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The Sainsbury Laboratory, Norwich
Norwich, Norfolk
Salary will be £27,116 - £33,309 pa dependent upon qualifications, skills, knowledge & achievement
Closing date
27 Nov 2021

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Contract Type
Full Time
Technical Jobs
Horticultural Specialist
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The Sainsbury Laboratory (TSL) is a world-leading scientific institute working in the field of Plant-Microbe Interactions and our scientists are recognised as leaders in their fields. We seek a Horticulturist to ensure an effective and efficient operational delivery of horticultural services to TSL.

TSL has a close working relationship with the John Innes Centre (JIC) and procures horticultural services, including materials, labour, and growth space from JIC Horticultural Services. To ensure that the horticultural service provided to TSL fulfils the requirements of TSL science, the TSL Horticulturist will work at the interface between TSL scientific research groups and JIC Horticultural Services.

The TSL Horticulturist will be expected to perform a range of standard horticultural tasks required for growing plants of good quality and consistency but will also work closely with TSL scientists to provide technical advice and guidance in all aspects of horticulture. The post holder will monitor plants being grown by TSL scientists, recommending remedial actions to be taken if problems are observed and ensuring that resolutions are achieved in a timely fashion.

Key Responsibilities  To ensure TSL receives an effective and professional horticultural service

  • Monitor growth requests submitted by TSL and ensure plant material produced meets the quality required for scientific research.
  • Monitor growth facilities used by TSL researchers to ensure that required environmental conditions are achieved. Report any problems to the JIC Horticultural Services Manager and the TSL Laboratory Manager.
  • Monitor for pests and diseases, ensuring these are identified and controlled in a timely manner.
  • Ensure a high level of housekeeping standards in growth areas used by TSL scientists.
  • Keep accurate records of horticultural activities to enable traceability in the event of any problems with plant growth.
  • Carry out standard horticultural tasks to a high standard.
  • Develop a good, effective working relationship with members of the TSL research groups. Meet with the groups regularly and offer practical assistance as well as guidance and advice to help researchers to achieve their research goals.
  • Where appropriate, teach horticultural skills to scientific staff who do plant work, to enable them to work effectively while at the institute and afterwards. 1
  • Develop and maintain positive working relationships with members of the JIC Horticultural Service. Proactively make suggestions for improvements/changes to existing practices where appropriate.
  • Ensure appropriate standards of plant care are provided all year including weekends and bank holidays.
  • Liaise with scientific users on progress and/or problems as they occur with production of material.
  • Implement and enforce all local and statutory rules for the growing and disposal of Genetically Modified Organisms.
  • Ensure safe working practices are followed. Report any H&S incidents to the appropriate H&S representatives.
  • Essential requirements include:

  • A degree or equivalent in Horticulture
  • At least 2 years’ experience working in an horticultural environment.
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills.
  • Ability to monitor and manage service performance.
  • The ability to lead by example.
  • The ability to identify pests and diseases and apply the correct chemical / biological control in accordance with approved control programmes and statutory and local rules/regulations.
  • An appreciation for science and the use of plants in scientific research
  • The ability to lift and carry materials around the glasshouse and CER facilities.
  • Units PA1 and PA6 Certificates in the Safe Use of Pesticides are required or must be obtained shortly after appointment.
  • Awareness of regulations for the control and disposal of GMO material and ability to apply them (desirable on appointment, essential when in post).
  • Awareness of GM Containment Regulations Level 1/2 and the ability to apply them correctly (desirable on appointment, essential when in post).

The position is offered for one year, initially, renewable for up to 3 years.

Applicants should provide a CV, including the names and contact details of two or more referees, and a covering letter of no more than one A4 addressing the selection criteria. Please send formal applications, quoting the reference SF02/2021.

Please apply online at

If you would like to have an informal discussion about this post please contact the TSL Laboratory Manager ( in the first instance. 

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