Head, Department of Biological Sciences

Suzhou, Jiangsu (CN)
The Package is competitive
March 25 2021
Position Type
Full Time
Organization Type


DEPARTMENT: Biological sciences

ACADEMIC DISCIPLINE: Molecular biology

POSITION TITLE: Senior associate professor/Professor


SALARY:  The Package is competitive

POSITION OPEN DATE: 23rd February 2021


JOB ID: 1923

CONTRACT TYPE: Full-Time, 3-year contract (renewable) and 3rd contract is open-ended


Located in Suzhou, China, Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University (XJTLU) is a young, dynamic and EMI university founded in 2006, and is a unique collaborative institution and first joint-venture university in China to offer both UK (University of Liverpool) and Chinese (Ministry of Education) accredited undergraduate degrees for 103 programmes. XJTLU also aims to become truly research-led and has committed significant investment into research development and the expansion of master’s and PhD student numbers on campus. The university has over 18,000 students and more than 920 academic staff representing in excess of 90 nationalities. 

XJTLU is located in the Higher Education Town of Suzhou Industrial Park (SIP). Suzhou has been ranked the 74th most liveable city in the 2018 Global Liveability Index. Additionally, it is well-connected via nearby airports to cities such as Hong Kong, Seoul, Tokyo, and Taipei, and via high-speed rail to other major cities in China. SIP is a major growth zone, including operations run by nearly one-fifth of the Fortune 500 top global companies. Greater Suzhou is now the fourth largest concentration of economic activity in China in terms of GDP, and the SIP has a higher GDP per capita than the UK. The broader Suzhou area encompasses the spirit of both old and new in China, with the historic old town’s canals, UNESCO World Heritage Site gardens, and the I.M. Pei-designed Suzhou Museum attracting millions of tourists annually. SIP offers an excellent quality of life with high environmental standards. The nearby Jinji Lake provides attractive views, by day and by night, and there is a variety of shopping facilities, international and local restaurants, entertainment hubs and nightlife. Suzhou is also home to four international schools.

The Department of Biological Sciences invites applications for the position of Head of Department. Our international department has 15 academic staff actively engaged in research in molecular biology and bioinformatics. We seek individuals with experience in academic management as well as a strong publication track record.

Successful candidates will show commitment to a high standard of teaching at all levels. The department is involved in the delivery of two four-year undergraduate programmes in biological sciences and bioinformatics. At postgraduate level, we offer a master of research programme in molecular Bioscience and PhD programme in biological sciences.

Position Description:

The position of Head of Department [HoD] is crucial to the effective operation of XJTLU. Departments are the fundamental building blocks of the university, and the Head is the most important communication link between the university and the individual member of academic staff. The HoD is responsible to the Dean of their School and the Vice President for Academic Affairs for the entire operation of the department and the professional behaviour of each individual member of staff.  The HoD is a key leader, manager, and administrator without which the university cannot function. The term of appointment is three years.


  1. The HoD provides leadership, academic direction and oversight to the department.
  2. The HoD leads the departmental strategic planning process. The Departmental Strategy is the fundamental guideline for the operation and development of the department. The university has a system of rolling three year plans to identify annual operational objectives and resource planning. 
  3. It is the responsibility of the Head to work with the Dean and Associate Dean for Learning and Teaching of their School to ensure that teaching programmes maximise the market opportunity for the presentation of their discipline or field of study. 
  4. It is the responsibility of the Head to ensure that the content of modules is kept up to date; and that new advances in teaching technology and academic discussions are accommodated.
  5. The Head is responsible for overseeing the research direction and performance – collectively and individually – of the department. Specific areas, such as the English Language Centre, will define this area in a different way: such as professional development, educational innovation, and applied research.
  6. The HoD oversees the development of the Department’s external engagement.  The aim of such outreach activities is to help the department integrate into the university and appeal to the wider community. This is important for ensuring the department’s resource base and for publicising its activities, which in turn will aid the development of its capacity. Outreach includes areas such as engagement with other departments within the University, external organisations, knowledge exchange (applied research) activities, and Executive Education.
  7. The HoD plays a leading role with other Heads of Department in the School.




