Fisheries Genomics Scientist

Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (Cefas)

Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (Cefas)

Lowestoft, UK · Weymouth, UK · Scarborough, UK · Hayle, UK · plymouth, uk
Posted on Tuesday, August 29, 2023


National - locations for this vacancy are listed in the Location section.

Job summary

The post provides an opportunity to join an internationally respected and dynamic team leading on fisheries science and management advice. The team delivers leading science and advice to both national and international marine management organisations including Defra, the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, Regional Fisheries Management Organisations, the International Council for Exploration of the Seas (ICES), and a variety of research projects to assess sustainability and fisheries management plans.

You will develop, lead and delivery novel scientific outcomes to support the sustainable use of marine fisheries and ecosystem resources and to provide scientific advice for fisheries management across coastal and shelf seas ecosystems.

You will be expected to work with national and international scientific and management organisations making a real impact to marine environmental management and policy. Travel, both domestic and overseas, is to be expected with the possibility of participating in field work.

Cefas is proud of a diverse and inclusive work environment, committed to fairness and the promotion of equality of opportunity for all. We know that having a range of experiences, backgrounds, ways of working and thinking, makes us a stronger organisation, better at reflecting the communities we serve. We embrace different views and experiences and value the fresh perspective that people from a variety of circumstances bring to the work we do. We welcome applications from candidates who have not previously worked for the Civil Service, mid- and late-career changers with transferable skills, people from all backgrounds and circumstances regardless of disability, gender, age, ethnicity, LGBT+ identity and socio-economic status.

Job description

The main focus of this role is to develop areas of work and provide scientific analyses to deliver science and advisory support on the assessment of marine fish stocks.

You will develop and deliver fisheries assessments including genetic approaches and support fisheries management advice. Duties will include:

  • Implement analytical methods to assess marine resources, relating to questions on a range of topics including sustainable fisheries, fishing impacts on ecosystems, marine spatial planning and management;
  • Develop protocols for incorporating genetic and genomic tools to identify and manage populations of fish and shellfish;
  • Contribute to R&D projects developing methods to improve definition and investigation of stock structures, including assemble and analysis of genomes of exploited fish and shellfish populations;
  • Support the development and interpretation of scientific analyses to help deliver a wide variety of fisheries assessments, e.g. recreational, coastal, offshore and/or deep-water fisheries;
  • Provide supporting analysis and evidence for international fisheries negotiations, Fisheries Management Plans and other advice requests; and
  • Provide advice and conduct assessments of fish stocks and ecosystem health at ICES Working Groups.

Person specification

The following are essential criteria required for this role and you must be able to demonstrate your skills and experience in the following areas:

  • Proven scientific background and experience in fish biology, genomics, other molecular techniques, and bioinformatics, with a post-graduate degree or equivalent experience;
  • Demonstrable experience in generation and analysis of whole genome sequencing data;
  • Laboratory genomic and molecular techniques;
  • Quantitative skills to conduct bioinformatic and genomic research;
  • Programming in R, and other computer languages such as python or SQL;
  • Experience on the use of data analysis, statistical and graphical methods to provide scientific advice;
  • Ability to undertake and deliver genetic, genomic and other molecular laboratory work.
  • Good understanding of population genetics, phylogenetics and fishery resources;
  • Experience of working across disciplines;
  • Experience in identifying and solving problems as part of an interdisciplinary team;
  • Excellent communication skills, ability to explain complex solutions to both specialists and non-specialists and to present results to a wide range of audience from colleagues and collaborators to customers;
  • Good organisational skills and effective prioritisation of workloads, including planning and prioritising effectively to deliver high quality results at pace;
  • Ability to work effectively either as part of multi-disciplinary teams or unsupervised within a professional working environment;
  • Experience in writing scientific reports and/or publications; and
  • A post-graduate degree in Population Genetics, Evolutionary Biology, or related disciplines, or able to demonstrate equivalent experience as stated in this person specification.


We'll assess you against these behaviours during the selection process:

  • Communicating and Influencing
  • Delivering at Pace
  • Seeing the Big Picture
  • Working Together

We only ask for evidence of these behaviours on your application form:

  • Communicating and Influencing

Technical skills

We'll assess you against these technical skills during the selection process:

  • Demonstrate your skills and experience in laboratory genomic and molecular techniques.
  • Demonstrate your skills and experience in quantitative skills to conduct bioinformatic and genomic research.
  • Demonstrate your skills and experience in programming in R, and other computer languages such as python or SQL.
Alongside your salary of £30,317, Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science contributes £2,210 towards you being a member of the Civil Service Defined Benefit Pension scheme.
  • Generous annual leave entitlement – Cefas offers 25 days' annual leave on entry (rising to 30 days over first 5yrs) for full-time new entrants to the Civil Service. Employees receive 8 public holidays a year, plus an additional day to mark the late Queen's birthday
  • Access to learning and development tailored to your role
  • A working environment that supports a range of flexible working options
  • A working culture which encourages inclusion and diversity
  • Eligible to join the Civil Service Pension scheme – more information can be found on the CSP website
  • Staff recognition vouchers
  • In-year award scheme

Selection process details

This vacancy is using Success Profiles (opens in a new window), and will assess your Behaviours, Strengths, Experience and Technical skills.

Application Process

As part of the application process you are asked to provide a CV (job history, qualifications, past skills and experience), a 1000-word personal statement on how you meet the essential criteria as stated in the person specification section, a 250-word statement on how you meet the lead behaviour, Communicating and Influencing.

