Professor and Head of Department of Environmental Science

Xi'an Jiaotong - Liverpool University

Applications are invited for the position of Professor and Head of the Department of Environmental Sciences at Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University (XJTLU), Suzhou.

Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University (XJTLU) is realising its mission of becoming a research-led international university in China and a Chinese university recognised internationally for its unique features in learning and teaching, research, social service, and education management. XJTLU is a unique collaborative institution, the first university in China to offer both UK and Chinese accredited undergraduate degrees. The university represents a partnership between the University of Liverpool in the UK and China’s Xi’an Jiaotong University, incorporating elements of excellence from both institutions.

XJTLU is the largest Joint venture University in China with over 10,000 students on campus and a further 2,500 at the University of Liverpool through an articulation route. The Department currently has 7 academic staff and 4 technical staff members. The language of instruction is English. Within the university, the Department of Environmental Science cultivates a learning environment that fosters independent, innovative and responsible fundamental and applied research. We recruit students from amongst the top 5% of high school students. The Department aims to provide its undergraduates with a thorough grounding in key disciplines including Biogeochemistry, Ecology, Environmental Chemistry and Pollution, Geomorphology, Geographic Information Systems, and Global Change Mitigation and Adaptation. Synergies with the international community entail that the Department also recruits international students, particularly at the PhD level, ensuring a diverse student body. The department aims to establish an internationally-competitive reputation in specific areas of regional and/or global relevance. In addition to a BSc and PhD in Environmental Science, related degree programmes will be established in due course.

The Head of Department of Environmental Science will provide leadership to develop the department into a centre of excellence in China and a department with a global reputation within our international model of collaboration. We seek a senior academic with a good international standing who is either already at Professoriate level or who meets the criteria for consideration for appointment to Professor. The Head will oversee aspects of teaching and learning, research, planning and delivering the Department's strategic aims and objectives. In addition to the stewardship of institutional capacity building, research, and teaching & learning excellence, it is anticipated that the Head of Department will actively engage internally and externally to increase the impact of the Department. 

The following competencies and experience are desirable:

  • Strong organisational skills including substantial prior experience in management of a unit of similar size and fiscal investment, with a demonstrable track record of successful outcomes;
  • The ability to build networks with external stakeholders and a prior record of funding acquisition from a variety of sources, ranging from major funders of fundamental research to the private sector;
  • Prior experience in strategic institutional alignment of unit objectives with overarching institutional objectives;
  • The ability to achieve buy-in and nurture a collaborative academic culture within a highly diversified staff, with the simultaneous ability to provide strong leadership when needed;
  • A strong sense of professional ethics across all domains affecting the Department;
  • Experience with research-led teaching and a strong interest to assist the Department in integration of research-led teaching into the curriculum.
  • Status as an active researcher, with particular preference in one of the Department’s integrated focus areas :
  • Biogeochemistry / Environmental Chemistry
  • Ecology, subdomains Aquatic, Invertebrate, Plant, and Soil Ecology
  • Physical Geography, subdomains in Geomorphology

The Department of Environmental Science has dedicated facilities in the XJTLU Emerging Sciences Building, newly constructed in 2016. We have so far established 1,200 m2 of teaching and research labs equipped with major instrumentation such as ICP-MS, GC, GCMS, HPLC, Gamma Spectrometer, Scanning Electrochemical Microscope, and a full suite of equipment for analysis of basic environmental water, soil, and air quality parameters. Additionally we have specialist labs in areas of environmental ecology, environmental microbiology and molecular biology, and environmental imaging. Our base facilities are able to meet most research requirements in the areas of environmental chemistry, environmental biology and ecology and physical geography. Additional facilities such as an Outdoor Teaching and Research Space (including a greenhouse, small wetlands and other support), environmental growth chambers and a sediment-laden wind tunnel are currently in development, presently scheduled for completion over the next two years.

XJTLU is located in Suzhou, China, whose classical gardens are recognized as UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The city boasts one of China's flagship development projects, the Suzhou Industrial Park (SIP), within which the University and more than 100 Fortune 500 companies operate. The broader Suzhou area encompasses the spirit of both old and new in China; greater Suzhou is now the fourth largest concentration of economic activity in China in terms of GDP, and economically SIP offers a high quality of life. Suzhou is well-connected via nearby airports to cities such as Hong Kong, Seoul, Tokyo, and Taipei, and via high-speed rail to other major cities in China.

The salary for this post is negotiable. In addition to the core salary package, we provide accommodation and travel allowances, medical insurance, and relocation expenses.

For initial enquiries and more information about the University and context, please email Professor Barry Godfrey, VP for Academic Affairs at

To learn more about working and living in China, please visit: