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Sainsbury Laboratory



Our community

We encourage you to join our friendly and welcoming community, whether you are studying, interested in a research position or seeking a technical or professional role.

We are a community of researchers and professionals working together to uncover the complex dynamic and self-organising properties of plants. There are approximately 160 people at SLCU, including 85 research scientists, 30 professional staff, 25 PhD candidates and 20 visiting students.

We bring together specialists in biological, physical, and mathematical sciences integrating a range of wet-lab experimental research with computational modelling. This interdisciplinary approach is essential for understanding the complex dynamic and self-organising properties of plants.




Our culture

The Laboratory provides a welcoming and collaborative environment with a wide-range of family-friendly benefits and development opportunities.

We are a diverse community with people from more than 25 countries. At SLCU we foster an inclusive culture in which people can speak openly, try new things and be bold. We welcome people from all backgrounds and respect, celebrate and value everyone regardless of race, colour, gender identity, age, religion, sexual orientation, physical or mental ability, nationality or neurodiversity. SLCU has a wide range of family-friendly benefits, including maternity leave that exceeds the legal minimum, additional paternity leave, parental leave, adoption leave, childcare provision and flexible working options. SLCU actively supports equality, diversity and inclusion and encourages applications from all sections of society. SLCU currently holds a silver Athena Swan award.

We provide welcoming spaces for families and carers, with a social room, baby change facilities, toddler toilet facilities, highchairs, and lactation room with dedicated fridge for milk storage. We also provide a dedicated prayer/reflection room.


Our location & facilities

Located in the heart of Cambridge city, just a 6 minute walk from the Cambridge Train Station, our award-winning contemporary building is set within the beautiful Cambridge University Botanic Garden.

We are well equipped for pioneering plant science research with a modern 11,000m2 building that incorporates laboratories, support areas, and meeting spaces, together with the University’s Herbarium, public café and an auditorium where academic symposia and public talks are held. SLCU has 42 controlled environment growth rooms, 300m2 of growing space under glass, tissue culture rooms and Level 2 Containment facilities. There is an in-house state-of-the-art advanced imaging facility for scientists working on several aspects of plant developmental biology, including live imaging of developing plant tissues, and high-resolution scanning electron microscopy. The Laboratory is also set-up to support advanced bioinformatics, image processing and modelling software development.


Our working environment

We offer attractive conditions and benefits for scientific and non-scientific positions and encourage applications from local and international candidates at all career levels. Our core funding from the Gatsby Charitable Foundation and unique position within the university of Cambridge provides a well-supported environment for research.

We encourage and support career development of all staff and support staff to undertake further education and training. The University offers a comprehensive range of personal and professional development programmes and SLCU actively encourages and supports staff to undertake further formal education and training.


Plant science research environment

Plant science research in Cambridge is on an upward trajectory underscored by a strong alliance between the department of Plant Sciences, SLCU, the Crop Science Centre, the University of Cambridge Botanic Garden, the Herbarium and the National Institute of Agricultural Botany (NIAB). Research ranges from curiosity driven to more strategic problem solving. Other university departments such as Biochemistry, Engineering, Genetics and Maths are also involved, contributing to the research collegiality and leading to a critical mass and effective partnerships with the potential to make Cambridge the leading centre for plant science research in the UK. The consortium attracts major funders including the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, The Gatsby Charitable Foundation, the UK Department for international Development and the UKRI Global Challenges Research Funds, among others. The CambPlants Hub is a networking organisation for plant related research and impact in Cambridge. It operates as an umbrella connecting existing initiatives, promotes cross-disciplinary research capacity and acts as a gateway for leadership companies, policy makers and the public to access Cambridge expertise in plant sciences. It instigates research collaborations, outreach, skills development and networking activities. Members of the consortium and associated institutions carry out a wide range of public engagement and knowledge exchange.


Our employee benefits

University of Cambridge employees are eligible for a wide range of competitive benefits and services, including access to numerous discounts on shopping, health care, financial services and public transport. The University also offers a number of tax-efficient pension schemes and tax-efficient bicycle lease scheme.

More details about what the University can offer you


Q&A Session recording

SLCU Director Henrik Jönsson and Group Leaders Edwige Moyroud and Alexander Jones recently hosted an online Q&A Information Session for people to ask questions about the application process and find out more about working at SLCU. They talked about what it is like running a research group at SLCU and Cambridge, the facilities available, environment and culture, and collaboration opportunities. 


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