Further details around what this will entail are listed on the application form.


Should a large number of applications be received, an initial sift may be conducted using the lead behaviour, Communicating and Influencing. Candidates who pass the initial sift may be progressed to a full sift, or progressed straight to assessment/interview.

Interview schedule and details will be confirmed on release of the sift results.


If successful at application stage, you will be invited to interview where you will be assessed on your previous experience, behaviours, technical skills and strengths. You may also be required to give a presentation. If this is the case, you will receive further information with your invitation.

If scores are equal following interview, an assessment of the lead behaviour, Communicating and Influencing, will be used by the panel.

The interview will be undertaken in person or remotely.


Please be aware that this role will be contractually based at Exeter, Hayle, Lowestoft, Plymouth, Scarborough or Weymouth. The successful candidate is required to carry out all their duties from a UK location, and cannot do so from an overseas location at any time.

Travel and subsistence will not be paid for travel to a base office location.

Blended Working

Cefas operates a blended working policy subject to business need, giving people the flexibility to choose when and where they work and collaborate with others.

Our staff are expected to work from one of the office/lab locations in Lowestoft or Weymouth, as required by their role and business team needs. There is flexibility to split the working week, spending a minimum of one day in the workplace, unless exceptional circumstances apply.

Reserve List

A reserve list may be held for a period of 12 months from which further appointments can be made.


New entrants to the Civil Service are expected to start on the minimum of the pay band. The internal roles rules apply to existing Civil Servants, i.e. level transfers move on current salary or the pay range minimum, transfers on promotion move to new pay range minimum or receive 10% increase. Either case is determined by whichever is the highest.

Visa Sponsorship Statement

Please take note that Defra does not hold a UK Visa & Immigration (UKVI) Skilled Worker License sponsor and are unable to sponsor any individuals for Skilled Worker Sponsorship.

Reasonable Adjustment

If a person with disabilities is put at a substantial disadvantage compared to a non-disabled person, we have a duty to make reasonable changes to our processes.

If you need a change to be made so that you can make your application, you should:

  • Contact Government Recruitment Service via as soon as possible before the closing date to discuss your needs.
  • Complete the “Assistance required” section in the “Additional requirements” page of your application form to tell us what changes or help you might need further on in the recruitment process. For instance, you may need wheelchair access at interview, or if you’re deaf, a Language Service Professional.


If you are experiencing accessibility problems with any attachments on this advert, please contact the email address in the 'Contact point for applicants' section.

Criminal Record Check

If successful and transferring from another Government Department, a criminal record check may be carried out.

Internal Fraud Database Check

Applicants who are successful at interview will be, as part of pre-employment screening subject to a check on the Internal Fraud Database (IFD). This check will provide information about employees who have been dismissed for fraud or dishonesty offences. This check also applies to employees who resign or otherwise leave before being dismissed for fraud or dishonesty had their employment continued. Any applicant’s details held on the IFD will be refused employment.

A candidate is not eligible to apply for a role within the Civil Service if the application is made within a 5-year period following a dismissal for carrying out internal fraud against government.

Childcare Vouchers

Any move to Defra from another employer will mean you can no longer access childcare vouchers. You may however be eligible for other government schemes, including Tax Free Childcare. Determine your eligibility at

Feedback will only be provided if you attend an interview or assessment.


Successful candidates must undergo a criminal record check.
People working with government assets must complete baseline personnel security standard (opens in new window) checks.

Nationality requirements

This job is broadly open to the following groups:

  • UK nationals
  • nationals of the Republic of Ireland
  • nationals of Commonwealth countries who have the right to work in the UK
  • nationals of the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein and family members of those nationalities with settled or pre-settled status under the European Union Settlement Scheme (EUSS) (opens in a new window)
  • nationals of the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein and family members of those nationalities who have made a valid application for settled or pre-settled status under the European Union Settlement Scheme (EUSS)
  • individuals with limited leave to remain or indefinite leave to remain who were eligible to apply for EUSS on or before 31 December 2020
  • Turkish nationals, and certain family members of Turkish nationals, who have accrued the right to work in the Civil Service
Further information on nationality requirements (opens in a new window)

Working for the Civil Service

The Civil Service Code (opens in a new window) sets out the standards of behaviour expected of civil servants.

We recruit by merit on the basis of fair and open competition, as outlined in the Civil Service Commission's recruitment principles (opens in a new window).
The Civil Service embraces diversity and promotes equal opportunities. As such, we run a Disability Confident Scheme (DCS) for candidates with disabilities who meet the minimum selection criteria.
This vacancy is part of the Great Place to Work for Veterans (opens in a new window) initiative.
The Civil Service welcomes applications from people who have recently left prison or have an unspent conviction. Read more about prison leaver recruitment (opens in new window).
Once this job has closed, the job advert will no longer be available. You may want to save a copy for your records.

Contact point for applicants

Job contact :

  • Name : Clare Avieson or Alec Wilson
  • Email :

Recruitment team

  • Email :

Further information

If you feel your application has not been treated in accordance with the Recruitment Principles and you wish to make a complaint, in the first instance, you should contact:
Government Recruitment Services via email:

If you are not satisfied with the response you receive from the Department, you can contact the Civil Service Commission: Click here to visit Civil Service Commission.

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