Work with us


Job Description


The Malawi-Liverpool-Wellcome (MLW) Programme ( is an internationally recognized centre for research and research training, funded by the Wellcome Trust. In collaboration with the Kamuzu University of Health Sciences (KUHeS), MLW would like to engage the services of a competent and dynamic individual to work in an exciting Research Programme at the MLW Research facility as it is expanding.

Research Assistant (PneumoCocoon) – 1 post, based in Blantyre

Brief description of the project

Streptococcus pneumoniae (the pneumococcus) is a bacterium that lives harmlessly at the back of the nose but also causes serious infections, mostly in young children. In Africa, newborn babies are often exposed to the pneumococcus before they are old enough to be vaccinated themselves.

The PneumoCocoon study will investigate the importance of children less than 5 years old in the transmission of the Streptococcus pneumoniae (the pneumococcus to young babies living within the same household.

In the context of a rigorous clinical trial and using innovative technologies, this study will test whether a booster dose of the pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV) given to children 1-5 years old reduces transmission of the pneumococcus and therefore protects babies living within the same household (cocooning). Study Participants include mothers, infants and children 1-5 years old.

Job Summary:

The Research Assistant will work as part of a team conducting research under the direction and supervision of the PneumoCocoon Lead. S/he will assist the Lead in conducting the research, generating, and presenting research data including co-authoring manuscripts.

Reporting to the Principal Investigator, the Laboratory technician will carry out the study laboratory tests as appropriate, which will include, but may not be limited to:  receiving and booking in specimens, preparing specimens for testing and storage, documentation and record keeping.




Key responsibilities and expected deliverables:

• Responsible for protocol-related activities, including (but not limited to) supporting participant recruitment, obtaining informed consent, medical screening, performing ongoing monitoring and clinical examinations, review and interpretation of vital sign, medical scans and laboratory test results.
• Responsible for and/or provides oversight and monitoring for study specific and diagnostic/therapeutic procedures, e.g. vaccination, venepuncture and collection of respiratory specimens.
• Responsible for dosing and/or provides oversight of dosing (e.g. when undertaken by nursing staff) of study investigational medicinal products (IMPs) and non-IMPs.
• Supervise the health centre audit, to ensure the activity is conducted according to protocol, and appropriate verbal consent procedures are followed as approved by the corresponding ethics committees.
• Ensures compliance with internal and external acceptable standards and the requirements of the protocol, standard operating procedures, ICH GCP, Research Ethics Committees (RECs), regulatory authorities and other applicable guidelines and regulations.
• Primary liaison for queries relating to clinical/medical aspects of the protocol.
• Reviews and draft, reports and manages protocol deviations. Reviews patient level and cumulative data per the data review maintaining accurate research records and notes.
• Reviews safety data, SAE reports, and ensures clinical documents are updated as required. Tracks and reconciles serious adverse events (SAEs) across the study and leads presentation of data.
• Accountable for authoring (where required) and reviewing and approving the Informed Consent Form (ICF) and relevant REC submission documentation.
• To attend scientific meetings and seminars both internal and external as available, and as requested by the PneumoCocoon Lead.
• Organize and participate in study team meetings to evaluate and plan study activities.
• Liaise with study teams to arrange procurement of medical supplies and ensure stock levels are maintained.
• The post holder may be required to work some unsocial hours; this will be repaid by time off in lieu rather than overtime.

General Tasks
• Demonstrated clinical/medical, administrative, and project management capabilities, as well as effective verbal and written communication skills in relating to individuals both inside and outside MLW
• Supports appropriate interpretation and communication of clinical trial data including preparation of presentations, reports and manuscripts.
• Contributes to continuous improvement / process enhancement activities and innovative approaches to maximize effectiveness of clinical trial execution.
• Work in close collaboration with the participating health centres, District Health Office, Immunisation Programme, Kamuzu School of Health Sciences and MLW staff.

• To assist in the training of new staff as appropriate.

Health & Safety
• To observe and follow the Health and Safety Guidelines at all times.
• To ensure that all areas of the laboratory section are kept clean and tidy by implementing a routine cleaning and disinfection schedule as per instructed
• To attend at least once a year, the quarterly scheduled Health and Safety sensitizations
• To immediately notify the Line Manager of all Accidents, and potential hazards

Desired attributes:

Willingness to learn new concepts and blend skills from different clinical and scientific disciplines, critical thinking and attention to detail. Experience in research methods and clinical trials involving children and/or pregnant women an added advantage.

Error of Judgment: failure to abide by the Health & Safety protocols and putting one-self, colleagues and Study participants at risk and failure to attend 1 Health &Safety session a year, will lead to disciplinary action.

All staff are employed under the MLW Programme and are ultimately responsible to the Programme whether directly employed under the Core Grant, a Research Fellowship or project grant. All staff are expected to be flexible and may be required to contribute to the activities of the Core Programme or another project(s).


Qualifications, Experience and Skills
• A minimum of a diploma in clinical medicine. Those with degree in Clinical Medicine will have an added advantage.
• At least 2 years’ Health Research experience.
• Excellent communication skills (both written and oral) with the ability to communicate at all levels.

For more detailed information of the job, please visit the MLW website, .

Remuneration and Benefits
MLW offers an attractive remuneration package which includes a competitive salary package commensurate with the position, a medical aid scheme, 24 hours insurance cover, pension scheme, gratuity benefits redeemable once every year, among others.

MLW also offers opportunities such as scholarships, upgrading and training opportunities to employees. These are based on successful job performance and other set criteria.

MLW recognizes its responsibility in safeguarding and protecting communities, research participants and patients. Please note that successful candidates will be requested to undergo a safeguarding check prior to appointment and at regular time points during employment.

Suitably qualified candidates should forward their applications with copies of relevant certificates, 3 contactable referees and a detailed CV to this email

To arrive no later than the 30thJune, 2022, only short-listed candidates will be acknowledged.


Posted on Jun 20, 2022