Ocean Career: Cefas Toxins Chemist

In this role, you will work alongside world class scientists at our Weymouth laboratory to deliver the UK’s marine biotoxin statutory monitoring programs. You will conduct biochemical analyses and associated laboratory activities that contribute to key work supporting public health protection and aquaculture sector sustainability.

You will help develop the team’s expertise and capacity through participation in associated R&D activities in analytical chemistry for food contaminants, particularly natural aquatic toxins.

Job description

Your main duties and responsibilities will include, but are not limited to:

  • Receipting and preparation of shellfish samples for testing, including shucking, box handling and dispatch.
  • Extraction and analysis of shellfish for natural marine toxins.
  • Shellfish extract clean-up using manual and automated solid phase extraction technologies.
  • Daily operation of instrumental chemical detection tools to include quantitative high performance liquid chromatography, with various detectors.
  • Major focus on the application of tandem mass spectrometry methods for lipophilic and hydrophilic marine toxins, plus cyanobacterial toxins.
  • Trouble shooting of instrumentation problems, quality control and quality assurance issues.
  • Assisting with investigations into performance issues and partaking in analytical research projects as requested.
  • Adherence to laboratory health, safety, and environment requirements.
  • Assistance with general laboratory maintenance activities (accreditation, general housekeeping, calibration of equipment, preparation of reagents) as required.
  • Flexible work, responding to needs of business unit, group and/or team as and when required.

In addition, Cefas (Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science) reserves the right to ask staff to take on additional duties and responsibilities which are commensurate with their grade. Team Leaders and management will have a discussion with staff to explain the changes that are to be made. A new job description will be issued if required.

Person specification

The following are essential criteria required for this role and you must be able to demonstrate your skills and experience in the following areas:

  • Practical and/or theoretical experience with analytical chemistry.
  • Experience with the use of chromatography techniques.
  • Previous laboratory experience, preferably working in a chemical testing laboratory to strict quality controls.
  • Ability to work to written methods and procedures.
  • Flexibility, including working flexible hours with some early starts (07:30) and the ability to work well in a team.
  • Good timekeeping and IT skills.
  • High focus on precision and accuracy.
  • Must have the ability to open and process bivalve shellfish.
  • Ability to work under pressure and to strict deadlines.
  • A degree/HNC or equivalent in a biological or chemical science. However, relevant work experience will be considered.

NB As this job will involve the physical opening and processing of bivalve shellfish, it is not suitable for anyone with a shellfish allergy. The successful candidate will be expected to have and maintain up to date tetanus immunization. Hepatitis A vaccination will be recommended.


We'll assess you against these behaviors during the selection process:

  • Delivering at Pace
  • Managing a Quality Service
  • Working Together


Alongside your salary of £27,210, Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science contributes £7,346 towards you being a member of the Civil Service Defined Benefit Pension scheme. Find out what benefits a Civil Service Pension provides.

  • Generous annual leave entitlement—Cefas offers 25 days' annul leave on entry (rising to 30 days over first 5 yrs) for full-time new entrants to the Civil Service. Employees receive 8 public holidays a year, plus an additional day to mark the late Queen's birthday.
  • Access to learning and development tailored to your role.
  • A working environment that supports a range of flexible working options.
  • A working culture which encourages inclusion and diversity.
  • Eligible to join the Civil Service Pension scheme—more information can be found on the CSP website Home - Civil Service Pension Scheme.
  • Staff recognition vouchers.
  • In-year award scheme.

Learn more about this opportunity and how to apply.

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