Program Leader for Animal Models (Senior/Principle Fellow or Professor)


U.K. Dementia Research Institute and MRC Harwell


London, England, U.K.

Principal Investigator

Bart De Strooper


To apply for this position visit:

For queries regarding the application process, please contact Oksana Shapoval, HR Officer, Institute of Neurology, 23 Queen Square, London, WC1N 3BG (email:



To direct an internationally competitive research program within the U.K. Dementia Research Institute (UK DRI) relevant to the area of neurodegeneration, with the ultimate aim of improving human health, the program leader will draw on his or her own knowledge and expertise and that of colleagues both within and outside of the UK DRI, developing a collaborative program and directing a team effort to improve the value of genetically and non-genetically modified rodent models in dementia research. The UK DRI is interested in innovative technologies to analyze brain function in vivo, and innovative ways to create better models for disease. The leader will have a strong research program of his or her own but also will coordinate the efforts over the whole institute. The UK DRI is looking to transform the field of dementia research and welcomes scientists from all disciplines.

The program leader will independently interact with scientists and support staff at all levels within the center and the UK DRI, and externally with senior personnel in the national and international research community, including research institutes, funding bodies and commercial companies.

Duties and responsibilities:

1. Main duties:

  • To develop and lead a program of research within the UK DRI with a focus on improved rodent disease models, that will complement existing UK DRI research strengths and is in line with its scientific mission.
  • To facilitate interaction between the UK-DRI and MRC-Harwell and provide leadership by example on the use of rodents in dementia research.
  • To integrate the efforts of UK-DRI and MRC-Harwell with international efforts to improve the quality of dementia-relevant disease models.
  • To recruit, train, line manage and develop research team members.
  • To manage the resources—funds, space, equipment, etc.—of the program.
  • To publish discoveries in appropriate internationally visible scientific journals and other relevant media.
  • To present the results of the research at national and international meetings and conferences..
  • To secure and manage external funding from grant-giving bodies and industry to supplement UK DRI program funding.
  • To develop interactions with industry in order to translate the results of research into useful new approaches or treatments that will improve human health.
  • To ensure that any intellectual property is protected according to UK DRI Ltd. policy for the benefit of the UK DRI, the UK economy, and patients and carers.
  • To contribute to the UK DRI’s engagement with patients and the broader public, in particular to communicate the excitement of research to the public in an accessible way and to help raise the profile of the UK DRI.
  • To respond to the UK DRI Board of Trustees, as required by the director.
  • To collaborate and align with the directors of MRC-Harwell to help establish a dementia research in their center.
  1. Key responsibilities:
  • Leadership of a group of research scientists, comprising postdoctoral fellows, Ph.D. students, and technical support staff
  • Planning the scientific direction of the research program aimed at key questions within the overall scientific remit of the UK DRI; being accountable for presenting the program for peer review, as part of the Institute’s scientific assessment and in accordance with the funders’ procedures.
  • Contributing to the overall scientific mission of the UK DRI, UCL, and Harwell.
  • Directing the activities of the research group by supervising some projects personally and overseeing projects delegated to group members. The leader will be expected to provide the intellectual energy and independent thinking necessary to lead and deliver a program of cutting-edge research and to shape the overall aims and success of the group.
  • Disseminating the research outputs from the group by publication of results, presentations at scientific meetings, and responding to media enquiries. Working with UCL’s press office, MRC Harwell, and the UK DRI to ensure that achievements are widely publicised through all suitable media.
  • Working as a scientific leader within the UK DRI institute and promoting this concept within the group and more widely.
  • Determining and managing the resource requirements to sustain the program, including the staffing structure required for taking forward the program of research to success.
  • With operational support, maintain oversight and responsibility for the recruitment, management, training, and career development of group members, including line management and performance management, in accordance with the UK DRI policies and procedures.
  • Contributing to the harmonious and successful running of the UK DRI, helping to ensure that the research program team does the same.
  • Actively maintaining and managing the relationship and interface with the different units of the DRI.
  • Generating and managing collaborations both within the center, the UK DRI, Harwell, and external and international establishments.
  • Identifying and acting on opportunities for the creation of intellectual property and cooperating in patent protection and in exploitation according to UK DRI policy.
  • Contributing to the funders’ commitment in the areas of training, enhancing public awareness of scientific issues, interaction with academic and health service providers, and commercial exploitation where appropriate.
  • Maintaining a broad, balanced, and informed perspective of current scientific issues, especially those pertaining directly to the field of research.
  • Contributing to scientific progress in the field as a whole by, for example, membership on expert committees, editing specialist journals, and refereeing funding applications.
  • Contributing to public communications initiatives to facilitate greater public engagement with science and specifically, contributing to engagement with patients and their carers.
  • Ensuring all research within the program is conducted in accordance with good practice and in compliance with UK DRI and Harwell policies and legal requirements.
  1. Professional and Quality Assurance:
  • Ensuring the highest standard of record-keeping, maintaining accurate, complete, and up-to-date records.
  • Ensuring confidentiality is maintained as applicable.
  • Attending and contributing to departmental, institutional, and other meetings as appropriate.
  • Acting at all times in accordance with the highest professional standards, and ensuring that these are maintained in the delivery of all aspects of research.
  • Adhering at all times to the policies, rules, and regulations of the separtment, institute, and UCL.
  • The post holder will actively follow UCL policies including equal opportunity and information governance policies.
  • The post holder has a responsibility to carry out his or her duties in a resource-efficient way and actively support UCL’s sustainability strategy, policies, and objectives within the remit of the role.
  • The post holder will maintain an awareness and observation of fire and health and safety regulations.
  1. General
  • As duties and responsibilities change, the job description will be reviewed and amended in consultation with the post holder.
  • The post holder will carry out any other duties as are within the scope, spirit and purpose of the job as requested by the line manager.

