Vice-Principal, Research and Enterprise

Please note the deadline for this post has now expired

As a world-leading research-intensive University, we are here to address tomorrow’s greatest challenges. Between now and 2030 we will do that with a values-led approach to teaching, research, and innovation, and through the strength of our relationships, both locally and globally.  Edinburgh is a truly global university and we have always had a commitment to diversity and a community in which students feel valued and welcome.

Universities are changing and creating outstanding opportunities for individuals who have skills and expertise that bridge between industry and academia.  The University of Edinburgh has created a new role for just such an individual and is seeking an experienced leader as its Vice-Principal Research and Enterprise. It’s an exciting time to consider joining the University as we have progressively grown our research portfolio over the last decade, now winning considerably over £300m annually.

This senior leadership post offers a major opportunity for an outstanding appointee to shape and reimagine the landscape of research, innovation, industrial engagement and enterprise development in one of the world’s top 20 universities. Operating across a broad remit within the University, the Vice-Principal Research and Enterprise will grow strategic partnerships, both nationally and internationally, and to accelerate the University’s research and innovation ecosystem into the top tier globally.

We are seeking to appoint a collaborative and innovative leader with real vision for our research and enterprise activity, someone who brings a commitment to interdisciplinarity and multifaceted partnerships. Whether from industry or academia, the successful candidate will be a seasoned leader with experience of research, enterprise development and commercialisation

We are committed to equality, diversity and inclusion, and applicants from minority groups are particularly welcomed.

If you wish to discuss this role further in confidence, please contact Zachry Sazali at Zachry.Sazali@perrettlaver.com  or on 0207 340 6213.

About the University of Edinburgh

At the University of Edinburgh, we’ve been influencing the world for more than 400 years. Each year we take on tomorrow’s greatest challenges. Each year is different – every person, teacher, project, and every thought more exciting than the last. 

Whatever excites you, whatever your ambition, whatever makes you ‘you’, we know one thing; nothing ordinary comes from this extraordinary place. At Edinburgh, you’ll be in good company, doing good things, for the good of the environment and the world.

Driven by this passion, we’ve affected and empowered every one of our community. We believe this is possible because of a unique mix of three factors:

  • Place: The city of Edinburgh is famous for changing the way the world is understood. Its history and reputation rub off on us, every day. It inspires and lifts our expectations of what is possible.
  • People: Our staff, students, leaders and partners are talented, courageous, engaging and brilliant – and down-to-earth. They value wisdom, laughter, character – and each other.
  • Practice: We’re an encouraging space to explore, but at the same time, our research, teaching, and even our daily processes, are ambitious. We, and our global business partners, inspire you to aim high, push frontiers, deliver economic impact, drive sustainability. We’re bold and our results change the world.

Where our place, people and practice meet, this is the University of Edinburgh. Somewhere in this blend of ingredients a magic is made. And it stays with you for life.

As a world-leading research-intensive University, we are here to address tomorrow’s greatest challenges. Between now and 2030 we will do that with a values-led approach to teaching, research and innovation, and through the strength of our relationships, both locally and globally.  Edinburgh is a truly global university and we have always had a commitment to diversity and a community in which students feel valued and welcome.

The University of Edinburgh has progressively grown its research portfolio over the last decade, now winning considerably over £300m annually. We are a leading partner of all UK research councils, the large charities, EU and many of the world’s most important international funders. We host a range of famous centres, including the MRC Human Genetics Unit and BBSRC’s Roslin Institute, a major GCRF Hub and are founder members of the Alan Turing, Rosalind Franklin, Health Data Research UK and UK Dementia Research Institutes. Edinburgh and its partners have recently brought in a £600m award from UK and Scottish Governments for data-driven innovation under the aegis of a City Region Deal.

Further major research and innovation development opportunities include the BioQuarter healthcare campus and the Edinburgh Futures Institute. We have been strategically growing industry engagement with a striking expansion in interactions, funding and company formation.  However, we recognise that there is much more to achieve in all domains: in particular, there is a need to grow strategic partnerships, both nationally and internationally, and to accelerate the University’s research and innovation ecosystem into the top tier globally.

