Animal Health Programme Assistant (RO) - BRF

Key information

Job reference
From £24,132 per annum, subject to skills and experience.
Application close date
28 November 2021, 23:59 GMT
Hours per week
36 (full time)
Posted 22 November 2021
Background texture taken from the lab imagery.

Please note that the role will close at midnight on 29th November 2021. Therefore, please apply for the position before midnight, so that your application can be considered.

Reports to: Named Veterinary Surgeon

This is a full-time, permanent position on Crick terms and conditions of employment.



The Biological Research Facility (BRF) supports all animal research at the Crick through our comprehensive animal care and use programme. The BRF provides the Crick's laboratory animal resource and technical services. High quality multidisciplinary in-vivo and ex-vivo research support is at the heart of the BRF's philosophy and operations. The BRF is committed to improving animal welfare, scientific quality, care of staff and transparency for stakeholders. The BRF teams integrate husbandry of multiple species within a range of facilities, using state of the art technologies, via a talented and skilled team.

The BRF Veterinary Services oversees and is responsible for the BRF’s health monitoring (HM) programme. The importance to science of maintaining animals to a defined microbiological health status, together with the maintenance of biosecurity measures to prevent the ingress of undesirable micro-organisms, cannot be overemphasised. Not only does this improve the quality of scientific data by reducing variability between studies, it leads to a significant improvement to animal health and husbandry practices.  

The Animal Health programme assistant provides consistency and accuracy of sampling across the different animal units within the BRF, supports the Animal Health programme coordinator and the NVS team with a wide variety of duties related with the testing of animals and other samples with the aim of maintaining healthy laboratory animals.

Key responsibilities

These include but are not limited to:

  • Visit BRF animal units and other areas while respecting barrier constraints for collection and labelling of environmental samples (water, AMU swabs, other) by using different methods, including aseptic technique
  • Euthanasia of laboratory animals (several animal species) by using different killing methods, including non S1K: cervical dislocation, carbon dioxide, overdose of anaesthetic, perfusion/fixation
  • Necropsy of laboratory animals (several animal species), recognition and recording of gross pathology abnormalities, taking pictures, and fixation of tissue samples for histopathology
  • Collection and preparation of samples for bacteriology, parasitology, serology, histopathology, PCR, etc
  • Blood sampling of laboratory animals by different routes and preparation and processing of those for further testing
  • Processing of animal and environmental samples by all appropriate methods, including microscopy, bacterial culture, serology and molecular based methods
  • Consumables stock checking and maintenance, ordering and housekeeping of the laboratory
  • Labelling, recording and preparation of samples for submission to other STPs and external contractors
  • Keep a clean and safe working environment in the laboratory
  • Cleaning, disinfection and sterilisation of items and equipment as required
  • Preparation of solutions as required
  • Working within defined Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs)
  • Maintenance of accurate written and computer-based records
  • Writing SOPs as required
  • Deputising for the BRF Animal Health programme coordinator when/if required
  • Any other duty as deemed appropriate by the NVS and Animal Health programme coordinator

Key experience and competencies

The post holder should embody and demonstrate our core Crick values: bold, imaginative, open, dynamic and collegial, in addition to the following:


Qualifications, experience and competencies:

  • Educated to GCSE level or equivalent and possess a minimum of 5 GCSEs (including Maths and/or Science)
  • A basic knowledge and understanding of the purpose and principles of laboratory animal health monitoring, including the main elements of a HM programme
  • Experience working with animals
  • Experience with the use of Schedule 1 killing methods (cervical dislocation, carbon dioxide, overdose of anaesthetic) to enable the collection of samples
  • Respects and has empathy towards the care and use of animals in science
  • Knowledge and understanding of the Animal (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 (as amended 2013)
  • Can demonstrate contributing effectively to the work of a team
  • Has desire to work in a laboratory environment
  • Possesses good time management and organisational skills
  • Possesses good observational and attention to detail skills
  • Possesses clear and effective written and oral communication skills
  • Proven accurate record keeping skills
  • Computer literate, including the use of Microsoft based software, use of databases and internet skills
  • Conscientious and reliable
  • Proactive, positive and flexible approach


Qualifications, experience and competencies:

  • Familiarity with what constitutes a ‘normal’ animal, internally and externally
  • Experience with different routes of blood sampling of rodents: tail vein, saphenous vein, cardiac puncture
  • Holding a Home Office PIL Licence Modules 1-3
  • Ability to problem solve and use initiative
  • Ability to work with minimal supervision, prioritising appropriately
  • Reasonable knowledge of laboratory rodents and aquatic species