The post is available immediately and is funded from UK DRI @ UCL initially for five years, with appointment based on the MRC tenure-track route.  Post will be offered subject to satisfactory references and successful completion of a 9-month probationary period for Fellow position or 12-month probationary period for Professor position.

Salary: Fellow will be appointed on either UCL grade 8 or 9. UCL Grade 8 (Senior Fellow): £43,023 - £50,753 per annum including London Allowance, superannuable.

UCL Grade 9 (Principle Fellow): £55,163 - £59,981 per annum, including London Allowance, superannuable.

Starting salary for the professor position will be on the UCL Non Clinical Professorial scale, minimum £66,008 per annum, including London Allowance, superannuable.

Salary will be determined based on achievements, qualifications and experience. Competitive salary will be available to exceptional candidates.

Relocation supplement: In addition to removal expenses a relocation supplement may be payable where it is necessary to relocate to take up an appointment at UCL.

Probation: Appointments are subject to receipt of satisfactory references and a probationary period of nine months for fellow position and 12-month probationary period for professor position.

Hours of work: To be determined by the director of the UK DRI following negotiation.

Annual leave: Annual leave is 27 working days for a full-time member of staff plus 6 UCL closure days in addition to eight Bank Holidays.

Sabbatical leave: Academic staff who have completed probation are entitled to apply for sabbatical leave for one term in every three years.

Pension: Appointments are superannuable under the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) or, subject to eligibility requirements, the National Health Service Pension Scheme (NHSPS). Further information about USS and the benefits can be found at

Other benefits: UCL is a dynamic, global university based in one of the most exciting capital cities in the world. Not only does working at UCL offer the opportunity to work with some of the greatest intellects in the world, it also offers competitive terms, conditions and benefits to its staff. In the 2013 UCL staff survey, 83 percent of staff would recommend UCL as a good place to work and 86 percent are proud to work for UCL.

UCL employees can access free lunch hour lectures, exhibitions, and museums and collections. On campus UCL has the Bloomsbury theatre hosting a range of performances and a series of bars, cafes and other facilities, which UCL staff can use.

In addition to 41 days annual leave (inclusive of public holidays and closure days) and generous pension schemes, UCL provides a number of other staff benefits which are linked from the page below:

UCL benefits and policies apply equally, whatever the sexual orientation and/or gender identity of employees.  Benefits and policies relating to employees partners, includes both different-sex and same-sex partners.



  • Ph.D. or equivalent.
  • Recognition for quality of research by national and/or international awarding bodies in the area of rodent models and their use to understand the working of the brain.
  • Bringing novel approaches and insights to the field of neurodegeneration research.
  • Proven scientific leadership.
  • Demonstrates that the proposed research interfaces and complements the present portfolio and future science strategy of the UK DRI as a whole.
  • Experience of planning and developing projects or programm of research.
  • Demonstrates scientific innovation, enabling apparently intractable problems to be successfully tackled and overcome.
  • Strong record of publications in high impact journals, with emphasis on quality.
  • Proven experience in presenting and defending the results of research.
  • Record of being awarded competitive grants.
  • Experience of having influenced knowledge or wider practice in previous research field.
  • Experience of providing the critical thinking required to create and run an independent research program.
  • Experience of leading successful projects independently.
  • Experience in building, strengthening, and sustaining successful collaborations
  • both within the home institute and externally, influencing outcomes and/or direction.
  • Experience in identifying and capitalizing on opportunities to create intellectual property and exploitat commercial potential; cooperating in patent protection and other mechanisms used by home institute to protect intellectual property.
  • Experience managing resources (funding, equipment and people).
  • Experience recruiting, training, and line managing Ph.D. students and postdoctoral scientists.
  • Experience communicating and engaging with a wide range of stakeholders including the press, the public, including patients and their carers and schools.

Personal skills, behaviors, qualities

  • Proactive and creative independent thinker.
  • Ability to lead people within a research program group in an inspiring manner, building them into an excellent research team.
  • Strong skills working with staff of different levels, including non-science specialists, across the home institute.
  • Ability to take critical and timely decisions.
  • Tenacity and resilience.
  • Good communicator.