KTP Associate in Industrial Biotechnology

Robert Gordon University

  • Location: Aberdeen
  • £22,000 to £26,000 per annum, Independent Position
  • Hours: Full Time
  • Contact: Please see description
  • Reference: RGU02021

Job Summary

An exciting opportunity is available for a recent graduate at Honours or Masters level (Biology/Microbiology/Biotechnology or related subject) to be appointed to a KTP Associate post (www.ktponline.org.uk/graduate-opportunities) between the CyanoSol research group at Robert Gordon University (www.rgu.ac.uk/cyanosol) and Scottish Bioenergy (www.scotbio.com).

Scottish Bioenergy (Scot Bio) makes and sells phycocyanin, an all-natural pigment extracted from cyanobacteria. It is the only internationally approved stable natural blue colourant and is used as a food ingredient, in cosmetics, as a reagent and an active pharmaceutical ingredient. Increasing manufacturer and consumer desire to reduce artificial colourants in the market is driving a global trend toward ‘clean label’.

Global consumers (61%) actively try to avoid artificial colours when shopping. Yet blue is popular, in particular in confectionery and drinks. Many global brands have committed to remove artificial colours, but struggle to find a natural blue.

Biotechnology is increasingly relevant to industry, providing sustainable solutions in a wide range of applications including food supplements, nutraceuticals & pharmaceuticals. From inception, Scot Bio has fostered relationships with leading academics working in areas ranging from engineering to synthetic biology to find and develop knowledge with real-world applications. Developments in primary production streams have matured to the point where valorisation of by-products represents a critical and logical progression for exploitation of high-value biochemicals.

This two-year post will focus on scientific evaluation of biomass generated in the phycocyanin production process, to understand what additional high value co-products can be developed. In addition to analysis of the biomass, you will be expected to gain a clear understanding of the end-to-end production process utilised currently for phycocyanin and evaluate whether and how this process can be adapted cost-effectively for the production of suitable co-products. The role will primarily be based at Scot Bio in N. Lanarkshire. However, regular travel to Aberdeen will be required for the full benefit of the expertise at RGU.

Robert Gordon University provides an excellent platform for a suitably motivated individual to develop a career in the field of biotechnology. The post will involve the development of knowledge and capability for valorisation of waste biomass from the production of pigments to develop a versatile co-product platform using green/food processing technologies delivering high quality products manufactured in a Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) environment. Training will be provided and there is the opportunity to register for a higher degree.

This post is subject to a Disclosure Scotland check. For more information visit: https://www.mygov.scot/standard-disclosure

Closing Date: 25 November 2018

Job Description

RESPONSIBLE TO: ScotBio and RGU team


PURPOSE OF POST: To develop the knowledge and capability for valorisation of waste biomass from the production of phycocyanin (blue colour in gin and smarties), to develop a versatile co-product platform using green/food processing technologies delivering high quality products manufactured in a Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) environment.

-Undertake literature reviews of particular subject areas.
-Undertake appropriate laboratory research and development.
-Process data obtained through experimentation.
-Analyse the resulting data utilising statistical and other appropriate techniques.
- Evaluate market data for the co-products under consideration
- Prepare regular technical reports.
- Convene and minute monthly technical management meetings.
-Assist in preparing papers for publication and grant reports.
-Participate in the Centre/School's research activities, including the giving of presentations and contributing to research workshops and seminars where appropriate.
-Liaise with Company and University staff to promote awareness of your research.
-Carry out such other related duties as may be assigned.

Person Specification


First Degree in a suitable subject area particularly Biology/Biomedical Science/Biochemistry/Microbiology or related subject – 1st, 2(1) or MSc.

Knowledge and Experience
Knowledge and practical experience of microbiology and chemistry.
Ability to manage a project, identify timescales and deliver technical reports.
Good understanding of chemistry and biochemistry
Understanding of chromatography
Interest in or understanding of market research and financial data
Hands-on laboratory experience either in a taught environment or through work.
An ability to both work with others and with minimum supervision.
Experience of robust experimental design.
Experience of data handling and interpretation
Demonstration of practical microbiology
Ability to communicate with employees at all levels.

Regular travel will be required between Scot Bio in N. Lanarkshire and Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen.
Attendance at KTP training events is also required.


Knowledge and Experience
Commercial experience


Behaviour 1: Communication - Ability to receive, understand and convey information requiring careful explanation and information of a complex or conceptual nature, in a clear and accurate manner

Behaviour 2: Service Delivery - Experience of exploring and adapting a service to meet customers’ expectations and also identifying ways of improving standards

Behaviour 3: Decision Making - Experience of using own judgement to make decisions, making collaborative decisions with others to reach conclusions and providing advice or information that will influence the decisions of others

Behaviour 4: Analysis and Research - Experience of identifying or designing data gathering and analytical methods appropriate for each investigation, and producing reports that identify key issues and findings

Applications must be made online at myjobscotland.gov.uk

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