- Suva-based position (Fiji)
- Attractive expatriate package
- Join the principal development organization in the Pacific region
The Pacific Community (SPC) is the principal scientific and technical organisation in the Pacific region, supporting development since 1947. We are an international development organisation owned and governed by our 27 country and territory members. In pursuit of sustainable development to benefit Pacific people, our organisation works across more than 25 sectors. We are known for our knowledge and innovation in such areas as fisheries science, public health, geoscience, and conservation of plant genetic resources for food and agriculture.
The Land Resources Division (LRD) provides effective expert scientific advice, capacity building and services on conservation, development and utilization of plant genetic resources, forest and landscape management, resilient agricultural systems, diversification of livelihood strategies and access to markets to maintain ecosystem services and improve land productivity and the food, nutrition security and resilience of Pacific communities. LRD has expertise in genetic resource conservation, resilient agriculture, biosecurity, pest and disease management, agricultural extension, plant pathology, entomology, and animal health. It collaborates with governments, regional organisations, civil society and other SPC divisions to pinpoint the needs and priorities of Pacific countries and communities and provide technical expertise to address them. This mission is realized through four main thematic work areas, or pillars, and a progressively integrated approach to programming that works towards achieving SPC’s development goals.
The role – Senior Technician – Germplasm Health and Genomics will perform a range of laboratory testing and research within the Germplasm Health and Genomics unit in the Centre for Pacific Crops and Trees (CePaCT). The successful candidate will be responsible for the proper maintenance of lab equipment, maintain records and documentation of results in accordance with standard operating procedures and also supervise and facilitate work activities within the team by providing first level advice and guidance to other Lab Technicians and Lab Assistants.
The key responsibilities of the role include:
Effective and efficient pathogen testing and cleaning of the CePaCT accessions
- Carry out all routine activities for pathogen testing (e.g., virus testing, bacteria culture and identification, PCR, grafting) and ensure records are kept at the highest standards of quality and safety.
- Perform pathogen cleaning activities to prescribed international standards.
- Monitor and provide guidance to Technicians and Assistant Technicians during lab activities.
Lead the research implementation and contribute to research design
- Support the development of high-quality research methodologies.
- Take the lead role in carrying out research based on approved methodologies.
- Provide guidance and support to research activities of other staff.
Provide scientific and technical advice and capacity building support
- Train new staff on all Standard Operating Procedures including appropriate hands-on skills.
- Provide relevant technical/scientific training support to both internal and external partners.
- Assist the manager with the development including the update and proper documentation of appropriate training tools and procedures.
Supervise lab staff activities & other duties
- Facilitate and coordinate responsibilities of technicians and assistants under the manager’s guidance and advice.
- Ensure staff compliance with Standard Operating Procedures and Genebank policies and laboratory standards are maintained including no compromise to proper hygiene and safety of the facilities.
- Monitor and keep records for all key activities including staff performance and compliance.
For a more detailed account of the key responsibilities, please refer to the online job description.
Key selection criteria
- A degree in biological science, biochemistry, industrial laboratory technology or any other relevant field of study.
- A minimum of 5 years relevant experience.
- Adept knowledge and skills on plant tissue culture technology, pathogen testing methods such as PCR, RT-PCR, ELISA, IC-PCR, RCA, symptomatology, and grafting.
- Adept knowledge and understanding of virus elimination methods such as meristem culture, chemotherapy, thermotherapy, calibration.
- Sound knowledge and experience working in a sterile laboratory environment.
- Adept knowledge in various experimental designs and laboratory data collection and analysis software.
- Self-motivated, disciplined, and able to work effectively (individually and within a team environment).
- Excellent time management and organizational skills.
- Good attention to detail with excellent computer skills.
- Be able to develop new ideas and provide a solution to problems.
- Excellent English communication skills (oral and written).
Interpersonal skills and cultural awareness
- Ability to work in a multicultural, inclusive and equitable environment.
Salary, terms and conditions
Contract Duration – 3 years – subject to renewal depending on funding and performance.
Remuneration – The Senior Technician – Germplasm Health and Genomics is a band 8 position in SPC’s 2023 salary scale, with a starting salary range of 2,044‒2,555 SDR (special drawing rights) per month, which currently converts to approximately FJD 6,030–7,537 (USD 2,739–3,424; EUR 2,595–3,243). An offer of appointment for an initial contract will normally be made in the lower half of this range, with due consideration given to experience and qualifications. Progression within the salary scale will be based on annual performance reviews. Remuneration of expatriate SPC staff members is not subject to income tax in Fiji; Fiji nationals employed by SPC in Fiji will be subject to income tax.
Benefits for international employees based in Fiji – SPC provides a housing allowance of FJD 1,350–3,000 per month. Establishment and repatriation grant, removal expenses, airfares, home leave travel, health and life and disability insurances and education allowances are available for eligible employees and their eligible dependents. Employees are entitled to 25 working days of annual leave per annum and other types of leave, and access to SPC’s Provident Fund (contributing 8% of salary, to which SPC adds a matching contribution).
Languages – SPC’s working languages are English and French.
Closing Date: 12 December 2023 at 11:59pm (Fiji time)
Job Reference: MC000071
Applicants must apply online at http://careers.spc.int/
Hard copies of applications will not be accepted.
For your application to be considered, you must provide us with:
- an updated resume with contact details for three professional referees
- a cover letter detailing your skills, experience and interest in this position
- responses to all screening questions
Your application will be considered incomplete and will not be reviewed at shortlisting stage if all the above documents are not provided. Applicants should not attach copies of qualifications or letters of reference. Please ensure your documents are in Microsoft Word or Adobe PDF format.
For international staff in Fiji, only one foreign national per family can be employed with an entity operating in Fiji at any one given time. SPC may assist on a case-by-case basis with submissions to Fiji Ministry of Foreign Affairs for their consideration and final approval. SPC cannot and does not make any guarantee whatsoever of approval for such applications to Fiji Ministry of Foreign Affairs and where an application is approved, the spouse or partner will subject to such terms and conditions as may be set from time to time by the Ministry.
SPC does not charge a fee to consider your application and will never ask for your banking or financial information during the recruitment process.
Screening Questions (maximum of 2,000 characters per question):
- Describe some of the functions of a germplasm health lab and its role in an international genebank, given the nature of Small Island Development States (SIDS) and the crops kept at the Centre for Pacific Crop Trees.
- Give an example of a research project you've worked on in relation to germplasm health testing or plant genomics. How did you develop the research question, and what steps did you take to answer it?
- Can you provide an example of a time when you successfully led a small team to accomplish a specific target, goal or project? What was your approach, and what were the results?