Wellcome Sanger Institute

Head of Programme - Parasites & Microbes

2024-03-03 (Europe/London)
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Do you want to help us improve human health and understand life on Earth? Make your mark by shaping the future to enable or deliver life-changing science to solve some of humanity’s greatest challenges.

Unique research leadership opportunity: Head of the Parasites and Microbes Programme at the Wellcome Sanger Institute.

This is a unique opportunity to conceive and deliver a long-term strategic vision in ground-breaking research focused on understanding the role of microorganisms in health and disease, and using this knowledge to achieve societal benefits. The potential for genomic technologies to have long-lasting impact in this scientific domain are many and varied and we strongly encourage potential applicants with ambitious visions to interpret this opportunity broadly, unconstrained by what Sanger has focused on to date.

Over the past 30 years, the Wellcome Sanger Institute has been a world leader in faculty-led pathogen genomic research. The Sanger institute has six Research Programmes, one of which is dedicated to the study of infectious disease and microbiomes in health and disease, currently entitled the Parasites and Microbes Programme. This Programme is a global hub for pathogen and microbiome research with extensive highly collaborative international networks. Now, we invite you to lead the next decade of cutting-edge science in this Programme and to join the science leadership team of the Institute.

This opportunity to have global impact is unique due to:

  • generous core funding from Wellcome,
  • access to industrial-scale data generation capabilities
  • high-powered scientific computing infrastructure
  • dedicated experimental facilities for handling pathogens
  • extensive operational support
  • productive and motivated existing faculty
  • capabilities for global training and capacity development
  • support for translating scientific advances into societal benefits
  • existing global collaborative networks
  • partnership with Wellcome

Sanger’s large-scale data production and handling platforms are the foundation of our scientific strategy. The Institute has one of the largest DNA sequencing facilities in the world offering unrivalled high throughput sequencing and cellular technologies at scale. Our pipelines are organised into industrial-scale technology platforms that continually evolve to adopt new technologies enabling us to adapt to the rapidly evolving scientific landscape. 

In this role you will lead, expand and mentor a growing team and be supported by the institute's exceptional scientific, IT and management operations teams.

About the role:

Reporting to the Director of the Institute, the Programme Head will lead the Parasites and Microbes Programme. You will be a recognised authority in your field who will be responsible for defining, communicating and implementing the strategy and scientific priorities for the Parasites and Microbes programme in line with the Institute’s mission to undertake leading-edge genome research and provide insight into pathogen variation, underpinned by large-scale, high-throughput sequencing. 

You will direct, plan and coordinate the activities of the Programme to achieve the desired output and standard, including producing high-quality research publications and outcomes. You will undertake research which builds a substantial track record of academic leadership, conceive and drive projects with broad and high impact and have active involvement with Programme staff, supporting scientific career development and personal and professional development.

In addition to providing the scientific leadership and contributing to the science delivered through the programme, you will oversee the logistical aspects of the programme such as sample collection, processing, and analysis and will work closely with the Institute’s sequencing and computational platforms. You will also join the Institute’s highest decision-making body, the Sanger Leadership Team, and contribute to the wider strategy and development of the entire Institute. 

You will actively engage in Sanger citizenship activities, contributing to the leadership of the organisation at all levels and ensuring the Institute’s Behavioural Competency Framework and Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, (EDI) is at the forefront of all work

The Head will be required to balance the complex people and project needs with programme strategy and resource considerations, ensuring effective and synergistic alignment of the programme with wider initiatives. 

About you

You will have an outstanding international research profile, a strong record of accomplishment of scientific publication and impact and reputation as a leader of a major research field or group. You will be experienced in guiding a team including mentoring and motivation of colleagues and line reports with evidence of impact.

You will also have experience of managing complex projects involving internal, external and international stakeholders and be comfortable in collaborating with and contributing to peer review bodies/committees, professional organisations, learned societies and Government committees.

Strong strategic and personal leadership skills are essential for this post. You will have the ability to formulate and articulate a clear vision for the programme, oversee its implementation and be able to convey a passion and direction, which motivates the team, instilling pride and a feeling of success.

About Us:

The Parasites and Microbes programme has delivered cutting edge science and developed open data tools and datasets that have wide-ranging impact for basic science and disease control. The Programme has close links nationally and internationally with researchers and health organisations. The Programme’s faculty-led research currently focuses on endemic diseases in the developing world leading to global data sharing networks such as the Malaria Genomic Epidemiology Network (MalariaGEN) and the Global Pneumococcal Sequencing Project. Current research has explored studies across decades and detailed spatial resolution to understand evolutionary pressures from drugs use, vaccines as well as diet and lifestyle. Mass culturing of the human gut microbiota in conjunction with whole genome sequencing has resulted in substantial increases in available reference genomes with cultured representatives.

Alongside delivering ground-breaking science, we also focus on collaboration with scientists and public health bodies worldwide and we are committed to research training and capacity building in low- and middle-income countries. Our researchers and disease control programmes encompass over 300 collaborating groups in 69 countries. 

