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ASO - Livestock Production Sciences Branch

Job Description

Assistant Scientific Officer - Livestock Production Sciences Branch

VANRATH are delighted to be working in partnership with the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute to hire Livestock Assistant Scientific Officers to work within their Livestock Production Sciences Branch.

This is a permanent, full-time role, based in Hillsborough. Working hours are 5 days each week, totalling 37 hours. In addition, there is a requirement for employees to undertake overtime on a rota basis, which will include working over public/privileged holidays, early mornings, evenings, and weekends. AFBI operates a flexi working system but will ensure appropriate allowance is paid for overtime.


'Advancing Animal Science, Improving Livestock Farming' is the focus of the AFBI research farm at Hillsborough.

Livestock Production Sciences Branch is one of four Branches within the Sustainable Agri-Food Sciences Division in AFBI and aims to address the global challenges of food security and sustainable intensification. The aims of the Branch are to develop and sustain an integrated research effort with national and international recognition in sustainable livestock production and welfare systems, thereby

  • developing sustainable practices within a competitive industry
  • providing a scientific basis for government policy and
  • enhancing the quality of the environment.

The work of the Branch links fundamental science to systems level research to deliver innovations for the agri-food sector and scientific knowledge in ways that assist policy makers and industry partners.

Job role:
The duties of the post are likely to include the following:

  • Following scientific protocols and standard operating procedures to ensure scientific work is undertaken in an accurate and timely manner.
  • Ensuring that livestock are offered the correct diets at the correct time in an accurate manner. Feeding/assisting with feeding, of livestock.
  • Working with the entire livestock team to ensure the health and welfare of animals is maintained.
  • Accurate recording of scientific data relating to livestock and crops. This will be achieved by manual data recording, through the operation of complex and expensive scientific instruments, electrical, mechanical, and electronic equipment, harvesting equipment, and multiple types of sampling and sensor equipment. Many of these systems are controlled by/downloaded to computer systems that you will be required to operate.
  • The post will require regular handling of dairy cows and young stock, taking direct animal measurements, and measurements via experimental sensors. It will also involve collection and preparation of a wide range of biological samples.
  • Driving farm vehicles and operating farm equipment to facilitate experiments, as and when necessary.
  • To fulfil the role the post holder will be required to obtain a Personal Animal License in compliance with ASPA regulations.
  • The role often involves physical work, which will be undertaken in livestock houses, and in fields.

Essential Criteria

  • 2 GCSE's/GCE 'O' level qualification (or equivalent level qualification*) in English and Mathematics at grade C or above.
  • 6 months' experience of working with livestock
  • Effective communication skills
  • Willing to work on a rota basis
  • A current valid driving licence which permits the holder to drive within the UK (essential)
  • Experience in data handling and data input is preferable

Salary & Benefits

  • £22,519.00 per annum
  • Unbeatable pension
  • 37 days annual leave (including statutory and public holidays)
  • Flexitime
  • A range of other public sector benefits!

For further information on this vacancy, or any other scientific roles in Belfast or wider Northern Ireland, please apply via the link below or contact Shannon McGrath in the strictest confidence.