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Sunday, September 10, 2017

Laboratory Manager, MRCG Keneba Field Station

Medical Research Council (MRC) Unit, The Gambia - We are the leading research centre in sub-Saharan Africa, carrying out internationally competitive research into tropical medicine for over 50 years. Our current research agenda focuses on three themes: Disease Control & Elimination; Nutrition; Vaccines & Immunity. Looking towards the future. we are aiming to push forward into new and challenging areas reflecting changes in national and global health priorities.

Position: Laboratory Manager, MRCG Keneba Field Station

Location: Keneba, The Gambia
Duration: The appointment is up to 31st March 2021 and is subject to a probationary period of 6 months.
Grade: 2- 32 Points.

  • Established in 1947, the Medical Research Council The Gambia has an international reputation for ground-breaking research into some of the leading causes of morbidity and mortality in the tropics.  Achievements include a large trial showing the efficacy of Haemophilus influenzae type B vaccine in The Gambia and the subsequent near elimination of the disease, pioneering studies of the impact  of insecticide treated bed nets as a preventive measure against malaria leading up to their worldwide use, studies demonstrating the impact of conjugate pneumococcal vaccines on pneumonia and child mortality and the demonstration of  a dramatic reduction in the carriage of Hepatitis B in The Gambia due to the effects of vaccination. 
  • To reflect changes in national and global health priorities and new international funding opportunities a new research portfolio has been organized under three themes: Disease Control & Elimination; Vaccines and Immunity; and Nutrition.  These themes have been selected to target national health needs, to reinforce sub-regional and international links and to address some of the major current priorities in the Millennium Global Health Goals.
  • The post-holder will be based in Keneba, the largest village in West Kiang in the Lower River Region and is located about 170 kilometres from the coast with limited local facilities, including schooling. Free-furnished residential accommodation will be provided in Keneba and for displaced staff the package will include overseas allowances, flights and other benefits.
  • The Keneba field station is 3 hour’s drive from MRCG Fajara. The MRCG has carried out nutritional research in Keneba village and the surrounding villages for over 50 years. The permanent research station and clinic was set up over 35 years ago. Here routine antenatal, mother-and-baby clinics, dietary supplementation and general medical clinics are held. There are local and international scientists and research clinicians engaged in different research projects, and a team of medical doctors, midwives, nurses, field workers, data-entry clerks and administrative staff and clinic facility. In addition there is usually a number of visiting scientists and students staying on site in order to conduct collaborative studies.
  • The MRCG runs a Laboratory Services Platform comprising Clinical and Research Laboratories equipped with modern cutting-edge technologies to support research activities across the four themes. The platform provides services ranging from routine diagnosis to complex molecular analysis including DNA sequencing and various genotyping assays. Laboratory activities are conducted under Good Clinical Laboratory Practice (GCLP) principles with the Serology, TB Diagnostics and Clinical Laboratories fully compliant and accredited.
  • The post-holder will be accountable to the Head of Laboratory Management.
  • The post-holder will be responsible for the day-to-day management of the MRCG Keneba Field Station Laboratories and for providing technical and managerial support to research projects at the site.
Purpose of the Job
  • To meet the increasing need for Laboratory Support to research projects and clinical trials undertaken at the Keneba Field Station and to provide on-site leadership for roll out of ISO 15189 compliance of laboratories across the Unit, it is intended to appoint a Laboratory Manager for the Field Station.
  • S/he will develop processes towards a programme of quality improvement and change management to ensure that all laboratory practices meet MRC guidelines and international quality standards.
  • S/he will also be required to work with collaborating sites across the West African sub-region as defined by the Head of Laboratory Management.
  • The post-holder must be an excellent communicator and leader with demonstrated potential for working in a diverse team.
Key Responsibilities
The post-holder will perform the following:

