Molecular Testing Specialist

Food and Agriculture Organization




The Food Technology Laboratory (FTL) was set up in line with the policy of the Ministry of Agro-Industry and Food Security (MOAIFS) to be the body ensuring the highest standards of food safety and consumer protection and facilitating growth in the sector.  The Bio-Molecular Laboratory (BML) is one of the laboratories falling under the FTL and designated to play a frontline role in molecular analytical activities of food and animal feeding stuffs in Mauritius. Additionally, the BML was assigned by the MOAIFS to be the Official Laboratory to carry out Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) testing in Mauritius.

FAO Representative in Madagascar, Comoros, Mauritius and Seychelles
Tasks and responsibilities:

Under the overall supervision of the FAO Representative in Mauritius (Budget Holder), the technical supervision of the Food safety and Quality Officer, FAORAF, and in close consultation the National Project Coordinator (NPC), the consultant will undertake the following activities to provide technical and functional support to the project TCP/MAR/3901:   

  • Plan and communicate all the requirements for the training to the National Project Coordinator, the local FAO representative as well as other personnel from the Ministry of Agro-Industry & Food Security at least one month prior the start of the project (requirements to also include the specifications for equipment and consumables); 
  • Advise and assist in procurement of the requirements for the training. 
  • Design and develop training programs to meet the specific needs of the laboratory (trainings on qualitative and quantitative GMO testing, molecular pathogens testing and species identification for fish and meat, measurement uncertainty determination, validation of test methods and assuring quality of test results using EU recognized molecular methods);
  • Conduct theoretical and practical training sessions on the mentioned molecular testing techniques and methodologies. 
  • Provide comprehensive and relevant training materials (presentations, manuals, handouts, practical exercises);
  • Organize and facilitate hands-on laboratory training, allowing participants to gain practical experience in the relevant molecular testing procedures and equipment operation. 
  • Provide participants with comprehensive training on quality control and assurance measures (pertaining to molecular testing and equipment);
  • Provide participants with guidance on regulatory requirements and compliance related to molecular testing in foods and feeds, including GMO testing, sampling, sample handling, waste management and labelling regulations.
  • Teach participants how to analyze and interpret molecular testing data effectively, how to draft test reports with the measurement uncertainty; 
  • Teach participants about the laboratory safety protocols and ethical considerations in molecular testing;
  • Train participants on how to identify and address common issues and challenges that may arise during molecular testing;
  • Train participants how to effectively communicate with clients or stakeholders, understand their requirements, and provide expert guidance.
  • Offer post-training support and guidance to participants if the need arises;
  • Work in collaboration with the International Consultant (Management system) to advise on the general set up of the Bio-molecular laboratory and provide recommendations and assistance for the upgrading of the existing facilities;
  • Advise and assist in the development of twining programmes with accredited reference laboratories involved in GMO and other relevant molecular testing;
  • Advise on accredited reference laboratories for training opportunities in relevant molecular testing;
  • Work in collaboration with the International Consultant (Management system) for the accreditation of the molecular tests and for drafting of the technical manual, SOPs, worksheets, forms, test report formats;
  • Advise and assist the National Project Coordinator, the local FAO representative as well as other personnel from the Ministry of Agro-Industry & Food Security to set up a communication platform on GMO issues and a national awareness campaign on food fraud and safety with respect to the molecular tests being developed at the Bio-Molecular Laboratory.
  • Day-to-day management for the effective implementation of the relevant project outputs;
  • Provide regular/weekly update and/or advise the National Project Coordinator, the local FAO representative as well as other personnel from the Ministry of Agro-Industry & Food Security on the project activities;
  • Any other related duties as required.

Candidates Will Be Assessed Against The Following:

Minimum Requirements:    

  • Advanced University degree in Molecular Biology, Genetics, Biotechnology or a related field.
  • Working knowledge of English,and limited knowledge of French for PSAworking knowledge of English is sufficient.
  • The candidate should possess at least 5 years of professional experience in molecular testing, with a focus in molecular testing techniques, such as PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction), DNA sequencing, genotyping, and gene expression analysis

Technical/Functional Skills:

  • Self-driven, team player, patient, self-confident, reliable, and empathetic.
  • Demonstrated organisational, communication and organizational skills.
  • Having strong project management skills, including the ability to plan, execute, and oversee molecular testing projects from start to finish.

Selection Criteria:

  • With knowledge of quality control procedures and quality assurance protocols within a molecular laboratory setting.
  • Be familiar with regulatory requirements related to molecular testing, ISO 17025:2017 standard and other relevant regulations.
  • Be proficient in data analysis software and tools used for molecular testing data interpretation.
  • Able to operate state-of-the-art molecular testing equipment and instrumentation
  • Be able to generate accurate and comprehensive test reports, interpret results and provide recommendations.
  • With excellent written and verbal communication skills to effectively convey complex scientific information to both technical and non-technical stakeholders.
  • Be able to work collaboratively with interdisciplinary teams, scientists, researchers, and clients as needed for project success.
  • Having proven experience in developing and optimizing molecular testing methods, ensuring accuracy, sensitivity, and specificity.
  • Having expertise in method validation, including the design and execution of validation experiments, and documentation in compliance with relevant standards and regulations.





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