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Medical Research Council boards and panel vacancies

The Medical Research Council (MRC) is part of UK Research and Innovation, an independent organisation that acts as a steward in the research and innovation system with a strong voice to government and internationally. The MRC supports high-quality research and training across the biomedical spectrum, from fundamental lab-based science to clinical trials, in all major disease areas.

The MRC’s research boards and panels are comprised of leading scientists that play a key role in delivering MRC objectives across the portfolio.  The research boards hold their own research budgets and review and manage scientific activity within their scientific domains, working co-operatively in areas of common interest.

Applications are invited from scientists with the relevant experience and expertise to become members of MRC boards and panels from April 2021. We are seeking to fill up to 26 vacancies across our four research boards and 29 vacancies across our panels.

The deadline for applications is 16:00 GMT+1 5 October 2020

Applicants must have both permission and support from their host institution before applying.

On this page:

Selection criteria

Candidates for board and panel vacancies will be shortlisted using the following general criteria:

  • scientific ‘fit’ for the vacancy
  • breadth of knowledge
  • appropriate level of experience
  • location – we are primarily seeking broad representation from research organisations across the UK, but are also interested in considering experts from other European countries
  • gender and ethnicity balance

    More specific qualities sought are detailed below.

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Candidate profile

Applicants should be international leaders in the areas identified by the vacancies and have a breadth of knowledge across related fields. As it is not possible for the membership of a board or panel to provide in-depth expertise across all of their specialist science areas, members are expected to contribute to discussions and help provide advice in other areas, sharing responsibility for decisions of the board or panel as a whole.

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Personal specification

The MRC is seeking applications from high calibre, committed senior scientists based in a leading UK/European research institute/university or pharmaceutical/biotechnology/life/digital sciences company. Applicants should have broad experience of cutting-edge research related to one of the vacancies advertised and must be able to commit an appropriate amount of time to serve on the board/panel. The MRC is committed to reproducibility in research and so we ask that applicants have a sound knowledge of experimental design and statistical approaches to ensure the highest standards of methodological rigor.

Applicants will need to meet the following essential criteria:

  • a first-class record in conducting and leading internationally respected research
  • a successful track record in applying for and obtaining major grant funding over a number of years (not essential for industry members)
  • demonstrable experience in research related to the particular vacancy advertised
  • a proven ability to exercise judgement across a broad spectrum of research and policy issues with a vision of the priorities and opportunities, not only within their areas of expertise, but also across the research board or panel portfolio
  • experience of contributing to peer review processes
  • an ability to work effectively within the public sector requirements for accountability and openness, and within financial constraints
  • a team player with a commitment to the mission and broad objectives of the MRC.

The MRC values the diverse skills and experience of the members of its boards and panels and is committed to achieving equality and diversity and particularly welcomes applications from currently under-represented groups; female and ethnic minority researchers and from researchers with disabilities.

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Principles for recruitment

For boards

Aim for each board to have between 18 and 24 members including representation from a diversity of organisations, backgrounds and perspectives, each board should aim to include, where appropriate:

  • clinical and non-clinical scientists
  • industry scientists
  • expertise in data sciences
  • international members (if possible, European members most feasible)
  • representation from MRC units/institutes

Ensure all boards are strong enough to look at translational research applications, including tactics and approaches, and have an understanding of early phase trials.

For boards and panels

Aim to:

  • steadily increase the proportion of women (from the current 42% towards 50%)
  • broaden the diversity of members
  • increase the ratio of mid-career versus later-career members
  • ensure a strong representation for basic research and data sciences
  • have industry representation.

There is an expectation that membership will meet MRC policies on equality.

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The average amount of time spent by members on board or panel business is equivalent to about two days a month for all activities, including meetings and preparatory work. New board and panel members will initially be appointed for two years, membership will be extended for a further two years following review by the board/panel chair and MRC Head of Theme. Research boards currently meet three times a year in London, Swindon or another regional location. Each meeting lasting between one and two full days depending on the size of the agenda. Panels meet between 2-3 times a year.  All board and panel members are expected to undertake specialist MRC unconscious bias training.

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An allowance is payable per day for attendance at board/panel meetings (the current rate is £160 per day).  Travel (standard class) and subsistence expenses (including family care costs) will be reimbursed as appropriate.

