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Science director

University of Ghent / VIB
Closing date
Dec 10, 2021

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VIB and Ghent University are launching an international search for a Science Director - Research Professor for the VIB- Ghent University Plant Systems Biology Research Center (PSB)


VIB and Ghent University are currently seeking to appoint a  Science director - research professor for the VIB-Ghent University Plant Systems Biology Research Center (PSB).

The VIB-Ghent University Center for Plant Systems Biology (PSB) houses a vibrant, world-leading community of 18 research groups that perform curiosity-driven plant research.

With the insights from our science, we want to enable more sustainable agriculture and help mitigate the consequences of climate change. Researchers in the center study plant protection mechanisms against drought and heat and how plants make efficient use of nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus. The molecular pathways driving plant growth and development in concert with the environment are investigated along with the sequestration of carbon in cell walls, and the use of plant metabolites for a green bio-economy.

Key to moving the field forward is the implementation of breakthrough technologies, and the center invests strongly in this area by integrating the latest technologies in data miming, genome editing, single-cell, and spatial technologies, and multiplex gene perturbations in collaboration with our in-house VIB Tech Watch team.

Our world-leading expertise in bioinformatics and computational biology allows our researchers to study plant processes in an integrative manner. Currently, the center is building capacity in artificial intelligence and other machine learning methods to maintain our leadership in this domain. Both model plants, as well as crops such as maize, wheat, tomato, and poplar, are studied and for all of these species, in-house gene editing and transformation pipelines are developed. These assets, along with a firmly established AgBio eco-system and the new opportunities created by the VIB agricultural biotechnology incubator, put PSB in pole position to tackle sustainability and climate emergency.


Ghent University, a top 100 university founded in 1817, is a major European university, with more than 47,000 students and 15,000 employees. The 11 faculties offer more than 200 courses and conduct cutting-edge research in a wide range of scientific domains. Our credo is ‘Dare to Think’ – challenging everyone to question conventional views. We are a pluralistic university open to all, regardless of their ideological, political, cultural, or social background. Ghent University Global Campus is also the first European university in Songdo, South Korea. See  #ugent


VIB is a world-leading non-profit research institute in the life sciences, located in Flanders, Belgium. About 1,800 scientists and technicians investigate the principles of life, from single cells to whole organisms, studying microbes, plants, animals, and humans. Based on a close partnership with all Flemish universities and core funding from the Flanders government, VIB unites the forces of 90 research groups clustered in nine thematic research centers. The cornerstone of VIB’s policy is excellence, not only in basic science but also in translational research and technology transfer. Our goal is to rapidly expand our knowledge of biomedical principles and to apply this knowledge in the real world. VIB provides a stimulating environment where talent can excel, including institutional core facilities, a best-in-class program that provides early access to emerging technologies, and transformative training at all levels in the organization. Through its technology transfer activities, VIB converts research results into products that benefit society. The workforce of VIB is international and diverse, reflecting our inclusive and respectful working environment. See


VIB and Ghent University are jointly searching for a dynamic, internationally recognized leader to inspire and lead the research center. The selected candidate will receive a dual appointment: a VIB appointment as science director of the VIB-UGent Center for Plant Systems Biology and an appointment as tenured professor at Ghent University, Faculty of Sciences, Department of Plant Biotechnology and Bioinformatics.  

The candidate will provide vision and leadership to the research center, with responsibility for:

  • developing the scientific strategy of the research center and its future mission;
  • creating a stimulating environment with a culture that fosters talent and builds excellence;
  • creating and maintaining a culture of community within the research center
  • fostering a diverse and inclusive working environment that supports the well-being of all staff members;
  • organizing and managing the research center in terms of science, tech transfer, logistics, finance, and human talent.

It is expected that the candidate will maintain an active interest in leading an independent research lab for which significant long-term support will be provided. The successful candidate will be a member of the VIB Directors Committee, in which the incumbent will have joint responsibility for the overall success of VIB.

Within the University Department of Plant Biotechnology and Bioinformatics, the candidate will also be responsible for:

  • academic education: lecturing courses within the own discipline;
  • academic services: by taking part in the departmental council helping to develop constructive communication concerning policy decisions that have an impact on both the VIB Research Center and the Faculty department.


The ideal candidate for this challenging position has:


  • experienced visionary scientist, widely recognized in their academic field, with a strong record of scientific publications;
  • the capability of initiating, supervising, and acquiring the necessary funding for academic research;
  • a rank as (full) professor with - preferentially - a track record of management in universities or research institutions;
  • excellent communication skills
  • a strong desire for developing a common vision and mission for PSB;
  • experience with science policy and technology transfer;
  • didactical skills to teach university students to develop academic competencies.

Skills / Attitude

  • sensitivity for building a diverse and inclusive working environment.
  • excellent communication and negotiating skills
  • quality-oriented;
  • initiative driven.

Admission requirements

  • You hold a Ph.D. (thesis-based doctorate) or a diploma or certificate that is recognised as equivalent (Article V.20 Codex Higher Education).


VIB and Ghent University will jointly offer a dual appointment to the selected candidate, equivalent to a tenured position as (senior) full professor. This is a full-time position with shared employment at VIB and Ghent University.

Place of employment: VIB-Ghent University Plant Systems Biology Research Center (PSB), part of the  Ghent University  Department of Plant Biotechnology and Bioinformatics (WE09), Faculty of Sciences in Ghent, Belgium.


Candidates who are interested in this position are asked to send the following to Jo Bury, managing director VIB at

  • a complete CV
  • a list of publications
  • a list of 5 selected publications illustrating the impact of the research of the candidate
  • a research statement describing the vision for future research (max. 5,000 words)
  • a letter to the search panel describing the qualifications required to be selected for the job offered
  • a transcript of your doctoral degree. If you have a foreign diploma in a language other than our national languages (Dutch, French, or German) or English, please add a translation in one of the mentioned languages.
  • a ‘Certificate of equivalence’: only for diplomas awarded outside the European Union: certificate of equivalence (NARIC) (if already in your possession)

Closing date for applications is November 30, 2021.


For additional information about the profile and the assignment, please contact Jo Bury, managing director VIB (+32 9 244 6611) at, or the current PSB science director Dirk Inzé at

For additional information regarding the terms of appointment, please contact Marijke Lein - HR director of VIB –

Further information on

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