Geomicrobiology/Molecular Biology Research

The Open University

Postdoctorate Position 3 years Milton Keynes, UK

Uploaded 11 Jul 2019

Job Description

Unit: Faculty of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM)

Salary: £33,199 - £39,609

Location: Milton Keynes

Please quote reference: VRF16320

3- year Fixed Term Contract

Closing Date: 7 August, 2019 - 12:00

Change your career, change lives

The Open University is the UK’s largest university, a world leader in flexible part-time education combining a mission to widen access to higher education with research excellence, transforming lives through education.

The role

You will be welcomed into an interdisciplinary research group investigating the feasibility of life beyond the Earth, and the associated social, legal and economic implications. Your role within the group will be to explore, through a combination of fieldwork and laboratory simulation experiments, the feasibility of habitability elsewhere in the Solar System, with focus on the icy moons and Mars. You will study the limits of microbial life and work as part of a multidisciplinary team to identify bio-signatures that could be used as evidence of life under simulated extraterrestrial conditions. 

Skills and experience

You will have a PhD (or shortly to be obtained) in microbiology, molecular biology, geomicrobiology or a related discipline, with experience in culture-independent and culture-dependent techniques.

You will also have practical experience of collecting environmental samples from extreme environments.

See the attached Job Description (here) for further details and desirable qualities

What you get in return

Benefits include a supportive and friendly working environment, 33 days holiday per annum pro rata plus Bank Holidays and Christmas closure days, and an attractive pension proposition.

How to apply

Just complete the application form and send this to us with a copy of your CV and Cover Letter (explaining how you meet the Person Spec) to [email protected]  Please ensure you quote the vacancy reference number.

If you have any questions regarding the Group or the role, please contact Karen Olsson-Francis ([email protected])

Please note: Shortlisting is expected to take place on week commencing 19th August. If you have not heard from us within 2 weeks of this date, please assume that on this occasion you have not been selected for interview, however we thank you for your interest in The Open University and encourage you to apply for future positions.

Closing date: Noon, 7th August 2019

Interview Dates: TBC

An application form and job description are available from the links located below.

Email: Resourcing Hub

An application form and job related information are available from the links located below.  Hard copies and access details for disabled applicants are available from the Recruitment Co-ordinator by email (on the link above), quoting the reference number.

We promote diversity in employment and welcome applications from all sections of the community

Equal Opportunity is University policy

Person Specification


• PhD (completed or shortly obtained) in microbiology, molecular biology, geomicrobiology, or a related discipline; 

• Demonstrable experience in molecular biology techniques; 

• Demonstrable experience in culturing microorganisms; 

• Field work experience; 

• Demonstrable track record of communicating research results through peer reviewed publications and conference presentations (as fitting career stage); 

• Ability to plan and prioritise own workload and work to agreed deadlines; 

• Ability to take full responsibility and accountability for tasks while making effective use of available resources;

• Demonstrable experience of analysing problems and working creatively to develop innovative and workable solutions;

• Good oral and written communication in a variety of contexts, including the ability to offer and receive constructive criticism.


• Experience with anaerobic microbiology; 

• Experience with bioinformatics; 

• Experience with metagenomics and/or transcriptomics;

• Experience in a wet chemistry laboratory environment or with simulation experiments; 

• Ability to organise and statistically analyse data sets; 

• Knowledge of geochemistry, thermodynamics, or planetary geology; 

• Experience of working across discipline boundaries or in interdisciplinary teams.