Head of Programme - Tree of Life

04 Oct 2018
31 Oct 2018
Contract Type
Full Time

Reporting to the Director of the Institute, the Programme Head will build and lead a scientific research team as part of a global consortium to deliver this visionary genome sequencing initiative and associated research programme. You will be a recognised authority in your field, who will take a lead in defining the strategy and scientific priorities for the Tree of Life programme in line with the Institute's mission to undertake leading edge genome research and provide insight into evolution and genetic variation, underpinned by large-scale, high throughput DNA sequencing. The role includes programme oversight, the recruitment of additional faculty to the programme, and active involvement in the senior management team steering the scientific and corporate direction of the Institute.

You will be at the centre of the UK-wide Darwin Tree of Life Project, dedicated to sequencing all eukaryotic species in the UK (estimated at c66K), as well as representing the Institute within the International Earth Biogenome Project. This will include collaboration and active engagement with scientists at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Natural History Museum-London, Smithsonian Institute, Max Plank Institute, Earlham Institute, and many others.

In addition to providing scientific leadership and contributing to the science delivered through the Tree of Life, the Programme Head will oversee the logistical aspects of programme such as sample collection and field-based protocols and will work closely with the Institute's sequencing and computational platforms.

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

This is an open role subject to a 6-year review process

Essential Skills

  • Previous management or supervision of technical/professional individuals and groups
  • A strong track record of scientific publication and impact in a relevant field, including the presentation and derivation of insight from genomic data
  • Experience of managing complex projects involving internal and external stakeholders
  • Experience of delivering best research practice, emphasising integrity, quality, efficiency and value for money
  • Experience of engaging learners, stakeholders and decision makers
  • Excellent communicator with an ability to develop and maintain relationships inside and outside own area of expertise
  • Effective written and oral communication skills and the ability to engage a range of internal and external audiences
  • Demonstrable ability to build and sustain strong interpersonal relationships
  • Strong personal leadership skills including the ability to inspire, convey a passion and direction which motivates the team, instilling pride and a feeling of success
  • Strong strategic leadership skills with the ability to formulate and articulate a clear vision for the programme and oversee its implementation
  • An effective team player, promoting inclusive and collaborative behaviour with the ability to recognise and get the best from different personal styles
  • Demonstrates and proactively advocates inclusivity and respect for all
  • Flexibility and adaptability to changing circumstances

Other information

The Wellcome Sanger Institute is a charitably funded research centre and committed to training the next generation of genome scientists. Focused on understanding the role of genetics in health and disease and a world leader in the genomic revolution, our mission is to use genome sequences to advance understanding of human and pathogen biology in order to improve human health. We aim to provide results that can be translated into diagnostics, treatments or therapies that reduce global health burdens. Our science is large-scale and organised into Programmes, led by our Faculty who conceive and deliver our science, and supported by our Scientific Operations teams responsible for all data production pipelines at the Institute.

Our Campus: Set over 125 acres, the stunning and dynamic Wellcome Genome Campus is the biggest aggregate concentration of people in the world working on the common theme of Genomes and BioData. It brings together a diverse and exceptional scientific community, committed to delivering life-changing science with the reach, scale and imagination to pursue some of humanity's greatest challenges. Our Benefits: Our employees have access to a comprehensive range of benefits and facilities including:

  • Group Defined Contribution Pension Scheme and Life Assurance
  • Group Income Protection
  • Private Health Insurance
  • Relocation package available
  • 25 days annual leave, increasing by one day a year to a maximum of 30
  • Family friendly environment including options for flexible and part-time working, a childcare voucher scheme, Campus Nursery and Summer holiday club
  • Two days paid Employee Volunteering Leave a year
  • Employee Discount Scheme
  • Campus Gym, tennis courts, cricket pitch and sports hall plus a range of dining facilities
  • Active Campus Sports and Social Club
  • Free Campus Bus Service

The Wellcome Sanger Institute is an Equal Opportunity employer. As part of our commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion and promoting equality in careers in science, we hold an Athena SWAN Bronze Award and have an active Equality, Diversity and Inclusion programme of activity. We will consider all applicants without discrimination on grounds of disability, sexual orientation, pregnancy or maternity leave status, race or national or ethnic origin, age, religion or belief, gender identity or re-assignment, marital or civil partnership status, protected veteran status (if applicable) or any other characteristic protected by law. We are open to a range of UK-based flexible working options including part-time or full-time employment as well as flexible hours due to caring or other commitments.

Application Process

General enquiries should be directed

For informal discussion, contact Steven Zemke in the first instance (+44) 01223 499923

Applications should be accompanied by:

  • Curriculum vitae, complete list of publications and details of three referees;
  • A two page description summarising scientific achievements to date;
  • A three page outline of future research plans indicating how these fit with, contribute to and make use of Sanger programmes and infrastructure, and
  • A cover letter including a vision for the Tree of Life programme at the Sanger
  • Institute, and why you are a strong candidate for this position.

This position is open until filled, but in the first instance we will consider applications received by: 1 November 2018

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