Professor and Director of the Institute of Life and Earth Sciences

Heriot-Watt University Malaysia
05 Dec 2023
11 Dec 2023
Contract Type
Professor and Director of the Institute of Life and Earth Sciences

The appointment will be at Professor level, Grade:10, Salary: from GBP66,857 – negotiable (dependent on experience and qualifications).

Detailed Description

Applications are invited for a professor with the vision and leadership credentials to direct the Institute of Life and Earth Sciences to deliver a strong international reputation in areas of excellence to address key aspects of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. This professorship is particularly aimed at applicants keen to lead the institute and a broad range of scientific expertise within the Life Sciences will be considered with some focus on environmental science preferred. We are particularly interested in the interplay between environmental, climate and biodiversity changes and microbial systems within terrestrial, marine, or freshwater contexts. We seek an individual who works in the field of environmental science who can demonstrate how they can add to the diversity of our current portfolio of environmental science expertise, while having the potential to be collaborative in a multidisciplinary environment. The position will be based within the Institute of Life and Earth Sciences (ILES) in the School of Energy, Geoscience, Infrastructure and Society (EGIS) at Heriot–Watt University. The successful appointee will be responsible to lead and manage ILES, building on the current excellent research work and strategy in place. The appointee will lead ILES' contributions towards delivery of the School's research strategy and delivery of the University ambitious overarching research goals.

The successful candidate will develop an independent research portfolio whilst working with colleagues in ILES, including ILES staff based in the Lyell Centre Global Research Institute, and at our Orkney campus (the International Centre for Island Technology, ICIT), as well as other areas of the School and University. The successful applicant will have an internationally recognised profile in their own area of expertise, with a clear track record of research funding and publications, with the capacity to expand and enhance our School's research base. The successful candidate will be expected to have a clear strategy for their own research, and be able to demonstrate how this can contribute to the wider ambitions of the Institute, the School, and Heriot–Watt's Strategy 2025. We particularly welcome applications from candidates who have experience of working in interdisciplinary teams and projects.

The successful candidate will be required to make some contribution to our teaching programmes in their area of expertise. We are committed to expanding our teaching across all our campuses through our Biology Go–Global scheme and via our virtual learning environment. Where possible we use problem–based learning techniques, based on societal or industrial challenges, to teach core science. We particularly welcome applications from candidates who can make a positive contribution to these activities.

Key Duties & Responsibilities

The post holder is required, but not restricted to:
  • As director of the Institute of Life and Earth Sciences, provide leadership for the institute to build on a long reputation and emerging areas of excellence to address key themes of the UN Sustainable Development Goals within a global context. Support staff to engage in innovations in research and teaching to deliver on the vision of the university within a global context.
  • Establish a portfolio of research and other scholarly activities, independently attract external funding for the purpose, publish original research and scholarship in the international literature, and develop a leading international reputation in research and scholarship. Show a commitment to collaborative research. Lead a research group, including supervision of graduate and postgraduate students. Make presentations or exhibitions at international conferences demonstrating evidence of esteem. Lead collaborative partnerships with other bodies, and lead bids for consultancy additional funds, which may involve complex negotiations. Advise external bodies.
  • Provide leadership in the planning, organisation and development of learning and teaching activities on a School or subject basis and lead the development and clarification of academic standards for the subject area. Encourage the development of innovative approaches to course delivery and ensure that teaching delivery achieves the required educational standards. Develop and implement initiatives contributing to and deriving from the University's wider learning and teaching strategies.
  • Chair and participate on internal committees and contribute to University decision making and governance. Independently devise and implement major strategic initiatives leading to substantial and long–term business benefits to the University. Take a lead role in senior external groups, such as editorial boards and committees in learned societies. Lead and develop on internal and external networks to foster collaboration and share information on the subject. Promote the work of the School in the subject area both nationally and internationally.
  • Exercise academic leadership for all subject area teaching and scholarly activities, jointly with ILES Senior Director of Studies. Act as line manager for ILES staff recruitment and allocation of resources according to skills and capacity. Appraise and advise ILES staff on personal and career development plans. Expected to be involved in the induction of new team members, coaching and mentoring to enhance performance and sharing own knowledge and experience. Take responsibility for the overall welfare of ILES staff drawing upon advice and support as required.
For an extensive list of Key Duties and Responsibilities, please see HERE.

Education, qualifications and experience

Essential criteria
  • PhD in the wider field of Biology, Environmental Science or a related area
  • Clear demonstration of leadership in their research area managing and coordinating substantial research teams
  • A clear personal research focus, and experience of attracting substantial external research funding, working with an inclusive, and forward–looking research team in relevant area(s) of biology or environmental science, such as: assessment of eukaryotic and prokaryotic responses to biotic and abiotic stressors using molecular tools, biotechnological solutions to mitigate current and emerging threats, use of eDNA approaches;
  • Experience and track–record in authoring high–quality publications in international journals and presenting at conferences;
  • Experience and track record in the delivery of excellent teaching, in a higher education environment;
  • Experience in teaching program leadership, quality assurance, bringing research into teaching, etc.
  • Track record in working in close collaboration with other disciplines (both internally and externally to Heriot–Watt);
  • Emotional intelligence, with an excellent collegiate attitude and outstanding interpersonal skills;
  • Track record of motivating colleagues, and encouraging innovation and resilience in teams;
  • Demonstrably excellent interpersonal and communication skills.
Desirable criteria
  • Ability to draw on industrial and professional networks to develop and enhance the teaching portfolio;
  • Proactively involved with professional bodies and/or other external, relevant networks;
  • Experience in, or enthusiasm for, teaching innovation and adopting novel pedagogical approaches, for example in the context of online and blended learning.
About our Team

Institute of Life & Earth Sciences

The Institute of Life and Earth Sciences (ILES) undertakes multidisciplinary research in the areas of Environment and Bioscience, as well as Sport Science, based both in Edinburgh (including staff based in the Lyell centre) and at the International Centre for Island Technology (ICIT) in the Orkney Isles. ICIT is internationally recognised for research, training and consultancy in renewable energy, marine science and environmental resources. Our work within ILES focuses on life sciences in its broadest sense from cells to ecosystems, including physical geography and sports science, teaching and researching on how systems work, how they may be changing and how to manage the planet sustainably. Further information can be obtained at –

The School of Energy, Geoscience, Infrastructure and Society (EGIS) is one of the UK's leading institutions for multidisciplinary research and teaching in areas critical to economic development and societal equity. We aim to attain excellence in the teaching of the core disciplines that contribute to a sustainable, resource and energy efficient society and are committed to undertaking high value, high impact research and knowledge transfer in topics of relevance to global challenges.

The School of EGIS enjoys facilities consistent with its location in modern, purpose–built accommodation across global campuses and is well equipped in respect of laboratories for materials, structures, engineering, building services and hydraulics research and teaching. Our research and teaching facilities in Dubai and Malaysia are contained within purpose–built campuses in Dubai Academic City and Putrajaya, respectively.


The School's undergraduate teaching on our Edinburgh campus covers civil and structural engineering . click apply for full job details