Phytoplankton Taxonomist

REF: CEF-51-19
PAY BAND: PB3 (Civil Service Equivalent AO)
CONTRACT: Permanent
SALARY: £18,334 to £20,480
HOURS: Flexible working, full-time, part-time, job share
LOCATION: Lowestoft


Cefas provides microscopic analysis of plankton for a wide range of government and commercial clients and we are seeking an individual with an enthusiasm for marine phytoplankton taxonomy.

The post provides an opportunity to join an internationally respected, dynamic and active team conducting and leading on marine phytoplankton ecology and providing advice to other Government Agencies.

You will primarily provide taxonomic and analytical skills for the identification and enumeration of phytoplankton species, with an emphasis on those which are harmful or potentially toxic, but also full community analysis.


You will provide taxonomic skills and develop your expertise in the identification of phytoplankton taxa, utilising a range of resource material.  You will participate in inter-laboratory quality trials and should have the capacity to develop a specialist peer network. As part of a laboratory-based team, you will be contributing to a variety of monitoring programmes. You will deliver taxonomic analysis in compliance with standard operating procedures and risk assessments to maintain UKAS 17025 accreditation for this work. You will receive training from in-house experts as well as from renowned external bodies.

You will assist with the tabulation and distribution of analytical results to the deadlines required and with the maintenance of plankton data sets. You will provide equipment and technical expertise to Local Authority collectors.

It is essential for this post that you demonstrate having:

  • An appetite for continuous learning and development;
  • Excellent organisational skills;
  • An excellent eye for detail, with a methodical and patient approach;
  • Knowledge of, and enthusiasm for, phytoplankton taxonomy; and
  • A general interest in marine biology.

There may be opportunities to participate in fieldwork, providing biological sampling and processing skills as well as with the preparation and deployment of sampling gear and equipment for work at sea and shore-based fieldwork. You may be required to assist with the development of standard operating procedures and risk assessments for the deployment of this equipment.

Training will be provided by in-house experts as well as from renowned external bodies on tasks required within the role.


Academic qualifications required for direct entry to this Cefas Pay Band 3 post are two A-levels preferably including a biological science, or equivalent BTEC or NVQ level 3.

It is essential that you show having basic IT skills including being proficient in both Microsoft Excel and Word.


Experience is desirable but not essential.


Delivering at Pace
Managing a Quality Service
Working Together


Disciplined, Efficient, Responsible, Team Player


The Agency’s recruitment processes are underpinned by the principle of selection for appointment on merit on the basis of fair and open competition as outlined in the Civil Service Commissioners’ Principles which can be found at  If you feel your application has not been treated in accordance with the Code and you wish to make a complaint, you should contact HR Services, Cefas, Pakefield Road, Lowestoft, Suffolk, NR33 0HT in the first instance.  If you are not satisfied with the response you receive from the Agency, you can contact the Office of the Civil Service Principles.

This vacancy is open to employees who were appointed to the Civil Service on merit following a fair and open competition or were appointed to a permanent Civil Service post in accordance with an exception certified by the Civil Service Commissioners.

Click here for more information

Closing date for applications: 26 August 2019
Interview date for applications: To be confirmed

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