Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons vacancy search engine

Head, Laboratory (P-5)

Principal Functions

Overall management of the OPCW Laboratory

1. Effective implementation of the approved annual programme of work and management of the budget;

2. Plan and proactively manage Laboratory staff, including contractors, fellows, interns, ensuring all staff within the Laboratory function to their potential and achieve objectives set both individually and for the team as a whole. This will include where appropriate completing all relevant elements of the OPCW performance management process, coaching and developing staff on an ongoing basis and providing opportunities for staff to innovate and develop the service. As necessary manage the attendance of staff to achieve optimal results;

3. As senior manager at the Rijswijk facility and, once operational, the Centre for Chemistry and Technology, oversee all aspects of laboratory management, including operational issues;

4. Provide timely proposals for changes in operational procedures that are needed to insure a safe and effective workplace;

5. Ensure all Laboratory staff are properly trained for their assignments;

6. Ensures that the quality management objectives of the Laboratory are met, to include ISO17025 & ISO17043.

Support all issues relating to sampling and both on-site and off-site analysis

1. Participate in policy discussions and ensure that sound scientific policy is followed in developments in the Secretariat;

2. Provide advice to the Scientific Advisory Board and its Technical Working Groups as well as to the Validation Group;

3. Initiate development and research activities at OPCW Lab as required and coordinate with other members of the Secretariat in order to implement new sampling and analysis tools or techniques;

4. Support all sampling and analysis missions;

5. Ensure readiness of the OPCW laboratory to receive, handle and dispatch authentic samples including the ability to certify the stability and concentration of control samples;

6. Provide technical support and expertise to the senior management for evaluation of results of analysis by the designated labs of authentic samples;

7. Make sure that the OPCW laboratory retains the capability to deploy dedicated staff on site to support sensitive sampling operations as for Technical Assistance Visit.

Provide scientific and technical leadership and co-ordinate related activities.

1. Ensure that the designated laboratory system meets the needs of the OPCW for timely and accurate analysis of samples taken for off-site analysis;

2. Coordinate all aspects of the proficiency testing programmes (both environmental and biomedical);

3. Coordinate the toxin analysis exercises;

4. Coordinate the capacity building programmes managed by the Laboratory;

5. Ensure the technical readiness to conduct on-site GC/MS analysis;

6. Ensure the suitability and maintenance of the OPCW Central Analytical Database (OCAD);

7. Ensure the technical capabilities, including instrumentation and methods, remain up to date;

8. Coordinate and lead scientific, research and publishing activities of the laboratory and, where the laboratory's premises or equipment is involved, of other Divisions;

9. Identify and launch specific research projects, including in partnership with suitable designated laboratories, in support of the verification mandate with a view to such research being undertaken in from the Centre for Chemistry and Technology.

Training programme

1. Coordinate with the Inspectorate to provide training to Analytical Chemist Inspectors;

2. Provide training to Secretariat staff as necessary;

3. Coordinate with the International Cooperation and Assistance division to provide training courses in support of capacity building programmes;

4. Performs other duties, as required.

Providing main user perspective and expertise to the planning and building of the OPCW Centre for Chemistry and Technology

1. Fulfil the required tasks of the HoL as defined in the project management structure;

2. Provide the perspective of the main user of the new facility in all matters related to the planning and building of the new facility. Define needs based on identified workflows and best practices and assist in the conceptual and practical realization of these needs;

3. Liaise and coordinate closely with the OPCW Equipment Store and other stakeholders;

4. Assist other functions in the project management structure with inputs required from the OPCW Laboratory;

5. Prepare the OPCW Laboratory for the move to the new facility;

6. When required, move the OPCW Laboratory to the new facility without or with minimal interruption of essential services provided by the OPCW Laboratory.

Qualifications required for this post:



MSc in Analytical Chemistry or a closely related field of chemistry including biochemistry

Desirable: PhD in Analytical Chemistry or a closely related field of chemistry including biochemistry



At least 10 years of experience after Masters’degree in laboratory work including preferably 5 years’ experience managing a laboratory and 3 years working with chemistry related to the chemical weapons convention (or a highly related field, such as pesticides).

Desirable: At least 3 years working at an OPCW Designated Laboratory or a Laboratory seeking OPCW designation or with an equivalent record of activity. Background in the evaluation of data and the risk of false positive identification in analysis. Experience in the analysis of biomolecules. Experience in quality management systems. Experience in the handling of highly toxic chemicals and materials. Specific knowledge of the analysis of chemical weapons related materials as well as knowledge of the chemistry of scheduled chemicals is highly desirable. Recent experience in the planning and building of a new laboratory facility or major renovation of an existing laboratory facility is also highly desirable.

Skills and Abilities (key competencies)

Scientific: Knowledge of the issues involved in the identification of chemicals using modern analytical techniques with an emphasis on chromatographic and spectroscopic techniques. Basic understanding of the role of false positives and misidentifications in analysis preferably including the specific problems relating to chemicals of particular relevance to the Chemical Weapons Convention. Basic understanding of general analytical methods, their limitations and of modern instrumentation needed to apply these methods in field as well as laboratory situations. Basic understanding of sample collection, contamination control and chain of custody.

Managerial: Ability to manage teams working on technical projects; ability to work within a multi-cultural environment and with colleagues drawn from differing scientific cultures and practices; understanding of quality management systems including ISO accreditation processes. Awareness of the strategic context within which the Chemical Weapons Convention exists, and the different roles played by the Policy-making organs and the Technical Secretariat. Ability to communicate scientific concepts and processes to non-scientists including senior managers and customers within the Secretariat and, as required, States Parties. Ability to work with diverse teams in order to identify and implement solutions which take account of customer requirements. Ability to identify requirements within the context of the verification regime which may benefit from future scientific research, and to collaborate with stakeholders in order to promote such research where appropriate.

Language Requirements

Fluency in English is essential and a good working knowledge of one of the other official languages (Arabic, Chinese, French, Russian, and Spanish) is desirable.