Senior Instrument Support Scientist

Cambridge, UK

Owlstone Medical is on a mission to save 100,000 lives and $1.5 billion in healthcare costs through the development and application of Breath Biopsy®. This involves collecting and analysing volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and respiratory droplets from breath, which can provide information about metabolic activity and markers related to health and disease.

The Senior Instrument Support Scientist plays a key role within Owlstone’s Analytical Validity and Compliance Group, with overall responsibility for Owlstone’s internal instrument support service. They will act as the on-site go-to person for resolution of analytical instrument issues, working with external vendor support teams to resolve issues in a timely manner.

Additionally, they will be responsible for day-to-day management of walk-up instruments, ensuring that the necessary analytical capabilities are in place to complement primary user platforms. They will proactively identify and drive improvements to the instrument support function, maximising instrument uptime and enabling the delivery of business objectives across R&D programmes and Operation

A customer-centric mindset is essential; the successful candidate will work with users with a wide range of experience levels and constraints and will be responsible for making sure that the instrument support service meets those user needs and the broader needs of the business.

Key Tasks/Accountabilities

Instrument Support

  • Responsible for triage of user-reported instrument issues; performing on-site diagnosis, consulting with vendor technical staff and internal users regarding the best approach for repair and/or scheduling vendor support where required.
  • Responsible for the upkeep and day-to-day management of walk-up instruments
  • Define and implement a critical spares strategy for equipment to minimise user downtime. Accountable for the management of the associated stock.
  • Coordinate with end users to understand support and maintenance contract needs. Supporting purchasing negotiations to ensure contract specifications are appropriate for each instrument’s use.
  • Responsible for the coordination of preventative maintenance visits; liaising with vendors and end users to agree scheduling.
  • Responsible for ensuring instrument supplies are regularly inspected and serviced, to ensure no detrimental impact on equipment availability and performance.
  • Responsible for ensuring the necessary laboratory facilities are in place ahead of new instrument installation.
  • Responsible for ensuring vendors receive timely information to support delivery and installation scheduling, and that information is disseminated to project teams and end users to support planning activities
  • Responsible for overseeing installation of new instruments, working with end users to ensure equipment is qualified ahead of launch
  • Work closely with Information Science and IT departments to ensure IT infrastructure and data management processes are fit for intended purpose and that sufficient data processing computers and software licences are in place to support user needs.
  • Responsible for setting the day-to-day priorities for more junior instrument support staff
  • Responsible for regular reporting of equipment issues to the Analytical Laboratories Manager and other stakeholders.

User and supplier management

  • Responsible for design of scheduling and other processes and procedures appropriate for the management of multi-user equipment.
  • Work alongside experienced users to define and deliver training on instrument use and maintenance to analytical scientists across the business. Act as author and/or technical reviewer of associated documentation
  • Responsible for the management of internal communications relating to instrument, service, status and supplier management; communicate meeting agendas, disseminate outcomes and coordinate follow up actions
  • Act as facilitator for external communications; gather internal discussion topics, communicate meeting agendas with suppliers, schedule meetings, disseminate outcomes and coordinate follow up actions
  • Responsible for the propagation of instrument knowledge; ensuring that any knowledge gained from instrument issues and/or vendor conversations is disseminated to end users.

In addition to this, you will be expected to play an active role in the success of the Analytical Science groups. This could include acting as a technical reviewer for projects, driving relevant continual improvement activities, mentoring less experienced staff, running or contributing to development seminars and deputising for more senior staff as required.

Requirements

Competencies

The following competencies form the core strengths of the Analytical Science department. You will have detailed knowledge of the below competencies in complex situations and will be able to critically evaluate and adapt as required. You will be expected to demonstrate a practical application of them in complex situations and supervise others applying the competence.

  • Research - The ability to conduct objective, logical, and systematic analysis of phenomena to permit the accumulation of reliable knowledge
  • Protocols – The ability to follow and validate protocols and understanding of the importance of spotting, raising and resolving nonconformities, and tracking through to a determination of root cause
  • Data Management- Understanding the pertinency of the data collection, data entry and verification process and data management systems
  • Dissemination of Findings – The ability to report results using the various dissemination formats available for different target audiences. Understands the importance of clear communication adapted in a manner suitable for the audience
  • Analytical Concept - The understanding of the rationale, theory, and subject matter in a particular scientific discipline to allow the appropriate application within an analytical role. (e.g Applying knowledge of basic chemical concepts and theories to set research questions with appropriate confidence limits, choose correct analysis technique and proficient instrument operation)
  • Facilities and Safety – The ability to assess the appropriateness of laboratory function against business deliverables and justify / implement the change when required. Also understands the importance of compliance with processes that are there to identify and mitigate workplace hazards
  • Pre- analytical – The ability to design, implement and evaluate the appropriateness of sampling methodologies and sample preparation
  • Analysis – The ability to perform routine and non-routine analysis and understand when the applied technique is fit for purpose and what associated quality control activities are required to ensure that the technique remains within established ranges and limits. The ability to effectively troubleshoot when technique deviates from those established ranges and limits.
  • Critical evaluation of data – The ability to evaluate and ensure the accuracy of data as well as spot real and non-real trends to provide an answer with confidence limits to either fulfil a customer contract or research question

Education and Training

The successful candidate is likely to be educated to degree level in analytical chemistry or related discipline


Experience/Knowledge

Essential

  • Practical experience using and servicing thermal desorption, gas chromatography and/or mass spectrometry instrumentation
  • Experience of instrument fault-finding and repair
  • Experience managing relationships with customers and/or analytical instrument vendors
  • Experience of user training and knowledge propagation

Desirable

  • Practical experience of installing and qualifying chromatography and/or mass spectrometry instrumentation; vendor field engineer training highly desirable
  • Experience in a customer service orientated environment, or experience managing users in a multi-user laboratory/core facility
  • Experience using lab informatics systems such as a commercial chromatography data system and/or LIMS
  • Experience working to ISO 9001, 17025 or GxP quality standards

Professional skills

  • Strong interpersonal skills and the ability to work well within a team
  • Ability to influence and negotiate with stakeholders
  • Self-motivated with a proactive attitude towards change
  • High attention to detail
  • Excellent organisational skills
  • Reasoning and problem solving
  • Flexible approach to changing priorities


Apply for role

Owlstone team members are engineers, scientists and entrepreneurs focussed on changing non-invasive medical technology

We are scientists, doctors, engineers and entrepreneurs on a mission to save lives through early detection and precision medicine

Meet our team