Confocal Microscope Quality Control Specialist

Applies specific technical or practical skills and has a well-developed working knowledge of technical or scientific practices and procedures acquired through on-the-job, vocational or academic training. Work will involve the application of skills and knowledge to provide a range of technical support activities.

Key information

Job reference
Competitive with benefits, subject to skills and experience.
Application close date
02 August 2021, 00:00 BST
Hours per week
36 (full time)
Posted 14 July 2021

Reports to Head of Crick Advanced Light Microscopy

This is a full-time permanent position on Crick Terms and Conditions of Employment.


Imaging is a highly distributed resource within the Crick. A small number of microscopes within the core facility are very well supported, but we also have a critical need to provide a basic level of support for the many confocal microscopes located out with the facility. To address this need we have created a position within the CALM STP to perform regular quality control testing on confocal microscopes distributed across the institute. The successful candidate will work with local “super-users” to understand performance issues, liaise with service engineers to arrange for repairs when required, and follow-up to ensure these have been successfully completed.


Quality control is an important aspect of the service provided by any research core facility. This helps to ensure the reproducibility of results and avoid wasting precious resources, including staff time and lab consumables. Regular performance of a quality control protocol helps limit the number of users affected by undesirable changes in system performance due to equipment malfunction or user error. The Confocal QC Specialist will regularly inspect each confocal microscope within the Crick, including point and array scanning instruments. They will perform a standard series of tests on these instruments to assess system performance using criteria including instrument sensitivity, resolution, and precision of movement. Inspections will also entail cleaning each instrument and updating software and service packs as required. If significant issues with equipment performance are detected, the Confocal QC Specialist will liaise with service engineers from the relevant microscope company to arrange for repairs. Following service engineer visits, the Confocal QC Specialist will test equipment to ensure that repairs have been completed to an acceptable standard and record the system performance to use as a reference for future tests. Finally, the Confocal QC Specialist will serve as a first point of contact, linking local “super-users” of each instrument to the support team of the light microscopy core facility. This role is an excellent opportunity for someone with an affinity for technical details to support the research of the Crick.


These include but are not limited to:

  • Inspecting and cleaning microscope components, including objectives, eyepieces, and peripherals.
  • Replenishing lab consumables, including lens tissues and immersion oil
  • Installing and updating software.
  • Creating and testing new techniques to be used for the routine maintenance
  • Acquiring and analysing images from test samples, designed to capture key features of instrument performance.
  • Maintaining a record of system performance for each confocal microscope in the institute.
  • Liaising with local instrument “super-users” to understand instrument performance issues.
  • Liaising with service engineers to arrange equipment repairs and following up to ensure these are done correctly.


The post holder should embody and demonstrate our core Crick values: Bold, Imaginative, Open, Dynamic and Collegial, in addition to the following:


  • A degree in physics or engineering
  • Some experience using and maintaining advanced technical instruments
  • Ability to interpret and analyse technical data
  • Familiarity with basic statistics
  • Ability to work effectively within a team
  • Ability to work independently
  • Project management skills, including the ability to prioritise work and manage multiple projects
  • Effective written and verbal communication skills
  • Ability to think creatively and problem-solve

Desirable - experience in any of these areas would be advantageous

  • Training and/or teaching experience
  • Familiarity with a programming language such as Java, C, or Python

Please note: all offers of employment are subject to successful security screening and continuous eligibility to work in the United Kingdom.

Now that we have tested this position I am confident that it works and is sustainable.

This is a brand new position within the Crick, so 3 year post is appropriate to see if the job works as intended.

Is it worth adding with a scope to manage other microscope systems, such as the iSIM and SD?