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Scientist / Senior Scientist

Ministry for Primary Industries
Job Category:
Science and Environment
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Job Description

  • 75k-88k per annum
  • Fixed Term for up to 3 years
  • Auckland based

The Ministry for Primary Industries' Plant Health and Environment Laboratory in Auckland has an opportunity for a full time Scientist (for 3 Years) to provide bioinformatics expertise to support analysis and interpretation of Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) data through development and implementation of infrastructure, processes and tools.

The Laboratory is the national reference centre for the identification of all suspected exotic, new and emerging pests and diseases of plants, and arthropod pests affecting the environment and also provides diagnostic services to primary industries to facilitate trade. The laboratory is accredited to ISO 17025.

Our team is dedicated, diverse and highly supportive that operate in a busy and varied environment to deliver our core work programme supporting New Zealand's biosecurity system and our stakeholders. This role will offer you the variety and the challenge to develop and enhance your scientific leadership skills through providing direction, mentoring and supervision whilst driving innovation that will shape our future way of working.   

 In this role some of the key focus areas will be:

  • Implementing innovative concepts, tools and techniques related to the analysis, integration and processing of high-throughput sequence data
  • Proactively working with others to maximise the benefits of the technology
  • Publishing high quality peer reviewed scientific, technical and policy papers
  • Providing coaching and training in bioinformatics to other MPI staff
  • Maintaining and enhancing our international standing in the scientific community
  • Maintaining and enhancing our network of national and international laboratory collaborators
  • Maintaining, developing and strengthening relationships with key stakeholders in New Zealand and internationally, including industry, Maori, government and non-government agencies to support our goals.
  • Increasing MPI's knowledge of new science, technologies and innovations through developing and maintaining relationships with key science and technology providers

We are seeking a highly motivated individual with a PhD or equivalent qualification (post-graduate degree and relevant technical experience). You will have experience in developing bioinformatics processing pipelines and programming for data analysis. Preferences will be given to those who have previous experience on large-scale computational analyses of whole genome, whole transcriptome small-RNA, Whole exome, Expression data, Genetic variants, gene/protein networks and metabolic pathways in high performance computing environment. Candidate must be proficient in installation and testing of bioinformatics tools and software on high performance computing clusters with library dependencies.

Our ideal candidate will be a team player with excellent communication skills, leadership ability, initiative, and sound judgment with an ability to think outside of the square.

Preference will be given to applicants with broad bioinformatics skills viz. knowledge of Perl, R, PHP, HTML, CSS, MySQL Databases, Web servers, Hadoop architecture, Parallel computing on HPC clusters, Linux CentOS, Windows OS environments, who have worked within a quality environment, have proven planning and organisational skills, project management skills and is able to prioritise under pressure and adapt to changing demands.

 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. 


If you have any questions about the role, please contact Elvis Madar, Senior Recruitment Adviser at


Applications for this role will not be accepted after 5 pm on 30 September 2019


The Ministry for Primary Industries is committed to providing a working environment that embraces and values inclusion and diversity. Your unique talents and experience will help us deliver exceptional services to our communities in Aotearoa. In return you'll enjoy an inclusive and flexible working environment in a diverse team of people while you're growing your career here in NZ and internationally. We actively encourage applications from all backgrounds. If you have any support or access requirements, we encourage you to tell us when you apply so that we can assist you through the recruitment process.

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