plant growth facilities, including extensive glasshouses and containment units for genetically modified plant trials and over 250 hectares of commercial cropping and field trials. The campus at our HQ site includes the Crop Science Centre, a collaboration between NIAB and the University of Cambridge, with a mission to deliver food in a sustainable way.

NIAB actively promotes equality, diversity and inclusion and encourages applications from all sections of society. As a Disability Confident Employer, we have a positive approach to employing people living with a disability.

Crop Science Centre 

Dr Stéphanie Swarbreck, Crop Molecular Physiology Group Leaderéphanie-swarbreck

Cambridge Headquarters site 

Cambridge Park Farm site
NIAB Park Farm, Histon, Cambridge, CB24 9NZ is 4 miles from Cambridge city centre. Free on-site parking and linked by cycle ways and regular buses to Cambridge city centre and railway station. Close to Junction 32 of A14, with easy access to M11, A10 and A11.


Click APPLY to upload your CV and a covering letter. Please quote the Reference number given above. Any questions? Email [email protected] or call Human Resources on 01223 342282.