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Head of Drug Discovery

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Job Summary
5-year contract
H3D Drug Discovery and Development Centre

Introductory paragraph

H3D is currently looking to fill the newly created position of Head of Drug Discovery to provide scientific leadership and strategic thinking for H3D's dynamic research portfolio. This position will report to the Director of H3D and be part of H3D's Leadership Team responsible for overall scientific strategy and governance for the organization. The person in this position will be mainly responsible for enabling and aiding scientific teams with the development and execution of scientific project strategy and plans, with a focus on highly interdisciplinary teams, and on biology and pharmacology aspects of drug discovery (including bacteriology, parasitology, and drug metabolism & pharmacokinetic (DMPK).

Requirements:

  • PhD (or equivalent) and extensive research experience in a drug discovery-related field (biology or pharmacology highly preferred; individuals with a degree in chemistry and deep understanding in biological/pharmacological drug discovery principles will also be considered);
  • Widely recognized as scientific leader, including strong publication record;
  • 10+ years of experience leading a similar-sized translational research lab, preferably a drug discovery lab;
  • Experience in industry;
  • Demonstrated ability to lead interdisciplinary research teams and effectively work in a matrix-based organization;
  • Excellent scientific project management skills and demonstrated ability to deliver results; experience with portfolio management and strategic planning highly preferred;
  • Excellent oral & written communication and presentation skills, and a strong ability/interest in scientific mentoring, coaching and training;
  • Excellent interpersonal skills and ability to motivate and inspire people, encourage team-based/collaborative science, and provide a sense of purpose and urgency at an organizational and individual level.

Responsibilities:

  1. Responsibilities in the area of day-to-day scientific leadership and mentorship of scientific leaders and teams include:
    • help establish well thought-out, project-specific research goals, including time lines, for all major research programs (drug discovery and technology programs), in accordance with H3D's overall portfolio goals/priorities and funder/collaborator requirements;
    • assure that scientific goal-setting and decision-making processes for each research program involve input/insights from all relevant disciplines, including chemists, biologists, pharmacologists and clinicians, as needed; help identify and engage external expertise in areas where in-house expertise is lacking or needs to be enhanced;
    • offer scientific mentorship, on an ongoing basis, as needed and appropriate, including help with the design and interpretation of key scientific experiments, setting criteria for strategic go/no-go decisions to advance/stop a research program, or developing alternative scientific approaches to overcome difficult challenges in an otherwise promising research program, etc.;
    • help prepare scientific reports and presentations (and review/approve as needed) for H3D's quarterly portfolio review meetings, collaborator/funder-mandated scientific review meetings, H3D's annual Board meeting, and scientific conferences/meetings;
    • encourage and help scientists write scientific publications and help identify patent opportunities and support their applications.
  2. Responsibilities in the area of research execution (in collaboration with H3D's research operations group) includes:
    • manage staff and infrastructure resources across H3D's entire research portfolio to ensure that all major research programs are adequately resourced for the timely delivery of their research goals; dynamically reallocate resources and/or adjust program goals/timelines in response to changing needs to optimize H3D's overall outputs while assuring that program goals and contractual obligations are met;
    • ensure that collaborators' expectations and contractual terms are consistent with H3D's research priorities and are based on robust/innovative science; help renegotiate terms and/or adjust expectations, as needed and appropriate, to improve chances of success for all collaborative research programs;
    • work with H3D's research operations group and scientific teams to enhance the scientists' competency in project management and effective teamwork, with a focus on interdisciplinary and/or cross-organizational teams;
    • take ownership of H3D's research results ("successes" and "failures") and help communicate H3D's strategic research goals and portfolio priorities/decisions in a clear and inspiring manner, and with a sense of urgency, to enable and motivate the scientific teams to accomplish their goals.
  3. Responsibilities as part of H3D's Leadership Team and in support of the Director in high-level research strategy, partnering, fundraising and education include:
    • establish 5-year research goals for H3D's overall research portfolio, in accordance with H3D's research mission/vision and external factors, such as competitive assessments, emerging scientific trends etc.;
    • provide input into important portfolio-level decisions, including strategic go/no-go decisions or redesign of existing research programs, launch of new in-house or collaborative research programs, exploration of technology transfer opportunities, etc.;
    • identify critical expertise and resource gaps at H3D (scientific and leadership gaps) and propose/help implement solutions to address these challenges, including the hiring of additional scientific personnel;
    • proactively identify and help pursue new potential sources of research funding, such as the preparation of scientific white papers and grant applications to Foundations and Government agencies; negotiations of new collaborative arrangements (and/or renegotiation of existing agreements); and participation in fundraising efforts targeted at individual donors;
    • deliver formal courses and informal trainings in drug discovery and development principles to H3D and the broader scientific community at UCT and universities across Africa (as part of H3D's African capacity-building programs); deliver H3D-focused research presentations at major scientific conferences and to a broad range of external stakeholders (including funders and collaborators).

Remuneration is negotiable and in line with experience.

To apply, please e-mail the below documents in a single pdf file to Ms Tracy Moore at recruitment04@uct.ac.za:

Please ensure the title and reference number are indicated in the subject line.
An application which does not comply with the above requirements will be regarded as incomplete.

Note: Euromedica have been appointed as the search firm assisting with this recruitment and could, where needed, reach out to candidates for pre-screening. Only shortlisted candidates may be required to undergo a competency test.

Telephone: 021 650 5405
Website: www.h3d.uct.ac.za/
Reference number: E19167
Closing date: 12 April 2019

UCT is committed to the pursuit of excellence, diversity and redress in achieving its equity targets. Our Employment Equity Policy is available at http://www.uct.ac.za/downloads/uct.ac.za/about/policies/eepolicy.pdf.

UCT reserves the right not to appoint.

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