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Induction for successful candidates

As part of the preparation for their tenure, all new board and panel members are expected to attend an induction meeting in February 2021 (details to follow). The induction meeting will be an opportunity for you to meet Professor Fiona Watt, MRC Executive Chair, other senior MRC staff and your board/panel chair and support teams. The induction meeting enables us to provide guidance on your role and an overview of the MRC, its functions and methods of operation where these relate to the work of the research boards and panels.

In addition to the induction meeting, new recruits are expected to attend a board/panel meeting as an observer prior to starting their new role. The dates of the relevant meetings at which you will be invited to observe are as follows:

Board Board meeting
Infections and Immunity 24-25 February 2021
Molecular and Cellular Medicine 10-11 February 2021
Neurosciences and Mental Health 17-18 March 2021
Population and System Medicine 10-11 March 2021
Panel Panel meeting
Developmental Pathway Funding Scheme 20-21 January 2021
Better Methods, Better Research (formerly the Methodology Research Programme) 12-13 May 2021
Clinical Training and Career Development Panel 3-4 March 2021
Non-Clinical Training and Career Development Panel 23-24 March 2021

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How to apply?

To apply, please complete and submit the online web form. All applications must be submitted by 16:00 GMT+1 5 October 2020.

Decisions on membership will be made by the end of December 2020.

If you have any queries, or you would like further information about the role, please contact MRC.EventsandCommitteesTeam@mrc.ukri.org

Current vacancies

Applications are invited from non-clinical, clinical and senior industry scientists with the relevant experience and expertise to join the boards/panels in the vacancies below.

Vacancies to be filled from 1 April 2021.

Research board vacancies

Infections & immunity Board (IIB)

Three vacancies:

The Infections and Immunity Board is responsible for MRC’s investments over a broad and responsive remit, from global infectious diseases to the development and functioning of the human immune system, informing our understanding of how inflammatory and immune responses underpin health and mechanisms of disease. The board’s priorities include extending its global health activities, addressing the challenge of antimicrobial resistance, strengthening pandemic preparedness, investigating immunity and infection through the life course, and supporting integrative data analysis and systems approaches.

We are seeking to fill three posts spanning the areas described below and particularly welcome applications from clinical applicants.

  • Clinical microbiology - including one or more of the following areas of expertise: healthcare associated infections, including control measures for emerging pathogens; antibiotic resistance including development of novel antimicrobials and/or infection models; clinical utility of genomics; development, evaluation and use of novel diagnostics; medical imaging.
  • Cellular immunology - with expertise in animal modelling, the innate or adaptive immune response, biology of T cells, antigen presenting cells, or immunotherapy.
  • Virology and viral diseases - with a focus on viral physiology and pathogenesis or virus-host interactions.

Molecular & Cellular Medicine Board (MCMB)

Five vacancies:

MCMB is responsible for MRC’s investments seeking to understand the molecular and cellular mechanisms that underpin complex biological function in human health and disease and supporting the early translation of knowledge towards new diagnosis and treatment, and changes to policy and practice. The Board has particular interest in understanding dynamic biological systems across scales, the link between external exposures and causal pathways of disease, and research maximizing opportunities at the physical science interface.

Applications are invited from clinical and non-clinical scientists, with submissions from relevant industry positions welcomed. We are seeking to fill up to five vacancies in the following areas:

Structural Biology

  • Core expertise in structure-function studies
  • Strong skills in a broad range of biophysical methods and integrated structural approaches
  • Expertise in single-particle cryo electron microscopy and x-ray crystallography would be desirable

Cancer Cell Biology

  • Core expertise in underpinning cancer cell biology, pathological molecular mechanisms, and tumour microenvironment
  • Broader expertise and experience of translational considerations (such as therapeutic relevance of preclinical models) would be strongly desirable

Human functional genetics/genomics

  • Core expertise in human genetics and epigenetics (post-transcriptional control of gene expression and imprinting would be desirable)
  • Broader expertise in functional genomics in human health and disease, including experience in using high-throughput technologies (e.g. genomic sequencing and transcriptomics etc)
  • Experience of clinical genetics and translation would be desirable

Industry representative

  • Currently employed within, or strong experience of, the biomedical research industry
  • Broad expertise in drug development (small molecule and biologics, cellular and gene therapeutics) with a focus on research needs in early translation
  • Experience in patient stratification, biomarker discovery/systems biology, experimental medicine or diagnostics would be desirable

Data science

  • Core data science expertise, such as in computational modelling, and statistical methods for big data
  • Critical awareness and experience in bridging dry-lab and wet-lab to address biomedical research questions

Neurosciences & Mental Health Board (NMHB)

Ten vacancies:

NMHB is responsible for MRC’s investments in disorders of the human nervous system. This includes fundamental research into the human nervous system, its normal development and function, which informs our understanding of the mechanism of disease and supporting early translation of knowledge towards new diagnosis and treatment and changes to policy and practice. The board has a particular interest in addressing the challenges of mental illness and neurodegenerative diseases as well as exploring what we can learn from the direct study of human brain tissue to gain insight into the function of the human brain.

