Group Leader
Post Details
Job Title
Group Leader
Post Number
Closing Date
23 Dec 2022
Starting Salary
Competitive salary
Hours per week
Project Title
Plant Ecology Group Leader
Months Duration

Job Description

Main Purpose of the Job

Working collaboratively with colleagues and stakeholders, to create, develop and lead an internationally excellent independent research programme that enhances the Institute’s research and capabilities.

Key Relationships

Internal: All levels of staff within the Institute

External: Staff on the Norwich Research Park, national and international scientific collaborators, funding bodies, Government and other stakeholders

Main Activities & Responsibilities

Lead and manage an internationally recognised, high profile innovative research programme
Make significant contributions to strategic thinking and planning of research
Lead and manage a research team, taking responsibility for its outputs and impact. This will include selecting, supervising, mentoring, training and providing wellbeing support for postdoctoral researchers, technicians, students and visitors, supporting effective career development, maintaining high levels of performance in the team, and maintaining a positive research culture.
Disseminate research findings through the publication of peer-reviewed research papers, and consolidate the Institute’s international scientific reputation through participation in national and internal conferences and provision of expert commentary in a variety of media
Submit grant proposals, if possible across a broad range of potential funders, securing substantial research funding to support the research programme
Ensure that research and record keeping is carried out in accordance with best practice, Institute Policies and Procedures and legal requirements
Ensure that the research team complies with health and safety policy and guidance documents, and with quality assurance and data management procedures
Manage the research team’s budgets in accordance with grant conditions and requirements and good financial practice, making cost-effective use of resources and minimising waste
Contribute to the effective leadership and management of the Institute through additional Institute responsibilities, including supporting scientific training and serving on institute committees, as and when required
Enhance the wider social and economic impact of the Institute’s research through influencing and developing partnerships and commercial opportunities with government, industry and other external parties
Commit to Public Engagement/Science Communication activities that raise the Institute’s profile and public awareness of science
Any other duties that may be required which are commensurate with the role of Group Leader

Person Profile

Education & Qualifications

PhD or equivalent and substantial postdoctoral research experience

Specialist Knowledge & Skills

Ability to formulate a research programme that will deliver innovative, world-class science in the plant ecology area
Significant track record of internationally-competitive research achievement, supported by a strong publication record in peer reviewed journals
Deep and broad understanding of the scientific background of the proposed research programme
Capacity to envisage and articulate the longer-term objectives and impact of the proposed research programme
Knowledge base in Plant Ecology. Particularly in the understanding of the mechanisms of climate adaptation, exploiting genetics, natural variation and genome and mutational analysis or other key areas in the field
Knowledge of JIC/NRP research fields, underpinning an explanation of the benefits of locating the proposed research programme at JIC
Measures of esteem such as international invited talks, editorial appointments, membership of external grant or appointments panels etc (essential for Tenured appointments)
Effective presentation skills

Relevant Experience

Demonstrated commitment to the highest levels of integrity and best practice in science and scientific management
Demonstrated ability to plan and prioritise to ensure scientific ideas translate into delivery of research outcomes
Research project leadership and management experience in stand-alone and collaborative projects (essential for Tenured appointments)
Evidence of winning external support for the maintenance of a successful research team (essential for Tenured appointments)
Experience of motivating, managing and mentoring team members, including objective setting and regular informal and formal reviews of progress (essential for Tenured appointments)

Interpersonal & Communication Skills

Strong team player: working with others with different skill sets to reach a common goal, sharing information and supporting colleagues
Development and articulation of innovative approaches and cohesive scientific plans
Creation and fostering of collaborative research networks (essential for Tenured appointments)
Open-minded, determined and resilient approach to scientific planning and management
Effective and appropriate communication with all people at all levels both inside and outside the Institute

Additional Requirements

Attention to detail
Promotes equality and values diversity: embraces the expected values and behaviours of all staff
Exhibits a high level of motivation combined with a flexible approach
Ability to travel nationally/internationally to facilitate collaborations and/or present seminars. (Reasonable adjustments will be considered. The Institute recognises the need for work-life balance/the need to support those with caring responsibilities)
Promotes equality and values diversity
Exhibits enthusiasm for an immediate or future role in leading and developing JIC science and values, both within the Institute and wider

Who We Are

John Innes Centre

The John Innes Centre is an independent, international centre of excellence in plant and microbial genetics, carrying out fundamental and strategic research, to train scientists and making our findings available to society.

Our research makes use of a wide range of disciplines in the biological and chemical sciences including; cell biology, biochemistry, chemistry, genetics and molecular biology.

For more information about working at the John Innes Centre, please click here.

We pride ourselves on being a welcoming and inclusive working environment for all. We have a diverse and multicultural scientific community and thrive on our European and international links, appointing staff from across the world. Any candidate who would like further information on current or anticipated immigration requirements can contact the HR Team on +44 (0)1603 450888 or

We are proud to hold a prestigious Athena SWAN Gold award, recognising the impact of our work in promoting gender equality in science. We are also a proud member of the Stonewall Diversity Champion’s programme, a founding signatory of the Tecnician Commitment and, as a Disability Confident employer, guarantee to offer an interview to all disabled applicants who meet the essential criteria for the post.

The John Innes Centre is a registered charity (No. 223852), limited by guarantee (registered in England No. 511709).


To be agreed

Living in Norfolk


Group Leader in Plant Ecology

The John Innes Centre (JIC) invites applications for a research fellowship in Plant Ecology. This is a new post, established with support from the John Innes Foundation. Interested applicants are invited to submit a relevant research proposal, particularly related to the understanding of mechanisms of climate adaptation, exploiting genetics, natural variation and genome and mutational analysis. However, other proposals in the field of Plant Ecology will also be considered.

The successful applicant will be offered immediate tenure, or for applicants with less experience, a five-year post in the first instance, with tenure subject to review.

The successful applicant will also receive substantial support in the form of a research assistant, laboratory support and access to the cutting-edge technology platforms at JIC. These state-of-the art technology platforms support Group Leaders and their labs across all scientific disciplines, including bioimaging, biomolecular analyses, genomics and bioinformatics, as well as field, horticultural and (quarantine) entomology services. We also have a new purpose-built 110-hectare field experimentation station, bringing together labs and field research in one location.

You will work alongside researchers covering a vast breadth of areas. The collegial environment that we foster at JIC encourages strategic input at all levels and appointments come with significant support (professional development, research and administrative). Start-up research funding is negotiable. 

Interested applicants are invited to submit a description of (i) current research activities and (ii) short and longer-term research aims and potential strategic goals (each ~2-3 pages). Please combine this with your CV together with a cover letter stating what motivates you to apply for a Group Leader position at JIC and submit this by Friday 23rd December 2022.

It is proposed that interviews will take place early in 2023.

JIC is committed to equality of opportunity for all employees and will consider applications on the criteria above regardless of gender, ethnicity or other personal characteristics, beliefs and backgrounds. The Institute holds a prestigious Athena SWAN Gold award in recognition of our inclusive culture, commitment and good practices towards advancing of gender equality. We are also a Disability Confident Employer and a Stonewall Diversity Champion.  We offer an exciting, stimulating, diverse research environment and actively promote a family friendly workplace. We welcome applications from candidates seeking full-time, part-time or other flexible working arrangements.

We strongly encourage applications from women and ethnic minorities.

The closing date for applications will be Friday 23 December 2022.

The John Innes Centre is a registered charity (No. 223852) grant-aided by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council and is an Equal Opportunities Employer.