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We are seeking expressions of interest for this newly configured, senior academic leadership role in MPLS Division, for three years, with oversight of the delivery and expansion of research degree programmes across the mathematical, physical and life sciences.

Two researchers in a Chemistry lab

The role 

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 matters relating to research degrees, and represent the Division on appropriate University committees and working groups. You will also be an ex-officio member of the MPLS Divisional Board and General Purposes Committee, and attend the weekly meeting of MPLS Associate Heads with the Head of Division, discussing a range of matters, such as business cases for academic posts, proposals for administrative restructures, and cross-cutting strategic or policy matters.  

Supported by our Head of Education Planning & Policy, Head of Graduate Policy and Administration and the wider Graduate Office and Training teams in MPLS, and working closely with our newly appointed Associate Head (Taught Degrees) and Associate Head (Research), you will support and advise our new Head of Division on all matters relating to research degrees, representing the Division on key central University and Divisional education committees and panels (e.g., Research Degrees Panel and Graduate Admissions Committee) and attending the MPLS Teaching and Learning Panel.

You will also chair our Graduate School Committee, Graduate Joint Consultative Forum (co-chairing with a student representative) and Divisional Graduate Funding Panel. You will lead on the Divisional review of DPhil examiners’ reports, work with the Head of Graduate Policy and Administration to develop and implement new policy and procedures as appropriate, and oversee graduate funding within the Division.  

As Associate Head you will have the opportunity to advise Divisional Board and GPC on all matters relating to research degrees and to play a key role in developing and implementing overarching strategy for graduate education across MPLS, whilst influencing University, national and international educational policy and activities through liaison with stakeholders across the collegiate University and with external stakeholders including the Russell Group, Research Councils, and funding agencies.   

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, around 1,000 professional services staff, and over 5,900 students – including over 2,300 on postgraduate research programmes. 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 core academic mission. Each Associate Head provides academic leadership for their relevant sphere of divisional activity and represents and advocates for the MPLS position in interactions with University leaders, in relevant governance structures, and with external stakeholders, as required by the Head of Division.  

Our strategic priorities for shaping 21st-century graduate science education at Oxford include: continually continuing to: developing our teaching offering and promoting innovation via discussions at the MPLS Education Futures Forum; continuing to address student access and financial support for learning in STEM disciplines; and continuing to ensure that our student body is diverse and inclusive (e.g., by participating in the Black Academic Futures and Oxford-Cambridge ‘Close the Gap’ programmes).  

Additional priorities include ensuring strong bids to relevant CDT calls; and supporting research excellence through further development of our Graduate School and by ensuring equitable access to postgraduate technical skills training.   


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 Friday 20 October 2023.  

For an informal discussion about the role, please feel free to contact a member of our senior academic leadership team or Sarah McHugh, Head of MPLS Education Planning & Policy, at  

EOIs will be reviewed by Professor Jim Naismith (our incoming Head of Division) in Week 3 of Michaelmas Term, and shortlisted candidates will be invited to interview by Friday 27 October. 

Interviews will take place in Week 4 of Michaelmas Term, on Thursday 2 November (times TBC between 10am and 1pm), and an appointment will be announced by the end of term. 


This appointment is for three years initially, ideally commencing in time for the beginning of Hilary Term 2024, with the option to request a renewal at the end of the three-year term. 

Expressions of interest from women are particularly welcome, as women are currently underrepresented in the divisional academic leadership team. 

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 £8,868 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.