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Senior Scientist

Ministry for Primary Industries
Job Category:
Science and Environment
Wellington - Upper Hutt
Job Type:
Posted Date:
Closing Date:
File Attachment:
AHL 2017 PD Senior Scientist.pdf (PDF, 349KB)
Job Specification

Employer Website:

Job Description

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) has an exciting opportunity for a highly experienced and motivated Senior Scientist to join the Bacteriology and Aquatic Animal Health team within the Animal Health Laboratory.  This fully-funded, permanent role offers variety and unique opportunities to develop and enhance your career within a large and dynamic organisation.


The Animal Health Laboratory is part of the Operations Branch and is a vital component of New Zealand's biosecurity system.  It is New Zealand's reference centre for foreign, new and emerging terrestrial and aquatic animal diseases and contains both PC2 and PC3+ laboratory facilities.


This is an exciting time for the laboratory as construction of a new $87 million state-of-the-art laboratory facility is well underway.  This major investment shows the value New Zealand's government places on the work we undertake and will ensure we remain at the forefront internationally of microbial disease diagnostics (


The Bacteriology and Aquatic Animal Health team is a dedicated, high performing team that operates in a busy and varied environment to deliver our core work program supporting New Zealand's biosecurity system and our stakeholders.

We have a broad remit that encompasses:

  • International and domestic collaborations focused on biosecurity.
  • Preparedness for biosecurity responses to high impact diseases.
  • Diagnostics for a wide range of foreign diseases of terrestrial and aquatic animals.
  • Operational research projects.
  • Reference service for commercial veterinary laboratories.

We enjoy close working relationships across MPI and with a wide range of national and international agencies and laboratories.


Key skills and educational requirements

We are seeking a highly motivated individual with an applicable PhD in Microbiology and experience in diagnostic Bacteriology.

Our ideal candidate will have an excellent scientific publication track record and exceptional interpersonal skills.  We are looking for someone who is a team player and collaborator, effective communicator, adaptable, able to learn quickly, resilient and capable of independent working. 



This role represents an opportunity to develop and enhance your scientific leadership skills through direction and mentoring whilst driving innovation that will shape our future way of working.

Key responsibilities include:

  • Oversee and conduct detailed diagnostic investigations on terrestrial animals. Liaise with MPI Incursion Investigators to obtain case histories and develop differential lists of pathogens. Determine appropriate routine and specialised laboratory diagnostic test procedures to confirm diagnosis.
  • Provide leadership to create a positive culture of engagement including training and mentoring of      laboratory staff in classical bacteriology, Maldi-TOF, PCR, NGS and bioinformatic techniques.
  • Develop and manage operational research projects designed to improve laboratory testing capability, to      survey for exotic diseases, and to understand pathogenesis and native species susceptibility.
  • Provide expert scientific advice to stakeholders and represent New Zealand on international scientific working groups and committees.
  • Maintain currency of knowledge in diagnostics, prepare scientific articles, represent at scientific meetings and build collaborative relationships.


The Animal Health Laboratory is located in Upper Hutt 30 km North East of Wellington and offers an excellent quality of life with a pleasant temperate climate, excellent outdoor activities, affordable living and close proximity to one of the world's ‘coolest' small capital cities (


The successful applicant must be able to obtain a “Confidential' security clearance.  Please visit for more information.


To view the position description and/or apply for the role (submitting a cover letter and current curriculum vitae), please click “APPLY NOW”.  For tracking and reporting purposes, all applications must be submitted through our online careers portal.


Applications for this role will not be accepted after Monday 5pm 28th August 2017


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