  1. The HoD is responsible for the organization and administration of the department. In some cases, the Head carries out the task themselves. In other cases, tasks are assigned through delegation. 
  2. The HoD will develop and implement the department’s individual work allocation model. This is a fundamental guideline for effective and efficient workload allocation and people management within the Department. 
  3. The HoD is responsible to the university for the implementation of all its academic and operational policies, rules and regulations. Of particular importance in this regard is the conduct of examinations and marking and moderation regimes; implementation of the staff attendance and absence policy; observance of the staff code of conduct; observance of quality assurance processes and procedures; and adherence to the university’s language policy.
  4. The HoD delegates tasks to members of the department, who through their involvement will feel greater engagement with the work of the department.  Greater engagement also plays an important role in succession planning, where less experienced colleagues can be developed to a point where they can assume a role of this significance.
  5. A HoD may be asked to take on specific administrative tasks by the university. These include service on committees or working parties; chair of review panels; and other more specific duties.
  6. The HoD is directly responsible within the Department for:
  • Strategic and annual planning
  • Individual staff work allocation  
  • Budget development and expenditure  
  • Financial approvals for expenditure from departmental budget
  • Ensuring quality and standards are upheld
  • Staff appointments; identifying need, defining the specification and justification, organizing recruitment, overseeing interview panel arrangements, and recommending appointment
  • Formal staff Professional Development Reviews and processes
  • Staff disciplinary issues
  • Student disciplinary issues and complaints
  • Assignments of administrative duties to other staff
  • Implementation of staff attendance and absence policy
  • Leave of absence approvals
  • Dissemination of information regarding the development of the university, especially changes to policy, university regulations, and issues discussed at the Academic Leadership Group.
  • Maintenance of record of staff authorised and unauthorised absences
  • Ensuring that the requirements of PRC legislation and XJTLU regulation on Health and Safety are all met. 


  1. The HoD manages all academic staff, along with all academic and administrative functions of the department. 
  2. The HoD manages rather than directly administering. The HoD ensures that staff carry out their duties professionally, effectively, and at the highest standard possible. Management entails talking and communicating with people, providing support to them in their work, ensuring direction and providing useful and meaningful feedback to enable departmental work to be successfully completed.  
  3. The HoD also provides in-line supervision and management of some individual staff. Effectively a manager cannot manage more than approximately six direct reports. Consequently, it is recommended that a department with more than ten members of staff establishes a managerial hierarchy based on this principle.  
  4. The HoD is responsible for the effective management of the Professional Development Review system within the Department.
  5. The HoD is the manager of Health and Safety in the Department.

Key relationships:

  1. The HoD is co-managed by the Dean and the VPAA though line-managed directly by the VPAA for the moment until the newly proposed system is considered embedded. Any change in formal supervisory relationship for Heads of Department will be determined on a case-by-case basis, with the approval of the VPAA and EP.
  2. The HoD is responsible for the Department and reports to the Head of School (Dean).
  3. The HoD works closely with the Policy Deans for Teaching and Learning, Research, and International Affairs to ensure the development of programmes of Teaching and Learning, Research outputs, and International activities.
  4. The HoD works closely with the Director, the Centre for Academic Affairs to ensure the maintenance of and adherence to the university’s regulatory environment.
  5. The HoD works closely with the Head of ASO who acts to support the academic work of each department.
  6. The HoD works closely with other HoDs in the same School to ensure the development of research synergies, provision of administrative services and economies of scale, and activities to raise the profile of the cluster and its departments. 
  7. Each HoD works closely with other HoDs, especially through the Academic Leadership Group, which is the key forum in the university for the discussion of academic operational affairs.
  8. The HoD meets regularly with their direct reports within the Department.
  9. The HoD meets regularly with all staff in the Department.
  10. The HoD is leader and mentor to all staff in the Department, especially to junior staff.


The HoD is responsible to the Dean of their School and the Vice President Academic Affairs for the academic development of the department. This includes research performance, teaching delivery, and outreach activities.

  1. The HoD is responsible for the regular assessment of teaching and research outcomes, and works with relevant administrative departments for the improvement of teaching and research outcomes.
  2. The HoD is responsible for ensuring the application of all university policies and regulations by members of staff in the department.
  3. The HoD is responsible for ensuring adherence to the laws and directives of the People’s Republic of China by staff in the department.
  4. The HoD speaks with university authority within the department. This authority is particularly important in safety matters. The HoD’s authority may only be countermanded by the Dean of the School or the VP for Academic Affairs.


Members of Academic Staff are entitled to subsidies for accommodation, travel, and children’s educational, medical insurance, and a one-time relocation allowance is provided. Overseas staff may receive a tax “holiday,” depending on nationality and personal circumstances.


Employment at Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University is regulated by Chinese Labour Laws, and must comply with the regulations of the provincial government. These regulations stipulate who is eligible for legal employment with regard to obtaining work permits and visas.  Please be advised candidates over 65 may be not eligible for PRC work visa.

To Apply:

Please submit your application Online through the link below:


Job ID: 1923

Applications must be submitted in a single pdf file that includes 3 parts in the order of:

  • A cover letter 
  • A current CV, including date of birth, country of citizenship, and highest degree level
  • Contact Details for Three References 

For general enquiries, please email Dean, School of Science Dr Eric Amigues at eric.amigues@xjtlu.edu.cn or the Recruiting Team at Mengdie Sun at Mengdie.Sun@xjtlu.edu.cn . Please quote the position and job ID in your enquiry.