Job: Upstream Processing Engineering Scientist

18 January 2019
Job: Upstream Processing Engineering Scientist

Biome Bioplastics is looking for an Upstream Processing Engineering Scientist to develop an optimal cultivation strategy. This position is a full time 2-year fixed term contract based at the Faculty of Engineering at the University of Nottingham.

Purpose of the Role:

Biome Bioplastics Limited seeks to enhance its development of next generation, bio-based molecules to provide the company with a portfolio of high-value, high-performance sustainable polymers. These in turn will further strengthen the competitiveness of the company and contribute to the transition away from the fossil-based polymer industry. This Innovate UK project, in collaboration with the University of Nottingham, will use a microbial cell factory to produce target bioplastic monomers from agricultural waste at pilot-scale. The work uses advanced synthetic biology and state-of-the-art processing for the production of highly biodegradable, compostable and recyclable bioplastic polymers, suitable for flexible packaging applications. This project builds on previous work by the partners and has the potential to significantly contribute to the UK’s scientific and commercial position in the field of advanced bio-based and compostable packaging materials, allowing the UK to reach its 25-year environmental target.

Working for Biome Bioplastics in a seconded role to the University of Nottingham to develop a bio-manufacturing process for the monomer 2,5-pyridinedicarboxylic acid (2,5-PDCA), the role entails the development of an optimal cultivation strategy through characterisation of the production strain and process intensification of the bioreactor technology. Furthermore, the role will encompass integrated process development with the first downstream unit operation. The primary aim of the position is to maximise the yield and productivity from the production strain. During the project, you will work closely with metabolic and downstream purification engineers, contributing in a multi-disciplinary environment towards the design of a pilot scale manufacturing process.

Main Responsibilities:

  1. Development of an optimal cultivation strategy through characterisation of the production strain and process intensification of the bioreactor technology, maximising the yield and productivity from the production strain alongside process integration with the first downstream unit operation. (60%)
  2. Produce written progress reports and presentations; informal reports on a monthly basis and formal oral and written reports every 3 months.  Prepare conference presentations and journal publications.  Attend project meetings and conferences.  Liaise with Finance Department to monitor and report project expenditure, and produce financial forecasts. (15%)
  3. Use scientific literature to develop research plans and interpret findings (15%)
  4. Liaise with other members of the project team to ensure effective collaboration, and communicate important findings to project stakeholders by telephone or email when appropriate (5%)
  5. Assist in supporting PhD students, good laboratory practice and safe working within the laboratory (5%)



  • Research at PhD level
  • Publications in peer reviewed journals and presentations at international conferences
  • Experience of multi-disciplinary research
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills.
  • Proven presentation skills.
  • Ability to work to deadlines and prioritise tasks.
  • Proven ability to work in a team environment.


  • Experience of collaborating with academic groups.

Knowledge / Skills / Training


  • Fundamental understanding of cultivation strategy development within the context of fermentation technology.
  • Experience of process intensification (optimisation) within the context of fermentation technology.
  • Practical expertise in process control.


  • Experience with continuous or fed-batch culture
  • Experience in industrial biotechnology

Qualifications / Education


  • Equivalent to UK first or upper second BSc or BEng (or MSc with Distinction) in Biotechnology, Biochemical Engineering or a related discipline.
  • PhD in Biotechnology, Chemical Engineering or a related discipline, or PhD to be awarded in the near future.


  • PhD aligned with industrial biotechnology.

Decision making

Taken independently by the role holder

  • Decisions about design and conduct of experiments
  • Data analysis
  • Presentation of results in reports and oral presentations
  • Preparation of risk assessments
  • Time management

Taken in collaboration with others

  • Experimental programme
  • Content of reports and presentations
  • Equipment and consumables purchases
  • Research strategy
  • Laboratory safety and equipment maintenance

Referred to the appropriate line manager by the role holder

  • Decisions on overall research strategy for the project
  • Approval of risk assessments
  • Budgetary decisions
  • Communication of results outside the University of Nottingham (including publications and conferences)


Around £35,000 depending on skills and experience

Reporting to

Professor Alex Conradie whilst at Nottingham, but Krisztina Kovacs-Schreiner of Biome shall have overall responsibility

Due to the requirements of the UK Border and Immigration Agency, applicants who are not UK or EEA nationals and whose immigration status entitles them to work without restriction in the UK will be considered on an equal basis with UK and EEA nationals.  Other non-UK or non-EEA nationals whose employment will require permission to work subject to a resident labour market test may only be considered if there are no suitable UK or EEA national candidates for the post.  Please visit for more information.


Informal enquiries about the work involved may be addressed to Professor Alex Conradie, Email:  Please note that applications sent direct to this Email address will not be accepted. Enquiries about the role and Biome along with your CV and Cover Letter may be addressed to Biome’s Head of HR, Donna Simpson-Strange, at