Professor and Head of Department of Biological Sciences

Xi'an Jiaotong - Liverpool University

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

The Department of Biological Sciences at XJTLU is a successful and well respected department within a thriving University that is grown to be the Largest Joint Venture University in China. This is an exciting opportunity for the right individual to lead Biological Sciences at XJTLU forward at an important time, given the growth of the University, the resources available, the location in the city of Suzhou, and the high quality of students and staff here.

Although the Department was only established in 2008, it is already a leading centre of excellence in China and encourages creativity, uniqueness, and diversity. We are a highly international department with academic staff originating from 9 difference countries. Our staff have previously worked or trained in leading universities and research institutes around the world. These include (among others): Amsterdam, Cambridge, the Francis Crick Institute London, Edinburgh, Harvard, Geneva, Imperial College, Institute of Microbiology (Chinese Academy of Sciences) Beijing, Max-Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology, MIT, Nagoya, Nanyang Technological University, NIMR Mill Hill, National University of Singapore, Oxford, Stanford, UCL and Yale.

The Department currently has 17 academic staff and 9 technical staff members. The department’s research interests are supported by custom-designed laboratories that are very well-equipped for both teaching and research.

Our undergraduate degree programme in Biological Sciences is the first in the world to receive international accreditation from the Royal Society of Biology. Similarly, Biological Sciences in its entirety at XJTLU has been officially recognised as a ‘Key Constructive Discipline of Jiangsu Province’ by the Department of Education. We are able to maintain a very good Staff student ratio of around 1:8, allowing good teaching support for our students,. This is backed up by a Language Centre that is one of the largest and most capable in China giving excellent support for those whose first language is not English.

The Department operates in a rich and diverse bioscience ecosystem that combines a strong demand for bioscientists with major opportunities for collaborative research. For example, it is close to BioBay, a national biotechnology hub with over 400 companies, and Cold Spring Harbor Asia, which hosts high-calibre scientific symposia and conferences with internationally-renowned researchers. It is also has strong links with Suzhou Institute of Systems Medicine, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences, which is also within walking distance.

We are now seeking to appoint a Professor and Head of Department to lead a department of dynamic and highly international academic staff.

We are seeking a Head of department and leader who is committed to working in China, can demonstrate clear understanding of the role of Academic Department Head, and is able to lead through positive motivation with authority, integrity and understanding of the University's needs. 

The role of Department Head carries with it expectations. Some of the key ones are as follows: 

  • Oversight of Research directions, impacts and outputs to maximize the Department’s Research generally and as a contribution to the University’s broader aims
  • Oversight of the taught programmes at Undergraduate and Masters level (Two degrees at UG level, Biological Science and Bioinformatics; one at Masters level, and MRes). The Head will ensure that Programme Directors for the degrees are implementing highest quality standards and effective and appropriate curricula.
  • Representation for the Department at University level through the Head of Department meetings, Annual programme review and through annual submission of a three year strategic planning.
  • Management of academic staffing in the department though annual Professional development review, allocation of teaching duties and the appointment of new staff when needed in conjunction with the HR department
  • Submission and overall management of the annual budgets. These budgets relate to Operational Budget items, and Equipment (large items) expenditure
  • Dealing with external stakeholders in an effective and professional manner; this includes external examiners for our degree courses, external partners in research activity and key visitors to the University. 

Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University (XJTLU) is a unique collaborative institution, the first and currently the only university in China to offer both UK (University of Liverpool) and Chinese (Ministry of Education) accredited undergraduate degrees. Formed in 2006, the first cohort of students graduated in August 2010. The University now has over 10,000 students studying on campus. The language of instruction is English. XJTLU aims to become truly research-led, and has recently committed significant investment into research development and the expansion of PhD student numbers on campus.

XJTLU is located in the Higher Education Town of Suzhou Industrial Park (SIP), 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. SIP is a major growth zone, including operations run by nearly one-fifth of the Fortune 500 top global companies. Greater Suzhou is now the fourth largest concentration of economic activity in China in terms of GDP, and the SIP has a higher GDP per capita than the UK. The broader Suzhou area encompasses the spirit of both old and new in China, with the historic old town’s canals, UNESCO World Heritage Site gardens, and the I.M Pei-designed Suzhou Museum attracting millions of tourists annually. SIP offers an excellent quality of life with high environmental standards. The nearby Jinji Lake provides attractive views, by day and by night, and there is a variety of shopping facilities, international and local restaurants, entertainment hubs and nightlife. Suzhou is also home to four international schools.

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: