Advanced Teaching Laboratory Technician (Maternity Cover)

Location : Durham

Salary : £22,847 - £26,341 per annum

When appointing to this role the University must ensure that it meets any applicable immigration requirements, including salary thresholds which are applicable to some visas.

The Department and role purpose: 

The Department of Geography is a vibrant community of over 60 academic staff (approximately equally divided between physical and human geography), a graduate school of around 100 research and 40 taught postgraduate students and more than 750 undergraduates. The laboratories contain an extensive suite of analytical and geotechnical instruments which are overseen and supported by a team of dedicated technical staff. Our laboratories facilitate world class research and are used extensively in undergraduate and postgraduate teaching.

The Advanced Teaching Technician is responsible for assisting with the day-to-day technical functions and operation of the teaching laboratory in the Department of Geography. This role primarily services teaching needs in the Geography laboratories (e.g. practical classes, dissertation work); however, during periods of low demand, this post holder supports laboratory-based research. This role interacts with undergraduates, postgraduates, postdoctoral researchers and academics, supporting their laboratory activities.

 For more information, please visit our Department pages at: www.dur.ac.uk/geography.

This post is fixed term and is available from the 1st January 2022. The post is time-limited and will end on the 31st December 2022.

Core responsibilities:

  • Act as more knowledgeable laboratory team member without responsibility for team members.
  • Plan and organise own workload in conjuction with the Senior Experimental Officer.
  • Resolve queries and requests for information and advice and escalate more specialist and complex queries or issues to more experienced Geography laboratory team members.
  • Respond to stakeholder (Geography students and academic staff) needs to deliver and shape an excellent stakeholder experience.
  • Work within a technical team applying theory and practice from previous experience and knowledge.
  • Contribute to collaborative decision making within the Geography Laboratory team in order to deliver an excellent experience for students and academic staff in accordance with policy and procedures. 
  • Work collaboratively across the organisation and/or externally with colleagues and stakeholders to deliver a service.
  • Provide guidance and advice to resolve Geography student and academic staff problems and queries.
  • Collaborate with team members to implement Geography laboratory service alterations.
  • Organise and schedule Geography laboratory resources, activities and events.
  • Identify priorities and monitor processes and activities in the laboratory to ensure success.
  • Analyse laboratory work activities to ensure the effective and efficient use of capital and consumable equipment and resources.
  • Provide demonstrations and instruction to others outside the Geography laboratory team.
  • Support the capture of business requirements from Geography laboratory users and work with colleagues to translate these into recommendations for future service provision.
  • Liaise with contacts and participate in networks and communities internally and possibly externally, contributing to effective collaborative working.
  • Advise others and make recommendations into work processes and procedures for consideration by senior laboratory management to improve Geography services.

Role responsibilities:

  • Deliver professional technical services to support teaching, outreach, research and learning activities. in the Geography laboratories.
  • Ensure the smooth running of teaching laboratories.
  • Apply knowledge and skills to, put together, adapt, and repair  laboratory equipment.
  • Utilise new and existing resources to deliver teaching, research and/or learning objectives in the Geography laboratories.
  • Prepare and set-up equipment and facilities for the delivery of teaching, learning and research activities in the Geography department.
  • Liaise with others to identify resource requirements, store and deliver resources and keep accurate records of stock levels.
  • Liaise with academic staff and students and colleagues across the University to ensure a smooth and efficient  laboratory service.
  • Provide supervision for teaching, learning and research activities in the Geography laboratories, including students and staff.
  • Prepare safety documents and risk assessments for laboratory-based teaching, research and learning activities.
  • Record, monitor and collate information, analyse patterns and trends as part of Geography teaching, learning and research laboratory activities.
  • Construct and/or repair laboratory equipment under the supervision of more experienced staff.
  • Any other reasonable duties.

Specific role requirements 

  • May be required to participate in fieldwork, which may very occasionally involve overnight stays away from Durham.
  • May be required to attend supplier premises to assess equipment and / or attend training sessions, which may occasionally involve overnight stays away from Durham. 

