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Job id: 079186. Salary: £28,448 to £31,381 per annum, including London Weighting Allowance.

Posted: 17 November 2023. Closing date: 14 December 2023.

Business unit: Research Platforms. Department: Biological Services.

Contact details: Jayne Morgan.

Location: Guy’s Campus. Category: Professional & Support Services.

Job description

Biological Services provide facilities, services, and advice for all research scientists within King's College London who need to carry out research using animals. Such work is ethically reviewed, carefully regulated, and kept to a minimum within the overall objectives of advancing knowledge in biomedical research. Alternatives to research involving animals are always used where possible.  The post holder will be trained to undertake responsibility for the maintenance, care, and welfare of animals, working as part of a dedicated team alongside skilled professionals committed to finding new cures for major diseases. The post holder will need a flexible approach to work and be able to work independently under supervision, as required, following appropriate training. The individual must be willing to make use of IT systems to ensure accurate record keeping.  

This post will be offered on an indefinite contract.

This is a full-time  post - 100% full time equivalent.

Key responsibilities

  • Provide and excellent level of service to support scientific research at King’s College London.
  • Help ensure the highest standards of animal welfare by performing feeding, watering, and general husbandry of animals.
  • Engender a culture of care within the facility.
  • Undertake elementary breeding techniques including weaning.
  • Examine animals for signs of ill health and communicate the problem clearly in the appropriate language to more senior staff.
  • Communicate with the Facility Manager and other staff on day-to-day issues regarding animal husbandry, care, and welfare.
  • Ensure records relating to animal stock holdings are maintained and environmental records are interpreted accordingly.
  • Convey in writing particularly e-mail all those issues dealt with orally. In addition, important written records need to be kept for research and legal reasons. Examples include weigh charts, breeding records, water tests, environmental records etc.
  • Prepare notes on the condition of sick animals.
  • Liaise with the immediate team but may be required to work at other sites. The post holder would be expected to maintain positive working relationships with the other facilities.
  • Provide information to the facility managers so that decisions can be made on related matters, including animal welfare issues.
  • Prioritise objectives and tasks they need to carry out to complete the requirements as effectively and as efficiently as possible.
  • Be expected to solve routine problems with animals and use initiative to resolve issues, particularly during weekend or Bank Holiday working when they may be the only member of staff in the facility. An example of where initiative is required is when animals become aggressive to each other there may be various solutions none of which may be ideal. The role holder must judge what is best for the animals on a case-by-case basis.
  • Deal with stakeholders such as researchers or technical staff from other departments who hold animals within the BSF.
  • Provide a service by breeding up the correct numbers type and species of animal that may be needed.
  • Be expected to undertake investigations into animal welfare and behaviour so that conditions for them may be improved. An example of this is investigating ways of reducing animal aggression by enriching their environment.
  • Support the work of the more senior members of the team and actively participate in formal and informal meetings and briefings of the team.
  • Be expected to bring forward any ideas that could enhance the efficiency and smooth running of the team.
  • Participate in KCL accredited licensee training schemes.
  • As animal technicians are required to study for qualifications, normally by distance learning, must be computer literate.
  • The role holder may well have more experience of basic animal handling techniques and welfare than some of the researchers who may use the facility. In such cases the role holder would be expected to advise them on the optimum animal handling techniques.
  • Move heavy cages and bulky equipment for cleaning. Sacks of feed and bedding (>15 kg sacks) must be moved around, loaded, and off loaded.
  • Be able to use the cage washer, bottle washer, high pressure autoclave, bottle filler and pallet-truck.
  • Know how to handle a variety species of animals including small mammals, fish, amphibians, and reptiles.
  • Be able to work to SOPs in a safe and responsible manner.
  • Work with modern containment equipment which limits the role holder's exposure to airborne contaminants, including animal allergens.
  • Be able to seal waste in clinical sacks which must be wheeled up in large bins to be removed.
  • Be trained in health and safety aspects and is aware of issues such as animal allergens, using electrical equipment in a wet environment, correct method of lifting, control of hazardous chemicals, correct disposal of clinical waste etc.
  • Be willing to work within the washroom, on a rota basis or when requested to by the Facility Manager.
  • In the washroom, be responsible for making sure that notices are displayed regarding, for example, a wet floor. The role holder may need to make others aware of this if they see someone who is not following this regulation.
  • The role holder will be required to have regular occupational health visits (annually or more often if necessary). 

The above list of responsibilities may not be exhaustive, and the post holder will be required to undertake such tasks and responsibilities as may reasonably be expected within the scope and grading of the post.

Skills, knowledge, and experience

Essential criteria

  1. Commitment to a career in laboratory animal science and technology.
  2. Willing to study to Level 3 qualification or equivalent in laboratory animal science and technology.
  3. Basic knowledge and experience of working with animals.
  4. Demonstrate a basic knowledge of regulation surrounding the use of animals in research.
  5. Effective communication, organisation, and time management skills.
  6. Willingness to undertake some weekend and bank holiday working.
  7. Willingness to work in any facility on any campus as directed.

Desirable criteria

  1. Minimum of 2 passes at O’ level/GCSE (or equivalent to) Grade C (including a science subject).
  2. Knowledge of elementary breeding techniques.
  3. Demonstrate a passion for animal welfare and caring for animals.

Further information

This post is subject to Occupational Health clearance.