  • Lead the development of a Laboratory Management Policy for Keneba Laboratories in consultation with Quality Department.
  • Create user maintenance procedures and work instructions for all laboratories and provide competency training for their implementation.
  • Ensure research technologies with significant user maintenance requirements have procedures and competency training in place. 
  • Create and document procedures related to sample, reagent, and chemical handling, storage, and reporting.  Also create staff competency training checklists.
  • Create and/or review and refine any research laboratory space policies and procedures for which specialized safety training is required.  Ensure adequate competency training and training checklists are in place.
  • Develop, refine, order and install technology, policy and procedures on after-hours cold-chain management for the Keneba Labs.
  • Quality auditing of laboratories and research projects in Keneba with feedback to respective leadership for quality improvement and enhanced training surrounding staff compliance with policies, procedures and work instructions. 
  • Staff development and training services.
  • Responsible for the day-to-day operations of the Keneba Laboratories.
  • Line manage up to 15 laboratory staff.
  • Maintain, streamline and manage laboratory procedures and services in Keneba working collaboratively with other Laboratory Managers to develop sustainable accreditation policies, procedures and protocols to meet or exceed published international standards (i.e., ISO 15189).
  • Maintain communication channels and relationships with laboratory staff, scientists, clinicians, visitors, collaborators, and other MRC staff to optimize Laboratory Managements role in the MRC.
  • Assist in the creation and actively participate on a Bio-Risk Management Committee.
  • Work collaboratively with other Laboratory Managers on areas of overlap and expertise (e.g., shipment of research samples, reception of cold chain materials, movement of clinical samples to research laboratories, shared research/clinical laboratory situations).
  • Advise scientific staff on experimental procedures and protocols, as required, to ensure they meet or exceed MRC policies and procedures.
  • Support as requested the Head of Laboratory Management and Head of Staff Development and Training on any laboratory technician training opportunities and initiatives.
  • Contributing to the Units agenda to disseminate research findings both locally and internationally through participation in Unit seminars, regional and international scientific conferences.
  • Publication of research in peer-reviewed Journals.
  • Provide effective communication channels between laboratories and service users for effective management of space and resources
  • Developing an area of personal scientific research interest in line with the Unit’s research agenda and portfolio.
  • Contributing up to 25% time to supporting research projects evidenced by recovering of notional charges on the projects.
  • Manage a sub-budget for the Keneba laboratory with delegated authority of up to £1000.00.
  • Implementing a robust recharging system for cost recovery for assays and services to external projects with support from relevant departments (Finance, Research Support).
  • The post holder is a full-time member of staff at the MRC.
  • The post-holder reports to Head of Laboratory Services Department.
  • The Director of Operations is Mr Joan Vives Tomas.
  • The Unit Director is Professor Umberto D’Alessandro.
  • Appraisals are held at least annually. The Line Manager is Dr Davis Nwakanma.
Length of appointment:
  • The appointment is up to 31st March 2021 and is subject to a probationary period of 6 months.
Any other duties:
  • To perform any other duties consistent with the remit of the post.
Person Specification
  • Minimum of a BSc degree in the Biological Sciences (or related field) and a suitable Masters of Science Degree or equivalent from an accredited University.
  • A minimum of 5 years experience of active work in a research laboratory environment post qualification.
  • A minimum of 3 years experience in a laboratory management role.
  • Experience in the use and management of routine and research laboratory technology.
  • Demonstrated knowledge of new and specialized laboratory technologies and techniques.
  • Demonstrated knowledge in international accreditation standards and their implementation (e.g., ISO 15189).  
  • Experience in implementing change management as it pertains to ensuring quality improvement around laboratory practices and safety.    
  • Good working knowledge of training laboratory-based staff and developing competency based training plans  
  • Experience in the safe shipment of biological samples
  • Computer literate (e.g., Microsoft Office applications)
  • Substantial previous experience working in capacity development in Africa and/or the developing world.
  • IATA Shipping Training.
  • Training in quality management systems and processes as they pertain to research and/or clinical laboratory environments.
  • Good working knowledge of cold chain and chain of custody sample management. 
  • Good working knowledge of procurement sources and storage procedures for laboratory consumables and equipment.
  • Keenness to train and impart knowledge.
  • Good organisational and staff management skills with the ability to co-supervise staff with other managers.
  • Experience of working with people from different disciplines and cultures.
  • An attractive salary will be paid in MRCG’s Grade 2, 32 Points at a minimum take home pay of 68, 775 Dalasi per month. This is equivalent to $1, 528 per month using the prevailing USD/Dalasi exchange rate. Please note the salary will be paid in Dalasi and the USD/Dalasi exchange rate is only given as a guide using the prevailing exchange rate.
  • For displaced staff the package will include, rent-free furnished accommodation, flights, displacement allowances, contribution to school fees for children and shipment of personal effects.

How to Apply;

Applicants should send their application letters and CV's to:

Click Here to Download Application Form (MS Word)

  • MRC is an Equal Opportunities Employer and operates a strict no smoking policy.
  • Only short-listed candidates will be contacted.

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