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Head of Engineering




Life Science & Biotechnology




Competitive + benefits



Contract Type


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Head of Engineering

Abercorn Sinclair is delighted to partner with MiAlgae Ltd as they seek to appoint a new role to their organisation. Based at the Herriot Watt Research Park in Edinburgh you will join a growing, highly ambitious, dynamic early-stage company.

The company

Founded in 2016, MiAlgae applies leading advances in science and technology to improve food security and reduce the impact of humanity on the planet. The company aims to eliminate reliance on wild-caught fish as a source of omega-3 by harnessing the potential of microalgae as a sustainable and rich alternative source. MiAlgae’s zero-waste solution recycles co-products from food and drink production to grow Omega-3 rich micro-algae, returning clean water in the process.

They value diversity on their team and are an equal opportunities and family-friendly employer. They are open to considering a range of flexible working options and patterns with candidates.

MiAlgae is a fast-growing, people-oriented start-up that strives to deliver company-wide goals through an inclusive and collaborative team approach.

They are a friendly and positive team with a real sense of purpose and pull together to achieve their goals.

The Opportunity

Reporting to the Technical Director you will design, develop, and scale the company’s technology from an engineering perspective.

You will be responsible for all engineering challenges that MiAlgae needs to overcome in terms of scale-up, roll-out, and product diversification.

The company’s roll-out plan involves building multiple distinct production sites with associated distilleries. The Head of Engineering will oversee the design of these plants, taking projects from concept and proposal, all the way through to commissioning and hand-over. 

MiAlgae has a unique method of maintaining low capital costs by avoiding pressure and steam, this is often contrary to industry-standard biotechnology processes. To thrive in this position, the Head of Engineering will need to balance their industry-standard process design expertise with the company’s proprietary technology, making decisions on a techno-economic benefit basis.

Key responsibilities: 

  • Lead on the execution of MiAlgae’s commercial demonstrator project, ensuring delivery of activities to schedule and budget, including operational finances, CAPEX commitment, and resourcing.
  • Monitor project progress and identify and resolve perceived gaps and problems by working effectively with external partners and the wider MiAlgae team.
  • Lead process design and introduction of novel technologies and operations to continually improve MiAlgae’s commercial demonstrator offering.
  • Determine appropriate construction management processes considering safety, schedule, efficiency, cost management, and documentation.
  • Ensure all aspects of design are considered, including food safety, compliance, energy efficiency, operability, and maintainability.
  • Work with the research, technical development, and production teams to ensure the highest quality and safe products are achieved through the best processes and engineering solutions.
  • Hands-on involvement in process development and scale-up trials, ensuring all risk assessments are thoroughly conducted and findings implemented. 
  • Prepare comprehensive high-level updates and reports for the executive team and board.
  • Develop process flows, mass balances, P&IDs, and plant infrastructure for MiAlgae’s full-scale distillery roll-out projects.
  • Lead the engineering and process development phase including input on equipment and process selection for scale-up plant design.
  • Play an active role in developing technical proposals for commercial bids.
  • Develop procurement, bidding, and contracting strategies and lead negotiations for equipment, engineering, and labour packages.
  • Work closely with distillery partners and regulatory agencies on-site approval requirements and commissioning 
  • Work with engineering subcontractors to deliver distillery production sites on time and within budget.
  • Lead the commissioning of full-scale plant with effective handover to the production team.

Experience & Skills:   

  • Educated to degree level or equivalent in chemical, manufacturing, or process engineering.
  • Several years of industrial experience in a design and manufacturing environment, with experience in bioprocessing and/or food processing.
  • Experience in designing, building, and scaling novel processes and systems from the bench, through the pilot, to full-scale manufacturing.
  • Experience in downstream processing technologies including dewatering, separation, filtration, purification, and drying.
  • Strong track record of delivering large, multi-disciplinary projects within time and budget in complex environments.
  • Experience in food-safe design, HACCP, and FSCC 22000.
  • Experience in lean manufacturing, particularly at the design stage would be beneficial.
  • Thorough knowledge of plant design, capital projects process, and commissioning.
  • Extensive industry experience in a managerial role with the ability to lead and advise multiple teams within the company.
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills, with the ability to influence across boundaries.
  • Experience in working within an innovative, fast-paced environment.

The candidate:

As a young, early-stage company we are looking for like-minded individuals with a flexible approach to work, who are natural problem solvers and thrive in a dynamic environment.  You will be a confident communicator with the ability to work independently.

Integrity: Always acting within the company’s interests and promoting the ethics with colleagues wherever possible.

Commitment: Set achievable and realistic targets within reasonable timescales and seek support where required to meet deadlines.

Teamwork: Treat your team equally and fairly with clear and achievable expectations.

Innovate: Encourage openness and inclusiveness to stimulate ownership and accountability for innovation and business growth

Leadership: Lead by example, guiding and coaching to achieve the best from your peer group and reporting structure.          

The opportunity:

For the right individual, this is an amazing opportunity to join an exciting biotech where you can play an instrumental role in their future success.

In return, you can expect a competitive salary + benefits including options, with the opportunity to progress professionally within the organisation, and work with a team truly committed to developing scalable, sustainable solutions.

For a confidential discussion please contact our retained partner, Keith Tocher at Abercorn Sinclair.

About Abercorn Sinclair

Abercorn Sinclair is a specialist, technical recruitment consultancy based in Edinburgh. We provide bespoke talent solutions across the science & technology sectors.


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