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Medical Research Council board 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 human 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 and strategies 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 2022. We particularly welcome applications from currently under-represented groups, including female and ethnic minority researchers, and researchers with disabilities or long-term conditions. We are seeking to fill up to 22 vacancies across our research boards and 19 vacancies across our panels.

The deadline for applications is 1 October 2021, 16:00 GMT+1 

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

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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, we will also consider experts from other countries, if their full participation is practical
  • 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 leading research institutes/universities or pharmaceutical/biotechnology/life/digital sciences companies. 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.

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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, characteristics, and perspectives. Each board should aim to include some:

  • representation from MRC units / institutes
  • industry members
  • international members.
     

Ensure all boards have adequate expertise to evaluate translational research applications, including tactics and approaches, and have an understanding of early phase trials.

For boards and panels

Aim to:

  • broaden the diversity of membership
  • steadily increase the number of women and ethnic minority members
  • increase the ratio of mid-career to later-career members
  • ensure a strong representation for basic research across all boards and panels
  • industry representation as appropriate.
     

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

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Commitment

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. Each meeting lasting between one and two full days depending on the size of the agenda. Panels meet between 2-3 times a year. MRC boards and panels have been meeting virtually during the COVID-19 pandemic, we expect to continue to hold some meetings virtually, as well as a schedule of in-person meetings when possible, to enhance board/panel engagement and networking.

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Remuneration

An allowance is payable per day for participation 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 on 1 February 2022 (details to follow). The induction meeting will be an opportunity for you to meet the MRC Executive Chair and, 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 strategic ambitions, 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 23-24 February 2022
Molecular and cellular medicine 09-10 February 2022
Neurosciences and mental health 16-17 March 2022
Population and system medicine 09-10 March 2022
Panel Panel meeting
Developmental Pathway Funding Scheme 18-19 January 2022
Better Methods, Better Research Panel 11-12 May 2022*
Clinical Training and Career Development Panel 2-3 March 2022
Non-Clinical Training and Career Development Panel 22-23 March 2022

*As this meeting takes place after new member’s start date (1 April 2022) successful applicants will be invited to participate at this meeting as a full member.

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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, 1 October 2021.

Please see a version of the application form (PDF, 189KB) to view the questions you will need to complete to submit your application.

Decisions on membership will be made by the end of December 2021.

If you have any queries regarding the application process or if you would like this application in a different format (for example, accessible PDF, large print, easy read, audio recording or braille etc.), 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. The MRC is particularly keen to recruit members who can bring expertise in data science (e.g. statistics, bioinformatics, and computational modelling), including linking and interrogating data across scales and modalities and iterating between data models and experimental models.

Vacancies to be filled from 1 April 2022.

Research board vacancies

Infections & Immunity Board (IIB)

Six vacancies

IIB is responsible for MRC’s investments across human infectious diseases and disorders of the human immune system. This includes and is underpinned by fundamental discovery research into human pathogens, as well as the normal development and functioning of the human immune system, which informs mechanism of disease. The board has particular interest in addressing the challenge of antimicrobial resistance, strengthening epidemic preparedness, investigating immunity and infection through the life course, and supporting integrative data analysis and systems approaches.

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

  • cellular immunology - with expertise in B cells, T cells, dendritic cells and/or macrophages
  • parasitology - with special interest in vector-borne disease and neglected tropical diseases
  • vaccinology / immunomodulation – with broad expertise in host response to vaccination and immunotherapy, ideally across viral, bacterial, fungal and/or parasitic vaccines
  • virology and viral diseases - with a focus on viral physiology and pathogenesis, virus-host interactions, zoonoses or epidemic preparedness.
     

We are particularly interested to hear from applicants who have expertise in structural and molecular biology, biochemistry, biophysics, drug discovery or omics research of relevance to the board’s activities.

Molecular & Cellular Medicine Board (MCMB)

Seven 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 research maximising opportunities at the physical science interface.

Applications are invited from clinical and non-clinical scientists including from industry settings as relevant. We are seeking to fill up to seven vacancies in the following areas.