Working Arrangements

At Durham we recognise that our staff and students are our greatest asset and we want to support the health and wellbeing of all.  Hybrid working supports this ethos and provides many benefits to our colleagues, including empowering people, where their role allows, to work in a manner which is more suitable for them, whilst encouraging our commitment to environmental sustainability.

Depending on the needs of the business and the job role, Durham University is piloting hybrid working for all Professional Services colleagues in the academic year 2021/2022, which may include the opportunity to work both on and off campus and to flex working hours.  If appointed to the post, your line-manager will discuss the specific arrangements with you.  Any hybrid arrangements are non-contractual and may change within the pilot and when the pilot ends.


Appointment to this post is fixed term to cover the substantive post holder’s maternity leave and is not anticipated to be extended.

Reward and Benefits

To support the delivery of the University’s People Strategy to attract, retain and reward the very best, we offer a fantastic range of rewards and benefits to our staff, including:

  • 27 days annual leave, plus 4 customary days and 8 bank holidays (pro-rata for part time) and the option to purchase additional leave;
  • Automatic enrolment into a pension scheme;
  • Corporate and local discounts;
  • Wellbeing resources and discounted health benefits;
  • Health discounts on sports and activities at Maiden Castle Health and Activity Centre;
  • Reward and Recognition Schemes;
  • Personal and career development;
  • And SO much more, with further information available here

Recruiting to this post

In order to be considered for interview, candidates must evidence each of the essential criteria required for the role in the person specification.  In some cases, the recruiting panel may also consider the desirable criteria, so we recommend you evidence all criteria in your application.  

Please note that some criteria will only be considered at interview stage.

How to apply 

We prefer to receive applications online.

Please note that in submitting your application Durham University will be processing your data. We would ask you to consider the relevant University Privacy Statement https://www.dur.ac.uk/ig/dp/privacy/pnjobapplicants/ which provides information on the collation, storing and use of data.

Information if you have a disability

The University welcomes applications from disabled people. We are committed to ensuring fair treatment throughout the recruitment process. We will make adjustments to support the interview process wherever it is reasonable to do so and, where successful, adjustments will be made to support people within their role.

If you are unable to complete your application via our recruitment system, please get in touch with us on e.recruitment@durham.ac.uk.

What you are required to submit 

1. A CV; 

2. A covering letter which details your experience, strengths and potential in the requirements set out in the essential and desirable criteria;

3. Completion of the application questions, with examples of how you satisfy the person specification.  Please ensure you give detailed examples of how you meet these criteria if requested.  

Please ensure that you submit all documentation listed above or your application cannot proceed to the next stage.

Contact details

For further information regarding this post, please contact; Dr Eleanor Ross, Senior Manager (Technical Services & Facilities) e.j.maddison@durham.ac.uk 

Contact information for technical difficulties when submitting your application

If you encounter technical difficulties when using the online application form, we prefer you send enquiries by email.  Please send your name along with a brief description of the problem you’re experiencing to e.recruitment@durham.ac.uk

We will notify you on the status of your application at various points throughout the selection process, via automated emails from our e-recruitment system.  Please check your spam/junk folder periodically to ensure you receive all emails.

At Durham University, our aim is to create an open and inclusive environment where everyone can reach their full potential and believe our staff should reflect the diversity of the global community in which we work.  We welcome and encourage applications from members of groups who are under-represented in our work force including people with disabilities, women and black, Asian and minority ethnic communities.

As a University we foster a collegiate community of extraordinary people aligned to the University’s values.  Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) are a key part of the University’s Strategy and a central part of everything we do.  At Durham we actively work towards providing an environment where our staff and students can study, work and live in a community which is supportive and inclusive, and in doing so, recruit the world’s best candidates from all backgrounds and identities. It’s important to us that all of our colleagues are aligned to both our values and commitment to EDI.

