Head of Research


Key information

  • Location: EMBL-EBI Hinxton
  • Staff category: Staff Member - Science, research and training
  • Contract duration: 5 years
  • Grading: 12 (monthly salary starting at £8,064.11 after tax)
  • Closing date: 12 August 2020
  • Reference number: EBI01659

Continue reading for more information about this position, or apply now.




About this position

The European Bioinformatics Institute (EBI) is an international, innovative and interdisciplinary research organisation funded by more than 27 member states and is the second largest part of the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL).

Since its inception in 1994, EMBL-EBI has lead the way in computational biology research, with compelling work spanning sequence analysis methods, multi-dimensional statistical analysis and data driven biological discovery. Research at EMBL-EBI comprises 10 dedicated research groups along with 8 further teams that combine research activities and service delivery.

EMBL researchers publish regularly in top-tier journals, with 40% of papers in the top 5% of journals in biochemistry, genetics and molecular biology. Four EMBL papers are among the top 100 most highly cited papers ever - one in the top 10 and two co-authored by EMBL-EBI researchers.

Located at the Welcome Genome Campus in the beautiful Cambridgeshire countryside,  you will be immersed within one of the world’s largest concentrations of scientific and technical expertise in genomics.  You will join a diverse, multidisciplinary team of over 850 forward thinking people, which currently represent over 70 nationalities.

Your role

As Head of Research you will report directly to EMBL-EBI’s Co-Directors and play a key role setting vision, strategy and scientific direction for the Institute. The Head of Research also provides oversight of EMBL-EBI's research portfolio, similar to a Head of Department.

The Head of Research will chair the Group Leader appointment panel for dedicated research group leaders at EMBL-EBI and provide decisions on EMBL-EBI research resources. As part of the leadership group you would represent the Institute within EMBL, to the EMBL Council, and externally to the scientific community within Europe and worldwide.

As a member of EMBL-EBI Directorate leading the Institute, you will also have the opportunity to:

  • Represent EMBL-EBI and its mission to the global scientific community within EMBL at SSMAC and to the EMBL Council and to the UK government as required with reference to the Treaty
  • Lead EMBL-EBI Research as a globally competitive computational biology researcher
  • Communicate the vision for the Institute to research staff directly and through the EMBL-EBI Strategy & Management Committee (SMC)
  • Manage a team of highly talented Group Leaders
  • Engage strategically with all international stakeholders in computational biology research
  • Oversee and approve the expenditure of internal and external funds, including opening posts and staff appointments in the research area

You have

  • A PhD in the life sciences or in one of the physical, mathematical or chemical sciences
  • The ability to collaborate on an international level
  • Success in winning and managing grants, especially in Europe
  • Excellent leadership skills including the ability to inspire and communicate with staff at all levels
  • Strategic vision for the future development of bioinformatics research
  • Strong collegial work with the wider EMBL organisation and international collaborators and stakeholders

You might also have

  • Proven track record of leading, developing and coordinating international research in bioinformatics/computational biology
  • Effective management of large scientific consortia
  • Profound understanding of the European scientific bioinformatics environment
  • Scientific insight
  • Experience raising funding beyond your own laboratory

Why join us

EMBL-EBI is a worldwide leader in bioinformatics . We would like to recruit a Head of Research who takes this leadership into the next decade and beyond, and can expand the scope of computational biology beyond its biomolecular basis to encompass new data types (such as imaging) and new synergistic areas (such as ecology and epidemiology) adjacent to molecular biology.

You will be supported by an enthusiastic and passionate leadership team and peers at both EMBL-EBI and from across EMBL, and be an active part of the European-wide leadership of EMBL. We would expect the head of research to continue to have an active research group in his or her area but take a broad interest in research across EMBL-EBI by hiring, mentoring and organising EMBL-EBI research.

What else you need to know

To view a copy of the full job description please click here

The initial contract is for a period of 5 years. This is expected to be extended to a maximum of 9 years subject to external review.

We welcome informal enquires to Ewan Birney, Joint Director of EMBL-EBI (birney@ebi.ac.uk) or Nick Goldman, Research Group Leader (goldman@ebi.ac.uk). More information is available at https://www.ebi.ac.uk/research/research-group-leaders-at-embl-ebi.

To apply, please submit a covering letter, CV and concise description of research interests and future research plans via our online system. Please also include three letters of recommendation. alternatively these can be emailed to recruitment@ebi.ac.uk by 12th August 2020.

Applications are welcome from all nationalities and this has continued after Brexit. Visas will be discussed in more depth with applicants selected for interview.

Interviews are likely to be held 28th September and 5th October 2020.

Closing date: 12th August 2020.


Join EMBL and you’ll join a community of world-class researchers and skilled professionals working together to uncover the secrets of life.

We offer attractive conditions and benefits to attract and retain the brightest talent. Learn more.

One laboratory. Six locations. Global reach.

The European Molecular Biology Laboratory is a single organisation spread across six European locations. Each of our sites hosts its own research units, services and facilities.

EMBL is Europe’s leading life sciences laboratory.

EMBL seeks to better understand the molecular basis of life. In the process, we’re changing European science.