Sample Preparation Scientist - COVID Screening Centre

Added: 12.10.2020

Advert description

Job Summary

As part of the UK Government’s National Testing Strategy for COVID-19, a testing centre has been established in Cambridge through a collaboration between AstraZeneca, GSK and the University of Cambridge. The COVID-19 Cambridge Testing Centre, located on the Cambridge Biomedical Campus, opened in April, is making a significant contribution to the national testing effort. The high-throughput testing laboratory was purpose designed and is equipped with state-of-the art automation and innovative scientific processes.

The Cambridge COVID-19 Testing Centre is required to continue its testing operation into 2021. To support this continued operation, Charles River has been asked to join the collaboration and we are now seeking to recruit over 200 scientists to support the continued lab operation across a range of roles. Staff in the laboratory will work a shift pattern, enabling continuous operation of the centre 18 hours per day; this may increase to 24 hours per day with a third shift pattern introduced, should demand necessitate.

We are seeking Sample Preparation Scientists for this project.

If you want to help with the national efforts but do not have a scientific background then please still apply - full, comprehensive training will be provided

This is based on a Fixed Term contract until April 2021 with competitive salaries and set shifts. 

Pattern 2: Saturday – Monday (6.15am – 3.15pm/3pm – 12am)


This role involves receipt and preparation of swab samples, for RNA extraction and PCR analysis. Primary duties are removal of specimen transport tubes from kit packaging, racking and pipetting samples into 96 well plates according to the safety guidelines, while using PPE and sample containment. Individuals will be fully trained. 

•    Identifying and processing samples that may be compromised or do not meet criteria according to defined processes and procedures 

•    Completing viral inactivation steps 

•    Tracking of samples using LIMS system

•    Use of larger scale liquid handling automation


•    Strong basis in biosafety, experience with handling human biological samples and working at containment level 2 is desirable but not essential

•    Educated to degree level within a scientific discipline, or equivalent lab experience is also desirable

•    Attention to detail, able and willing to perform manual tasks. 

•    IT literate, confident interacting with LIMS system

•    Can work with minimal supervision, use reasoning when faced with unfamiliar scenarios. 

•    Demonstrable skills in interpreting and recording results

•    Can pick skills up quickly and apply in a laboratory-based environment. 

•    Experience using larger scale laboratory automation preferred. 

About Discovery

Discovery from Charles River is industry-proven in the successful development of novel therapies, with over 350 patents and 80 preclinical drug candidates delivered to our sponsors in the past 17 years. Backed by more than 650 scientists, our comprehensive, integrated portfolio employs the latest technology and platforms to provide chemistry, biology, and pharmacology services that support clients from the earliest stages of hit identification all the way through to IND. Our client-focused, collaborative approach creates true partnerships that anticipate challenges, overcome obstacles, and move us forward together on the journey of getting new drugs to market.

About Charles River

Charles River is an early-stage contract research organization (CRO). We have built upon our foundation of laboratory animal medicine and science to develop a diverse portfolio of discovery and safety assessment services, both Good Laboratory Practice (GLP) and non-GLP, to support clients from target identification through preclinical development. Charles River also provides a suite of products and services to support our clients’ clinical laboratory testing needs and manufacturing activities. Utilizing this broad portfolio of products and services enables our clients to create a more flexible drug development model, which reduces their costs, enhances their productivity and effectiveness to increase speed to market.

With over 14,000 employees within 80 facilities in 20 countries around the globe, we are strategically positioned to coordinate worldwide resources and apply multidisciplinary perspectives in resolving our client’s unique challenges. Our client base includes global pharmaceutical companies, biotechnology companies, government agencies and hospitals and academic institutions around the world. And in 2018, revenue increased by 22% to $2.27 billion from $1.86 billion in 2017.

Specific details

Type of Contract Full time
Preferred Education Bachelor's, Master's, Other
Level of Experience 2-5 years


United Kingdom, Europe