Living Systems Institute Director

University of Exeter
Exeter, Devon (GB)
March 22 2019
Life Sciences, Biology
Position Type
Full Time
Organization Type

Listen to Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Impact), Professor Neil Gow FRS, talk about what we are looking for from our new LSI Director.

Living Systems Institute Director

Living Systems Institute 

Summary of the role

Applications are invited for the position of Director of the Living Systems Institute (LSI), at University of Exeter.  This full-time permanent position is available immediately. 

We are looking for a new Director, of exceptional talent, who is enthusiastic in taking forward the research for the future, in an area of disease related and diagnostic related research.  Our Living Systems Institute, the LSI, and its Director will represent one of our flagship institutes to take forward our agenda in excellence in the biomedical sector. 

Research in the Living Systems Institute aims to reveal the fundamental principles by which living systems operate and the perturbations that cause ordered mechanisms to breakdown resulting in disease. The Institute crosses disciplinary and institutional barriers to engage in high-risk, fundamental research that leads to transformative technological breakthroughs.  This spans fundamental science at the nanoscale, though work using our various animal models and on into clinical trials.

The new £52 million LSI building was completed in autumn 2016, and provides 7500m2 of research space, including three floors of state-of-the-art laboratories for cell and molecular biology.  The LSI is now home to exceptional scientists across the composite disciplines of biology, engineering, maths, medicine and physics who are already benefitting from the colocation and collaborative opportunities offered within the LSI building. The Director will work closely with Professor Neil Gow FRS, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Impact), to develop and shape the Institute’s research into a truly multidisciplinary hub capable of developing a world-changing approach to understanding diseases and their diagnosis. 

The new Living Systems Institute Director will have the opportunity to steer and shape the LSI to establish a world leading research presence in the field.  You will join the University’s Senior Management Group (SMG) and be expected to work alongside the Deputy Vice Chancellor (Research and Impact) and the other Institute Directors to grow and develop all of Exeter’s Institutes for the future. 

You will draw on your previous strategic leadership to drive the LSI forward, developing its research, education and global collaborations. Ideally your area of science will support the Institute’s current research and consolidate Exeter’s strengths in this field.  The Institute will look to you to build connections across the University to strengthen and mutually support the Institutes’ research in the context of a changing external research landscape.

You will be a leader who will nurture the Institute’s staff and build on LSI’s existing strengths while positioning the Institute for success and impact in the future.  Demonstrating strong interpersonal skills, you will work with colleagues to support the development of Exeter’s research and education ecosystem in the context of upcoming research challenges and government direction.

‘’What really excites me about coming to the LSI in the morning and pursuing my research and leading the team is that it’s another day where we can make small steps forward or maybe even have a real breakthrough and a discovery.’’  Professor Frank Vollmer, 2019

Further details

To view the Candidate Pack, including a Job Description and Role Descriptor, please click here


Listen to Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Impact), Professor Neil Gow FRS, talk about what we are looking for from our new LSI Director.



Showcasing some of the outstanding work our highly talent group of scientists are doing to make a difference in the areas of medicine, diagnostics and fundamental aspects of biology within the Living Systems Institute.  


Visit the Living Systems Institute web pages - CLICK HERE

The University of Exeter

We are a member of the prestigious Russell Group of research-intensive universities and in the top 150 universities in the world (Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2019). We combine world-class teaching with world-class research, achieving a Gold rating in the Teaching Excellence Framework Award 2017.

Our research income in recent years means we’re fastest growing UK Research University and we seek to answer some of the most fundamental issues facing humankind today through this. 98% of our research is international quality (2014 Research Excellence Framework) and we encourage proactive engagement with industry, business and community partners to enhance the impact of research and education and improve the employability of our students.

A critical strength of the University of Exeter is ‘cross-kingdom’ research expertise spanning human, animal, and plant function and disease. This allows the potential for discoveries in one area to be related to others thus allowing new and exciting insights.

With over 22,000 students and 5,500 staff from 180 different countries we offer a diverse and engaging environment in which to work. We are an equal opportunity employer, a Disability Confident employer and an Athena Swan accredited institution. Whilst all applicants will be judged on merit alone, we particularly welcome applications from groups currently underrepresented in the workforce

What we can offer you

  • Competitive salary commensurate with your experience and requirements.  
  • Generous holiday allowances, flexible working, pension scheme and relocation package (if applicable).
  • Freedom to pursue your intellectual interests and to work creatively across disciplines, while bringing together the LSI and coordinating its direction of travel.
  • Support from an Institute Manager and a Professional Services team which understands the University wide research and strategic goals and partners with our academics accordingly.  
  • An Innovation, Impact and Business directorate that works closely with academics providing specialist support for external engagement and development.
  • A multitude of staff benefits including sector leading benefits around maternity, adoption and shared parental leave (up to 26 weeks full pay), Paternity leave (up to 6 weeks full pay), and a new Fertility Treatment Policy
  • A beautiful campus set in the heart of stunning Devon, United Kingdom.

How to Apply

Applications should be made online via the University of Exeter website.  To apply, please go to and key word search P51906; click Apply online.

As part of your application, please attach a single pdf file or a maximum of two pdf files, to include:

  • A full and up-to-date curriculum vitae with publications list.
  • A covering letter explaining why the post is of interest and how your skills and experience meet the requirements taking into account the Person Specification in the Candidate Pack.

We expect the selection process to take place over June/July 2019. 

Contact Details

For an informal and confidential conversation about the position, you are welcome to contact Professor Neil Gow FRS, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Impact), or (01392) 725152, or, Mrs Roo Haywood Smith, Living Systems Institute Manager, or (01392) 725335.

This role may be subject to additional background screening.  The closing date for completed applications is: Wednesday 1 May 2019 midnight.