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Research Assistant/Associate in Prototyping for a Microbial 3D Printer

Requisition ID:  5598

Newcastle, GB

Contract Type:  Fixed Term
Working Pattern:  Full Time
Posted Date:  04-Jan-2021


We are a world class research-intensive university. We deliver teaching and learning of the highest quality. We play a leading role in economic, social and cultural development of the North East of England. Attracting and retaining high-calibre people is fundamental to our continued success.


Salary: Research Assistant: £28,331 - £30,046 per annum

            Research Associate: £30,942 - £31,866 per annum


Closing Date: 3 February 2021


The Role


We are seeking a dynamic and creative researcher to join the Hub for Biotechnology in the Built Environment in the Microbial 3D Printer project to develop prototypes for a novel fabrication method engineering the production of microbial produced cellulose.  


We have proposed first steps to develop a 3D printing process which involves the synthesis and modification of biopolymers from live microbes to make 3D functionally graded materials and objects. The project will integrate genetically engineered microbes and the design and building of a novel bioreactor as a part of a new type of 3D printer. The project will establish the principles of a new industrial fabrication system based on controlled biological production of biopolymers through growth. This new biofabrication system will have potential applications in a wide range of areas, including biomedical applications, complex composites for high-performance manufacturing and novel consumer products.  This pilot project will run for 24 months and we are looking for a Research Assistant/Associate who will lead on the development of our prototype.


We are looking for creative, highly motivated and adaptable researcher with prototyping skills and a knowledge of both microbial growth and material synthesis and the development of novel bioreactors. Good communication skills are also a must – along with the ability to work with interdisciplinary teams. You will join one of the UKs leading groups on Biotechnology for the Built Environment and work alongside Designers, Engineers and Biologists. 


For more information of the research group and projects see our websites:




The post is full-time, fixed-term from Beginning Feb: 2021 – End: Jan 2023

Informal queries to: Professor Martyn Dade-Robertson, martyn.dade-robertson@ncl.ac.uk 

As part of our commitment to career development for research staff, the University has developed 3 levels of research role profiles.  These profiles set out firstly the generic competences and responsibilities expected of role holders at each level and secondly the general qualifications and experiences needed for entry at a particular level.


Key Accountabilities


  • Lead on the development of the microbial 3D printer prototype
  • Communicate across the project to audiences outside academia
  • Work closely with colleagues in different disciplines across the project
  • Build relationships with other international researchers, external bodies and industry partners
  • Publish original research at international conferences, exhibitions and in peer reviewed journals
  • Help develop new funding bids and support the next stage of the project


The Person (Essential)

Knowledge, Skills and Experience


  • Demonstrable design or engineering skills with evidence of prototyping or experience developing experimental apparatus microbial biology and material synthesis 
  • Skills and knowledge of basic microbiology including ability to culture and monitor bacterial cell cultures  
  • Skills and knowledge in bacterial cellulose
  • Experience communicating research or complex data and ideas through diagrams and other graphics 


  • Experience publishing research through papers and/or design practice outputs 
  • Excellent creative design and graphical skill demonstrable through a design portfolio 
  • Experience in materials properties testing 


Attributes and Behaviour


  • Demonstrable interest in new and emerging technologies
  • Good communication skills and ability to describe complex concepts to non-experts
  • Good team working ability, in particular an ability to work productively with people across many different disciplines
  • Flexibility and adaptability to respond to the needs of the project
  • Willingness to travel internationally




  • 2.1 Undergraduate degree (or equivalent) in Architecture, Engineering or related design fields (Assistant level)
  • Masters degree (or equivalent experience) Architecture, Engineering or similar (Assistant level)
  • PhD for (Associate level) or equivalent experience in Bio-Design related field (Assistant level)



Newcastle University is committed to being a fully inclusive Global University which actively recruits, supports and retains staff from all sectors of society.  We value diversity as well as celebrate, support and thrive on the contributions of all our employees and the communities they represent.  We are proud to be an equal opportunities employer and encourage applications from everybody, regardless of race, sex, ethnicity, religion, nationality, sexual orientation, age, disability, gender identity, marital status/civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, as well as being open to flexible working practices.


The University holds a silver Athena SWAN award in recognition of our good employment practices for the advancement of gender equality.  The University also holds the HR Excellence in Research award for our work to support the career development of our researchers, and is a member of the Euraxess initiative supporting researchers in Europe.


Requisition ID: 5598