This position carries a significant core package of salaries and support, which are backed by rewarding and flexible employment terms including excellent benefits and relocation support.

Application Process:

Applications should be accompanied by: 

1. Curriculum vitae and details of three referees;

2. A two-page description summarising scientific achievements to date;

3. A three-page outline of future research plans indicating how these fit with, contribute to and make use of Sanger programmes and infrastructure, and

4. A three-page outline of your vision for the programme at the Sanger Institute**;

5. A cover letter outlining briefly your vision for the programme and expanding on why you are a strong candidate for this position.

**Applicants are expected to convey a 10 year vision for 'transformative large-scale data generation led by a team of 5-7 faculty members to understand the microorganisms that infect and share our bodies and their role in health and disease'.

A full CV should include:

Full  Publication List  Professional Activities

  • Joint Appointments with academic institutions and industry or Review Committees and Advising Board
  • Honorary Faculty Positions
  • Should include review panels, guest lectures
  • Leadership, Management, Education, and Training
  • List of PhD students and Post Doctorate Fellows with their next positions and List of committees at the Sanger

Career Breaks

  • Should include any leave of absence from family leave, illness, or changes in full-time and part-time status

Awards and Prizes 

  • Should include any Fellowships, Grants, and Awards
  • Translational Activities (if applicable and noting there is no formal confidentiality agreement)
  • Should include role, time commitment, and impact on Sanger science

Public Engagement 

  • Communications and media presence such as blogs, columns, etc. Includes science festivals, work with student groups

Your application will be reviewed with a focus on your scientific achievement, leadership, experience, and personal suitability in line with our core behavioural competencies; collaboration, communication, leadership, integrity, results-driven, and innovation. 

Interview format:

  • Pre-Meets - you will be invited to attend Pre-meets with relevant representatives from our teams including the Director’s Office, Scientific Operations, the Programme and Visa and Immigration teams. This will be an opportunity for you to find out more about our science, what it is like to work at Sanger and also to discuss relocating to Cambridge/the UK (if applicable).
  • Talks - Two talks, first on your past research and on second on your future personal research and vision for the programme. Both talks will be given to our senior scientific leadership team and the selection committee
  • Interview - Panel interview that will focus on leadership experience, ethos and behaviours. The interview panel will have representatives from across the Institute.
  • 1:1s -  After your interview, you will attend 1:1 chats with stakeholders including our Director, Heads of Programmes and Head of Scientific Operations.

Talks and Interviews are scheduled to take place week commencing 15th and 22nd April 2024.

For further details about the opportunity, please visit: https://acrobat.adobe.com/link/track?uri=urn:aaid:scds:US:cc2b8d29-9d37-38b8-bfa5-704f859e6776

Closing Date: 3rd March 2024

Hybrid Working at Wellcome Sanger:

We recognise that there are many benefits to Hybrid Working; including an improved work-life balance, with more focused time, as well as the ability to organise working time so that collaborative opportunities and team discussions are facilitated on campus. The hybrid working arrangement will vary for different roles and teams. The nature of your role and the type of work you do will determine if a hybrid working arrangement is possible.

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion:

We aim to attract, recruit, retain and develop talent from the widest possible talent pool, thereby gaining insight and access to different markets to generate a greater impact on the world. We have a supportive culture with the following staff networks, LGBTQ+, Parents and Carers, Disability and Race Equity to bring people together to share experiences, offer specific support and development opportunities and raise awareness. The networks are also a place for allies to provide support to others.

We want our people to be whoever they want to be because we believe people who bring their best selves to work, do their best work. That’s why we’re committed to creating a truly inclusive culture at Sanger Institute. We will consider all individuals without discrimination and are committed to creating an inclusive environment for all employees, where everyone can thrive.

Our Benefits:

We are proud to deliver an awarding campus-wide employee wellbeing strategy and programme. The importance of good health and adopting a healthier lifestyle and the commitment to reduce work-related stress is strongly acknowledged and recognised at Sanger Institute.

Sanger Institute became a signatory of the International Technician Commitment initiative In March 2018.  The Technician Commitment aims to empower and ensure visibility, recognition, career development and sustainability for technicians working in higher education and research, across all disciplines.

Every year the Wellcome Sanger Institute supports the visits of dozens of overseas researchers from across the globe to the Genome campus to collaborate, share insights and to undertake ground-breaking scientific research. Our reliable in-house service provides expert advice and guidance to support current and prospective staff, and visitors at various points of their journey. We are able to provide guidance through your entire journey, from initial visa application through to extensions and applications of Indefinite Leave to Remain, the service is proud to support your personal applications and those of your dependants and family members. 

For more information about our immigration service visit: https://www.sanger.ac.uk/about/careers/global-mobility-and-immigration-service/ 

Job details

Head of Programme - Parasites & Microbes
Wellcome Trust Genome Campus, Hinxton Saffron Walden, United Kingdom
Application deadline
2024-03-03 23:59 (Europe/London)
2024-03-04 00:59 (CET)
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About the employer

We are a world-leading genomics research institute. Our work helps improve human health and understand life on Earth.

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