Jobwatch: Shortages fuel expansion

December 5, 2003

Health and medical-related vacancies are much in evidence as a result of course popularity, interdisciplinary initiatives and universities cashing in on intellectual property. Pat Leon reports

A national shortage of pharmacists was behind the launch this September of the first new masters degree in pharmacology in the UK for more than 30 years by the University of East Anglia. Now six more posts are being advertised in the School of Chemical Sciences and Pharmacy to join six pharmacy faculty and three teacher practitioners who arrived in the first phase of expansion.

The UEA has seen a rapid growth in subjects allied to medicine in the past ten years. Andrew Thomson, dean of the School of Chemical Sciences and Pharmacy, says: "Five of the six pharmacy faculty staff we recruited in the first phase were registered pharmacists. This is encouraging as there is also a shortage of registered pharmacists in the academic world. We expect faculty numbers to grow to 20 in the next three years as student intake rises to 80 a year."

He says candidates for the chair in cellular and molecular pharmacology should have specialist knowledge of pharmacogenetics - the tailoring of medicines to individual genetic profiles. Appointees will be able to work across Norwich Research Park, which houses the John Innes Centre, the Institute of Food Research and the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital.

Meanwhile, Surrey University is cashing in on its intellectual property. Unisdirect, the university's commercial arm, is advertising for a business development manager to cover biomedicine and liaise with the European Institute of Health and Medical Sciences, the School of Biomedical and Molecular Sciences and the Postgraduate Medical School.

Jayne Martin, business development manager for the human and management sciences, says this replacement post is financed by the Higher Education Innovation Fund.

"We have created a team of business developers using Heif money. We started in September 2002 and are preparing for the next bidding round," she adds.

"We are looking for someone who can feel comfortable with the business and academic worlds."

Edinburgh University is searching for a candidate who can bridge disciplines to direct the Genomics Forum from April 1 2004. The professorial-level post is funded for five years by the Economic and Social Research Council. Vicky Bruce, head of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, says applicants could be from sciences, social sciences or medicine.

The forum will integrate research on the human, animal, plant and environmental aspects of genomics and inform and advise policy-makers, practitioners and public groups. The appointee will coordinate the work of three genomics centres based at Exeter, Edinburgh-Open and Lancaster-Cardiff universities. Bruce says: "We want someone with flair who will make things happen."

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