Cell biology

  • Broad expertise is being sought in cell biology, including in the areas of membrane trafficking and intracellular compartments. Other areas of interest may include RNA biology and post-transcriptional regulation/modification.
  • Candidates with expertise in biophysics or at the physical science interface, and in advanced imaging are particularly encouraged, along with strong commitment to integration across biological scales which may include expertise in model systems.
     

Biomedical informatics

  • Core expertise in biomedical informatics and/or computational biology. Candidates should have a strong track record in applying informatics and computational approaches to understanding underlying biology and mechanisms of human disease – from the cellular level through to the whole disease phenotype.
  • Expertise in analysing and interpreting a wide range of ‘omics data would be an advantage.
     

Haematology, blood cell biology and development

  • Core expertise in haematopoiesis, haematopoietic stem cell biology and haematological dysfunction/disease. 
  • Broader expertise may be in areas such as haematological malignancy, (epi) genetics, systems approaches and/or single cell genomics/transcriptomics.
     

Stem cells and regenerative medicine

  • Core expertise in stem cell biology, tissue repair and regenerative biology/medicine.
  • Experience of translational approaches to regenerative medicine/advanced therapeutics would be an advantage.
  • Broader awareness of developmental biology would also be of value.
     

Molecular and cellular pharmacology

  • Expertise in molecular and cell pharmacology, including chemical biology.
  • Experience in target discovery and validation would be desirable.
  • Industry representatives are particularly welcomed.
     

Medical oncology (up to two posts)

  • Broad expertise in the cellular and molecular biology of cancer, particularly in the areas of tumour microenvironment interactions, cancer immunology, epigenetics and the use of mammalian model systems.
  • Experience of experimental medicine and/or translational approaches would be an advantage (including therapeutic relevance of preclinical models).
  • Clinically-qualified biomedical researchers are encouraged.
     

We are particularly interested to receive applications from those with expertise in the use of quantitative analytical tools, multi-dimensional data and systems approaches to understand complex and dynamic biology. The MRC is committed to reproducibility in research and so applicants should have a sound knowledge of experimental design and, where appropriate, statistical/analytical approaches to ensure the highest standards of methodological rigour.

Neurosciences & Mental Health Board (NMHB)

Four 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 normal function and disease processes.

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

  • sensory neuroscience - candidates with expertise in vision or auditory neuroscience are particularly encouraged to apply
  • computational neuroscience - for example, in cognitive neuroscience and/or modelling of brain circuits and neuroinformatics of relevance to the board’s activities
  • pain research - for example, covering neural systems, mechanistic and/or clinical research
  • industry representation - currently employed within, or strong experience of, the biomedical research industry sector. Broad expertise in drug development of relevance to the board’s activities with a focus on research needs in early translation. Experience in patient stratification, biomarker discovery or experimental medicine would be desirable.
     

We are particularly interested to hear from applicants who have expertise in data science and translational neuroscience. Knowledge of a range of neuroimaging and non-invasive biophysical techniques will be an advantage.

Population & Systems Medicine Board (PSMB)

Five vacancies

The MRC’s Population and Systems Medicine Board (PSMB) supports research aimed to unlock the complexity of human health and disease across the life course. PSMB 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 covers a wide scientific remit and has priority interests in multimorbidity, rare diseases and data integration across methodologies, scales and modalities.

We currently have vacancies in the following areas:

  • reproduction and developmental biology – with expertise in embryogenesis, fetal development and reproductive medicine; ideally, with experience in research using animal models
  • epidemiology – specifically in the area of population genetics, including gene-environment interactions and/or pharmacogenetics, and experience in leading large-scale population-based or clinical cohort studies, and their design
  • endocrinology and metabolism – we are looking for candidates with broad interest in metabolic disorders, including clinical challenges in diabetes, and who have clinical expertise and/or strong background in translational experimental research
  • hepatic function and disease – expertise in pharmacology and cell signaling will be an advantage
  • ageing – a clinical or experimental scientist, ideally with expertise in musculoskeletal physiology, sarcopenia, frailty and/or a broad interest in and knowledge of musculoskeletal diseases associated with ageing.
     