Universities are changing and creating outstanding opportunities for individuals who have skills and expertise that bridge between industry and academia.  The University of Edinburgh has created a new role for just such an individual and is seeking an experienced leader as its Vice-Principal Research and Enterprise.

This senior leadership post offers a major opportunity for an outstanding appointee to shape and reimagine the landscape of research, innovation, industrial engagement and enterprise development in one of the world’s top 20 universities (QS rankings 2022). The University was fourth by research power in the most recent UK Research Excellence Framework assessment (2014) and has recently submitted a larger and stronger input into the delayed 2020 exercise.

Job Details

Post: Vice-Principal Research and Enterprise

School: Any school relevant to the skills of the successful applicant

Line manager: Provost (currently being appointed)

Post Summary

This is a senior leadership position and offers the successful candidate a major and highly influential role in one of the world’s leading research-intensive universities.

The Vice-Principal Research and Enterprise (VP-R&E) will provide positive and collaborative leadership in all domains (research, innovation, industry engagement and enterprise development) including leading engagement with key corporate partners and research funders. Further responsibilities will include convening key committees that drive research, innovation, industrial interactions, research commercialisation and enterprise development across the University. They will provide critical leadership in research policy and governance, convening the research leaders of the University’s three Colleges and relevant Professional Services groups.  They will play a leading role, alongside the University’s industry engagement company, Edinburgh Innovations, in transforming the University’s capabilities in research translation, innovation and company engagement across the board.

The VP-R&E will be a crucial member of the University’s Senior Leadership Team and of its core decision-making body, the University Executive. They will report directly to the Provost.

Vice-Principal Research and Enterprise

The University of Edinburgh is seeking an experienced leader as its new Vice-Principal (Research and Enterprise). This senior leadership post offers a major opportunity for an outstanding appointee to shape and grow the research, innovation, industrial interactions, research commercialisation and enterprise development landscape in one of the world’s top 20 universities (QS rankings 2022), fourth by research power in the most recent UK Research Excellence Framework assessment (2014).

The University has progressively grown its research portfolio over the last decade, now winning considerably over £300m annually. We are a leading strategic partner of all UK research councils, the large charities, EU and many of the world’s most important international funders. We host a range of internationally leading research centres, including the MRC Human Genetics Unit and BBSRC’s Roslin Institute, a major GCRF Hub and AHRC’s Creative Informatics Hub.  We are founder members of major UK initiatives including the Alan Turing, Rosalind Franklin, Health Data Research UK and UK Dementia Research Institutes. Edinburgh and our partners have recently brought in a £600m award from UK and Scottish Governments for data-driven innovation under the aegis of a City Region Deal. We have also been strategically growing industry engagement with a striking expansion in interactions, funding and company formation.  But there is much more to achieve in all domains.

The successful candidate will be a seasoned leader of research and innovation in academia and/or industry.  They will have a strong track record of achievement in research in any domain relevant to our comprehensive, research-intensive university, and a strong appreciation of interdisciplinarity. Experience of innovation, commercialisation and working in or closely with industry will be a major advantage.  We are committed to equality and diversity and applicants from minority groups are particularly welcomed.

The Vice-Principal Research and Enterprise will lead the formulation of strategy and processes to drive forward research, innovation, industrial interactions and enterprise development at the University of Edinburgh. They will chair relevant bodies (for example research policy group), establish new approaches and structures progressively to grow industry engagement, research attainment, external grants and other research income, lead necessary culture changes and promote the university on national and global stages. The appointee will be a full member of the University’s Senior Leadership Team and its Executive and will attend Court, the University’s highest governance body.

This post has a broad remit and we recognise that finding one individual to encompass all aspects will be a challenge. Nevertheless, these areas are crucial to our future and we are determined to ensure that this portfolio of activities succeeds.