We are seeking to fill up to ten vacancies spanning the following areas

  • Cellular and molecular neurobiology - with expertise in one or more areas of synaptic plasticity, vision and circadian rhythms.
  • Neurodegeneration - with expertise in cellular and molecular neurodegeneration, and/or translational research. (2 positions)
  • Mental Health - with expertise in one or more of the areas of: genetics, genomics, clinical psychiatry, childhood and adolescent disorders, experimental medicine and/or translational approaches (2 positions).
  • Cognitive neuroscience - with expertise in imaging technologies, sensory neuroscience and/or behavioural neuroscience.
  • Epidemiology/Population research – with expertise in research methodology.
  • Neuropharmacology – with expertise in translational approaches.
  • Neurology – with expertise in one or more of the areas of: vascular neurology, experimental medicine, translational approaches and imaging technologies.
  • Addiction - with expertise in clinical neurology, clinical psychiatry, drug metabolism.

We are particularly interested to hear from applicants who have expertise in clinical genetics, modelling approaches, computational neuroscience, and translational neuroscience. Knowledge of a range of neuroimaging and non-invasive biophysical techniques will be an advantage.

Population & Systems Medicine Board (PSMB)

Six vacancies:

The MRC’s Population and Systems Medicine Board supports mechanistic and applied research to unlock the complexity of human health and disease across the life course. The Board takes a whole-systems approach to unravel disease mechanisms through better understanding the dynamic relationship within and between biological and social factors – both at the individual and population levels. The Board’s current priorities are in the areas of multimorbidity, rare diseases and integrated population health.

We are seeking to fill six vacancies across the following areas:

  • Respiratory medicine (2 vacancies) – with direct expertise in either clinical or experimental respiratory research. We are looking for candidates with broad expertise ranging from cellular mechanisms of lung disease, including immune responses, to natural history of respiratory disorders. Knowledge of clinical imaging would be desirable.
  • Gastrophysiology / Gastroenterology and mechanisms of disease
  • Nutrition – specifically the causative link between diet and the development of disease.
  • Reproductive health, obstetrics and gynaecology – with clinical expertise in endocrine signaling and reproduction, maternal and fetal medicine, intrauterine origins of adult disease.
  • Cardiovascular medicine – with expertise in vascular biology or cardiac physiology, experimental models, including animal studies, and strong translational background.

We are particularly interested to hear from applicants who work across different scales (molecular to physiological to population) to understand how external and internal (microbiome) environments contribute to human health, and from those who combine population studies with cell biology approaches capitalising on the rich molecular and phenotypic data sets from human and experimental systems to promote integration and interrogation of complex multidimensional data.

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Funding panel vacancies

Developmental Pathway Funding Scheme Panel (DPFS)

Seven vacancies:

The Developmental Pathway Funding Scheme (DPFS) is the MRC’s primary route to support translational research. The scheme supports a broad spectrum of activities from the development of novel therapies, interventions and diagnostics through to early-phase clinical studies. Projects are goal-orientated, and milestone monitored with clearly defined outcomes and future value.

The DPFS Panel is responsible for supporting academically-led projects to progress fundamental and clinical research findings towards clinical use or wider health application. The Panel actively works to strengthen proposals, where appropriate, to increase the likelihood of downstream success whilst also taking account of economic viability for either developed or developing countries.