We are particularly interested to hear from applicants who work across different scales and species (including large animal models), and from those who combine population studies with cell biology approaches capitalising on the rich molecular, clinical imaging and phenotypic data sets from human and experimental systems to promote integration and interrogation of complex multidimensional data.

The MRC is committed to reproducibility in research, and so we ask that applicants have a sound knowledge of experimental design and statistical approaches. Finally, we welcome applicants with a background of working in industry across any of advertised areas.

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Funding panel vacancies

Developmental Pathway Funding Scheme Panel (DPFS)

Five 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 downstream development plans.

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 five vacancies are available for candidates with academic and/or industry translational expertise in at least one of the following areas:

  • statistics, including preclinical/animal studies and clinical trial design
  • psychology and mental health, including development of technology driven interventions 
  • gene and stem cell therapies
  • clinical immunology/rheumatology, including autoimmune and inflammatory disease
  • medical devices, technologies and imaging.
     

Applications from clinically active researchers, researchers based in industry and those with knowledge of the relevant investment landscape would be particularly welcomed. 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.

MRC Development Pathway Funding Scheme Panel Chair vacancy

The MRC is currently looking for a new Chair for the Developmental Pathway Funding Scheme panel to commence their appointment on 1 April 2022. Panel chairs are normally appointed for four years.

DPFS is the MRC’s core translational research funding scheme. It aims to drive novel therapeutics, devices, diagnostics and other interventions along the developmental pathway towards patient and economic benefit. The remit spans early prototype discovery and design through to early phase clinical trials (I and IIa). The DPFS panel consists of members from both academia and industry, with expertise across the full spectrum of human health and disease.

Interested candidates should outline how you meet the criteria listed in the person specification below, along with your motivation for applying for this role. Candidates may be invited to attend a brief interview.

Selection criteria

Candidates will be shortlisted for interview using the criteria listed in the person specification below.

Key aspects of the role

  • Chairing all DPFS panel meetings, ensuring decisions on funding proposals are credible and that all members’ views are taken into account in decision making.
  • Contributing to the ongoing development of MRC’s translational strategy and ensuring both effective delivery of MRC strategy across the Panel remit and that funding decisions reflect strategic priorities.
  • Oversight of key aspects of post award monitoring.
     

Person specification

Candidates should have experience of leading a major research activity, or equivalent, and be proven strategic thinkers. They should have a track record of undertaking and championing translational research.

Applicants should demonstrate that they have the time and skills to contribute across a range of MRC strategic and governance issues and participate in active professional networks within the translational research community. 

Suitable candidates should demonstrate:

  • a broad understanding of biomedical research and an extensive track record in academia or industry 
  • a keen interest in translational research and a thorough understanding of the translational research landscape, funding mechanisms and pathways to clinical impact and commercialisation
  • proven ability to exercise judgment across a broad spectrum of policy and research issues
  • experience of conducting peer review with a major funder for example, MRC, Wellcome Trust, Cancer Research UK
  • excellent communication skills and experience of chairing in a complex area
  • ability to work effectively within the public sector’s requirements for accountability and openness, and within financial constraints
  • commitment to the MRC’s mission and broad objectives.
     

The MRC values the diverse skills and experience of the members of its boards and panels and is committed to achieving equality of treatment for all.

Commitment

The DPFS panel meets three times each year, with two-day meetings taking place in January, May and September. Typically around 20 full proposals and 40-50 outline proposals are assessed at each meeting. DPFS projects are milestone driven with a high level of post award monitoring. Requests for changes to the timing, scientific plan or budget for each milestone are reviewed by MRC and where appropriate comment and approval is sought from members of the Panel, with input required from the Chair in some cases. Chairs will also be involved in strategic decision making for both DPFS and the wider MRC translational research remit. 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.

Conflicts of interest

The high standards of integrity expected by the public and parliament, and the role requires the Panel Chair to avoid situations in which their duties and other interests conflict with panel business or where there could be a suspicion of conflict.

