Vacancy Information

Cereal Pathology Senior Technician


Location: Cambridgeshire
Closing date: 17 Jul 2024
Reference number: SV/A1147

Job details

Location: NIAB Park Farm, Histon, CB24 9NZ
Salary: from £27,562 per annum, depending on experience with paid overtime being available. 
Contract: Permanent
Working hours: 37 hours per week, Monday to Friday

Exciting Opportunity: Join Our Plant Pathology Team and help safeguard Britain's cereal crops health!

Who is NIAB?

NIAB is a leading crop science organisation at the forefront of research in plant genetics, pathology, agronomy, farming systems, and data science. With our headquarters in Cambridge and regional offices spread across the UK, we are on a mission to revolutionise crop production across arable, forage, and horticulture sectors.

At NIAB, you will be part of a team of nearly 400 experts who are dedicated to pushing the boundaries of scientific research. As an independent research organisation eligible for competitive UKRI funding calls, NIAB fosters strong ties with industry, government, and academia, providing unmatched opportunities for collaboration within the plant sciences sector.

What you will do:

Plan and Set Up Cereal Pathology Trials: Dive into the heart of research by planning and setting up exciting cereal pathology trials for Variety and Recommended Lists purposes.
Multiply Plant Pathogens: In our microbiology lab, you will multiply wheat, barley, and oat pathogen isolates for inoculating trials.
Apply Pathogen Inoculum: Get hands-on with plants as you produce, prepare, and apply pathogen inocula.
Assess Trials: Be the detective - score diseases, process results, and interpret data from our inoculated trials as well as from natural disease observation plots.
Host Visits from Funders and Breeders to the Field Trials.
Contribute to Research Projects: Your expertise will drive our research forward.
Screen Field Samples for the Presence of Pathogens: You will occasionally carry out molecular diagnostic and marker work to accurately diagnose plant pathogens.
Organise our Microbiology Laboratory: Keep the microbiology laboratory and key equipment in top shape.

Why join us?

Motivated Team: Our Plant Pathology team is a vibrant community of over 20 staff, PhD students, and visiting workers. We are passionate about our work.
State-of-the-Art Facilities: Access extensive walk-in growth rooms, glasshouses, and well-equipped laboratories.
Field Trials Across Cambridgeshire and Norfolk: Explore different sites as you contribute to high-quality field trials.
Variety: Your work will span the laboratory, field, and office, adapting to the seasons.
Challenge: Embrace occasional weekend work and unsociable hours – we are tackling real-world problems so sometimes we need to work outside core hours.
Physical Engagement: From standing and walking in the field to occasional manual handling, you will stay active.

What you will need to succeed:

• A BSc in Plant Pathology or equivalent qualifications/experience.
• You should have experience managing disease trials, including preparation of inoculum and assessment of disease; knowledge of fungal diseases of cereal crops is desirable.
• You must have a full UK driving licence and a willingness to drive light passenger vehicles as access to trial sites is inaccessible by public transport.
• Demonstrate consistent attention to detail and accuracy.
• You will  need to be able to organise and prioritise your work.
• Evidence of commitment to own personal development and willing to learn new skills, e.g. molecular pathogen diagnostic and/or molecular marker work.
• Good communication and interpersonal skills.
• Competency in relevant Microsoft Office applications.
• Flexibility, proactive attitude, and self-motivation.
• Be collaborative, innovative, and open-minded regarding science.


You will be based in our state-of-the-art facilities at NIAB Park Farm, Histon, Cambridge, CB24 9NZ, which is equipped with molecular biology and plant growth amenities, including extensive glasshouses, walk-in growth rooms, and containment units for genetically modified plant trials. 4 miles from Cambridge city centre, close to Junction 32 of A14, with easy access to M11, A10 and A11. Free on-site parking and linked by cycle ways and regular buses to Cambridge city centre and railway station. The role also requires the post holder to travel to our other field trial sites in Cambridgeshire and Morley, Norfolk.

As a member of the NIAB team, you will be contributing to the Crop Science Centre, an alliance between NIAB and the University of Cambridge, with a shared vision to deliver sustainable food production across the UK. With over 250 hectares of commercial cropping and field trials, NIAB provides an exciting opportunity to play a pivotal role in advancing the science of crop cultivation.

Ready to make a difference? Apply now and be part of our mission to protect cereal crops and ensure a thriving agricultural future!

Informal enquiries are welcome, please contact Lesley Boyd, Principal Cereal Pathologist, [email protected], or Kostya Kanyuka, Head of Plant Pathology, [email protected].

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

Further information:

Cambridge Park Farm site

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.


Click the ‘Apply’ button to apply directly.  Any questions? Email [email protected] or call Human Resources on 01223 342282. Apply soon as we may shortlist prior to the closing date.