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Electron Microscopy Development Scientist (up to three posts)

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The Rosalind Franklin Institute is a new national Research Centre, funded by the UK government through UK Research and Innovation, dedicated to bringing about transformative changes in life science through interdisciplinary research and technology.

Role overview

Within the Correlated Imaging theme, a key aim is to increase the time resolution with which biological specimens can be studied at near atomic resolution. You will develop the methods for this using two new time-resolved transmission electron microscopes being installed at the Rosalind Franklin Institute Hub. This will involve novel optical configurations and the application of new acquisition and computational processing techniques. By expanding the realm of time and space available for observation, you will explore the dynamics of biological systems using novel instrumentation and methodologies.

Science-driven research will be the focus of this role.

In line with the core theme aspirations, we are bringing physicists and biologists together to support high adventure, blue skies cross-disciplinary research. The work will therefore be of varied nature requiring a willingness to explore subjects outside your established knowledge base.

We have up to three full-time 5 years’ fixed-term contract posts available. These staff posts will be based at the Rosalind Franklin Institute on the Harwell Campus.

The post holders will report to Prof Angus Kirkland, Science Director and to Dr Judy Kim, Deputy Science Director.

Duties and Responsibilities

• Embrace the primary focus of the role, namely working alongside our technology partners to develop and commission the new time-resolved transmission electron microscopes.

• Develop advanced phasing methods for the study of biological materials using the new instruments.

• Develop new science projects using these instruments, formulate relevant research questions, conduct individual independent research, analysing detailed and quantitative data, and generate original ideas by building on existing concepts.

• Collaborate with the instrument suppliers and Rosalind Franklin members to develop new methodologies for automated quantitative data analysis from large data sets and associated protocols for data collection.

• Work with software and data engineers in the Rosalind Franklin Institute to develop a platform that integrates the unique functionalities of the instrumentation in an intuitive user interface.

• Publish research articles in leading academic journals.

• Present findings at national and international meetings/conferences and keep up to date with developments in the field.

• Create and maintain comprehensive and up to date best practice documentation for usage of the instrumentation.

• Take a formal or informal role (as required) in the supervision of research students and post-doctoral staff employed within the Rosalind Franklin Institute, including as necessary, recruitment, project development, mentorship and career development.

• Raise research funds by writing grant applications and manage areas within the larger research theme.

• Participate in and support the public engagement and widening access activities of the Rosalind Franklin Institute.

• Work with others in a safe and timely manner considering all those who will be affected by your work.

• Any other duties that arise in the normal running of the Rosalind Franklin Institute and that can be reasonably requested of the post-holder.


The above job description reflects the present requirements of the post, and as duties and responsibilities change/develop, the job description will be reviewed and be subject to amendment in consultation with the post-holder.


A Ph.D. in Structural Biology, Physics, Materials, or other subjects with a clear advanced Electron Microscopy focus together with relevant, specialist postdoctoral experience.

Selection criteria

Research Skills


• A demonstrated ability to identify critical research questions, and to develop experimental and computational / theoretical strategies to address these.

• Ability to discuss, coordinate, and lead complex experiments with colleagues from a variety of different disciplines.

• Extensive practical and / or computational and theoretical expertise in advanced (ideally aberration corrected or Cryo) transmission electron microscope operation and in technique development / advancement.

• A demonstrated research track record in one or more of the following areas:

    Electron optics including aberration correction;

    Phasing methods (such as ptychography or other exit wave reconstructions);

    Cryo-EM for single particle reconstruction;

    Electron scattering, high resolution imaging theory or wavefunction simulation / reconstruction


• Practical knowledge of electron ptychography or focal / tilt series exit wavefunction reconstruction

• Practial knowledge of single particle analysis and / or electron tomography

• Experience in processing large datasets using automated computational analysis

• Experience with in situ systems, specifically liquid cells

• Preparation of cryo-TEM specimens

• Knowledge of artificial Intelligence / machine learning as applied to EM data

• A demonstrated aptitude for programming, scripting or user interface design

Cognate Skills


• Ability to analyse and write up experimental data to publication standard

• Ability to present complex information effectively to a range of audiences

• Effective written and verbal communication skills in English

• Experience of working in a multidisciplinary research environment

• Willingness to travel for training, dissemination of your work and collaboration. (Including, if required travel to Japan for periods of up to 2 months)

• Experience with project management and a demonstrated ability to deliver agreed milestones in a timely manner, adapting as needed to changing priorities

Personal Qualities


• Commitment to science driven high quality research

• Ability to work collaboratively and as part of an interdisciplinary team


Please note: A cover letter, CV and completed application form are required for this position.

Incomplete applications cannot be considered. Applicants should refer to our Candidate Privacy Policy.

Closing date: 2nd March 2020, 9:00am

Area: Scientific

Location: Harwell

Type of Post: Full Time

Salary: £36,000 - £43,000 per annum

Closing Date: 02/03/2020

Ref No: 10042


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