Up to seven vacancies are available for candidates in at least one of the following areas:

  • Biomarker development and oncology diagnostics
  • Clinical regenerative medicine, including transplantation and cellular therapies
  • Implantable medical devices, from preclinical development to early clinical evaluation.
  • Pre-clinical drug discovery, including toxicology, pharmacology, pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics.
  • Statistics, including early phase clinical trial and pre-clinical evaluation
  • Infectious diseases and global health
  • App development and Digital healthcare (with a knowledge of Mental Health)

Applications from clinically active researchers, researchers based in industry and those with knowledge of the relevant investment landscape are be particularly welcome. Given the breadth of applications received by the scheme, panel members are required to cover a broad portfolio and individual applicants would ideally be able to cover multiple areas

Experimental Medicine Panel

Nine vacancies:

A new Experimental Medicine Panel is being established to complement and enhance the existing MRC translational offering through the support of interventional clinical studies. Projects supported by this Panel will have a strong mechanistic and experimental focus, with an emphasis on perturbing the human system. The Panel will be responsible for delivering investment in academically-led projects focussed on probing pathogenic mechanisms, identifying disease sub-groups, confirming tractable disease pathways for targeting or validating human challenge models. A broad portfolio of activities and disease areas is anticipated. Up to nine vacancies are available for candidates with academic and/or industry experimental medicine expertise in the following areas:

  • Mental health
  • Metabolic/endocrine medicine
  • Immunology
  • Neurosciences
  • Oncology
  • Cardiovascular medicine
  • Novel statistical design
  • Infectious diseases and global health
  • Respiratory medicine

Better methods, Better research (formerly the Methodology Research Programme

Two vacancies:

Better methods, Better research aims to improve efficiency, quality and impact across the entire spectrum of biomedical and health-related research. The Programme supports methodology research that will improve the methods used by others.

We are seeking applications from experienced researchers with a broad scientific, and a very strong methodological background. To ensure diversity of views, those with research experience beyond academia are particularly encouraged to apply.

The MRC expects to appoint up to 2 new members to the Panel, prioritising applications from within any of the following domains:

  • Qualitative or mixed methodologies
  • Trials methodologies

In addition, we ask candidates seeking to join the Neurosciences and Mental Health, Population and Systems Medicine, and Molecular and Cellular Medicine Boards to indicate their interest and availability for co-membership with the Better methods, Better research Panel.

Co-membership ensures that the importance of optimal research methods are embedded across MRC funding decisions and strategy. These applicants may hold strong methodological expertise in any area and are not limited to the 2 vacancies listed above.

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Training and Career Development Panels

MRC is seeking applications from excellent researchers with an interest in supporting early career researchers, through fellowship awards targeting key career transitions and outstanding, novel research. Applicants must have expertise to robustly assess the experimental design and methodology aspects of proposals (animal and / or human studies) and be willing to contribute to the interviewing of trainees across a broad range of disciplines.

Non-Clinical Training and Career Development Panel

Up to five vacancies.

Panel members contribute to assessments and interviews across the full range of MRC’s science, and this year we particularly welcome applications from researchers who bring core expertise in one or more of the following areas:

  • Infection
  • Immunology
  • Neuroscience
  • Cardiovascular
  • Panel Chair

Candidates in the above areas with experience of working with industry or research involving human participation are particularly welcome.

Medical Research Council Non-clinical Training and Career Development Panel Chair Vacancy

The MRC is currently looking for a new chair for the Non-clinical Training and Career Development panel to commence their appointment on 1 April 2021. Panel chairs are normally appointed for four years.

Key aspects of the role

  • Ensure effective delivery of MRC training strategy across the panel remit, and that funding decisions reflect strategic priorities
  • Chair the panel meetings, ensuring decisions on funding proposals are credible and that all members’ views are taken into account in decision making.
  • Ensure panel members play an active part in strategy setting.
  • Membership of MRC Training and Careers Group, which is responsible for developing the MRC strategy for non-clinical and clinical training, careers and skills.


The Non-clinical Training and Career Development Panel currently meets to interview candidates twice a year (March and October). Chairs are also expected to attend two shortlisting meetings and two meetings of the Training and Careers Group per year. It is essential that individuals should be able to commit the necessary time and attention to the role and have the full support of their employer and organisation in doing so.

More information on the Non-clinical Training and Career Development Panel Chair can be found here. (PDF, 88KB)

Clinical Training and Career Development Panel

Up to six vacancies.

Panel members contribute to assessments and interviews across the full range of MRC’s science, and this year we particularly welcome applications from researchers who bring core expertise in one or more of the following areas:

  • Infectious diseases
  • Immunology
  • ’Omics technologies and computational approaches
  • Clinical Trials Methodology and qualitative based research
  • Mental health
  • Neuroscience and neurology

Candidates in the above areas with experience of working with animal models are particularly welcome.

We also encourage applications from a range of healthcare professions (including dentistry, nursing and pharmacy), particularly those from an allied health profession.

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