Assistant Professor in Biology

Edinburgh, United Kingdom
05 Jul 2018
End of advertisement period
19 Jul 2018
Academic Discipline
Life sciences, Biological Sciences
Contract Type
Fixed Term
Full Time

Heriot-Watt University has five campuses: three in the UK (Edinburgh, Scottish Borders and Orkney), one in Dubai and one in Malaysia. The University offers a highly distinctive range of degree programmes in the specialist areas of science, engineering, design, business and languages.

With a history dating back to 1821, Heriot-Watt University has established a reputation for world-class teaching and practical, leading-edge research, which has made it one of the top UK universities for business and industry. We connect with industry at every level and develop programmes to match their needs – so employers get work-ready industry-fit graduates.

Heriot-Watt is also Scotland's most international university, boasting the largest international student cohort.

We have an established set of values that help us to nurture innovation and leadership, and show our commitment to continuous improvement and development in all our activities.

For full details on our University please view our Careers at Heriot-Watt http://www.hw.ac.uk/about/careers-at-heriot-watt.htm

About our Team

The School of Energy, Geoscience, Infrastructure and Society

The School of Energy, Geoscience, Infrastructure and Society is one of the UK’s leading institutions for multidisciplinary research and teaching in areas critical to economic development and societal equity. We aim to attain excellence in the teaching of the core disciplines that contribute to a sustainable, resource and energy efficient society and are committed to undertaking high value, high impact research and knowledge transfer in topics of relevance to global challenges.

The School enjoys facilities consistent with its location in modern, purpose-built accommodation on the Edinburgh campus. The School is well equipped in respect of laboratories for materials, structures, engineering, building services and hydraulics research and teaching. Our research and teaching facilities in Dubai and Malaysia are contained within purpose-built campuses in Dubai Academic City and Putrajaya, respectively.

Heriot-Watt University has been named International University of the Year by the Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2018.


The School’s undergraduate teaching on our Edinburgh campus covers civil and structural engineering, architectural engineering, construction project management, quantity surveying, geography, urban studies, interior design and biology. On our Dubai campus we teach civil & structural engineering, architectural engineering, architecture, construction management, quantity surveying and interior design. On our Malaysia campus we teach civil engineering, construction project management, quantity surveying and petroleum engineering. We offer a high quality educational experience underpinned by practical and laboratory teaching, and informed by contact with professional practice. Most of our degree programmes hold the appropriate accreditation from the relevant professional body. This educational philosophy ensures excellent employment prospects for all of our graduates.

Programmes of postgraduate study are aligned to the expertise contained in each of our research institutes. Our postgraduate students therefore benefit from state-of-the-art knowledge in their chosen study area. You can find further information about the School’s postgraduate programmes at https://www.hw.ac.uk/schools/energy-geoscience-infrastructure-society/po...


The School is one of the leading research centres in the UK. It has sustained a high reputation for the international standing of its research over two decades.

Research within the School is organised into six Institutes: https://www.hw.ac.uk/schools/energy-geoscience-infrastructure-society/re...

  • Institute of Life and Earth Sciences (ILES)
  • The Urban Institute (TUI)
  • Institute of Petroleum Engineering (IPE)
  • Institute for Infrastructure and Environment (IIE)
  • Centre of Excellence in Sustainable Building Design (CESBD)
  • Institute for Social Policy, Housing, Equalities Research (I-SPHERE)

All academic staff based on the Edinburgh and Dubai campuses contribute to the research activities of one of our Institutes.

These Institutes support a wide range of research activities of relevance to a sustainable, resource and energy efficient society. Institute staff undertake research funded by research councils, charitable foundations, local and national government. Research outcomes are published in leading international and national journals and key findings are widely disseminated through other media and forms of output.

The Institute for Life and Earth Sciences (ILES)  undertakes multidisciplinary research in the areas of Environment, Health and Food Science, based both in Edinburgh and at the International Centre for Island Technology (ICIT) in the Orkney Isles. ICIT is internationally recognised for its research, training and consultancy in renewable energy, marine science and environmental resources. This Institute also includes the recently established Lyell Centre for Earth and Marine Science and Technology, with purpose-built facilities which focus its research on terrestrial, freshwater and marine ecosystem studies, geoscience, and climate change.  Further information can be obtained at - https://www.hw.ac.uk/schools/energy-geoscience-infrastructure-society/iles.htm      

Detailed Description

Applications are invited for two fixed-term (1 year) appointments at Assistant Professor level to contribute mostly to the teaching of undergraduate Biology students, but possibly also postgraduate, within the Institute of Life and Earth Sciences. We particularly encourage applicants with demonstrated expertise in microbiology and/or molecular biology. The successful candidates will be inspiring teachers with excellent communication skills who will help motivate and support our students in achieving academic excellence.

