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© John Cairns


We are currently seeking expressions of interest for this important senior academic leadership role in MPLS Division for three years, to support and represent us in all matters relating to research funding, planning, strategy, assessment, and infrastructure, and play a key role in helping the University to deliver its academic mission.

As one of seven Associate Heads of Division in our senior academic leadership team, you will have a prominent role in decision-making at the most senior levels within the University. You will support and represent the MPLS Head of Division on a wide range of research matters and serve as an ex-officio member of the MPLS Divisional Board and General Purposes Committee. You will also attend the weekly meeting of Associate Heads with our Head of Division, discussing matters ranging from business cases for academic posts and proposals for administrative restructures, to cross-cutting strategic or policy matters.

You will play a key role in developing our cross-divisional research themes, working closely with academic leads in departments. Supported by our Head of Research Support, you will represent the Division’s interests on central University committees and working groups relating to research (e.g. University Research and Innovation Committee, the Research Excellence Framework Board, and Fell Fund Committee), and at a national level through liaison with relevant Research Councils (e.g., EPSRC, STFC, BBSRC, NERC), as required.

Please refer to the full role description (Word doc) before applying. If you have any difficulties accessing the Word document, please contact the MPLS Communications Team.


The Mathematical, Physical, and Life Sciences (MPLS) Division is one of the University’s four academic divisions, home to our world-renowned non-medical sciences, with nine academic departments spanning the full spectrum of the mathematical, computational, physical, engineering and life sciences.

This community brings together 660 faculty (with approximately 70 Chairs and 350 full Professors), 1,200 postdoctoral researchers and lecturing staff, and around 1,000 professional services staff. We are proud to be the home of some of the most creative and innovative scientific thinkers and leaders working in academia, attracting the very best students, scientists and support staff to study and work at Oxford. We strive to promote and embed the values of equality, diversity and inclusion in all our work. 


Within MPLS Division, our Associate Heads of Division play a prominent and critical role in helping to shape the Division’s strategic vision within their individual portfolio, supporting the Head of Division, and supporting MPLS departments to deliver their academic mission. Each Associate Head provides academic leadership for their relevant divisional activities, and represents and advocates for the MPLS position in interactions with University leaders, in relevant governance structures, and with external stakeholders as required.

Our key interdisciplinary research themes each span multiple departments and include dedicated research centres. Strategic priorities for research in MPLS over the next five years include: diversifying sources of research funding, including through major new partnerships with business or charitable foundations; supporting the growth of interdisciplinary research at scale, in priority areas; improving the co-ordination and consolidation of shared research infrastructure and services; continuing to embed the Trusted Research principles and practice into our departments; and developing our academic strategy for the emerging innovation districts at Begbroke and Osney Mead.


To apply, please submit a brief Expression of Interest (maximum 500 words) with your CV, by email in confidence, to Tracy Gale (Divisional Registrar) at no later than 12-noon on Wednesday 14 June 2023.

For an informal discussion about the role, please feel free to contact a member of our senior academic leadership team or Martin Edmunds (MPLS Head of Research Support and interim head of the MPLS Innovation & Business Partnerships team, the senior Divisional Officer supporting this Associate Head role), at

EOIs will be reviewed in Trinity Term Week 9 by both our Head of Division (Professor Sam Howison) and incoming Head of Division (Professor Jim Naismith) and shortlisted candidates will be invited to interview by Friday 23 June.

Interviews will take place during wc 26 June (Trinity Term Week 10), on Wednesday 28 June (afternoon) or Friday 30 June (morning). Appointments will be announced in July. 


This appointment is for three years initially, with the option to request a renewal at the end of that term. 

Please note that the responsibilities of this role must be carried out around a candidate’s substantive role, within their existing contractual hours (FTE) and term of employment. Individual arrangements to facilitate this will be discussed between the successful candidate, their department, and the Divisional Office. 

An allowance of £8,615 per annum is offered in recognition of the additional responsibilities an Associate Head takes on during their term in office. 

Candidates must be able to dedicate the equivalent of one day a week throughout each 10-week extended term time period to fulfilling the responsibilities of this role.