The Agricultural Research Council (ARC) is seeking the expertise of a Senior Research Assistant to expand their team as they continues to offer a comprehensive range of services, including diagnostic, laboratory, analytical, agricultural engineering services, post-harvest technology development, agrochemical evaluation, and more.

    The role of Senior Research Assistant is pivotal in maintaining the high standards of research and innovation that the ARC is celebrated for, contributing significantly to our mission of advancing the agricultural sector.

    Job Overview

    • Company: Agricultural Research Council (ARC)
    • Location: Vredenburg, Stellenbosch
    • Closing Date: 19 February 2023

    About the Position: Senior Research Assistant

    The ARC-Plant Health and Protection (ARC-PHP) division is on the lookout for a highly skilled, experienced, and dynamic individual to fill the role of Senior Research Assistant specializing in Soilborne Diseases. This position is offered under a three-year fixed-term contract, where the selected candidate will play a crucial role in advancing our understanding and management of soilborne pathogens that affect agricultural productivity and sustainability.

    Role Overview

    As a Senior Research Assistant, you will be immersed in cutting-edge research aimed at identifying, isolating, and managing soilborne diseases within agricultural systems. This role is pivotal in supporting the ARC’s mission to enhance agricultural productivity and sustainability through scientific excellence and innovation.

    Key Duties and Responsibilities

    • Preparation of Growth Media: You will be responsible for preparing and maintaining the appropriate growth media for fungi, ensuring the optimal conditions for their growth and study.
    • Isolation and Purification: A critical aspect of your role will involve the isolation and purification of fungal cultures from plant samples and soil. This process is vital for identifying the pathogens responsible for soilborne diseases.
    • Preservation of Fungal Cultures: You will oversee the preservation of fungal cultures for long-term study and reference, maintaining a library of pathogens that can be used for ongoing and future research.
    • Molecular Characterisation: Assisting with the molecular characterisation of fungal isolates, you will use advanced techniques to understand the genetic makeup of pathogens, aiding in the identification and development of disease management strategies.
    • Research and Development: Participating in the planning and execution of glasshouse and field trials to evaluate the effectiveness of disease management strategies. This includes assisting with the planting, monitoring, and evaluation of trials to assess the impact of soilborne diseases and the efficacy of control measures.
    • Collaboration and Communication: Working closely with a team of researchers, you will contribute to a collaborative environment, sharing findings and insights. Additionally, you may be involved in preparing reports, presenting research findings at conferences, and contributing to scientific papers.

    Ideal Candidate Profile

    The ideal candidate for this position is someone with a passion for plant pathology and a keen interest in soilborne diseases. You should have a strong foundation in microbiology, mycology, or a related field, coupled with practical experience in a research or laboratory setting. The ability to work both independently and as part of a team, excellent analytical skills, and a commitment to scientific excellence are essential for success in this role.

    Minimum Qualifications

    • Grade 12.
    • Three years of relevant experience in a similar role.
    • A valid Code B/EB driver’s license.

    Skills Required

    The Senior Research Assistant role demands a unique set of skills that are critical for the success and advancement of research within the ARC-Plant Health and Protection (ARC-PHP) division. Candidates are expected to demonstrate:

    • Proficiency in Laboratory Practices Related to Mycology and Plant Pathology: A deep understanding and hands-on experience in laboratory techniques specific to the study of fungi and plant diseases are essential. This includes familiarity with the preparation of growth media, isolation, purification, and preservation of fungal cultures, as well as molecular characterisation techniques.
    • Strong Organizational and Administrative Skills: The ability to efficiently manage multiple tasks, maintain detailed records of research findings, and ensure that all laboratory activities comply with safety and quality standards is crucial. Effective organizational skills also mean being able to coordinate with team members and manage project timelines effectively.
    • Ability to Conduct Detailed Literature Searches and Data Analysis: A critical aspect of this role involves staying updated with the latest research and developments in the field of soilborne diseases. This requires proficiency in conducting comprehensive literature reviews, synthesizing information, and applying advanced data analysis techniques to interpret research findings.
    • Effective Communication and Teamwork Skills: Clear and concise communication, both written and verbal, is vital for the dissemination of research findings, collaboration with colleagues, and participation in scientific discussions. Teamwork skills are equally important, as the role involves working closely with other researchers, technicians, and possibly supervising junior staff or students.
    • Competence in Managing Scientific Events: Organizational skills extend to the ability to plan, coordinate, and manage scientific events such as workshops, seminars, and conferences. This includes tasks ranging from logistical arrangements to engaging with participants and facilitating knowledge exchange.

    How to Apply

    The Agricultural Research Council offers a challenging and rewarding environment for individuals passionate about agricultural research and innovation. This position is a unique opportunity to engage with cutting-edge research and contribute significantly to the agricultural sector’s growth and sustainability. We encourage all eligible and interested candidates to apply by the specified closing date.

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