Person specification – skills, knowledge, qualifications and experience required

Essential Criteria:

  • Good oral and written communication skills.
  • Proven IT skills, including use of Microsoft Office.
  • Five GCSE’s at least Grade C or level four (or equivalent) including English Language and Mathematics (or equivalent experience).
  • Post-16 qualification or equivalent experience.
  • Experience of working in a team.
  • Ability to solve problems and resolve issues, plan solutions and make pragmatic decisions.
  • Experience of working in a laboratory environment
  • Laboratory knowledge and expertise with the ability to create, build and adapt resources, and equipment to meet teaching and research outputs.
  • Experience of managing time in order to meet deadlines.  

Desirable Criteria

  • Relevant industry and professional recognition and certification of achievement of skills and knowledge.
  • Evidence of continuing professional development.
  • Demonstrable ability to provide advice and guidance to a range of customers and colleagues.
  • Ability to effectively network and exchange advice and information for development purposes.  
  • Experience of teaching/research project working within an educational, commercial or industrial environment.
  • Experience of monitoring activities of self and others to ensure health and safety regulations are adhered to.
  • Experience of running instruments such as ion chromatography systems (ICS), inductively coupled plasma optical emission spectrometers (ICP-OES) and /or using sample preparation equipment such as freeze driers, ball mills, digiPREP heating blocks.


Durham University

OUR CHARACTERISTICS: We are a globally outstanding centre of teaching and research excellence, a collegiate community of extraordinary people, in a unique and historic setting.    

OUR VALUESWe are inspiring, challenging, innovative, responsible and enabling.

Durham University is one of the world’s top universities with strengths across the Arts and Humanities, Business, Sciences and Social Sciences. We are home to some of the most talented scholars and researchers from around the world who are tackling global issues and making a difference to people’s lives. 

The University sits in a beautiful historic city where it shares ownership of a UNESCO World Heritage Site with Durham Cathedral, the greatest Romanesque building in Western Europe. A collegiate University, Durham recruits outstanding students from across the world and offers an unmatched wider student experience.

Durham University seeks to promote and maintain an inclusive and supportive environment for work and study that assists all members of our University community to reach their full potential. Diversity brings strength and we welcome applications from across the international, national and regional communities that we work with and serve.

It is expected that all staff within the University:

  • Contribute to our learning culture by engaging in mentoring, training and coaching.
  • Positively contribute to fostering a collegial environment; as well as demonstrating commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion.
  • Have due regard to Health and Safety requirements appropriate to grade and role.

This post is aligned to the Technical, Research and Teaching Services Job Family

Family key attributes

Roles in this family provide creative and analytical input to facilitate the delivery of world-class teaching, learning and research activities.

Overall family purpose

  • Support stakeholders to ensure the delivery of research, teaching and scholarly activities.
  • Align and tailor services to meet strategic and operational research, teaching and learning objectives.
  • Prepare and set-up equipment, apparatus and resources to ensure the successful delivery of scheduled academic activities.
  • Monitor, manage and maintain teaching, learning or research facilities, workshops, laboratories and experimental environments to ensure compliance with internal and external regulations.
  • Contribute guidance, advice and/or professional expertise to increase intellectual and creative capacity for world-class teaching and research outputs.
  • Actively participate with peers and specialists internally and externally to expand knowledge and practice.
  • Design and construct equipment, environments, tools, techniques and methodologies to meet research and learning objectives.
  • Adapt and develop equipment, techniques and methodologies to meet research and learning outputs and timescales.
  • Engage and network with internal and external specialists and experts to facilitate knowledge exchange and enhance research, teaching and learning activities.
  • Work collaboratively and network across the University with staff in other families to ensure a smooth, timely and high-quality delivery of service.

Link to key strategic plan

  • An economically sustainable approach to delivering technical and experimental support services across the University;
  • Support and facilitate world-leading research across all academic departments;
  • Support and facilitate research that has a positive impact on global, national and regional challenges and which benefits culture, society, health, the economy and the physical environment;
  • Support and facilitate a rewarding research environment and an exceptional research-led learning experience;
  • Support and facilitate programmes that offer intellectual challenge, cohesiveness and a strong sense of progression;
  • A stakeholder-focused orientation, offering satisfying careers to all staff;
  • Ensure that an increasingly diverse workforce is treated equally, fairly and with respect and that all staff are demonstrably valued and actively engaged.