This exceptional post offers the appointee the opportunity to gain broad experience in senior leadership in a major university and make a key contribution to economic and social impact. It is an end in itself or a developmental pathway towards the highest leadership roles. The successful candidate will be offered broad support to develop their career and realise their potential in a supportive and collegial senior team environment.

Qualities & Characteristics

As a world-leading research-intensive University, we are here to address tomorrow’s greatest challenges. To deliver this, the VP-R&E should possess many of the following qualities and characteristics:

  • An inclusive, values-led and forward-looking leadership style that encourages collaboration in an environment that has historically embraced autonomy and a strong competitive spirit.
  • A commitment to increased effectiveness through a process of continual assessment and accountability.
  • Political acumen and the ability to communicate complex information to various audiences. A passionate and energetic spokesperson who can engage and excite others about the University’s research and innovation.
  • The proven ability to play a high-profile role within the University, the city of Edinburgh, Scottish and UK Governments, highlighting the economic and intellectual contributions of our research and innovation.
  • Demonstrable ability to strengthen existing relationships and develop new partnerships that result in a coherent network of productive and mutually enriching collaborations.
  • A deep understanding of research translation processes and practice across a breadth of disciplines, including research commercialisation, research-industry collaborations, partnership building and non-commercial pathways including policy and societal impact.
  • Familiarity with the stages of commercialisation, deal making, company formation, company management, raising investment and attracting management.
  • A data-driven approach to decision-making, employing metrics to guide the University to achieve its research and innovation goals.
  • The insight to successfully lead, manage and navigate current and future policy challenges impacting the research and innovation landscape.
  • A clear commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion in the University’s research, innovation and enterprise activities. This will include commitment to early career researchers and less than full-time workers.
  • Evidenced commitment to the highest standards of integrity in research and innovation and the capacity to provide leadership in this crucial domain.
  • Engagement in training in research and innovation, developing the next generation of leaders though conventional research degrees and via emerging non-traditional modes.
  • An appreciation for a University's full range of research, scholarship, innovation and other creative activity, able to articulate how these make positive contributions to society.
  • A genuine understanding of the relationship between research and entrepreneurship, commercialisation, investment and management; the ability to unify diverse stakeholder groups in fostering an environment that promotes effective strategies and partnerships geared toward innovation.
  • A track record of their ability to adapt and the flexibility to work productively with a wide range of people and perspectives and to be an effective team player, with the highest levels of integrity and ethical behaviour.
  • An approachable, balanced, reasonable and collaborative ethos to leadership.

Qualifications and experience

  • Academic qualifications at professorial level or a non-academic equivalent, with evidence of ‘eminent scholarship’ in its myriad forms.
  • Demonstrable success as a leader in one or more major complex organisations.
  • Strong people management skills and demonstrable success in programme leadership.
  • Experience of building and fostering close relationships with major industry, SMEs, venture and other sources of risk capital, public sector partners and grant funding agencies.
  • Experience in implementing substantial organisational change at scale in support of strategic imperatives, including evidence of successfully building credibility with key stakeholders.
  • Significant experience of research leadership, both in terms of personal research attainment (to ‘lead from the front’) and institutional leadership of research.​​​​​​

How to apply

The University will be supported in this appointment process by the executive search firm Perrett Laver. Perrett Laver will support the panel in the discharge of its duties, both to assist in the assessment of candidates against the requirements for the role and to identify the widest possible field of qualified candidates. We are committed to equality, diversity and inclusion, and applicants from minority groups are particularly welcomed.

Applications should consist of a full curriculum vitae along with a covering letter of application addressing the role and the qualities and experiences outlined. Completed applications should be uploaded at www.perrettlaver.com/candidates quoting reference 5247 by Friday 17th September 2021 at midday (BST).
 
Longlisted candidates will be invited for interview with Perrett Laver mid-October following which the panel will agree a shortlist. Shortlisted candidates will be invited to attend informal visits and interviews with Edinburgh in late-November/early December. 

Please note the deadline for this post has now expired

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