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Lead Scientist (Analytical Services)

  • Closing date 27 Jan 2022
  • Type Full-time
  • Duration Permanent

The Analytical Services Lead Scientist will be responsible for delivery of breath sample analysis on a core OML analytical assay/platform. They will oversee Analytical Services staff work to ensure that analysis is scheduled, executed, controlled and delivered according to the study and data quality requirements. They will be responsible for meeting and reporting on laboratory KPIs to the departmental management. They will act as scientific contact for the Clinical Study Delivery group, including supporting information for customers. They will provide line management for a small team of scientists.

The Analytical Services Lead Scientist will have accountability for the quality and efficiency of the platform’s laboratory operations, applying expertise in the analytical technique and having in-depth understanding of the sample-to-data process, encompassing the analytical method, instrumentation, software, and reporting. They will ensure that scientists are properly trained and supported to fulfil the assay/platform deliverables, acting as guide and decision-maker for technical matters. They will be accountable for troubleshooting and maintenance of TD-GC/MS equipment to required standard and schedule.

Working across departments, they will act as a technical authority to define and implement improvements in efficiency, robustness and effectiveness in the methods, equipment and operational processes. They will contribute expert consultation to analytical operational aspects of other projects as required.

Key Tasks

  • Provide technical and scientific leadership in the application of TD-GC/MS methods in Analytical Services, including practical involvement in the planning, execution, review and troubleshooting of TD-GC/MS experimental work
  • Be accountable for the quality of data generated from the platform and for reviewing and approving the work of the scientists in the team
  • Be responsible for KPIs on specified service deliverables, working with the departmental management and other stakeholders to overcome obstacles, including any issues in capacity, scheduling and staffing
  • Take ownership of lab issues and instrument troubleshooting, promoting transparency, learning and responsibility
  • Provide expert scientific input for the Clinical Study Delivery team to support study planning and analysis scheduling, report issues and propose solutions
  • Ensure staffing and training are maintained to the correct levels to maintain platform deliverables
  • Support improvement of analytical science service provision in Analytical Services, acting as a technical lead within work packages and continuous improvement activities for analytical methods, equipment and processes
  • Collaborate with other Analytical Science teams to maintain a high level of scientific expertise in TD-GC/MS within the OML Analytical Science community.
  • Represent Analytical Services expertise in project teams, as required.
  • Develop and maintain an understanding of the company objectives and priorities and how they relate to the resources and facilities needed by the team
  • Promote and demonstrate adherence to best practice in Analytical Science
  • Support direct reports in drafting, agreeing and measuring appropriate objectives
  • Ensure all team members are provided with pastoral care, performance management and personal development to their team members to ensure Owlstone meets its strategic objectives
  • Conduct regular performance reviews according to Owlstone business processes

Leadership and Line Management

In addition to these activities, they will also be expected to play an active role in the success of the Analytical Science and Operations departments. This could include representing the Analytical Science discipline as part of programme advisory boards, technical review of the output of other groups, running or contributing to department development activities and deputising for more senior staff as required.


The following competences form the core strength of Owlstone Analytical Sciences. You will have an in-depth knowledge, be able to demonstrate experience in applying these competences in complex situations and be able to critically evaluate and adapt them as required. You will be able to supervise others in applying the competences.

  • Research - The ability to conduct, objective, logical, and systematic method of analysis of phenomena devised to permit the accumulation of reliable knowledge
  • Protocols – The ability of how to follow and validate protocols and understanding of the importance to spot, raise and resolve nonconformities and track through to a root cause analysis of any outside tolerance deviations
  • Data - Understanding the pertinency of the data collection, data entry and verification process and data management systems
  • Dissemination of Findings – The ability of reporting results using the various dissemination formats available for different target audiences. Understands the importance of clear communication adapted in a manner suitable for the audience
  • Analytical Concept - The understanding of rationale, theory, and subject matter in a particular scientific discipline to allow the appropriate application within an analytical role. (e.g Applying knowledge of basic chemical concepts and theories to set research questions with appropriate confidence limits, choose correct analysis technique and proficient instrument operation).
  • Facilities and Safety – Has the ability to assess the appropriateness of laboratory function against business deliverables and justify / implement the change when required. Also understands the importance of compliance to processes that are there to identify and mitigate workplace hazards
  • Pre- analytical – Has the ability to design, implement and evaluate the appropriateness of sampling and sample preparation methodologies
  • Analysis – Has the ability to perform routine and non-routine analysis and understands when the applied technique is fit for purpose and what associated quality control activities are required to ensure that the technique remains within established ranges and limits. When technique deviates from those established ranges and limits will be able to effectively troubleshoot.
  • Critical evaluation of data – Has the ability to evaluate and ensure the accuracy of data as well as spot real and non-real trends to provide an answer with confidence limits to either fulfil a customer contract or research question

Person Specification

Education & Training

  • PhD in analytical chemistry or related discipline, or equivalent experience
  • Practical vocational or manufacturer training on GC-MS

Experience / Knowledge


  • Expertise in gas chromatography and mass spectrometry
  • Significant experience operating GC/MS analysis in a service delivery laboratory (e.g. environmental testing, CRO, pharma)
  • Experience in developing and troubleshooting gas chromatography and mass spectrometry methods
  • Knowledge of Orbitrap mass spectrometers and/or thermal desorption
  • Experience interpreting and reviewing chromatography and mass spectrometry data, and the ability to evaluate critically, draw conclusions and form recommendations from data
  • Ability to determine priorities and focus on important deliverables in a fast-changing environment, and ability to communicate this clearly to others
  • Experience managing scientists and supervising laboratory work
  • Ability to train scientists in analytical science good practice
  • Ability to explain and present complex concepts in a clear and structured manner to both technical and non-technical audiences
  • Confidence in communicating across different levels in an organisation; confidence to take responsibility for decisions and follow through actions
  • Experience of working within a quality management system such as ISO9001, GLP, ISO17025
  • Experience communicating with customers


  • Demonstrable theoretical knowledge and practical experience of thermal desorption
  • Broad theoretical knowledge and practical experience of analysis of volatile organic compounds
  • Knowledge of chromatography data systems, such as Chromeleon
  • Working knowledge of a range of IT systems e.g. MS Office, Atlassian JIRA, Jupyter notebooks

Professional Skills

  • Strong leadership and interpersonal skills, with the ability to empower others and to develop their talents and abilities
  • Delivery focused, able to meet objectives in a fast paced and challenging environment
  • A continuous improvement mindset and the ability to work with change
  • Ability to influence stakeholders through data and present compelling arguments for good analytical science practice within multidisciplinary groups
  • Strong oral and written communication skills
  • Resilience and composure


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