Lead Biological Safety Specialist

In the Crick's Safety Health & Sustainability Team.

Part of Crick Operations.

The Lead Biological Safety Specialist is a specialist adviser on matters relating to safe handling of biological materials. This role will manage the operation of the Containment 2, 3 and 4 facilities and advise and oversee Crick compliance in relation to biological risks. It will also provide support to the Director of SHS and other areas of the SHS team’s remit.

Key information

Job reference
£64,750- £73,300, subject to skills and experience
Application close date
26 April 2023, 23:59 BST
Hours per week
36 (full time)
Posted 22 February 2023

Reports to:

  • Deputy Director of Health and Safety

Contact term:

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

Please note we start screening CVs and interviewing candidates from the start of a campaign and the advert may close early if a successful candidate is found. We encourage you to apply as soon as possible if you are interested in the role.


This is an exciting opportunity to join this high-profile organisation and to help shape the future direction in health and safety.

The Crick is a world-leading centre of biomedical research and innovation. Dedicated to research excellence, the Crick has the scale, vision and expertise to tackle the most challenging scientific questions that underpin our understanding of human health and disease.

Conducting world-class biomedical research safely, sustainably and successfully in central London is a significant undertaking.  The scale and complexity of the science requires a highly professional and effective Health and Safety team. The Lead Biosafety Specialist will manage the Biosafety Team to ensure it supports cutting edge science by monitoring and advising on biological, health, safety and regulatory compliance issues, specifically working with Crick members and other stakeholders.  This role will deliver the H&S Strategy for Biological safety, oversee and advise on the management and operation of the Containment 2, 3 and 4 facilities.

It is essential that all members of the Biosafety Team have the competence and flexibility to support the entire team function (GM and biological risk assessment, High Containment facility operational support, best practice SOP advise and development etc.). The Lead Biological Safety Specialist will lead the team to ensure this is achieved.

This role will line manage at least 3 people and have some budgetary responsibility.

Key responsibilities

These include but are not limited to:

  • Drive the delivery of an effective Crick wide biological safety management system.

  • Oversee the operational management of biological facilities at containment levels 2, 3 and 4.

  • Work with the H&S Leadership team to develop best practice across the Crick, in line with the established management and governance structures.

  • Lead projects as part of the Crick H&S Strategy.

  • Liaison with Regulators, participation in Regulatory intervention visits and managing the implementation of subsequent follow up actions.

  • Work closely with the responsible person for work under the Specified Animal Pathogens Order (SAPO) to ensure regulatory requirements are met.

  • Developing, writing, reviewing and updating Policy, Code of Practice and Standard Operating Procedure /guidance documents.

  • Examine new legislation and best practice guidance, providing advice and guidance on practical application to science activities.

  • Review, and where applicable approve, biological risk assessments; this includes the assessment of the activities planned and the evaluation of the controls proposed to ensure these are suitable and sufficient and in line with legal and Crick requirements.

  • Providing specific biological training

  • Attend the Biological and GM committee meetings and ensure it fulfils the terms of reference.

  • Submit notifications to the regulator where necessary

  • Oversee the management of;

    • contract work within Containment facilities.

    • of biological waste processes.

    • receipt and transfer of biological samples and hazardous goods.

    • the health surveillance provision for Biological safety risks

  • Take part in audits and inspections.

  • Undertaking accident and incident investigations.

  • Liaise with University Partners in matters of Biological Safety

  • Periodically acting as nominated SHS on call person

  • Deputising for the Deputy Director of SHS.

  • Maintain and develop subject knowledge through attending meetings, networking with other containment level 4 groups and undertaking further training where required.

Team management

  • Lead the Biosafety team in support of the achievement of best practice in health and safety.

  • Ensure the Biosafety Team provide professional, efficient and effective support to science Group Leaders, Laboratory Research Scientists, Heads of Science Technology Platforms, the Service Delivery Team and other operational services.

  • Be the first point of escalation, providing high level generalist and specialist advice across the Institute, particularly within the research groups and science support teams.

  • Developing the team through coaching and support to enable the delivery of best practice, advice and support on biological, health and safety, including advising research and technical staff on risk assessments for research facilities and projects.

  • Induct new team members, setting probation targets, undertake performance reviews and set team member work priorities and objectives.

  • Working closely with the H&S Leadership Team to devise and deliver the H&S strategy. To identify, lead on, plan, and own strategies, implement policies and procedures as delivered by the Biosafety team.

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:

Essential Qualifications, experience and competencies:


  • Degree in a life science or related discipline (or equivalent)

  • Significant relevant experience, in laboratory work, research, the application and management of biological safety, within a biological sciences research environment.

  • Proven and extensive experience in a similar biological safety role.

  • Extensive experience of reviewing of GMO and biological risk assessments and running of associated committees.

  • Practical experience in the design/refurbishment of containment level 3 laboratories, including compliance to SAPO and ATCSA containment requirements.

  • Technical understanding of containment and control principals

  • Ability to design and deliver a training and competency framework

  • Experience of HSE and EA regulatory visits

Operational Safety

  • Minimum Level 3 Health and Safety qualification such as NEBOSH certificate or equivalent qualification with experience.

  • Technical understanding of current health and safety legislation as it applies to a science-based environment.

  • Technical understanding of laboratory hazards, associated controls and working practices including chemical, biological, cryogenic and radiation safety.

  • Excellent communication, interpersonal and negotiation skills, with an ability to influence, engage and build relationships with staff at all levels. To change style and focus when needed, including being supportive and firm but tactful.

Personnel Skills

  • Strong attention to detail with a proven track record of managing multiple projects simultaneously.

  • Excellent communication, interpersonal and negotiation skills, with an ability to influence, engage and build relationships with staff at all levels. To change style and focus when needed, including being supportive and firm but tactful.

  • Work effectively as a member of a team but also on own initiative.

  • Ability to work effectively in a complex and fast paced environment with strong problem-solving skills, with a pragmatic approach to solutions.

  • Experience of using databases and/or spreadsheets, data analysis and ability to use data to produce meaningful reports.

  • The ability to act with discretion and to maintain confidentiality.

  • Willingness to work outside normal office hours where required.

  • Excellent communication skills, including written communication and strong presentation and teaching skills with an ability to promote a Crick Health, Safety & Wellbeing culture.

Desirable Qualifications, experience and competencies:

  • Experience of health and safety team management.

  • Level 5 Health and Safety qualification such as NVQ, NCRQ or NEBOSH diploma.

  • HAZOP studies

  • Relevant membership of professional body e.g. IOSH, RBS, ISTR