The two successful candidates will contribute to the organisation and teaching of at least six courses covering key topics in Biology, in particular microbiology and molecular biology, within the undergraduate curriculum, but may also include postgraduate content. Their remit will include the delivery and assessment of lectures, tutorials and laboratory classes; they will train graduate demonstrators to help support their laboratory and other practical classes and they will also provide supplementary supervision to final year students carrying out research project work.

The appointees will work alongside experienced members of academic staff in carrying out duties that relate to the organisation and delivery of undergraduate, and possibly postgraduate, teaching, academic student support and teaching administration.

The successful candidates will have a PhD and post-doctoral experience, if possible, in a cognate subject area. They will possess strong communication and interpersonal skills and will be enthusiastic about interacting with taught students and supporting their academic development. Preference will be given to candidates with a demonstrated ability to facilitate student learning and/or experience of teaching.

Key duties and responsibilities

The successful appointees will be expected to undertake the following:

  • Contribute to the preparation, delivery and evaluation of students in the classroom or laboratory setting for at least six Biology courses (at SCQF levels 7,8 and 9) which cover topics in the areas of Microbiology or Molecular Biology. Contributions to teaching at postgraduate level (SCQF level 10) are also planned.
  • Prepare, administer and compile assessment of coursework and examinations, under the supervision of experienced members of the academic staff team.
  • Undertake basic administrative duties including course-level record keeping; attending academic committees dealing with course and programme-related issues; maintaining office hours to advise and support students.
  • Supervise honours level and MSc level projects.
  • Act as adviser to student dissertations.
  • Undertake relevant training courses to develop and enhance teaching skills.

Please note that this job description is not exhaustive, and the role holder may be required to undertake other relevant duties commensurate with the grading of the post. Activities may be subject to amendment over time as the role develops and/or priorities and requirements evolve. A flexible working schedule may be required to meet all key duties and responsibilities.

Education, qualifications and experience


  • A PhD in Biology/Life Sciences or a cognate subject discipline related to Biology/Life Sciences.
  • Knowledge and experience of microbiology and/or molecular biology.
  • Previous experience of undergraduate teaching in Biology or cognate discipline.
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills.
  • Ability to engage with students in the delivery of lectures, tutorials and practicals.
  • An in-depth understanding of own specialism to enable the development of new knowledge and understanding within the field.
  • Versatility and willingness to work collaboratively with colleagues.


  • Postdoctoral experience in Biology or a cognate subject discipline related to Biology/Life Sciences.
  • Experience in the preparation and delivery of lectures, tutorials and web-based assessment.
  • Familiarity with learning management software such as Blackboard or equivalent.
  • Experience of providing academic support to student groups.
  • Experience of working in a multi-cultural environment.
  • Ability to operate at the cross-disciplinary boundaries of micro and molecular biology and allied fields.

How To Apply

Applications can be submitted up to midnight (UK time) on 19 July 2018

This role does not meet the minimum requirements set by UKVI to enable sponsorship of non-European nationals. Therefore we cannot progress applications from candidates who require sponsorship to work in the UK. For further information on this please visit the UK Visas and Immigration website: https://www.gov.uk/browse/visas-immigration/work-visas

Informal enquiries about these roles should be directed to Professor Teresa Fernandes - T.Fernandes@hw.ac.uk.

At Heriot-Watt University we understand that being diverse makes us better which is why we support a culture of respect and equal opportunity, and value diversity at the heart of what we do. We want to increase the diversity of our workplace to underpin a dynamic and creative environment.

We welcome and will consider flexible working patterns e.g. part-time working and job share options.

Use our total rewards calculator: https://www.hw.ac.uk/about/work/total-rewards-calculator.htm to see the value of benefits provided by Heriot-Watt University.