Panel chairs must not misuse information gained in the course of their work for the MRC for personal gain or for political purpose, nor seek to use the opportunity of public service to promote their private interests, or those of connected organisations, persons, or firms.

Although previous experience with the MRC or another major funder is required, a panel chair cannot be a member of a review panel for a major funder (for example, Wellcome Trust, Cancer Research UK) simultaneously.

Remuneration

Panel Chairs will receive an annual stipend. Travel and subsistence expenses (including family care costs) will be reimbursed.

Better Methods, Better Research Panel

Three vacancies

Better Methods, Better Research aims to improve efficiency, reproducibility, rigour 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 two new members to the panel, prioritising applications from within any of the following domains:

  • methodologies for behavioural sciences and interventions
  • qualitative or mixed methodologies
  • methodologies for clinical informatics, observational data or genetic epidemiology.
     

In addition, we ask prospective applicants to NMHB or MCMB to identify their interest in future co-membership with the Better Methods, Better Research panel.

  • Co-membership with NMHB and Better Methods, Better Research.
  • Co-membership with MCMB and Better Methods, Better Research.
     

Co-membership ensures that the importance of optimal research methods is embedded across MRC funding decisions and strategy. Where appropriate, applicants applying to the vacancies within other boards and panels should indicate their availability for dual membership with the Better Methods, Better Research programme. These applicants may hold strong methodological expertise in any area and are not limited to the two 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

Two vacancies

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

  • pharmacology 
  • basic cell biology (ideally relating to cancer or neuroscience).
     

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

Clinical Training and Career Development Panel

Five vacancies

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

  • clinical endocrinology
  • clinical genetics
  • clinical psychology and/or mental health
  • immunology and infectious diseases
  • data science and/or computational biology
  • clinical trial design and methodology.
     

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

MRC Clinical Training and Career Development Panel Chair vacancy

The MRC is currently looking for a new chair for the Clinical Training and Career Development panel to commence their appointment on 1 April 2022. Panel chairs are normally appointed for four years.

Interested candidates should outline how you meet the criteria listed in the person specification below, along with your motivation for applying for this role. Candidates may be invited to attend a brief interview

Selection criteria

Candidates will be shortlisted for interview using the criteria listed in the person specification below.

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.
     

Person specification

Candidates should have experience of leading a major research activity, or equivalent, and be proven strategic thinkers. They should have a track record of supporting researcher career development and training. 

Applicants should demonstrate that they have the time and skills to contribute across a range of MRC strategic and governance issues and participate in active professional networks within the academic community.     

Suitable candidates should demonstrate:

  • a broad understanding of biomedical research and track record in conducting internationally leading-edge research
  • a strong interest in supporting researcher career development and training
  • proven ability to exercise judgment across a broad spectrum of policy and research issues
  • experience of conducting peer review with a major funder for example, MRC, Wellcome Trust, Cancer Research UK
  • excellent communication skills and experience of chairing in a complex area
  • ability to work effectively within the public sector’s requirements for accountability and openness, and within financial constraints
  • commitment to the MRC’s mission and broad objectives.
     

The MRC values the diverse skills and experience of the members of its boards and panels and is committed to achieving equality of treatment for all.

Commitment

The Clinical Training and Career Development panel currently meets to interview candidates three times a year (March, June and October). Chairs are also expected to attend three 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.

Conflicts of interest

The high standards of integrity expected by the public and parliament, and the role requires the panel Chair to avoid situations in which their duties and other interests conflict with panel business or where there could be a suspicion of conflict.

Panel chairs must not misuse information gained in the course of their work for the MRC for personal gain or for political purpose, nor seek to use the opportunity of public service to promote their private interests, or those of connected organisations, persons, or firms.

Although previous experience with the MRC or another major funder is a requirement, a panel chair cannot be a member of a review panel for a major funder (for example, Wellcome Trust, Cancer Research UK) simultaneously.

Remuneration

Panel Chairs will receive an annual stipend. Travel and subsistence expenses (including family care costs) will be reimbursed.

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